Could Boeing’s latest failure, the botched launch of its Starliner space vehicle, be what the company needs to finally head in the right direction? At the least, Boeing should take it as a lesson – imperfect as it may be – in how to respond to a crisis.
Boeing’s newest problem came Friday, following a perfect liftoff of the spacecraft. An error in setting an internal clock caused the Starliner to mistime a subsequent engine firing. Instead of a rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station, the unmanned craft became stuck in an unplanned orbit.
The misstep came in the same week as Boeing announced a temporary halt to production of its much-maligned 737 MAX airliner. Hundreds of the planes have been grounded since March after two of the model were involved in crashes related to software failures. And, airlines started telling customers this week not to expect the 737 MAX jets to return to service until at least June.
If there is a silver lining to the Starliner event – along with the fact that no one was injured – it was that Boeing accepted responsibility up front.
Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing’s Space and Launch division, joined NASA officials and others at a news conference shortly after the misfire to explain what went wrong. Chilton was quick to praise NASA and United Launch Alliance, which provided the Atlas V rocket that launched the Starliner.
Chilton also laid out what happened. “The vehicle was not on the right timer,” he said, simply. “We don’t know why it wasn’t.” No throwing anyone else under the bus.
This differs markedly from what happened after the 737 MAX crashes, where Boeing was slow to accept any responsibility and tried to shift at least some of the blame to others.
The reason for the change in Boeing’s approach may be at least two fold.
First, the whole world was watching. It was clear the launch went perfectly, and the problem occurred with Boeing’s vehicle. It was hard for Boeing to deny responsibility. But it could have delayed its response. That’s what happened last spring when Elon Musk’s SpaceX took two weeks to admit that what it called an “anomaly” involving a ground test of its space crew capsule was really a fiery explosion that destroyed it.
Just as important, probably, was that Boeing has partners whose reputations also are on the line – especially NASA and its administrator, Jim Bridenstine. As the first “non-technical” person to lead NASA, the appointment of the former Texas congressman was controversial.
Bridenstine took pains early on to draw a not-so-subtle distinction between this incident and the 737 MAX. Before three minutes had elapsed in the news conference, he said:
“I want to be very clear about this. We as an agency and our partners at Boeing and [United Launch Alliance] have committed that when there is something that is a challenge we will be very clear and transparent about it, and we will share information as early as possible. We have done that and will continue to do that. It is important for us to build trust with the American taxpayers so that we can continue to do these magnificent things.”
Bridenstine’s comments would have been better had he not opened by saying, “Today, a lot of things went right,” and pushed that narrative a little too much. While true, it came across as trying to manage the news. And, it felt like an unintended/unfortunate dis of the doomed MAX pilots when Bridenstine talked about how the Starliner mishap might not have happened had there been trained astronauts aboard to take over the controls.
But, Bridenstine was out there at the news conference. He didn’t stand behind any NASA spokespeople. This kind of event calls for seeing the person in charge.
Maybe this is the lesson Boeing needs. When you mess up, admit it and fix it. Don’t try to wait it out or blame someone else.
Boeing has failed mightily over the last year to repair its reputation. It has – to its detriment – tried to convince investors the 737 MAX fix would be easy and quick. It wasn’t and hasn’t. It has run full-page newspaper ads and attempted other PR efforts to push along regulators. That has resulted in criticism from the Federal Aviation Administration and others. It even installed a new public relations vice president.
No one is sure what is ahead for Boeing, but it would be a good sign if they admit what a big mess it is in and that it will take a long time to fix it. It’s not like everyone else doesn’t know it already.
'Unknown' Space Debris Prompts ISS Crew to Prepare for Avoidance Maneuver – Sputnik International
Flight controllers in Mission Control Houston, along with the US Space Command, successfully avoided a collision with a piece of space debris that passed within several kilometers of the International Space Station (ISS).
According to NASA, an avoidance maneuver took place using the Russian Progress resupply spacecraft while astronauts aboard the ISS take shelter inside their Soyuz spacecraft.
