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(Denver Post)   NASA still needs Lockheed because nobody else knows how to do the work. Including Lockheed, apparently   ( divider line
    More: Dumbass  
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15528 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Oct 2004 at 9:54 AM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

110 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-10-20 09:06:00 AM  
To briefly summarize the article:

"Well...Nasa can't build it by themselves, but the only companies who've even got a shot at getting it right are so lazy and incompetent that they've blown $500 million worth of missions because their engineers can't read."
2004-10-20 09:20:29 AM  
...which essentially means that the door is wide open, provided that some company can build up the capital and engineering basis for a company that can do what Lockheed does and do it without the apparently debilitating bureaucracy of Lockheed.
2004-10-20 09:35:22 AM  
Are you taking notes here Lenny?
2004-10-20 09:48:07 AM  
Thats the real biatch of it, steve, the bigger your compnay gets, the more levels of bureaucracy happen in order to "make things easier for everyone," which in turn leads to more useless meetings about when the next useless meetings will be, then the meetings about why productivity is low (which no one goes to because they are in other meetings), all the while the engineers just want to work without having to leave their desks every 5 minutes for another meeting, which eventually causes them to forget about where they were in their thought process/calculations, causing stupid errors such forgetting to change everything to metric.

If you bothered to read all that, thanks.
2004-10-20 10:07:24 AM  
Physicists at Harwell have discovered the heaviest element known to science, named Administratum. The new element has no protons or electrons, and has an atomic number of zero. However, it does have one neutron, eight assistant neutrons, ten executive neutrons, 35 vice neutrons and 258 assistant vice neutrons.

Administratum has an atomic mass of 311=, since the neutron is only detectable half of the time. Its 312 particles are held together by a force which involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles, called morons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratum is completely inert. Nevertheless, its presence can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. One experiment, which should have lasted only a few days, is still running after 2= years due to the addition of just one milligramme of Administratum.

It is weakly active, and has a normal half-life of approximately six months. After this time, it does not actually decay, but undergoes a metamorphosis in which assistant neutrons, executive neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. This almost invariably leads to an increase in atomic weight, hence it is self-sustaining.

Although it occurs widely, Administratum tends to concentrate around large corporations, research laboratories and government departments. It can especially be found in recently re-organised sites, and there is reason to believe that it is heavily involved in the processes of deforestation and global warming.

It should be remembered that Administratum is known to be toxic at all concentrations, and can easily destroy any productive reactions where it is allowed to accumulate. Numerous attempts have been made to determine how Administratum can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.
2004-10-20 10:08:27 AM  
I know a former Lockheed assembly worker. He's usually stoned most of the time. This could be a factor, but damn, you would hope the inspectors would catch things like upside down switches.
2004-10-20 10:10:04 AM  
I smell an opportunity. I'm off to register my new spacecraft engineering company..."Spaceships R'Us." I got duct tape...lots of it. I'll be right back.
2004-10-20 10:12:01 AM  
How can this company possibly be accountable for their failures?

I guess we will know when the next craft comes crashing down to earth.
2004-10-20 10:12:55 AM  

For petesake you have to pee in a cup to work at Home Depot, but not Lockheed?!

Or is that why he is former worker?
2004-10-20 10:13:37 AM  
the day space travel becomes mundane and safe enough for rednecks to be good at it, you'll claim the moral superiority to be above the need to get there.
2004-10-20 10:15:18 AM  
I had to take TWO drug tests to work at Lockheed Martin.
2004-10-20 10:17:24 AM  
I shall start an engineering company. The market is clearly ripe for some new competition.

Any farkers want to invest? I'll need an old cement mixer (space capsule) some duct tape, and about 10,000 bottle rockets.

/Lockheed is toast
2004-10-20 10:19:13 AM  
This is probably why JIMO went to Northrop Grumman (formerly TRW.)
2004-10-20 10:19:23 AM  
It's a shame that the descendents of Kelly Johnson can't apply the Skunk Works model beyond a few super-secret defense projects. What's that formula? Throw engineers at a problem, give them lots of coffee, and don't burden them down with the latest management fads. The reason no one believes it will work is because it hasn't been made into a jargony book hyped by an overpriced corporate motivator.
2004-10-20 10:20:06 AM  

There is still some reason out there.

Thank you.
2004-10-20 10:21:07 AM  
"Last month, the Lockheed- built Genesis lander slammed into the Utah desert, probably because company engineers, following faulty diagrams, installed four small switches backwards"....

"Two months later, the Lockheed- built Mars Polar Lander also crashed after its descent rockets shut off prematurely, probably because of faulty switches."

Looks like they should just fire that switch guy.
2004-10-20 10:24:51 AM  
I would like to remind you all of the fact that Genesis had design input from the same guy (Pillinger) who did the Beagle 2, and the Stardust mission has the same descent system as the Genesis.
2004-10-20 10:26:02 AM  
For some reason, when I read the headline I read it as NASCAR.
2004-10-20 10:26:20 AM  
Claude Damage:

The group in question is the former Martin Marietta space group at Denver. Kelly Johnson's group is in California, and was obviously Lockheed before the merger.
2004-10-20 10:27:26 AM  
I think that they're doing just fine. Nobody builds prohibitively expensive and delicate craft that crash and/or explode better than Lockheed.

