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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the missive-on-mismanaged-missiles dept.

There's a New Report on Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket Management, and It's Pretty Brutal:

Boeing has been building the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System rocket for the better part of this decade, and the process has not always gone smoothly, with significant overruns and multiyear delays. A new report from NASA's inspector general makes clear just how badly the development process has gone, laying the blame mostly at the feet of Boeing.

"We found Boeing's poor performance is the main reason for the significant cost increases and schedule delays to developing the SLS core stage," the report, signed by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, states. "Specifically, the project's cost and schedule issues stem primarily from management, technical, and infrastructure issues directly related to Boeing's performance."

As of August 2018, the report says, NASA has spent a total of $11.9 billion on the SLS. Even so, the rocket's critical core stage will be delivered more than three years later than initially planned—at double the anticipated cost. Overall, there are a number of top-line findings in this report, which cast a mostly if not completely negative light on Boeing and, to a lesser extent, NASA and its most expensive spaceflight project.

Schedule slips

The report found that NASA will need to spend an additional $1.2 billion, on top of its existing $6.2 billion contract for the core stages of the first two SLS rockets, to reach a maiden launch date of June 2020. NASA originally planned to launch the SLS rocket on its maiden flight in November 2017.

However, given all of the development problems that the SLS rocket has seen, the report does not believe a mid-2020 date is likely either. "In light of the project's development delays, we have concluded NASA will be unable to meet its EM-1 launch window currently scheduled between December 2019 and June 2020," the report states.

There are other troubling hints about schedule in this new report, too. One concerns facilities at Stennis Space Center in Southern Mississippi, where NASA will conduct a "green run" test of the core stage of the SLS rocket. This is a critical test that will involve a full-scale firing of the rocket's core stage—four main engines along with liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel tanks—for a simulated launch and ascent into space.

The report found that Boeing's development of "command and control" hardware and software needed to conduct this test is already 18 months behind a schedule established in 2016. This means the Stennis facility won't be ready to accommodate a green run test until at least May 2019, with further delays possible.

This is critical, because often the most serious engineering problems are uncovered during the phase when key rocket components are integrated and tested. The delay in green-run testing means that any problems that crop up during that phase of development will only push the maiden launch of the SLS further into the future.

[...] SpaceX developed the not-quite-as-large-or-complex Falcon Heavy rocket for $500 million.

According to Wikipedia, Launch Prices for the Falcon Heavy (FH) range up to $150 million. Let's assume a very generous extra $100 million per flight for related launch services. That means the $11.9 billion spent so far to develop a disposable SLS could have paid for both the development of the reusable Falcon Heavy, and for 45 flights, with $400 million left over.

Admittedly, the FH cannot lift quite as much as the SLS (63 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit vs 95), but SpaceX's reusable BFR is currently slated to have a 100 metric ton payload to LEO capability.

So, I have to ask: What can the SLS accomplish that one or more FH/BFR launches cannot?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Damage Control: Boeing-Sponsored Newsletter Praises Space Launch System (SLS), Trashes Saturn V 29 comments

Elon Musk pegs SpaceX BFR program at $5B as NASA's rocket booster nears $5B in cost overruns

[Compared] to Boeing's first serious 2014 contract for the SLS Core Stages – $4.2B to complete Core Stages 1 and 2 and launch EM-1 in Nov. 2017 – the company will ultimately end up 215% over-budget ($4.2B to $8.9B) and ~40 months behind schedule (42 months to 80+ months from contract award to completion). Meanwhile, as OIG notes, NASA has continued to give Boeing impossibly effusive and glowing performance reviews to the tune of $323 million in "award fees", with grades that would – under the contracting book NASA itself wrote – imply that Boeing SLS Core Stage work has been reliably under budget and ahead of schedule (it's not).

[...] Boeing – recently brought to light as the likely source of a spate of egregiously counterfactual op-eds published with the intention of dirtying SpaceX's image – also took it upon itself to sponsor what could be described as responses to NASA OIG's scathing October 10th SLS audit. Hilariously, a Politico newsletter sponsored by Boeing managed to explicitly demean and belittle the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket as a "rickety metal bucket built with 1960s technology", of which Boeing was very tenuously involved thanks to its eventual acquisition of companies that actually built Saturn and sent humans to the Moon.

At the same time, that newsletter described SLS as a rocket that will be "light years ahead of thespacecraft [sic] that NASA astronauts used to get to the moon 50 years ago." At present, the only clear way SLS is or will be "light years" ahead – as much a measure of time as it is of distance – of Saturn V is by continuing the rocket's trend of endless delays. Perhaps NASA astronomers will soon be able to judge exactly how many "light years ahead" SLS is by measuring the program's redshift or blueshift with one of several ground- and space-based telescopes.

Here's a typical Boeing shill response (archive) to the NASA Inspector General report.

See also: Will the US waste $100+ billion on SLS, Orion and LOP-G by 2030?

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019 (now delayed to June 2020, likely 2021)
First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station
House Spending Bill Offers NASA More Money Than the Agency or Administration Wanted
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview
There's a New Report on SLS Rocket Management, and It's Pretty Brutal


Original Submission

Northrop Grumman Exec Warns of Coming "Affordability" in the Space Launch System's Future 8 comments

SLS contractor gets real, says program needs to focus on "affordability"

For the most part, the presentations [at the American Astronautical Society's Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium] went as usual for these kinds of events—corporate vice presidents talking about the progress they were making on this or that component of the rocket and spacecraft. Although the Space Launch System rocket is going to launch three years later than originally planned, and its program is over budget and was recently admitted by NASA's own inspector to be poorly managed, you would not have known it from these presentations.

