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skucera t1_j1sjzx0 wrote

It’s a worst-case scenario estimate. If the worst-case scenario still justifies the cost, then the project is worth moving forward with trying to get prioritized into the budget. Of course, they buy the absolute best (highest-reliability) gear, and have some of the most sophisticated failure analysis and prevention tools in the world, which contributes to extended longevity.

Basically, it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver, especially when you’re the part of the government that has to really struggle for funding.


SuddenlyLucid t1_j1slgc6 wrote

But we're not used to it, because almost everyone else does the opposite, NASA is pretty unique in that regard.


sigmund14 t1_j1t0dbk wrote

I wish everyone would do the same as NASA. It wouldn't really be profitable, but the brand loyalty would be through the roof.

Instead, we have planned obsolescence - deliberate failure of some component that is impossible to replace / repair. Creating trash just for profits.


ballrus_walsack t1_j1t3uuy wrote

I always buy NASA branded electronics.


iaredavid t1_j1tbmz0 wrote

Tempurpedic! Freeze dried ice cream!


Baremegigjen t1_j1th2n2 wrote

Velcro. In fact it’s the primary method for attaching the reflective blanket that protects the bus (body) of satellites.


kinboyatuwo t1_j1u8shf wrote

Or just ensure stuff is serviceable. I would take that.

I had a vacuum a few years ago and the brush head failed at the bearing and tore it and the plastic connector apart.

I couldn’t find a replacement head (had ordered 3 that were listed as correct and none fit) and the plastic part I had to “make” by filling with epoxy and using a dremmel to make the recess.

3D printing helps, we just need better ways to get the shapes into the system now. But we need a requirement for a parts availability for day 10 years or the company has to give you a new one.


MeagoDK t1_j1uba36 wrote

Sometimes the replacement cost as much as a new machine. Had to replace the rack in my dishwasher (it was rusten) ended up buying a new dishwasher as it was not that much more.


kinboyatuwo t1_j1unwls wrote

Ya it’s crazy. We need more supply chain but also salvage. I’ll bet someone not far away had a failed one and tossed it that had a rack that was fine.

Only way it will happen is legislation sadly.

I would pay extra to know parts are available ans affordable for 20y.


MeagoDK t1_j1uvbld wrote

Yup a thing they would improve it would be to have very standard hardware interfaces. If a rack would always fit then you can easily start saving used but good racks when someone throws out a rack and it would be much to find the broken part.


kinboyatuwo t1_j1uxn6x wrote

Shoot, they even make changes in their own line up and year to year. You would think some consistency would lower costs for them but someone has done the math I suspect.


IkiOLoj t1_j1tr48l wrote

That's the luxury of not being a for profit organization, they don't have to take a benefit somewhere so they can invest the whole budget in the product. If you were making a product expected to work for 2 years lasting 5, you'd probably be screwing your shareholders somewhere as you would be wasting their potential dividends.


MeagoDK t1_j1ubh2b wrote

In this case nasa just screws the senators because the budget was for 2 years, not 5 years. So they need money for 3 more years.

NASA absolutely have shareholders, they are just government officials and they play politics with them to get their budget and project approvals


skucera t1_j1upltj wrote

The budget to “run science” on a craft is pennies compared to the cost of building, launching, and landing the craft.


MeagoDK t1_j1uua3c wrote

Insight was:(approx)

  • Spacecraft 600 million.
  • Launch ticket 160 million.
  • 2 years operation 60 million.

If we assume insight will last:

  • 10 years, that's 300 million, 30% of total budget
  • 15 years, that's 450 million, 37% of total budget
  • 20 years, that's 600 million, 44% of total budget

A 820 million budget is much easier to approve than 1360 million budget

It's not pennies, you are simply wrong.


skucera t1_j1v2pr1 wrote

Primary mission operations are $30MM/yr; this includes launch activities, landing, and commissioning. The actual cost of the next four years was roughly $15MM/yr. It goes in the annual budget, and congress views this as a good return on investment. If they end up objecting, they can always choose to not fund it.


MeagoDK t1_j1xj8ug wrote

Even if you halve the operational cost, it's stil not pennies.

And yes off cause they do. That's the whole point. It's easier to approve incremental than all at once


Henhouse20 t1_j1t5tnb wrote

Not unique at all in the space industry. Everyone else does the same......their spacecraft typically all last longer than their design life


danielv123 t1_j1u2n3k wrote

The important distinction is that they are building a thing to work for 2 years, not to fail after 2 years.


OtisTetraxReigns t1_j1sr1oh wrote

Under promise, over-engineer.


Mr_Zaroc t1_j1tqxgu wrote

Yes we have a fail-safe, but how about a second fail-safe?


Used-Towel5687 t1_j1tsbob wrote

Not nuff money. tank, jet good 👍


Mr_Zaroc t1_j1ttgr4 wrote

YOLO (You only launch once)


Used-Towel5687 t1_j1xz92j wrote

Insufferably accurate… if only we were born on a planet that isn’t trying to destroy one another every 50 years…. It’s a really great topic to talk about, as the more knowledgeable the general public is, the more information spreads, that everybody IS actually trying to live in harmony…. Nope, nukes.


caitejane310 t1_j1t9anf wrote

Yeah, idk why I was surprised at all the little tests that us common folk wouldn't even think of. I recently watched Good Night Oppy (highly recommend) and thought it was pretty neat how they would replicate the conditions the rovers were in so they could try and figure out how to get them unstuck.


skucera t1_j1up8d7 wrote

Also, The Martian was accurate in how they have an exact copy of every rover and lander they send out so that they can try out fixes/solutions on Earth before they send them out.


btribble t1_j1tsz9u wrote

Yes, when you can set conservative goals and then over-deliver it always looks good. If you're not under promising and over delivering at your work, you're doing it wrong.


EpiicPenguin t1_j1tyvq8 wrote

> and have some of the most sophisticated failure analysis and prevention tools in the world, which contributes to extended longevity.

Which is why it still boggles my mind that they didn’t add a brush tool to clean off the solar panels on insight lander. They were literally willing to drop rocks on the panels durring the mission, but adding a 5$ brush to the arm thats already on the billion dollar martian lander, apparently thats not an option.


UseApasswordManager t1_j1ud9so wrote

That wiper is also going to fail someday, and they figure you get more life out of x kg of extra solar panels than they would from an x kg wiper arm


skucera t1_j1uo7w2 wrote

On all prior Mars landers, NASA has relied on Martian wind to clean off the solar panels. That worked fine here, as the lander was active for over twice its planned mission.


smithsp86 t1_j1xndom wrote

It’s also a budget strategy thing. Using Spirit and Opportunity as examples. It’s much easier to stay within budget if they only put 90 days on paper. Once you have the hardware in place it becomes essentially automatic to get extra funding to keep operating. There’s just no sense placing the long term plan in the original proposal.


Original-Aerie8 t1_j1tj1pp wrote

> worst-case scenario estimate

Not to be rude, but that seems like a empty word, instead of a explanation at how they arrive at those numbers. What do you base this on?


skucera t1_j1uovax wrote

You perform a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Once you know the failure modes that you can’t design out of the system, you design mitigation for the rest. You then add redundancy for those modes you can’t mitigate. Finally, you take the probability of an individual critical failure happening and calculate the duration before there is X% chance that a critical failure has occurred, and that’s your planned mission length. If it’s too short, you put in more mitigation or redundancy.