Category: Boeing

June 4, 2019 Off

NASA’s Space Launch System passes key milestone for Moon mission

By Jill T Frey

NASA is celebrating a key step towards its mission to get people back to the Moon: The first large core rocket stage that will power the new Space Launch System being built by contractor Boeing is now four-fifths assembled. Wait – did I just say four-fifths? So like this stage isn’t even complete?

No, it’s not – but when it comes to building gigantic rocket cores that will propel the Orion crewed spacecraft all the way to the Moon in time for the Artemis program’s target date of 2024, you celebrate when you take any significant step forward.

Also, remember we’re talking about four-fifths of a rocket stage that when complete, will be over 200 feet long including engines and fuel tanks, which NASA helpfully points out is approximately the length of a dozen cars parked back-to-back. It’s the biggest rocket NASA will have built since the Saturn V … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Blue Origin and SpaceX get million-dollar NASA nod to test Moon lander tech

By Jill T Frey

Eleven aerospace companies will share more than $45 million in funds from NASA to design and test prototypes for the Artemis Moon missions, the agency has announced. Among the established names like Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada are relative newcomers SpaceX and Blue Origin, looking to make a place for themselves on the agency’s biggest push in decades.

The funds are to enable what NASA calls undefinitized contract actions, in which partners get to work before negotiations on the rest of the contract have concluded. It basically shows that time is of the essence and that NASA is willing to pay up front to someone they may not even contract with later, just to get a jump start on the work that needs doing.

And what’s the work? They’ll be cooking up designs and prototypes for the Human Landing System, which as you might guess will take astronauts (and … Read the rest

May 9, 2019 Off

Jeff Bezos aims Blue Origin at the Moon

By Jill T Frey

Today at a packed event blocks from the White House, Jeff Bezos took the stage in front of select members of the media, executives, government officials and a gaggle of middle schoolers to reveal new details of his plan to get to the Moon by 2024

Blue Origin is going to send humans to space on New Shepard later this year and has unveiled a lunar lander, called “Blue Moon,” to access the resource-rich lunar surface, Bezos said.

Setting the stage with Neil Armstrong’s famous words as the first man to walk on the moon, Bezos took to the stage to explain his vision of answering a very simple question. Given the finite resources available to humanity, “where would a trillion humans live?”

It’s a vision that Bezos has articulated before.

For Bezos, the only impediment to this space … Read the rest

April 28, 2019 Off

The demise and rebirth of the ethical engineer

By Jill T Frey

Whatever happened to the ethics of engineering?

We’ve seen just one disastrous news story after another these past few years, almost all knowable and preventable. Planes falling out of the sky. Nuclear power plants melting down. Foreign powers engorging on user data. Environmental testing thrashed. Electrical grids burning states to the ground.

The patterns are not centered around discipline or nationality, nor do these events share an obvious social structure. Facebook machine learning programmers mostly don’t hang with German VW automotive engineers or Japanese nuclear plant designers. They weren’t taught at the same schools, nor share the same textbooks, nor read the same journals.

Instead, there is a more fundamental thread that binds these disparate and heinous stories together: the increasingly noxious alchemy of complexity and capitalism. Only through a rejuvenation of safety culture can we hope to mend the pair.

Unexpected disasters are really

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