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Payton Slams Space Firmsí Quality
DoD Buzz ^ | 02/05/2010 | By Colin Clark

Posted on 02/05/2010 8:57:10 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

The makers of America’s rockets and satellites “are still stumbling on fundamentals too often,” said Gary Payton, former astronaut and the top Air Force man on space acquisition. Payton’s comments seem to indicate a continuing trend of shoddy quality control among those whose toughest job is turning out top quality parts and software and making sure they work and fit well.

The biggest problem lies with suppliers, who are selling equipment that is just not up to snuff, Payton said. However, the primes also must shoulder blame since they are not overseeing suppliers at the factory level as closely as they must. Payton spoke to reporters at a Thursday lunch organized by the Space Foundation.

“We have been finding problems on satellites and launch vehicles; valves on launch vehicles, gyroscopes and reaction wheels on satellites,” Payton said. “We have been finding test execution problems.” The problems are not as severe they were five years ago during the peak of the period when most honest people declared space acquisition broken, when almost every space program suffered Nunn-McCurdy breaches and serious technical challenges. But Payton made clear there are still significant problems.

Payton is the second senior acquisition official to worry publicly about quality control this week. The Missile Defense Agency is struggling with lousy quality control among its contractors, its executive director said the agency’s budget rollout. David Altwegg, a highly respected missileer and engineer, told reporters that he and his colleagues stood watching a recent THAAD test. A drogue parachute pulled the target out of a C-17. “We all stood there and watched it fall into the water,” said an obviously disgusted Altweg. A failure review board was convened and found the test failed due to “a quality control problem.”

(Excerpt) Read more at dodbuzz.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: airforce; mda; minotaur4; missile; rockets; satellites; sbirs; sbss; space; spacetechnology

1 posted on 02/05/2010 8:57:10 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

i could not agree more... they will kill a bunch of astronauts and then manned space in the process...


2 posted on 02/05/2010 9:00:50 PM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: gibtx2

Launching problems with the Minotaur rocket has delayed the entire program of almost 14 months. These delays and mistakes are becoming a national security issue.


3 posted on 02/05/2010 9:04:15 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

and they will kill people with commercial space. Some things are just nation state jobs..... this is one of them.


4 posted on 02/05/2010 9:08:52 PM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Gary Payton, former astronaut and the top Air Force man on space acquisition.

At first, I though they were talking about the basketball player :p


5 posted on 02/05/2010 9:10:42 PM PST by greatdefender (If You Want Peace.....Prepare For War)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Another gift of the NEA and govt schools become leftist indoctrination centers: a dearth of students with the skills to go into engineering...


6 posted on 02/05/2010 9:23:58 PM PST by piytar (Ammo is hard to find! Bought some lately? Please share where at www.ammo-finder.com)
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To: sonofstrangelove

A system is only as good as its weakest link. The “low-tech” stuff such as cables, fasteners and connectors is what usually fails.


7 posted on 02/05/2010 9:39:06 PM PST by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: sonofstrangelove

A system is only as good as its weakest link. The “low-tech” stuff such as cables, fasteners and connectors is what usually fails.


8 posted on 02/05/2010 9:39:26 PM PST by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: wjcsux

I agree.


9 posted on 02/05/2010 9:39:55 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: gibtx2
...and they will kill people with commercial space. Some things are just nation state jobs..... this is one of them.

Right. Because NASA has never killed astronauts. Those evil incompetent private firms, who (unlike a government agency) will go out of business it they do so, shouldn't be allowed to play the game.

10 posted on 02/05/2010 10:47:35 PM PST by NonZeroSum
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To: NonZeroSum

Vitriolic statement at best.. you can do better...


11 posted on 02/05/2010 10:49:14 PM PST by gibtx2 (keep up the good work I am out of work but post 20 a month to this out of WF Check)
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To: piytar

Actually that isn’t true.

Many young people would like to be engineers but American firms prefer to hire foreigners. So the kids I’ve talked to say why even bother if they can’t get work later after graduating.


12 posted on 02/06/2010 12:50:31 AM PST by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: SatinDoll

Is the problem engineers, or is it a lack of competent oversight for production of components?


13 posted on 02/06/2010 12:58:46 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

“...gift of the NEA and govt schools become leftist indoctrination centers: a dearth of students with the skills to go into engineering...” This was the statement I was answering, Joe. It can be found at #6.

As to lack of quality control in manufacturing the parts needed by the space and aeronautical industries, that has little to with engineering and much to do with substandard management practices at point of manufacture.


14 posted on 02/06/2010 1:40:09 AM PST by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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To: SatinDoll

Actually both are true. I was involved with a top 10 ranked college of engineering in a capacity that dealt with incoming students. This was in the late 80s. The math ability of the incoming American students dropped DRASTICALLY over my 4 years. Not in the top 20%, but in the next 50% group, the ones who become your bread-and-butter engineers.

It got much worse in the subsequent years (I stayed in touch).

Combine the points we are both making and they mean the USA is losing it’s engineering base. That will doom a nation both economically and militarily. After all, for all the ripping of engineers as “nerds,” they are essential for everything from cars to roads to chairs to bridges to weapons to medical equipment to spaceflight. Without a solid engineering base, a nation cannot compete. Period.


15 posted on 02/06/2010 9:14:39 PM PST by piytar (Ammo is hard to find! Bought some lately? Please share where at www.ammo-finder.com)
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To: piytar

In 1993 I was laid off my job as an EQ Coordinator in a Nuclear Plant, part of a group in plant engineering. The following three years while I searched for another job, I got to know a lot of engineers who, though highly qualified, were not offered jobs.

Instead, companies were trying to bring in foreigners on work visas, to work as contractors.

One group I became acquainted with had 250,000 members of unemployed engineers from various fields. The children of those laid off engineers no doubt looked to work in fields other than engineering.

Why bother to study for an engineering degree when companies like Microsoft and Apple prefer to hire foreign engineers? When American companies start to once again begin hiring Americans, then young people here will return to math and science.

Just for the record, my kid was home schooled and could do calculus and algebra before he was sixteen. Not a genius, but he is very imaginative, creative, and works hard. He will be going into IT.


16 posted on 02/07/2010 12:37:40 AM PST by SatinDoll (NO Foreign Nationals as our President!!)
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