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Rohrabacher had a good idea. That contractors who don't perform well be disallowed from bidding the next project(s).

The GAO (?) guy that talked about minimum credible cost estimates being used as the bid can be combined with this idea for a solution. He suggested not taking the minimum bid.

Better might be this:

Allow the minimal credible bid, but the inverse of the difference in cost between total program cost and the estimate used for the bid is a weight on all future bids for the government (I mean ALL, so a failure with NASA impacts your USAF bids in future). Ie: if you deliver for less than your bid, then your bids in future are weighted in favor of acceptance, and if you go over the estimate, your future bids are weighted against winning. So if you go 11 B$ in the hole on something like JWST, 11 B$ is added to all your future bids for any government program in the future going forward.

This seems harsh, since it means any such overrun would disallow any future contracts forever (it would), but since they'd know this ahead of time, their min credible bids would be much more realistic to begin with. You could give the option of buying your terrible bid weighting back by giving the government their money back.

Ie: if this was the case with JWST, and NG was to pay back the difference between their bid, and what it actually cost, they'd be back to neutral.

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23 hours ago, tater said:

Allow the minimal credible bid, but the inverse of the difference in cost between total program cost and the estimate used for the bid is a weight on all future bids for the government (I mean ALL, so a failure with NASA impacts your USAF bids in future). Ie: if you deliver for less than your bid, then your bids in future are weighted in favor of acceptance, and if you go over the estimate, your future bids are weighted against winning. So if you go 11 B$ in the hole on something like JWST, 11 B$ is added to all your future bids for any government program in the future going forward.

That's an interesting idea but applying this across all government contracts is (in my opinion) unduly unfair to the contractors. There is a high likelihood that the people who work on NASA projects are completely different from the people who work on USAF projects even if they are doing something similar. This is especially true in the bigger companies like Northrop Grumman or Lockheed or Boeing. Military and Civilian projects are usually separated into different groups and the first manager that both groups have in common could be as high as the CEO.

Effectively, they're different companies so rating them as if they're the same isn't really comparing apples to apples. 

That being said, the committee is holding the CEO responsible for the failure of this particular project. To your point Tater, it would make sense in this case.

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@Racescort666, yeah, I realize the all contracts was harsh, but I sort of want it to be harsh, this cost-plus nonsense is a problem for the DoD as well.

The contractors in question tend to be the same aerospace companies that go late and over budget on fighter aircraft, ships, etc.

The ability to "buy back" some or all of the overage is the critical bit here. Boeing goes 1 B$ over, and they can remain competitive in future by simply eating the cost overrun. There can be some give and take as well. Take home remodeling as an example. You get a firm bid, but then literally ANY change you make costs you, the homeowner, at least an extra 1000 bucks in my experience, lol. So the contract could be for a craft as agreed to, but if NASA decides to change X feature midstream, they can get a new quote for that change order, and the contractor is only liable for overages in excess of the new total.

The goal is to create an incentive for more realistic cost bidding.

Alternately, dump cost plus, and go fixed cost.

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1 hour ago, tater said:

Alternately, dump cost plus, and go fixed cost.

The change from going from "cost plus" to "fixed, firm price" requires as much change on the customer end as the contractor.  Government customers are worse than any homeowner when it comes to making changes.  Gods help you if you are talking about software: the housing customer has at least been inside a house, the software customer hasn't a clue of what he is asking for.  JWST (and F-35) probably take many more hours of software than mechanical and hardware design.

I was in the industry when they were switching form pure mil-spec to COTS and it wasn't pretty (we also had to deal with fixed firm prices and wildly changing requirements).  If the government bought a gold plated toilet seat, it is entirely likely that hidden deep in the specs there was a requirement for gold plated toilet seats (must be highly conductive and absolutely non corrosive when tested against the following acids...).  This forum has plenty of threads bashing the shuttle, but I'm not aware of any proposed designs that met all the specs NASA had and could be built with 1970s technology aside from the produced shuttle.

Granted, sometimes company policy to protect said company from dangerous contracts can bite back on you.  I watched the company try to sell the Navy a laptop loaded with Red Hat Linux to work as an easy Unix maintenance tool.  Simple?  Should have been, but company policy wouldn't let you buy untested laptops for sale and by the time you got done testing the laptop, it was no longer for sale.  Loop 4-6 times...

And don't even think about slashing the rules that got us here.  While some of the rules were likely in there to drive the cost up (I'm convinced half the nuclear regulations are there because some power executive took "not worth metering" seriously - and it was a cost plus industry when they were all enacted), most of them are there because somebody ripped off the government in some legal way without them.  "Shoddy" still means unacceptable quality 150 years after it was used to make Civil War uniforms that lasted a week or two in the field (definitions of exactly what "shoddy" was varies, and probably was different for every contractor/purchase depending on the materials at hand.  The only thing they can agree on is that it quickly fell apart (and typically looked good when new)).

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Yeah, that's really true, hence a way to do "cost plus" in a way that incentivizes realistic costing, and perhaps a mechanism to penalize change orders in some way by hte customer.