However, one panelist did offer a warning of sorts to his colleagues. Former astronaut and Vice President and General Manager of Propulsion for Northrop Grumman Charlie Precourt spoke about his company's contributions to the rocket (Northrop Grumman recently acquired Orbital ATK). They are building the large, solid rocket boosters that will provide a kick off the launch pad. Yet Precourt prefaced his update with a message about affordability—as the exploration program moves from development into operations with the first flight of SLS and Orion in 2020 or so, costs must come down, he said.

[...] "We have to execute, but we also have to be planning for the future in terms of survivability, sustainability, and affordability," Precourt said. "I used all three of those words intentionally about this program. We've got to make sure we've got our mindset on affordability, and I don't think it's too early for all of us on this panel, as well as our counterparts at NASA, to start thinking about that."

[...] Precourt said contractors should consider a future in which NASA's present multibillion expenditures on rocket development costs need to be cut in half in order for the SLS vehicle to have a robust future. "All of us need to be thinking about [how] our annual budget for this will not be what it is in development," he said. "That's a very serious problem that we have to look forward to, and to try to rectify, so that we are sustainable."

If the other speakers had thoughts about Precourt's comments, they did not share them during the ensuing discussion.

Related: NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview
There's a New Report on SLS Rocket Management, and It's Pretty Brutal
Damage Control: Boeing-Sponsored Newsletter Praises Space Launch System (SLS), Trashes Saturn V


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @01:54PM (#747420)

    Post.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ledow on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:14PM (45 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:14PM (#747426) Homepage

    Well, that's not a problem is it?

    You implement the clauses you wrote into multi-billion dollar contracts that say that each day it's over-target Boeing have to pay you money back.

    You know - non-delivery clauses, and "reasonable timescale" clauses, etc. etc.

    Or do you mean that you signed a multi-billion dollar contract that can inflate to double its cost without any form of retribution or payback, just because the other side decides to drag its feet and knows you'll be locked in to use them? Because if you did... guess what's in the best interest of the Boeing shareholders, for example? To delay the project as much as possible and make you pay every additional penny they can.

    You've just given them MULTIPLES of the cost of the project for FAILING TO DELIVER.

    Because you didn't put the tender out properly, didn't write the contracts properly, and failed to implement the clauses you do have.

    I'm sure when, on that one $11.9bn contract, if it cost them, say, a percentage of the cost for each percentage of the project timescale they go over the deadline (e.g. a project takes 3 years... if you go over by a year, it only costs us 2/3rds of the cost. If you go over by two years, it only costs us 1/3rd of the cost. If you go over by 3 years, hey, it doesn't cost us a penny!), then someone would have a) told you that the project wasn't actually feasible in the first place, b) damn well delivered on time, c) if there was a genuine problem, attempted to minimise every delay to that, d) abandoned the project when they realised they could never deliver at zero cost to you.

    And then you can add a billion onto the contract, re-tender and go to the next competitor.

    Because - for sure - there aren't many of these kinds of projects to go round, and they know EXACTLY what it costs to do them, and they will then compete for the tender for *real* prices rather than fake unachievable numbers against competitors who will eventually say "Yep, we'd be able to deliver that for that kind of money easily" and do so. Or, at least, nothing happens and it costs you nothing, but you then have a ton of the project work already done and in front of you ready to give to someone else to finish off.

    Why is it that such agencies, such projects, and large governmental-scale things never do this? I know the answer - someone's getting a backhander form Boeing, which is actually BENEFITTING from not delivering under such contracts and knowing that from the start.

    If I were in charge of a country, I would actually make it illegal to tender any government project on any other basis.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM (5 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM (#747446)

      This kind of thing seems to be standard from the major defense contractors, of which Boeing definitely is one. See also the F-35, the most expensive airplane ever, that is about 10 years behind schedule and sucks so much that they just grounded the entire fleet [bbc.com].

      Isn't it strange, though, that the people that harp on US government budget concerns never even remotely consider cutting back on buying new ridiculously overpriced toys?

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:31PM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:31PM (#747459) Journal

        Isn't it strange, though, that the people that harp on US government budget concerns never even remotely consider cutting back on buying new ridiculously overpriced toys?

        I haven't had that problem myself. For example here? We could save all kinds of money for space development by ending SLS outright and splashing the ISS. There are far cheaper private enterprise alternatives, Falcon Heavy and Bigelow habitats that get a lot more functionality for the price.

        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:48PM (2 children)

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:48PM (#747499) Journal

          The Bigelow habitat hasn't yet been proven, but in essence you're right. Just don't be too risk taking, as that's as bad as being too risk averse.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:53PM

        by Sulla (5173) on Thursday October 11 2018, @04:53PM (#747506) Journal

        I have been pretty consistent in my desire to cut costs also extending to military and military projects. There was a time when military research also gave all sorts of cool inventions to the common man. I presume the difference now is that companies know that once they are under contract they can sit back, not achieve goals, and suck out more money. We need to cut costs and add in some significant ramifications to under-performance and probably incentivize over-performance. Get a contract with spacex that if they can land a BFR on Mars by 2020 we will give them X huge amount of money, or make it a blanket payment to whoever can achieve the goals. I don't mind paying a lot of people are getting the job done.

        --
        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by nitehawk214 on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:12PM (1 child)

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:12PM (#747450)

      The entire point of the contract was to give Boeing money. Having penalty clauses would defeat this purpose. The fact that they are also building a rocket is a byproduct.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by driverless on Friday October 12 2018, @02:56AM

        by driverless (4770) on Friday October 12 2018, @02:56AM (#747764)

        It wasn't just to give Boeing money, it was to spread that money across (almost) every congressional district in the US. No-one wants to vote against it, not because it's doing well, but precisely because it's doing so badly, more and more money is being spread around the congressional districts. Taken to extremes, the ideal contract of this kind would be one that goes 10,000% over budget and 5,000% over schedule, because so much money will be paid into the voting districts that matter.

    • (Score: 1, Disagree) by woodcruft on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:35PM (26 children)

      by woodcruft (6528) on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:35PM (#747462)

      Well, that's not a problem is it?

      You implement the clauses you wrote into multi-billion dollar contracts that say that each day it's over-target Boeing have to pay you money back.

      You know - non-delivery clauses, and "reasonable timescale" clauses, etc. etc.

      In something like the SLS the spec for the thing will undoubtedly include stuff that has never actually been achieved before in engineering terms: design, performance, materials etc. That's a large part of the purpose of funding a project like this. The reward for the taxpayer being that the 'new stuff' will end up giving US industry a competitive advantage in due course (see: Apollo).

      When you put the project's various contracts out to tender the stuff that hasn't been done before will undoubtedly be contracted on essentially a 'cost-plus' basis. The stuff that has been done before will be essentially 'fixed cost'.

      The cost-plus contracts you watch and audit like a hawk to make sure your contractor isn't ripping you off. Fixed cost, then your contractor takes the financial hit if they don't keep costs under control.

      You can't make the terms of your contract too onerous or you'll find that nobody wants to take the job on.

      SpaceX isn't in the picture, primarily I suspect, because they could go under tomorrow (See earlier story about the USAF giving them the bum's rush).

      They are currently dumping their goods (ie. rockets) on the market in the deluded belief that they will drive everybody else out of business & have the market to themselves. They wont. The US government wont let that happen, neither will the Russians or EU for national security reasons.

      And Jeff Bezos has got much deeper pockets than Musk.

      --
      :wq!
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:56PM (22 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:56PM (#747473) Homepage Journal

        It almost sounds like you accept "cost plus" as normal. I can't accept that. Congress and it's agencies act like spoiled children with bottomless credit cards. Dozens of project, mostly for the military, but not all, have spiraled out of control, because congress has no discipline.

        Take the F-35, for instance. The original concept for the plane should have been negotiated, and contracted. If the contractor couldn't make delivery on time, and meet all requirements, it should have cost them money. It's just that simple. Afterward, if another service wanted a similar plane to meet different mission requirements, then a contract should have been awarded for that plane. And, again, late fees imposed, failure to meet specifications punished, etc.

        It seems reasonable that the first contract would have been negotiated pretty high - BUT NOT COST PLUS!! Second, and subsequent contracts should each have been negotiated at increasingly lower prices.

        The whole military industrial complex is simply perverted. Try to imagine that same sort of setup back when bronze, and then iron, weapons were cutting edge! (Forgive the pun - it's only half intentional.) No king, no pirate, no robber baron would have put up with any "cost plus" contracts! It would have been blatantly obvious that there were too many middlemen skimming a profit off of the exchange.

        --
        Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by sjames on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:33PM (21 children)

          by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:33PM (#747662) Journal

          You will find zero bidders at fixed price for anything even vaguely new. A contractor would have to be out of their mind to take such a deal unless the fixed price was an order of magnitude above the expected actual cost and the contract penalized the government heavily for any delays whatsoever where the ball was in their court.

          By the same token, cost plus needs to share the burden when deadlines slip and carry significant penalties when avoidable delays aren't avoided.

          As others have pointed out, you won't find those controls since the real purpose is pork for the legislature's buddies. That and yet another scheme to provide stimulus by injecting cash at the top designed to keep people from asking awkward questions about why we don't try injecting the stimulus at the bottom for a change.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:41PM (20 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:41PM (#748059) Journal

            You will find zero bidders at fixed price for anything even vaguely new.

            Not even remotely true. Cutting edge architecture does fixed contract all the time.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday October 13 2018, @12:25AM (19 children)

              by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 13 2018, @12:25AM (#748129) Journal

              I'm sure NASA will keep that in mind if they need a spiral staircase or something.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 13 2018, @03:24AM (18 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 13 2018, @03:24AM (#748159) Journal
                Point is that fixed price works even for the stuff NASA does. The private sector does this all the time.
                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday October 13 2018, @02:16PM (17 children)

                  by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 13 2018, @02:16PM (#748301) Journal

                  NASA uses firm/fixed for non-development projects because it works there. That's where the private sector uses them as well.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 13 2018, @05:49PM (16 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 13 2018, @05:49PM (#748353) Journal

                    NASA uses firm/fixed for non-development projects because it works there. That's where the private sector uses them as well.

                    No, the private sector uses that everywhere including development work. Plus, you'd have a point, if you could actually point to cost plus having a successful record. Instead, NASA's record with this sort of contract is one of the most remarkable failures of modern times. For example, they've put hundreds of billions into launch technologies and all they have to show for it is a development program costing somewhere around $20 billion, which duplicates existing launch infrastructure at about an order of magnitude greater cost.

                    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday October 13 2018, @07:26PM (15 children)

                      by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 13 2018, @07:26PM (#748375) Journal

                      So, you mean other than the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle.

                      In the private sector, there is a variant. In that one, the contract is fixed/firm on it's face but inevitably as it nears completion, some change becomes necessary so the contract is successively amended until it becomes fixed in name only. That or the project gets abandoned. You haven't done any development contracts, have you?

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 14 2018, @04:41PM (14 children)

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 14 2018, @04:41PM (#748653) Journal

                        So, you mean other than the Apollo program and the Space Shuttle.

                        You're making my point for me. You won't find those or anything like them outside of a museum.

                        In the private sector, there is a variant. In that one, the contract is fixed/firm on it's face but inevitably as it nears completion, some change becomes necessary so the contract is successively amended until it becomes fixed in name only. That or the project gets abandoned.

                        That's still not cost plus. The US government has had 50+ years to show it works. They've failed.

                        You haven't done any development contracts, have you?

                        Yes, I've been on such projects. They didn't need cost plus to get the job done and wouldn't have gotten a cost plus contract, if they had tried for one.

                        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday October 14 2018, @09:35PM (13 children)

                          by sjames (2882) on Sunday October 14 2018, @09:35PM (#748723) Journal

                          You're making my point for me. You won't find those or anything like them outside of a museum.

                          So your point is that when NASA needed to use cost plus, they dis and it worked? What doesn't work is when a fickle Congress keeps jacking the budget around forcing re-designs and multi year slowdowns.

                          Yes, I've been on such projects.

                          Read what I wrote again. They get awarded as fixed and then get amended repeatedly until they are effectively cost plus even while remaining written as fixed. Those change orders do pile up.

                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 15 2018, @09:59AM (12 children)

                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @09:59AM (#748932) Journal

                            So your point is that when NASA needed to use cost plus, they dis and it worked?

                            They didn't need to use cost plus. And it didn't work. We don't use those platforms anymore and we have no replacement that uses the technology from those replacements.

                            Read what I wrote again. They get awarded as fixed and then get amended repeatedly until they are effectively cost plus even while remaining written as fixed. Those change orders do pile up.

                            No. You don't get the point. Sure, such contracts are amended on a regular basis in the private world. That is not cost plus because the original party gets to decide whether to continue the contract in such situations. Failure is not baked in. They can always decide that the costs of the changes are too much and cancel the contract or grant it to someone else. That provides incentive for the contractor to do better work from start to finish.

                            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday October 15 2018, @02:59PM (11 children)

                              by sjames (2882) on Monday October 15 2018, @02:59PM (#749072) Journal

                              So you're saying we never reached the moon and the space shuttle never flew? Because otherwise, the objectives were accomplished. Or are you claiming the problem with cost plus is that they stop when the objectibe is met (that would be a bizarre complaint.

                              That is not cost plus because the original party gets to decide whether to continue the contract in such situations

                              So exactly like cost plus, only more lucrative for the lawyers.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 15 2018, @07:52PM (3 children)

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @07:52PM (#749199) Journal

                                So you're saying we never reached the moon and the space shuttle never flew?

                                Of course not. But if you had read my post, you would have figured that out.

                                Because otherwise, the objectives were accomplished.

                                Sure two objectives (and many more) were accomplished. But as a result of that claim, you have a big unanswered question to answer, why do you think those objectives were worth well over a $100 billion each in today's dollars? Was it worth that money to have a few Cold War talking points? Was it worth that money to get about 800 pounds of lunar rock and a moderate, but useful amount of science from it? Was it to provide a jobs program for some of the most employable people on Earth? Was it to inspire a bunch of people and then leave them in the lurch for the next few decades?

                                Or was it rather to shape the future for the better? Here is where I believe these two programs failed. First, they failed on technical grounds. None of the technology of the Apollo program survived the end of the program aside from Skylab. So its claim to fame on that front is as a technology demonstrator - we can put people on the Moon, we can launch space stations, we can launch many unmanned spacecraft in quick order towards a common space exploration goal. Only the middle one was ever followed up on with the launch of the International Space Station (ISS) almost two decades later.

                                Similarly, the Space Shuttle was a dead end technology-wise. Look at how much is being wasted merely to get a rocket that reuses Space Shuttle parts. None of the traditional Shuttle capabilities such as reusability, unparalleled in-flight capabilities (most which was at best, used on token missions like ISS servicing or Hubble-repair). Again, the Space Shuttle's best claim to fame technology-wise is as a demonstration of reusability, which it had successfully accomplished in the early 1980s. SpaceX has interesting reuse capabilities, but these weren't inspired by the Space Shuttle.

                                Glancing at the fluffier, more intangible side, a generation was inspired to some degree by these projects which again seems rather slight given the cost of these projects. What inspiration has NASA provided since?

                                Finally, I think a key point is that such activities were supposed to presage a more serious effort, more manned activities on the Moon and in space, widespread exploration of the Solar System - unmanned and manned, etc. In other words, the fundamental point of going to the Moon was to prepare down the road for staying there and making the Moon another home for man. Similarly, the point of the Shuttle was to develop a cheap, heavy-duty means of going to space. Instead, we got forty years of token efforts.

                                With that last point, we get to the dark side, the Mr. Hyde part of NASA - the enormous opportunity costs of building white elephants rather than making smaller but more productive projects, here and off Earth.

