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Test Pilot

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
It certainly helps that both political parties have come together on a unified strategy for manned space exploration. Oh, wait, that was in some alternate universe I dreamed up... :confused:

I am no expert on NASA, but I did thoroughly enjoy a tour of JSC and the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where the astronauts do underwater training to simulate spacewalks) a couple of years ago. It might not be like the heyday of Mercury/Gemini/Apollo or even the pre-Challenger shuttle days, but it still seemed to be a pretty neat place to work. The only part that really bothers me is the current lack of a domestic man-rated launch vehicle. I also wonder why winged options aren't being pursued (runway takeoff, vs. vertical), but I guess it's cheaper to develop already existing technology in capsules and heavy lift rockets.

I ultimately think a return to the moon, or at least lunar orbit, is needed before we push out further. Some people very much "in the know" have argued that we aren't technically ready for a manned mission to Mars, even if the financial resources were available.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
When was the golden age of NASA when no astronauts were killed?
Well, from 1967 to 1986 they had a remarkably safe run. Look, I know you are smart enough to understand what I am getting at, hell, NASA didn’t even believe that humans were critical to space exploration until a PAO saw the value in the USSRs manned space work.

My point is that NASA is aimless and has shifted their view from one where airmanship and event management was critical to one where 36 hours of academic work in select fields is “the right stuff.” I am not even sure if money would fix the problem, there is a different culture at NASA and it is too inward looking.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
Well, from 1967 to 1986 they had a remarkably safe run. Look, I know you are smart enough to understand what I am getting at, hell, NASA didn’t even believe that humans were critical to space exploration until a PAO saw the value in the USSRs manned space work.

My point is that NASA is aimless and has shifted their view from one where airmanship and event management was critical to one where 36 hours of academic work in select fields is “the right stuff.” I am not even sure if money would fix the problem, there is a different culture at NASA and it is too inward looking.
NASA was lucky, until they weren't. Apollo was successful due to some lucky equipment-swaps to facilitate other maintenance (the flawed O2 tank on Apollo 13 was originally installed in Apollo 11's CSM), and a lot of the astronauts regarded the CSM as a lemon well before the Apollo 1 pad fire. However, that isn't to minimize the efforts of a lot of incredibly smart people who got us safely to the moon and back- IMO, that stands as our greatest exploration achievement as a species.

For the early shuttle days, the SRB field-joint design was a ticking time-bomb, and NASA management gave in to perceived schedule pressure to keep flying, despite engineering recommendations to the contrary. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading Truth, Lies, and O-rings by Allan McDonald. It's pretty technical and repetitive in places, but it goes into a lot of (sometimes excruciating) detail on the engineering and management train-wreck that led to the Challenger disaster in January, 1986, as well as the Rogers Commission hearings. It also touches on Columbia towards the end, and how a lot of the causal factors were the same with respect to management. For a shorter and more entertaining read, retired astronaut Mike Mullane writes about both in his book, Riding Rockets. Both are excellent reads for anyone with more than a passing interest in human space exploration.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Well, from 1967 to 1986 they had a remarkably safe run. Look, I know you are smart enough to understand what I am getting at, hell, NASA didn’t even believe that humans were critical to space exploration until a PAO saw the value in the USSRs manned space work.

My point is that NASA is aimless and has shifted their view from one where airmanship and event management was critical to one where 36 hours of academic work in select fields is “the right stuff.” I am not even sure if money would fix the problem, there is a different culture at NASA and it is too inward looking.
So in your view 19 years between fatal mishaps is a "remarkably safe run" but 17 years between fatal mishaps is "NASA can't pass a fart without killing six or seven astronauts"?
 

Skywalker

Officer Candidate Hopeful
In the spirit of discussing test pilots and astronauts, which community in naval aviation other than strike is perceived as a strong background for TPS? I think I've seen somewhere on here that a P-3 driver did a tour at Pax.
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
Its based on what the test squadrons need. For awhile they were needing MPRA NFOs and a lot of MPRA types were getting picked up because Triton was ramping up testing. Ultimately, you'll never know so if you're interested, apply. If you go E-6s though or are Coast Guard, your chances of getting picked up are very slim due to the limited numbers.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
In the spirit of discussing test pilots and astronauts, which community in naval aviation other than strike is perceived as a strong background for TPS? I think I've seen somewhere on here that a P-3 driver did a tour at Pax.
All communities need Test Pilots to fly their airframes at Pax, the Lake, and Mugu. Test Pilot manning for each TMS will be based on what sort of test work is going on that is related to your community. For instance, the demand signal for H-60 pilots is currently lower than it was 10yrs ago.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
In the spirit of discussing test pilots and astronauts, which community in naval aviation other than strike is perceived as a strong background for TPS? I think I've seen somewhere on here that a P-3 driver did a tour at Pax.
Even being a strike fighter pilot doesn't guarantee a spot. Classes are small, and as other have said, it's largely driven by the personnel needs of the test squadrons. Sometimes there are only 1-2 seats for pointy-nose guys in a class. You best bet if you really want to go is to apply as many times as you can. It took me 3 tries, which isn't as uncommon as I thought it would be going in.

The takeaway here is that no matter what community you end up in, if you work on building qualifications and a solid reputation, you have a shot at being competitive for TPS.
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
Concur. I applied three times and a friend of mine applied five or six. Do the best you can in your squadron and talk to other test pilots if you can.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Well, from 1967 to 1986 they had a remarkably safe run. Look, I know you are smart enough to understand what I am getting at, hell, NASA didn’t even believe that humans were critical to space exploration until a PAO saw the value in the USSRs manned space work.

My point is that NASA is aimless and has shifted their view from one where airmanship and event management was critical to one where 36 hours of academic work in select fields is “the right stuff.” I am not even sure if money would fix the problem, there is a different culture at NASA and it is too inward looking.
For someone claiming to be a historian, you seem remarkably lacking in historical perspective where NASA is concerned.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
For someone claiming to be a historian, you seem remarkably lacking in historical perspective where NASA is concerned.
No shit...huh? Marvel us with your spectacular historical knowledge. I guess things have changed a lot in aviation when someone considers an almost 20 year span without a death in a spacecraft “lucky” but is impressed with a NASA that lost about 16 people in fewer years. Taken as a whole I am pretty low rent and middle-skilled as a pilot but luck was never part of planning process and even flying a silly little GA airplane that goes slower than some sports cars I don’t count on luck.

But hey, what do I know? Maybe I picked up a few things when I read the 200 plus page Columbia report that specifically noted, "the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as the foam." In yet another report that must not have made its way to the Growler guys yet one of NASA’s senior scientists remarked that, “the root causes of failure at NASA are often cultural, not technical (this with reference to some satellite and launch issues in the past six or seven years). Just this year NASA blew its budget of $200 million on the Orion Crew Survival System. Now they “promise” it “should” be ready...about 15months before it is expected to be used in space...in 2021.

You may not like my opinions, Brett, by I can fucking read and better yet comprehend. I am sorry if I hurt your fan feelings for the “All the Right Stuff”gang and I am sure, let me say it again, SURE, that all test pilots and guys selected to go to NASA are great and talented people...but right now NASA is a troubled agency.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Marvel us with your spectacular historical knowledge.
I'm not the one making dubious assertions about how NASA has evolved since its inception. As best I can tell, you're chalking it up to a lack of social scientists in the Astronaut Corps? How you came to that conclusion after reading the Columbia postmortem baffles the mind. Let's get some historians working on that cure for cancer while we're at it.

I hurt your fan feelings for the “All the Right Stuff”gang
That's a good one. You clearly haven't been paying attention.
 
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