For things like JWST, I could see a telescope part, a bus part, and the sunshield as separate entities that could have been launched to ISS, then assembled and put in some sort of "shake down" before being berthed to a tug that delivers it to a target orbit.

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13 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

I had no idea how big the sunshade was.

James_Webb_telescope_sunshield.jpg

Holy crap.

That's a big Pop Tart.

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If this sunshade would be used as a space mirror, it would be one of brightest obiects in the sky. Certainly able to give Venus a run for its money.

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3 hours ago, Scotius said:

If this sunshade would be used as a space mirror, it would be one of brightest obiects in the sky. Certainly able to give Venus a run for its money.

Probably only in a small focus region, though.

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On 8/10/2018 at 10:13 AM, Scotius said:

If this sunshade would be used as a space mirror, it would be one of brightest obiects in the sky. Certainly able to give Venus a run for its money.

There was something like that launched a couple of years back. Not as big though, but if it didn't fail to deploy it would've been the brightest artificial satellite. Don't think it was as big as JWST's sunshield. I also don't remember the name of the satellite. Something Russian IIRC.

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2 hours ago, Wjolcz said:

Something Russian...

The space disco ball thing ? Mayak ?

That's not a layer of stuff though.

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I have a (dumb?) question in regard to this new type of telescope using a sunshade.

How will the time allocation be dispatched between astronomers ?

 

I believe that the sunshade has to be precisely pointed to the sun, so the telescope have limited control except roll (does the mirror pitch / yaw by design ?)

This means you can't at a given time look for too long at a specific spot, because there's other studies to do. Or simply because the earth and L2 are orbiting the sun and at some point, you just missed the opportunity to watch this spot and have to wait a year long.

Is there some info about that ? Am I very wrong ? :p

Also what kind of effect does the solar wind has on this huge sunshade ?

 

sw7ykk.jpg

 

Edited by Kerbolitto

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12 minutes ago, Kerbolitto said:

I have a (dumb?) question in regard to this new type of telescope using a sunshade.

How will the time allocation be dispatched between astronomers ?

 

I believe that the sunshade has to be precisely pointed to the sun, so the telescope have limited control except roll (does the mirror pitch / yaw by design ?)

This means you can't at a given time look for too long at a specific spot, because there's other studies to do. Or simply because the earth and L2 are orbiting the sun and at some point, you just missed the opportunity to watch this spot and have to wait a year long.

Is there some info about that ? Am I very wrong ? :p

Also what kind of effect does the solar wind has on this huge sunshade ?

 

sw7ykk.jpg

 

Sunshade isn't large enough to run into solar wind problems. 

As far as survey is concerned, JWST will primary point toward polar objects. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why TESS had a sky-survey designed to maximize the amount of time spent looking due north and due south.

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Just now, sevenperforce said:

Sunshade isn't large enough to run into solar wind problems.

I read that Voyager had troubles pointing its antenna due to solar wind, so I thought this'd be a more problematic closer to the sun !

2 minutes ago, sevenperforce said:

As far as survey is concerned, JWST will primary point toward polar objects.

So they won't turn it to observe stuff at same angle that the ecliptic ? Was this limitation a big concern during the design approval phase ?

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10 minutes ago, Kerbolitto said:

I read that Voyager had troubles pointing its antenna due to solar wind, so I thought this'd be a more problematic closer to the sun !

JWST won't have any orientation problems because the sunshade is symmetric with respect to the sun, but it does have a propellant budget for counteracting the outward thrust produced by the solar wind.

10 minutes ago, Kerbolitto said:

So they won't turn it to observe stuff at same angle that the ecliptic ? Was this limitation a big concern during the design approval phase ?

It can be turned to the ecliptic, but that's not the primary goal.

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Wow, no posts in a year...

 

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Sweet! So how much time will all the testing take? About a year?

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There is a saying: "Lack of news means good news". But i am not sure it's applicable here...

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I'm glad it's still inching forward.

 

I hope when HST goes kek this thing will have been in place. And I hope this one doesn't go kek too quickly.

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On 8/28/2019 at 11:42 AM, Wjolcz said:

Sweet! So how much time will all the testing take? About a year?

I think the launch is 2021, so yeah, about a year

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5 hours ago, VaPaL said:

I think the launch is 2021, so yeah, about a year

Schedule is March 2021 right now. Unsure how on schedule they are for that.

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On 8/30/2019 at 8:45 AM, YNM said:

I'm glad it's still inching forward.

 

I hope when HST goes kek this thing will have been in place. And I hope this one doesn't go kek too quickly.

If it does, 20 years of work is down the drain.

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18 hours ago, tater said:

Schedule is March 2021 right now. Unsure how on schedule they are for that.

Going with the trend... probably will be delayed to at least late 2021 (maybe 2022?)... I was already counting with a 2022 launch, so everything sooner is profit! ;) 

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6 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

If it does, 20 years of work is down the drain.

Well, in any case, servicing anything at Earth-Sun L2 is much harder than anything in LEO.

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