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Old November 4 2012, 04:44 PM   #286
sojourner
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Fuck it. I'm just gonna laugh.
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Old November 5 2012, 01:36 AM   #287
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

publiusr wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
...the open secret in the KSC "save those jobs!" debate is that none of the KSC workforce is really employable anywhere else because they're trained on technologies and techniques that are so woefully obsolete that nobody else in the industry still uses them.
Again, you see experience as a problem
It's not ME that sees it that way. Your mentors at NASAspaceflight.com routinely tiptoe around this issue: not all or even most of the KSC jobs have skill sets that would make them suitable hires at SpaceX or Sierra Nevada. It's not so much that their experience is a problem, it's that their experience is increasingly irrelevant.

Looks robust here:
Spam usually does, and this is the part where I realize you're probably getting paid to post these links, hence the tenuous relationship to anything that is being discussed in the thread.
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Old November 5 2012, 01:58 AM   #288
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
Space has nothing we need if we just get our own house in order. It will still be there when that is accomplished and we have the luxury of wasting money on "we'd like to" stuff instead of "we have to" stuff.
1) We will pretty much never get our "house" in order, so waiting for that day is a waste of time.
Feeding the hungry, curing the sick, housing the homeless is NEVER a waste of time.
Waiting for every last hungry person to be fed, every homeless person to be sheltered and every sick person to be cured, IS. It is a waste of time because you will never feed, shelter and clothe every last person in the world; there will always be problems, and there will always be a practical and/or legal obstacles to solving them.

Bouncing around in micro-g taking pretty pictures of the stars IS a waste of time.
Which is why we need to go into business in space. The science aspect alone isn't all that profitable to humanity as a whole, but the industrial possibilities are huge.

You want to cure the sick? Invest in space manufacturing: we could create nanocytes in zero gravity that could release cancer-fighting drugs directly into tumors without harming healthy tissue. You want to shelter the homeless? Invest in colonization, retrain the homeless and the jobless and the under-employed to support human expansion to the moon and beyond, or even SETTLE there as homesteaders.

2) Throughout history, industrial powers have always -- repeat, ALWAYS -- expanded into new environments as a way to solve their domestic economic troubles.
Insanity is defined by doing the exact same thing that failed and expecting a better result.
I don't expect a better result. Simply repeating the results we got in the last round of colonization would more than suffice.

Incase your grasp of history is severely lacking, one of the results of that last round of colonization is a country called "The United States of America."

No it won't. There is no way to make space "cheaper".
There doesn't have to be. Hire a million people to build a really expensive rocket, you've still created a million jobs. That million people then take the money they made building rockets and buy things, which puts more money into the hands of retailers, restaurants and local businesses, which in turn have more money to pay their employees and invest in themselves.

And then your really expensive rocket comes back from space with a kilogram of platinum it pulled out of an asteroid somewhere, and suddenly there's a need for a million more workers to build another round of equally powerful but slightly less expensive rockets.

There is no place within our reach to send these "surplus" people where they can live and thrive.
No, but we have a perfectly good moon in orbit where they can live and work. Won't be till a few more decades before they begin to THRIVE (actually, quite a few of them are going to die up there), but that's always been the trend of history as well.

Better for us to clean up our own home and make it sustainable for ALL the people, not just the elites.
Unless you have a plan for how to deal with the elites, that's just wishful thinking.

I say, better to get beyond the control of the elites and seek our collective fortunes on the frontier. That has nearly always worked in history; the only reason it doesn't work NOW is because there's no frontier left to exploit (except for Antarctica, but it generally lacks exploitable resources and is the exception that proves the rule).

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
Ian Keldon wrote: View Post
The americas have nothing we need if we just get our own house in order. It will still be there when that is accomplished and we have the luxury of wasting money on "we'd like to" stuff instead of "we have to" stuff.
Imagine where the world would be if this were the majority opinion in europe for the last 600 years.
In the case of space, it literally IS true that there is nothing there we need that we cannot produce or find more cheaply here on Earth. Wild-eyed technophiles always talk about all that there is in space that we can "bring back" to benefit man, because:

1) Nothing we have brought back has served to materially benefit man that justifies the 100s of billions wasted on the bringing.

2) the cost of bringing it back will always be greater than the value gained.
Actually, the total cost of everything the United States of America has ever done in space -- between NASA, the Air force and telecom companies combined -- adds up to a little bit less than the Pentagon's budget for a year. IOW, we spend about 100 times more money killing people and/or destroying things than we do on spaceflight.

If we spent a tenth as much on space exploration as we did on the military, not only could we have colonized the moon by now, we would be well underway to the terraforming of Mars.
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Old November 7 2012, 10:23 PM   #289
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Nice Wired interview with Elon Musk.

Musk: Yeah, holy shit.
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Old November 8 2012, 07:21 PM   #290
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

My favorite quote: "It's the way space is supposed to be."

I second that observation.
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Old November 8 2012, 09:14 PM   #291
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Yep. SSTO is virtually unworkable, but there's no reason a two-stage rocket can't be reusable.

There's also an interesting rumor at Transterrestrial Musings that NASA management might be in favor of axing the SLS and using fuel depots instead, while flying Orion on commercial launchers.
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Old November 8 2012, 11:09 PM   #292
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Interesting article, but it skips over one problem. Getting congress to allow nasa to abandon SLS.
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Old November 9 2012, 05:08 AM   #293
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

They might find that easier to do now. Kay Bailey Hutchinson is looking at retirement and Ben Nelson has won reelection and is basically safe for another six years. So that's the political sidelining of the SLS' de facto designers; at the same time, the House was always somewhat leery on the SLS and Senate approval fell on almost purely partisan lines, so the chance of Congress either scaling down the requirement or opening up some flexibility (e.g. allowing NASA to study the possibility of commissioning a version of the Falcon Heavy for that system) is a little bit higher.
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Old November 9 2012, 02:34 PM   #294
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
It's not ME that sees it that way. Your mentors at NASAspaceflight.com routinely tiptoe around this issue: not all or even most of the KSC jobs have skill sets that would make them suitable hires at SpaceX or Sierra Nevada. It's not so much that their experience is a problem, it's that their experience is increasingly irrelevant.
Wrong, they are the exact same skill sets, except for Orbiter tile work and SRM assembly which there is no need for. Working around rockets is working around rockets, fasteners need to tightened, objects need to be craned, connectors need to be mated, systems need to be tested, propellants loaded, etc.

Spacex workers at the Cape are all former workers from USA, ULA, Boeing, LM, etc. It is the all same work. Spacex and SNC are not using new technology. Any A&P or aerospace tech could and do work for them.

Boeing employees were lucky, many were able to go to Carolina to the new 787 plant.
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Old November 9 2012, 05:48 PM   #295
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Byeman wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
It's not ME that sees it that way. Your mentors at NASAspaceflight.com routinely tiptoe around this issue: not all or even most of the KSC jobs have skill sets that would make them suitable hires at SpaceX or Sierra Nevada. It's not so much that their experience is a problem, it's that their experience is increasingly irrelevant.
Wrong, they are the exact same skill sets, except for Orbiter tile work and SRM assembly which there is no need for. Working around rockets is working around rockets, fasteners need to tightened, objects need to be craned, connectors need to be mated, systems need to be tested, propellants loaded, etc.
And not all of the nearly 5000 KSC workers are directly involved with that process. A surprising number of those workers are actually bureaucrats and/or logistics guys who are integral to coordinating the workflow process in the VAB and the launchpad itself. Moreover, a fair number of the engineering jobs are process-oriented positions involving specialized machinery designed, built, and used by NASA and no one else (the crawler, for example, is maintained by an enormous full-time crew). A lot of launch companies are borrowing processes from satellite launch providers or from aerospace aviation and use different standards and different equipment.

That leaves the KSC work force in a bit of a pickle. Only about a third of them actually possess skills that are directly relevant to anyone other than NASA or a similarly large government agency.

Spacex and SNC are not using new technology.
Yes they are, actually (SNC to a much smaller degree). Remember, SpaceX developed all their engines, avionics, airframes and software from scratch; they borrowed a lot of data from NASA as a starting point, but otherwise the only "old" technology they're using is the Pica-X heatshield.

Any A&P or aerospace tech could and do work for them.
How many A&P techs have experience in stir welding? My guess is quite a few. But nowhere near ALL of them.
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Old November 9 2012, 08:36 PM   #296
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

The problem is a bit like an old IBMer getting a job at an innovative PC or internet start-up. With him comes decades of IBM management baggage that will bury everyone in paperwork and keep anything from getting accomplished - because it's all about the process, not the product.
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Old November 9 2012, 11:08 PM   #297
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post

1. And not all of the nearly 5000 KSC workers are directly involved with that process. A surprising number of those workers are actually bureaucrats and/or logistics guys who are integral to coordinating the workflow process in the VAB and the launchpad itself.

2. Moreover, a fair number of the engineering jobs are process-oriented positions involving specialized machinery designed, built, and used by NASA and no one else (the crawler, for example, is maintained by an enormous full-time crew).

3. A lot of launch companies are borrowing processes from satellite launch providers or from aerospace aviation and use different standards and different equipment.

4. That leaves the KSC work force in a bit of a pickle. Only about a third of them actually possess skills that are directly relevant to anyone other than NASA or a similarly large government agency.

5. Yes they are, actually (SNC to a much smaller degree). Remember, SpaceX developed all their engines, avionics, airframes and software from scratch; they borrowed a lot of data from NASA as a starting point, but otherwise the only "old" technology they're using is the Pica-X heatshield.

6. How many A&P techs have experience in stir welding? My guess is quite a few. But nowhere near ALL of them.
1. And new companies have the same type jobs. Just not as many of them because they are smaller projects. Also, the 787 factory and other industry have those jobs. So your point is moot.

2. No, not really. Mechanics are mechanics and techs are techs. They can work on any aerospace systems. As "specialized machinery", like the crawlers and transporters, that is just diesel and generator mechanics, the same you will find on railroads and ship yards. Same goes for the drivers, what few that there are at the space center.

edit: The company that moved Endevour though LA would use the same type of skills.

