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posted by martyb on Monday December 11 2017, @01:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the competition++ dept.

Who will make it to Mars first?

It was about a year ago that Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg first began saying his company would beat SpaceX to Mars. "I'm convinced that the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding on a Boeing rocket," he said during a Boeing-sponsored tech summit in Chicago in October 2016.

On Thursday, Muilenburg repeated that claim on CNBC. Moreover, he added this tidbit about the Space Launch System rocket—for which Boeing is the prime contractor of the core stage—"We're going to take a first test flight in 2019 and we're going to do a slingshot mission around the Moon."

Unlike last year, Muilenburg drew a response from SpaceX this time. The company's founder, Elon Musk, offered a pithy response on Twitter: "Do it."

The truth is that Boeing's rocket isn't going anywhere particularly fast. Although Muilenburg says it will launch in 2019, NASA has all but admitted that will not happen. The rocket's maiden launch has already slipped from late 2017 into "no earlier than" December 2019. However, NASA officials have said a 2019 launch is a "best case" scenario, and a slip to June 2020 is more likely.

#SLS2020

Also, the next SpaceX flight is an ISS resupply mission and is scheduled for this coming Tuesday (December 12, 2017) at 1646 GMT (11:46 a.m. EST) from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The plan is for the booster to return to landing at Landing Zone-1, also at Cape Canaveral.

Previously: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
Elon Musk Publishes Mars Colonization Plan
SpaceX Appears to Have Pulled the Plug on its Red Dragon Plans
SpaceX Putting Red Dragon on the Back Burner
SpaceX: Making Human Life Multiplanetary

Related: VP of Engineering at United Launch Alliance Resigns over Comments About the Space Launch Industry
ULA Exec: SpaceX could be Grounded for 9-12 Months
Commercial Space Companies Want More Money From NASA
Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022
SpaceX Unlocks "Steamroller" Achievement as Company Eyes 19 Launches in 2017
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
SpaceX's Reusable Rockets Could End EU's Arianespace, and Other News


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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 11 2017, @08:32PM (3 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11 2017, @08:32PM (#608417) Journal
    My take is that the US went through a phase change in the early decades of the Cold War that created a fertile environment for such corruption: 1) huge increase in federal spending, 2) huge increase in complexity and opacity of federal government, and 3) a resulting huge disconnect between spending badly and any negative consequences for doing wrong. It's gotten to the point where they don't even try to do things right - defaulting to cost plus contracts and creation of programs that are likely to fail from the start.
  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Monday December 11 2017, @10:48PM (2 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Monday December 11 2017, @10:48PM (#608506) Journal

    Don't forget "out sourcing", as opposed to the 40s/50s/even 60s style "partnering". It usedto be private companies and government worked together, with private and public money mixed, so a government project would have government and private employees working along side each other, possibly in a government building, possibly even with government oversight.

    Now, with profits and IP and insurance/risk issues, no company would allow government employees into their buildings where any work is done,nor would any government have private company employees around in a government bulding (unless appropriate rent/contracts/costs had been sorted, and certainly NOT where government work was being done!)

    Collaboration now means "at meetings, dividing up the funding".

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday December 12 2017, @05:22AM (1 child)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday December 12 2017, @05:22AM (#608646)

      nor would any government have private company employees around in a government bulding (unless appropriate rent/contracts/costs had been sorted, and certainly NOT where government work was being done!)

      That's not true. There's a LOT of government contractors working on-site in government facilities, frequently alongside government employees. Basically, it seems to be much like the reason private corporations hire contractors: it's a way for the government to more easily hire qualified people, and if they don't work out, get rid of them easily, even though it costs more on an hourly basis.

      • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday December 12 2017, @08:15AM

        by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday December 12 2017, @08:15AM (#608674) Journal

        As replacement employees, not as employees of a private company working in partnership with the government.

        Worse, they may be technically employees of ServiceCompanyXYZ Ltd, adding its 30% to the hourly rate of te supplied contractor.

        The key word was partnership (with private company, as, well, equals)

        --
        "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex