« Democrats! Whiskey! Sexy! | Main | But They Didn't Ban Them From Twitter »

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Going To The Moon For The Second Time

mistermix has a nice post about the 737MAX, which you should read in its entirety, but this last graf from the post whose title I stole is my focus:

The post title is a reference to the fact that human beings take for granted that once a engineering challenge is solved, it should be trivially easy to solve it the second time, so it should take a fraction of the time and money to fix. The 737 MAX is a great example of why this isn’t true: Boeing engineers, under massive constraint, built a new plane and called it a 737. If their engineers had started with a blank slate, Boeing management would have been a lot more cautious about rolling it out. Instead, here we are.

I'm not sure they created a new plane, but rather made an engineering change that engineers typically hate.  As in what happened with the venerable STS:

Well-designed shuttle components have frequently developed complications, and small changes have created dramatic problems. On Columbia's second mission, in November 1981, a fuel cell became contaminated and stopped working. The particle causing the problem was tiny, but it forced three days to be cut from the five-day mission.

As soon as the shuttle landed, NASA engineers started working on a fix. They devised a filter to keep out contaminants and, as a safety measure, put in a second filter as well. There were no contaminants on the next mission, but hydrogen gas collected between the filters and seeped into a tank. A single spark would have caused an explosion aboard the shuttle.

Boeing engineers fixed one problem: efficiency of an aging vehicle.  That introduced a new problem, which required a fix, which caused more problems.

Fortunately, our Plane-Owner-in-Chief is on the case, so move aside, stupid engineers!


March 14, 2019 in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink


Post a comment