Boeing…What? Not Again!

Ok…I guess I don’t get it.

Short one parachute on the pad abort test. Fine, it wasn’t a test of the parachutes. It is just a photographic inspection anyway and it doesn’t need four parachutes.

In the Starliner uncrewed flight test…a simple memory misread in the mission elapsed time handover from the booster to the capsule occured. As a programmer I can understand how that can happen in new code.

But now I hear that there was another software glitch that could have destroyed the capsule, they found and fixed it before reentry, and talked about the flight as if the timer thing was the only problem.

Red Flags.

Add that to needing more money than SpaceX from the start, and then whining for even more money later, and allegedly having more experience with spaceflight than SpaceX that somehow later turned into a “well they already had a capsule to start with and we didn’t” excuse.

I actually do like Boeing, and I thing the Commercial Crew Program needs their flavor of competition involved, but we really need to stop the train, hold the phone, slow down, take a step back, whatever you want to call it and look things over. This rash (can I call it a rash?) of quality issues has started to smell like a systemic quality control problem. No, the 747 Max doesn’t count because it is technically a different organization and team and everything…but still. It seems like they are trying to look like they want to look like they use spaceflight-level quality control when they don’t use spaceflight-level quality control methods.

Let’s not kill any astronauts please. I don’t care if NASA has to pay the Russians again at this point. I don’t even care if they have to buy another Starliner uncrewed test flight. They shouldn’t fly this again until there has been a serious relook not just at their spacecraft and assembly processes but also their quality control culture. Then it should not carry ANY people until they repeat the uncrewed flight, and do it right this time.

~ by Bill Housley on February 6, 2020.

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