The Latest Safety Insanity

OK, so I read this, and the steam that shot out of my ears took the fresh paint off the wall of the kitchen on both sides of the room:

His committee recommended that NASA and the other ISS partners should plan for ways to operate the station with a reduced crew if commercial crew vehicles aren’t ready to enter service by the fall of 2019.

“Given these schedule risks, we recommend the partnership pursue plans to protect for a minimum crew capability to ensure ISS viability during the flight development phase,” he said. “NASA’s biggest priority is maintaining the U.S. presence on the ISS in case the commercial crew launch dates slip.”

One option he mentioned at the meeting is “providing training to Russian crewmembers on the USOS critical systems.” That training, he said, would be provided to cosmonauts scheduled to fly to the station on Soyuz missions in September 2019 and March 2020.

So, let me get this straight: In order to avoid any risk of loss of crew (and there is no way to do that), we are going to not only make ourselves more dependent on the Russians, but further reduce, if not eliminate any actual utility we’re going to get out of a facility in which we’ve invested over a hundred billion dollars and, as a bonus, put that facility at risk.

All because “safety is the highest priority.”

This is insane.

Block 5

Loren Grush on the significance of today’s launch.

At this point, SpaceX rules the world on expertise in developing and operating space transports. BFR is largely simply scaling up current systems. And rockets scale up quite nicely, within facilities limits.

[Update a few minutes later]

More from Doug Messier.

[Update a while later]

And more, from Chris Gebhart.

This will be an historic day if the flight is successful. Or even if it’s unsuccessful. Only way it won’t be historic is if they scrub.

[Update Friday morning]

OK, they scrubbed yesterday, and have another opportunity today. I haven’t heard yet if they found the problem, but here’s a transcript of a very interesting telecon with Elon yesterday.


[Afternoon update]

I did a little tweetstorm.

As I note over there, in terms of opening space to humanity, historians will record that today was a more significant day than July 20th, and the most significant event in spaceflight since Sputnik and Gagarin. We’re finally making spaceflight routine and affordable to others than governments, over half a century after we first started.

[Monday-afternoon update]

More from Jeff Foust over at The Space Review today.


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