Although we are still behind the Chinese, who are able to target their re-entry vehicles to crash directly into villager's houses.
2004-10-20 10:27:29 AM  
Anyone else think they should give the contract for "Deep Impact" to Lockheeed? After all, they seem to be really good at impacts...
2004-10-20 10:29:41 AM  

This is the second time the Chinese have hit a village. The first time took out like 80 people-though that's what the Chinese government said. Outside estimates were that it was much higher.
2004-10-20 10:30:44 AM  
Could anything possibly get accomplished without awarding billion-dollar federal contracts to the lowest bidder? Ever?
2004-10-20 10:31:59 AM  
Also, don't forget the Soviets and Soyuz 1. That thing had a parachute failure—except there was a dude in it. NSA receiving stations overheard him cursing his flight controllers and engineers all the way down. When he hit the ground, he was turned into hamburger. Kids who toured the crash site years later kept finding parts of him.
2004-10-20 10:34:29 AM  
I often wonder why NASA doesn't insist upon including some sort of clauses in their contracts that if the mission screws up you won't be getting paid as much. It seems that if I'm spending 500 million or more on something and then a stupid little problem goes wrong and it crashes then nope, you aren't getting 500 million, you're only getting 400, or something like that.

A hundred million here or there can be a good bit of change that would be sorely missed.
2004-10-20 10:34:46 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

Brought to you by Lockheed's finest technicians - again.

2004-10-20 10:35:24 AM  
Lockheed, like Halliburton, is core member of the Military-Industrial comlex. Performance is irrelevant. They will have contracts as long as America exists.

This is old news. Deal with it.
2004-10-20 10:36:28 AM  
Cache: You do realize that people have consistently misinterpreted Eisenhower on the whole "Military-Industrial Complex" bit, right? He wasn't alluding to a big conspiracy or anything.
2004-10-20 10:36:40 AM  
The backstory to that shot is even worse.
2004-10-20 10:39:56 AM  

Thanks for the clarification. I am enwisened, embiggened, and smartulated.

/perfectly cromulent
2004-10-20 10:40:03 AM  
The last two probes made by Lockheed died by slamming into objects yet the next contract, a satellite which is SUPPOSED to slam into a comet goes to Ball Aerospace.

Does anyone else find that ironic? You'd think that Lockheed would be their first choice...

/makes aerospace parts for a living
2004-10-20 10:40:37 AM  
Yeah, everyone knows how easy it is to build spaceshipts, anyways.

BTW, who built those mars rovers? those thigns are doing great.
2004-10-20 10:42:05 AM  

My sentiments exactly...
2004-10-20 10:42:13 AM  
Only ones who can do the job but are incompetent? Sounds like Halliburton.

I do tech support and Lockheed uses our software. From the issues I've seen them submit, I'm not impressed.
2004-10-20 10:42:45 AM  

Lockheed in Denver.
2004-10-20 10:44:24 AM  
That raises issues about how do you incentivize companies like Lockheed Martin not to do stupid things when they're so big you still have to use them."

If I were spending that kind of money, I think that I would also employ an inspection team to maybe double check the work.

I think Boeing built the Mars rovers, I know they play a major role in the building and maintenance of the space station.
2004-10-20 10:44:53 AM  
Of course you are right and everyone else got it wrong.

Just what was Ike referring to if not people like George "Enron" Bush and Dick "Halliburton" Cheney?

Did Ike share something with you that he did not share with the rest of the world?

Please finish your post.
2004-10-20 10:45:40 AM  
I guess Boeing didn't build the rovers
2004-10-20 10:48:30 AM  
wow redqueenmeg.....VERY HOT
2004-10-20 10:50:05 AM  
Hmm..yes, redqueenmeg is pretty lady. I like pretty lady.
2004-10-20 10:51:24 AM  
I agree

wow redqueenmeg.....VERY HOT
2004-10-20 11:01:17 AM  
Sooo...does Lockheed refund the government the total cost of the missions that are ruined because of thier screwups?


Well, then, I think they get no more contracts until they do.
2004-10-20 11:01:52 AM  
Same here typosaurus....

redqueenmeg.....YOU are a vision of yumminess!

*works at Lockheed....builds jets though*
2004-10-20 11:05:03 AM  
Agreed. Just take a look back at lockheed's miserably botched tri-star project. It nearly brought the company to its knees, but the gov't bailed them out of that one too...
2004-10-20 11:07:54 AM  

After reading the above posts, I think you might need to bolt your door.

Friendly advice from fellow farkette.
2004-10-20 11:12:29 AM  

Just kidding.

/I'm sure you all are perfect gentlemen.
2004-10-20 11:13:24 AM  
I knew a guy who was a manager at Lockheed martin.. he was always biatching about the insane bureaucracy of it. He had people on his team who would consistantly drop things with their fork lifts, for example a toolbox.. (not a normal toolbox, mind you, a huge huge one with all the special tools for planes/aerospace).. the guy would drop the toolbox, all the tools would spill out, and it would take almost an entire day to put everything back in its organized place.

The guy did this 3 times in 2 weeks, so my friend wanted to punish him via an unpaid vacation, with the hopes that it would teach him to be more careful. The higher ups wouldnt let him.

YAY for lockheed!
2004-10-20 11:14:10 AM  

But I worked at the helpdesk. I certainly wasn't assembling anything. ;)
2004-10-20 11:16:36 AM  
kachoo et. al.

Door's bolted, but I think the stampeding hordes might just be bolting themselves when I point out that I am currently six months pregnant.

I still do work for Lockheed Martin though. :D
2004-10-20 11:18:39 AM  
Geotpf: That's the correct answer. But since Lockheed has NASA by the proverbial short hairs, they have some negotiating room to keep those bindings out of the contract.
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