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Blocked Fuel Line Botched Military Satellite Orbit 86

Posted by timothy
from the dryer-lint-can-be-deadly dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Dan Elliott reports that a piece of cloth inadvertently left in the fuel line during the manufacturing process may be the reason for the botched delivery to orbit of a military communications satellite that hasn't reached its planned orbit since it was launched in August. The Air Force Space Command and the contractor, Lockheed Martin, have devised a work-around plan using the remaining propulsion systems — reaction engine assemblies and electric Hall Current Thrusters drawing off of onboard fuel—to slowly raise the perigee of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite until it reaches its intended orbit 22,300 miles over the Earth in October, but the GAO says that the $12.9 billion satellite system incurred at least $250 million in extra costs and a two-year delay because of quality problems due to poor workmanship, undocumented and untested manufacturing processes, poor control of those processes and materials and failure to prevent contamination, poor part design, design complexity, and an inattention to manufacturing risks. John Pike of, which monitors defense issues, says the two-year delay is a bigger problem than the extra expense. 'You've got a lot of other things depending on the launch,' says Pike, including ground-based weapons."
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Blocked Fuel Line Botched Military Satellite Orbit

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  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:09AM (#36856036) Homepage Journal

    $12.9B for yet another military satellite for a Pentagon/CIA that doesn't detect or protect us from attacks that murder Americans and destroy our security, even though the GAO already knows the money was spent on incompetents.

    $TRILLIONS in cuts to your Social Security pension that you paid into from your paychecks your whole working life. To protect the $TRILLIONS wasted on the Pentagon/CIA.

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:32AM (#36856150)

    It is funny how Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex perverting American government in 1961 and was spot on.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Unfortunately the American citizenry turned out to be anything but "alert and knowledgeable". Companies like Lockheed Martin are effectively untouchable, I don't think there has been a major vehicle program since the 70's that wasn't rife with incompetence, distortion, and corruption. Massive naval vessels that aren't sea worthy have been accepted into service because of the collusion between the manufacturers and military officers running the development programs.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:52AM (#36856256) Homepage Journal

    Eisenhower spent his 8 years as president shoving as much money and power at the military-industrial complex as he possibly could. He was elected president based on his years as the US supreme commander in Europe, pushing the Western Front against the Russians' advancing Eastern Front to crush the Nazis, which shoved as much money and power into the military-industrial complex as was physically possible. Though the 1940s MIC feast was well worth the investment, his 1950s splurge wasn't.

    Eisenhower deserves credit for calling out the military-industrial complex. But he was about to retire, untouchable, having made his entire career creating it.

    The US could eliminate our deficits immediately by cutting our Pentagon/CIA budget to under $300B a year from its current $TRILLION+, and soon pay off the accumulated debt with the surplus. Vietnam + Iraq + Afghanistan = several $TRILLION, plus interest on the debt that paid for them is over 50% more (since we borrowed again and again to pay the interest). Plus all the veterans benefits including healthcare, housing, education, disability - rightly paid on a wrongfully bloated military force.

    Instead we're stealing new $TRILLIONS for the Pentagon/CIA from the old deposits the latest generations have paid down on our Social Security pensions. With millions of Americans now throwing the US credit rating into the trash by voting for their politicians (mostly, but not exclusively, Republicans - all the Republicans). Who won't sacrifice a 5 year writeoff of private jets into a 7 year writeoff, even as the jets' owners get in return a drop from a 35% tax rate to a 29% rate, and their corporate taxes dropped even more.

    The only war the Pentagon/CIA have won since Japan surrendered 2/3 of a century ago is the class war.

  • by Trapezium Artist (919330) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @11:03AM (#36856714)

    AEHF is a system of four satellites, I think, not just one, but nevertheless, I completely agree with what you're saying re: JWST. It's crazy.

    Interestingly, AEHF is a military communications system with data rates up to 8Mbit/s from an orbit of 22,000 miles, while JWST has a data rate in excess of 10Mbit/s from L2, i.e. just under a million miles. The comparison is completely specious, I realise (just think about the size of the comms antennae involved, uplink vs downlink, and so on), but amuses me nonetheless :-)

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson