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Russian investigators, having pinpointed the cause of a December 2012 launch failure, have cleared the Proton rocket to resume commercial launches in March.

Russian investigators, having pinpointed the cause of a December 2012 launch failure, have cleared the Proton rocket to resume commercial launches in March.

It is interesting that this failure of the Proton’s Briz-M upper stage was not related to two previous failures of that same upper stage. It is also interesting that the article does not describe what actions have been taken to correct the problem.

If I was a future Proton launch customer I would be very concerned. Three launch failures all related to the Briz-M upper stage, and all from different causes. This appears to suggest some fundamental problems with the stage itself, or with the company that manufactures it.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

3 comments

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Sounds like a Quality Control problem – when maunfacturing is inconsistent & problems come from multiple sources, the suspicion is that their system may not be under good control. Sounds to me like they may need systems in place to ensure mfg specs & tolerance limits are consisterntly applied & adhered to…

  • That’s assuming the original specs are adequate. QC can only control to the existing specifications. Given that the failures are all from disparate sources may indicate a QC problem, but at this point I’d be looking at the original engineering.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Yep, that’s a definite possibility as well. But wasn’t that design previously reasonably successful ?? I thought that one’s been around awhile & had successful launches earlier, which would indicate the design itself may be sound, but when sudden mutiple problems crop up, it might lead us to believe specs were not adhered to or other quality issues were ignored. I have no experience in engineering or aerosapce, but work in a quality environment & that’s kind of been the case with things we’ve seen. Another possibility – co’s that contract out some of their work & substitute cheaper, lower-quality components suddenly run into trouble. Again, I’ll defer to the experts in the field, but similar quailty issues seem to crop up in almost any kind of manufacturing environment…

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