                                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday October 15 2018, @08:42PM (2 children)

                                  by sjames (2882) on Monday October 15 2018, @08:42PM (#749214) Journal

                                  Worth the cost is another question entirely (kindly put the goalpost back where you found it).

                                  The problem with the Shuttle is that Congress filled it's cargo bay with pork and kitchen sinks before the design phase was even complete.

                                  Still, we got a lot of technology development started, possibly even enough to make the programs worth it. I'm not making a firm statement on that since even beginning to compile the data is well beyond what a discussion on Soylent is worth.

                                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 15 2018, @11:59PM

                                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @11:59PM (#749298) Journal

                                    Worth the cost is another question entirely

                                    No, it's not. The high cost for meager accomplishments is another indication of failure. You can't treat the value of the project as completely separate from its costs.

                                    The problem with the Shuttle is that Congress filled it's cargo bay with pork and kitchen sinks before the design phase was even complete.

                                    So what? Does that mean it somehow failed less as a space project?

                                    Still, we got a lot of technology development started, possibly even enough to make the programs worth it. I'm not making a firm statement on that since even beginning to compile the data is well beyond what a discussion on Soylent is worth.

                                    The obvious rebuttal is what are we doing with that technology development? Where's the manned lunar missions? Where's the next generation of the Space Shuttle?

                                    And if you really did "compile the data" rather than merely talk about it, you'd have to conclude that these programs are failures on multiple levels. I'll note three starting places already - money spent for value gained, opportunity cost (what the money could have been spent on, even the same project if it had been done with an eye to cost effectiveness!), and what Apollo and Space Shuttle technology have evolved to now (hint: the SLS morass).

                                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:04AM

                                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:04AM (#749302) Journal

                                    Worth the cost is another question entirely (kindly put the goalpost back where you found it).

                                    As to the "moving the goalposts" accusation, cost was part of my argument from earlier when I spoke of NASA's poor record with these contracts.

                                    Plus, you'd have a point, if you could actually point to cost plus having a successful record. Instead, NASA's record with this sort of contract is one of the most remarkable failures of modern times. For example, they've put hundreds of billions into launch technologies and all they have to show for it is a development program costing somewhere around $20 billion, which duplicates existing launch infrastructure at about an order of magnitude greater cost.

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 15 2018, @08:01PM (6 children)

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @08:01PM (#749203) Journal

                                So exactly like cost plus

                                I already explained why that's not the case.

                                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday October 15 2018, @08:31PM (5 children)

                                  by sjames (2882) on Monday October 15 2018, @08:31PM (#749211) Journal

                                  And I refuted it point by point. All that's left is "it's not because you say it's not'.

                                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 15 2018, @09:37PM (4 children)

                                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @09:37PM (#749235) Journal

                                    And I refuted it point by point.

                                    Where? It's tiresome to go through this. Here's the definition of cost plus [investopedia.com]:

                                    A cost-plus contract is an agreement typically used in the construction industry by a client to reimburse a company for building expenses stated in a contract, plus a dollar amount of profit over and above expenses, usually stated as a percentage of the contract’s full price. To protect against cost overruns, many contracts state the reimbursement cannot exceed a specific dollar amount. The cost-plus contract pays the builder for direct costs and indirect, or overhead, costs. All expenses must be supported by documentation of the contractor’s spending.

                                    Meanwhile here's a definition of fixed-price [wikipedia.org]:

                                    A fixed-price contract is a type of contract where the payment amount does not depend on resources used or time expended. This is opposed to a cost-plus contract, which is intended to cover the costs with additional profit made. Such a scheme is often used by military and government contractors to put the risk on the side of the vendor, and control costs. However, historically when such contracts are used for innovative new projects with untested or undeveloped technologies, such as new military transports or stealth attack planes, it can and often results in a failure if costs greatly exceed the ability of the contractor to absorb unforeseen cost overruns.

                                    There are several differences between the two. First, fixed-price is regardless of the actual cost of the contract to the contractor. Second, cost plus attempts to keep track of the costs actually incurred by the contractor. So there is this massive level of overhead that is not present with fixed-price. And of course, there's the third point that in a cost plus contract, the contractor has incentive to play up the costs to absorb what the contract will allow, while fixed-price doesn't have this perverse incentive built in.

                                    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday October 15 2018, @09:47PM (3 children)

                                      by sjames (2882) on Monday October 15 2018, @09:47PM (#749238) Journal

                                      I'm just going to refer you back to the top of the thread. I'm not going to manually recurse just because you can't be bothered to keep up.

                                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:01AM (2 children)

                                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:01AM (#749300) Journal
                                        Very well, I'll refer you to my reply [soylentnews.org] which you have yet to address.
                                        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:08AM (1 child)

                                          by sjames (2882) on Tuesday October 16 2018, @12:08AM (#749306) Journal

                                          Look down about 1 inch (assuming an average sized monitor. This isn't architecture, it's rocket science.

                                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday October 16 2018, @05:22AM

                                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 16 2018, @05:22AM (#749411) Journal

                                            Look down about 1 inch (assuming an average sized monitor. This isn't architecture, it's rocket science.