“Using the ISS Progress 75 thrusters and with NASA and Russian flight controllers working in tandem, the International Space Station conducted a 150-second reboost Tuesday afternoon at 5:19 p.m. EDT to avoid a possible conjunction with an unknown piece of space debris,” NASA said in a post.
Due to safety concerns, three Expedition 63 crew members moved to the Russian segment of the station to be closer to their Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft. However, no crew members were in danger at any point in time.
“Once the avoidance maneuver was completed, the crew reopened hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments and resumed their regular activities,” NASA confirmed.
Last week, a small ammonia leak was detected in the US segment of ISS. However, the incident posed no threat to crew members.
“Experts have registered an ammonia leak outside the US segment of the ISS. We are speaking about the leak with the speed of some 700 grams [1.5 pounds] per year. But there is no threat to the ISS crew,” a Roscosmos source told Sputnik.
ISS to adjust orbit to avoid unidentified space object, says source – TASS
MOSCOW, September 23. /TASS/. The orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) will be adjusted in the small hours of Wednesday to avoid collision with an unidentified object, a source in the Mission Control Center told TASS on Tuesday.
“The ISS is expected to approach an unidentified space object at 01:21 Moscow time on September 23. It is planned to perform an avoidance maneuver at 00:19 Moscow time,” the source said.
The source said that according to Russia’s and US’s calculations, the ISS is currently in flying in the so-called red zone and the collision is highly probable. “That is why the avoidance maneuver is necessary,” the source stressed, adding that the nothing is currently knows about the space object, as it is not no the space catalogues.
Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos earlier planned to adjust the ISS’ orbit to avoid possible collision with the BRICSat-2 US satellite. However, it was decided later that this maneuver was unnecessary.
The current ISS crew comprises NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
The new set of'mini moons' to be captured on Earth could be space junk. – haveeruonline
There’s a huge moon coming over your head, and you can think of it as “this is enough moon.” However, sometimes the Earth becomes greedy and begins to attract small asteroids to stay in orbit longer. Short visits to this “mini moon” are very rare and only 2 have been confirmed so far. The most recent release is the Little Rock CD3 on February 15th, 2020.From the Catalina Sky Survey sponsored by NASA As early as 2015, it trapped Earth’s gravity, stayed with us until May 2020, and then jumped back into space.
However, in the unprecedented year of 2020, astronomers announced they had discovered another potential mini-moon, 2020 SO.
Except it doesn’t act like a small asteroid at all. Our mini moon is not the moon. It moves too slowly to become a rock emitted from the body of the universe. So, astronomers think it’s probably just space junk left behind at the beginning of the space race.
Current theory says that the 2020 SO is the rocket body of the Atlas Centaur-D rocket, originally launched in 1966. The rocket was launched on September 20th, carrying the Surveyor 2 lunar lander to the moon. Size and orbit SO in 2020, Published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, It seems to be neatly aligned with the Centaur body.
This object will be caught by Earth’s gravity in October and will reach its closest approach on December 1st, reaching within about 31,000 miles. Astronomers need to be able to see objects in detail by evaluating the shape of the object and the kind of light it emits.
If it’s the Centaur stage-if it’s trash-it’s still interesting trash. It has been wandering the solar system for over 50 years. We will be able to learn a little about the effects of the universe on old rocket bodies. And while that will not cause any problems for Earthlings, as far as we can tell, it plays a timely role..
Since the first launch of rockets and satellites into orbit, we have been polluting the space around the Earth. Not everything that goes up comes down immediately. Thousands of space debris, disappeared satellites, and tiny chunks of garbage are circling the Earth at high speed. Collisions with debris can be fatal and can puncture a rocket or satellite. More launches means more junk, and more junk poses a much greater risk to our appetite for space flight, satellites and space occupancy.
You don’t even have to look back for more than 24 hours to see potential problems with space junk. On Tuesday,Prevents unknown pieces of space junk from approaching you.
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