Broadcast 2586

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Guest: Wayne Eleazer. Topics: Launch failures and why they happen. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed Wayne Eleazer to the show to discuss the history and why of rocket launch failures per the many articles he has written over the years on these subjects for The Space Review. In the first segment of our 1 hour 58 minute discussion, Wayne started us off responding to my question about the most dramatic launch failure he has seen or studied. He talked about a spectacular Titan failure so don't miss his story. Michael Listner called and talked about many topics including Air Force mishap reports. What Wayne had to say about the mishap reports and the Air Force candor regarding launch failures was very interesting and informative. Wayne introduced us to the Oops Factor regarding failures, a concept he used in an earlier Space Review article. This refers to one thing causing the launch failure but the people down the line with oversight responsibility all miss it or "oops!" SpaceX and the Falcon 9 problems came up many times but here Wayne talked about the needed culture in a company to deal with launch failures, learn from them, and work to keep them from happening again. He thought SpaceX was doing all of that. He also talked about Orbital ATK and the Antares and their culture, then I asked him about the SpaceShip2 failure/accident. Near the end of the first segment, Jay asked Wayne if military rockets had similar launch failure problems. Wayne's response about the military rocket motor, its reliability, testing, and costs was most illuminating. As we learned, the military rocket motor stands alone in quality. In the second segment, Wayne was asked if he could spot trends that cause launch failures over and over again. He said no but listen to his complete answer. He called this the "Predictables" and is completing a new Space Review article on this subject. He listed several examples including his use of the Challenger loss as well as Delta and Atlas failures. I asked him if on the military side, there were consequences for military personnel with responsibility and oversight duties, maybe a demotion, court martial, anything. You might be surprised by his answer to this question. We talked more about the Falcon 9 and EELVs in this segment, plus the old Thor and the Atlas. Barry asked Wayne about Russian launch failures. Wayne talked about the Russian culture and problems. Near the end, he said EELV reliability was improving. He made some additional Atlas and Falcon 9 comparisons, then I asked if there was an expected failure rate for these rockets. Wayne suggested if a company survives ten launches, their odds for survival improve greatly. Doug asked about fairing issues. Wayne talked about the ways that a fairing can open up and we talked about the recent Taurus failures due to fairing problems. Doug followed up his question asking about the reliability for the Falcon Heavy. Wayne had much to say about reliability and strap on rockets &the odds of a failure by strapping rockets together. You might be surprised by what he said. I asked him about modular all purpose, all mission rockets, complexity vs. simplicity, small start-up launch operations and the SLS. In concluding the show, he talked about the value in understanding launch failures. He talked about education on launch failures and why it has been so hard for people to be open minded and learn from rocket failures. At one point, he mentioned an older German rocket company building an ugly pipe rocket, OTRAG. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Wayne through me.



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16 Nov 2015 Wayne Eleazer
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