3. Huh? The processes were taken from aviation in the beginning more than 50 years ago and satellite contractors learned from the rocket contractors. There isn't any new processes going the other way.

4. Totally wrong. The point is that they don't have "specialized" skills. They used people from trade schools and the military. There was nothing really unique about the work. The issue is that there were so many laid off at once and the area can't support them with other jobs. If they wanted to move there are other similar jobs all over the country.

5. Wrong again. It isn't "new" technology. It is the same technology. Metal working, composite layup, avionic integration, etc. Same technology, just packaged differently, a black box is a black box, propellants are loaded the same way, cranes don't lift any different, aerospace fasteners work the same way. So what if Spacex designed from scratch, it doesn't require any different skills that don't already exist, especially at the launch site. As for SNC, it is no different than X-37 or other spacecraft.

6. Wrong again. An automated machine does the friction stir welding. It is just needs an operator, who likely has operated other welding machines and would just need OJT just like he would for any new machine. BTW, Boeing/Delta was using friction stir welding before Spacex. And also, there is no FSW at the launch site.

Been in spaceflight for 30 years working on multiple systems, both spacecraft and launch vehicle across all the companies and very intimate with launch ops, so I don't know where you are coming from but you really have missed the boat on this topic.
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Old November 9 2012, 11:17 PM   #298
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

gturner wrote: View Post
The problem is a bit like an old IBMer getting a job at an innovative PC or internet start-up. With him comes decades of IBM management baggage that will bury everyone in paperwork and keep anything from getting accomplished - because it's all about the process, not the product.

No, not really. If the person got the new job, then they already know they will have to adapt. Also, Spacex discover that it is about the process, since that is what failed them on their early launches. No closeout photos, no second set of eyes on critical tasks.
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Old November 10 2012, 06:04 AM   #299
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

But the process doesn't seem to help if the fundamental reasons for it aren't understood or are ignored, and if the devotion to process just creates new processes whereby anomalies are just documented and fed into the system to become a normal part of procedure. How many pairs of eyes looked at the O-ring and foam strike problems? What did they do? They documented it, drew graphs and presentations, and pronounced it as A-okay. Just add O-ring and chipped tile replacement to the workflow diagrams! It didn't work and everybody died.
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Old November 10 2012, 04:08 PM   #300
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Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

Byeman wrote: View Post
1. And new companies have the same type jobs. Just not as many of them...
Not NEARLY as many of them. Companies like SpaceX and Sierra Nevada can use departments of 10 or 20 people to do what, in an organization like NASA, might have involved hundreds of people. This is especially a problem with bureaucratic positions, which are highly specialized in specific types of legal/administrative processes that not everyone even uses outside the government sector. The Boeing operations do have some of these positions, but in those cases the KSC workers are in competition with people who have direct experience with aviation processes and that's a tough market even outside of a recession.

2. No, not really. Mechanics are mechanics and techs are techs. They can work on any aerospace systems.
Aerospace systems aren't the problem. Aerospace manufacturers use different types of CNC machines and manufacturing equipment to manipulate workpieces, structural components and electronics systems and have different standards for how they need to be used. The end products may be similar -- which is good news for some of them -- but the equipment used to assemble and manipulate it can be VERY different.


As "specialized machinery", like the crawlers and transporters, that is just diesel and generator mechanics, the same you will find on railroads and ship yards.
Right. And aerospace companies aren't exactly scrambling to hire people from railroads and shipyards either, for the same reason.

3. Huh? The processes were taken from aviation in the beginning more than 50 years ago and satellite contractors learned from the rocket contractors. There isn't any new processes going the other way.
Actually there are some glaring differences in the integration processes from different companies. The most obvious one, of course, is horizontal vs. vertical integration; the Russians have been using horizontal integration pretty much forever, but SpaceX is the first to use it in America as far as I know. There's also the different assembly processes for vehicles themselves; SNC is spending a lot of time and effort to develop the Dreamchaser and is borrowing a lot from experimental aircraft paradigms to get through the prototype phase. SpaceX's internal operations also have a fundamentally different decision-making processes from NASA and involve a lot more cross-department collaboration than even Boeing would find feasible. There isn't a huge number of KSC workers who would thrive in that environment.

Totally wrong. The point is that they don't have "specialized" skills.
Correction: they DIDN'T have specialized skills when they started working for NASA. For those who have been there for several years, that is no longer the case.

Wrong again. It isn't "new" technology. It is the same technology. Metal working, composite layup, avionic integration, etc.
That's like saying space ships and satellites aren't new technology because rockets have been around for 1000 years.

So what if Spacex designed from scratch, it doesn't require any different skills that don't already exist
Neither does running a cash register or mopping the floor at Walmart. Why can't the KSC workers do that?

6. Wrong again. An automated machine does the friction stir welding. It is just needs an operator, who likely has operated other welding machines and would just need OJT just like he would for any new machine.
Spoken like someone who has never operated a CNC machine before.

Been in spaceflight for 30 years working on multiple systems, both spacecraft and launch vehicle across all the companies and very intimate with launch ops
Considering how shallow your objections are, I find this VERY hard to believe.
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