                                            It's rocket engineering not science. And architecture is not that different, which is why I mentioned it. You do realize that analogies don't need to be absolutely 100% perfect in order to be accurate, right?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @10:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @10:33PM (#747689)

        Nah, the whole point of the SLS was to re-use all the garbage they used on the Shuttle, so they could keep the pork going to the same districts. There's not much new here except in terms of scale, which I grant is a problem all it's own, but when the project is sold as "re-use all the Shuttle know-how to make it cheaper" turning around and saying "we need cost-plus because we don't know how to do this" kind of puts the lie to one or the other of those statements.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:30PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:30PM (#748051) Journal

        In something like the SLS the spec for the thing will undoubtedly include stuff that has never actually been achieved before in engineering terms: design, performance, materials etc. That's a large part of the purpose of funding a project like this. The reward for the taxpayer being that the 'new stuff' will end up giving US industry a competitive advantage in due course (see: Apollo).

        You don't need cost plus for that. It's worth noting that the only things in the US that operate on cost plus are lawyers and doctors. Neither is a good fit for a standard technology development program. Let us also keep in mind that SpaceX is doing the same thing for about an order of magnitude less. There's much more wrong with these programs than merely the cost plus structure. They're also vastly overestimating how much it costs in the first place. Consider this. If NASA is already greatly overestimating the cost of a project by an order of magnitude, then how come there are so much cost overruns so consistently?

        My view is that in a rational world some of these companies, particularly, Boeing, would have already be perma-banned from government contracts.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday October 12 2018, @10:27PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday October 12 2018, @10:27PM (#748086) Journal

        In something like the SLS the spec for the thing will undoubtedly include stuff that has never actually been achieved before in engineering terms: design, performance, materials etc. That's a large part of the purpose of funding a project like this. The reward for the taxpayer being that the 'new stuff' will end up giving US industry a competitive advantage in due course (see: Apollo).

        SLS uses a lot of existing technologies, especially from the Space Shuttle. That hasn't stopped it from becoming a giant pork barrel boondoggle.

        The cost-plus contracts you watch and audit like a hawk to make sure your contractor isn't ripping you off.

        SLS is Congress's pork project. They will shovel as much money as they can into it, no matter what the auditors have to say. In fact, it's imperative for them to do so as fast as possible before it can be cancelled or scaled back.

        You can't make the terms of your contract too onerous or you'll find that nobody wants to take the job on.

        When the only contractors you are willing to hire have gotten drunk [latimes.com] off of the cost-plus contracts, then you won't find anybody willing to take on the job.

        The millions of lobbying dollars paid by companies like Lockheed Martin [opensecrets.org] and Boeing [opensecrets.org] can help ensure the terms aren't too onerous.

        If you aren't willing to go fixed-price, then the creation of new technologies should be separated from contracts to build launchers, telescopes, or spacecraft.

        SpaceX isn't in the picture, primarily I suspect, because they could go under tomorrow (See earlier story about the USAF giving them the bum's rush).

        There is no basis for this statement. The Air Force already has Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy available. Rather than expecting SpaceX to go under, their awards may have been intended to prevent SpaceX from achieving a launch monopoly.

        The reason why SLS is being used instead of SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Heavy is that the pork must flow. Hopefully the BFR will arrive soon enough to cook the pork.

        They are currently dumping their goods (ie. rockets) on the market in the deluded belief that they will drive everybody else out of business & have the market to themselves.

        No basis for this statement. They offer reasonable prices that are publicly stated [spacex.com] and haven't changed for years, but have offered discounts for when boosters are landed.

        However, not only does SpaceX charge NASA (their biggest customer) more than the stated $62 million for a Falcon 9 launch to the ISS, they have raised the price [engadget.com].

        And Jeff Bezos has got much deeper pockets than Musk.

        Blue Origin is older than SpaceX, has already had plenty of Bezos's billions pumped into it, but has yet to reach orbit.

        New Glenn is only partially reusable, and it would be difficult for it to compete with BFR. But it doesn't have to. The Air Force wants access to multiple domestic launch providers, even if some of them are much more expensive than others. Blue Origin is also selling BE-4 rocket engines to the United Launch Alliance. So Blue Origin still has paths to profit even if SpaceX is dominant.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:50PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:50PM (#747468) Journal

      You seem to think that the wasted time and money on SLS is somehow a problem rather than a goal to be achieved.

      How many states make some part of the SLS again? Most of them? Surely that is not by accident. The pork must flow.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
      • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:46PM

        by SpockLogic (2762) on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:46PM (#747569)

        In the past, Congress has largely ignored criticism of the SLS rocket, even from official sources. After all, the vehicle has 1,100 contractors in 43 states, covering a lot of legislative districts.

        https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/theres-a-new-report-on-sls-rocket-management-and-its-pretty-brutal/ [arstechnica.com]

        The military industrial congressional complex has has no incentive to cancel the project and every incentive to keep it alive.

        --
        Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @05:38PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @05:38PM (#747527)

      Spoken like somebody who doesn't know how government contracting works. Let me rephrase what you propose in more plain English.

      Government: "I'd like somebody to make a space launch system for me. I'm not sure how much it should lift. I'm not sure what the size and dimensions of it should be. I'm not sure what types of materials, with what types of physical properties (remember "The Martian" and how a resonance caused the rocket launch to fail?). I'm not even sure if what I'm asking for is physically possible given current known material science and manufacturing technologies. Please give me a fixed cost contract, and I won't pay a penny more, plus I'll hit you with a fine if you are late."

      The government could issue that kind of RFP (Request for Proposal), but how many companies do you think would respond?

      A Cost-Plus contract is, among other things, a way for the government to accept the risks from research-and-development style work in order to entice companies to work for them. Yes, it has flaws and problems and can be abused, but the proposal you put forward is as simplistic as the campaign promise, "I'll terminate Obamacare on day 1."

      It turns out that government contracting is complicated... who knew?

      • (Score: 2) by corey on Thursday October 11 2018, @11:10PM

        by corey (2202) on Thursday October 11 2018, @11:10PM (#747705)

        This is a good summary.

        The leverage the customer, in this case NASA, has is bagging them publicly like this when they perform inadequately. The contractors depend on reputation a lot as they depend on big projects like this, to stay alive.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:33PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:33PM (#748054) Journal

        Government: "I'd like somebody to make a space launch system for me. I'm not sure how much it should lift. I'm not sure what the size and dimensions of it should be. I'm not sure what types of materials, with what types of physical properties (remember "The Martian" and how a resonance caused the rocket launch to fail?). I'm not even sure if what I'm asking for is physically possible given current known material science and manufacturing technologies. Please give me a fixed cost contract, and I won't pay a penny more, plus I'll hit you with a fine if you are late."

        Bullshit. It's more "I'd like to give a bunch of money to the people who've been kicking it back to Congress for decades. Make sure you sign the check." Most of the tech specifications are bogus and only meant to prevent newcomers from honing in on the swag.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:09PM (#747550)

      It is obvious you have NEVER worked on a defense contract and are talking out your ass.
      Why do you think this always happens with GOVT projects? They are the one constant party in this.
      I don't have time now to list the reasons, but presumably others will chime in.

    • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:59PM (2 children)

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:59PM (#747576) Journal

      And reset the $ clock whenever the government fails to make its specifications clear enough to proceed. I have no doubt Boeing is responsible for the lion's share of the overruns. But we have also seen other projects from the government which sounded really good but then government specs kept on encouraging scope creep.

      Better still: Have all the design engineering done inside the government, no private shareholders to promise profits to. Contract out only the design work.

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
      • (Score: 2) by ledow on Friday October 12 2018, @07:21AM (1 child)

        by ledow (5567) on Friday October 12 2018, @07:21AM (#747805) Homepage

        Guess what?

        No clear spec, but penalties, means people will say "Sure, I'll bid on that... when you tighten the spec and not before".

        Eventually you may even get to the stage where government either: a) Produces realistic specs or b) Tenders similarly for someone to produce a spec to achieve what they want.

        Rather than "that's how government works and it's shit", how about we make them accountable for how they're pissing your money away?

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday October 11 2018, @07:11PM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @07:11PM (#747585)

      > Why is it that such agencies, such projects, and large governmental-scale things never do this?

      Because otherwise the risk would be such that no-one would bid on the contract. 12 billion is enough to shut down Boeing. The risk would be way too great if there were penalty clauses.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by iWantToKeepAnon on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:16PM (1 child)

    by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:16PM (#747427) Homepage Journal
    I'm at a fortune 500 company working on a project delayed by months b/c of red tape and bureaucracy; I cannot fathom what it takes to do a billion dollar business with the government. Not that Boeing isn't culpable too ... just consider all sides to this.
    --
    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:15PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @09:15PM (#747653)

      A lot of what I saw going on around NASA Houston was: buildings full of people working on projects, with big corporate names virtually velcroed to the top. Every few years management would be shifted from one major corporation to another, the building-top sign would change, but 95+% of the workforce would soldier on as before, just with a fresh set of security badges.

      One of the contractors was very proud of his new Boeing-Houston badge, location code: HO "sums it all up, I'm here because they pay me."

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:32PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:32PM (#747434) Journal

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/03/nasa-wants-to-waste-tens-of-billions-on-sls-despite-proven-spacex-falcon-heavy.html [nextbigfuture.com]

    1. You can't lift that much to orbit (63 metric tons) without expending the entire Falcon Heavy. Although if you are putting the cost at $250m that should be more than enough.

    2. The number you want to look at is payload to lunar orbit (18-22 tons for Falcon Heavy, fully expendable I think). That's because the SLS will almost exclusively be used for deploying LOP-G modules, although Europa Clipper might also be launched over to Jupiter as one of the early missions.

    3. There's a possibility of creating a "Falcon Super Heavy" by strapping on two more boosters. Perhaps that could get a 10+ ton payload to lunar orbit while reusing all 4 boosters. LOP-G modules themselves are around 10 tons.

    4. Several more billions of dollars will need to be spent on the Space Launch System before it can fly. However, $11.9 billion is already a massive underestimate [nextbigfuture.com]:

    NASA Space Launch system is reusing and modifying Shuttle rockets and facilities. SLS and Orion will cost the United States more than $30 billion dollars before it has completed a single full launch. This will go over $40 billion by the time the system is ready to launch NASA astronauts.

    $14 billion has been spent on the rockets between 2011 and 2018. This does not include billions more spent refurbishing and modifying aging Saturn and Shuttle-derived launch infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center.

    Orion’s development has cost the U.S. about $16 billion since 2006. $4-6 billion more will be spent between now and 2023. This does not include the costs of production and operations once development is complete.

    5. According to the NASA Inspector General, SLS's first flight is likely to be delayed again.

    6. BFR's 100 tons to LEO represents an early variant. The first flights (test flights and Moon joyride) don't need the full payload capacity, won't have the more expensive vacuum engines, etc. It looks like the number will go up.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:38PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:38PM (#748056) Journal

      2. The number you want to look at is payload to lunar orbit (18-22 tons for Falcon Heavy, fully expendable I think). That's because the SLS will almost exclusively be used for deploying LOP-G modules, although Europa Clipper might also be launched over to Jupiter as one of the early missions.

      One could always deploy those modules to LEO and then boost to whatever orbit is desired. The benefits are that one doesn't need the SLS then, and that one can send larger modules.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:58PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @02:58PM (#747443)

    They better hurry up and build this thing or the SEC guys will have no ride when they want to search warrant raid Elon's mars base.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jelizondo on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM (6 children)

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM (#747445) Journal

    The usual suspects haven’t gotten around to defending the “free market” on this or similar cases; the F-35 comes to mind for example.

    And the truth is, there is no free market in Military Industrial Complex, never has and never will.

    When I was a kid, I watched the Apollo launches on TV and I deeply admired NASA. Growing older I have come to see them with suspicion, a lot of pork and a lot of politics and precious little science. Yes, I love the Mars rovers and still love to hear about the Voyagers and New Horizons, but there is a lot more that could be done with those billions wasted left and right.

    I do not advocate cutting NASA’s funding, just making sure more of it goes to exploration and science and less to pork.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:33PM (2 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:33PM (#747461) Journal

      The usual suspects haven’t gotten around to defending the “free market” on this or similar cases; the F-35 comes to mind for example.

      [...]

      And the truth is, there is no free market in Military Industrial Complex, never has and never will.

      Ok, so why again are we to expect the "usual suspects" to defending a nonsensical position?

      • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Thursday October 11 2018, @07:07PM (1 child)

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @07:07PM (#747581) Journal

        Because crony capitalism as exists in America (and Russia) is conflated with "free markets."

        Any mention of regulation or oversight of corporations is seen as "socialist" or worse, pure communism.

        I'm all for free markets but I believe bad actors need to pay a high price. Examples: Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, HSBC. For cheating and lying, breaking rules and regulations, they get a slap and a get out of jail card.

        Back to space, the free market should be in the form of the X Prize [wikipedia.org], you get money if you get us into space. No handouts, no friendly contracts, no BS.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:16PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:16PM (#748044) Journal

          Because crony capitalism as exists in America (and Russia) is conflated with "free markets."

          Sure, but not by SN posters (aside perhaps from the obvious trolls like the Trump account).

          I'm all for free markets but I believe bad actors need to pay a high price. Examples: Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, HSBC. For cheating and lying, breaking rules and regulations, they get a slap and a get out of jail card.

          I'm all for enforcing sensible regulations. And one aspect of crony capitalism is the creation of bad or difficult regulation that the cronies don't have to follow.

          Back to space, the free market should be in the form of the X Prize [wikipedia.org], you get money if you get us into space. No handouts, no friendly contracts, no BS.

          Well, it's more like most real estate construction. You get paid for delivering on various stages of construction. Prizes are a little different because they're rewards for achieving certain things that don't directly benefit the prize giver.

    • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:03PM

      by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @08:03PM (#747613)

      You can thank one place for NASA's politics and pork: Congress.

      --
      Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12 2018, @09:39AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12 2018, @09:39AM (#747835)

      Their projects get designed by congressional committee now. They haven't really had control of their budget in 3 or 4 decades, which is the large reason why so much pork creeps in. Sadly short of culling our politicians and then working our way through the chain of command to excise corruption, there is no way to solve this problem within the confines of the United States as it currently exists.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 12 2018, @09:20PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @09:20PM (#748047) Journal

        They haven't really had control of their budget in 3 or 4 decades,

        Nobody else is in charge of justifying NASA's budget. It's worth noting that they haven't tried hard to build a functional space program in the wake of Apollo. That's around 45 years of dead end stuff.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:00PM (#747447)

    So, I have to ask: What can the SLS accomplish that one or more FH/BFR launches cannot?

    Legacy providers turn an infinite amount of money into minimal risk. Not minimal human risk, usually, but minimal political risk (think solid rocket boosters of death).

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:15PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Thursday October 11 2018, @03:15PM (#747453) Homepage Journal

    -ant:

    "It's no longer an aircraft company. It's a finance company that happens to make airplanes."

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Thursday October 11 2018, @05:48PM (1 child)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Thursday October 11 2018, @05:48PM (#747533)

    From 2009 to 2016, a contracting officer exceeded his $2.5 million warrant by making multiple unauthorized commitments in the amount of $318 million for contracts for Michoud operations, Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage production, and advanced booster development. This individual was also the primary contracting officer for the Boeing Stages contract.

    This person spent 0.3 Billion dollars without proper authorization across a span of 7 years.

    They did lose their purchasing ability for it and were reassigned, but not fired.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11 2018, @06:33PM (#747564)

      Now ask yourself what a govt manager who grossly mismanages or blocks progress on a project has to do to get fired.
      The answer is: THEY NEVER ARE. The govt is unaccountable because what is going to happen to them, will they go out of business?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12 2018, @02:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12 2018, @02:08AM (#747753)

    Hiring a contractor means you always have someone else to blame when your project doesn't work out.
    These "investigations" are just kangaroo courts. Like police depts that investgate themselves--they are never at fault.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by hendrikboom on Friday October 12 2018, @04:48PM (1 child)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 12 2018, @04:48PM (#747964) Homepage Journal

    Is it time to impose sanctions on countries that produce excessive CO2? Like severe duties on their products?

(1)