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Will Answer Questions

Posted by: Sir_Realist - Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:49 pm
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Will Answer Questions 
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Post Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:49 pm
I'll try to answer questions here about the da vinci project. I'm a member who has signed the volunteer agreement, so unfortunately I can't provide the following:

"ideas, know-how, plans, drawings, sketches, concepts, images, facts, diagrams and results"

Beyond that I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge. The project has been taking something of a beating here. I think that's as a result of the dearth of information about the project, moreso than the actual project itself.

Again, I'm prohibited by contract from discussing certain aspects listed above, so please understand if I don't address some questions directly. Also please try not to ask questions that require any of the above; it'll just make me feel bad for not answering. :) I know that list seems comprehensive, but there's plenty that I can talk about.

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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 5:52 pm
[

"ideas, know-how, plans, drawings, sketches, concepts, images, facts, diagrams and results"

Beyond that I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge.

Unbelieveable...You can answer about a lot of things...except facts...I hope this is intended as comedy because I'm laughing my ass off here. If not...it's just more of the same. I don't think there's any questions I'd want to ask that you can answer because they all involve FACTS....something Flyin' Brian is desperately short on....no thanks, I think we'll just continue to specualte and draw our own conclusions.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:24 pm
Oh well. Suit yourselves then.

Later,
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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:51 pm
The sound you just heard was me falling out of my chair...NOT...;)

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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 9:14 pm
Sir_Realist wrote:
I know that list seems comprehensive, but there's plenty that I can talk about.


Indeed -- it's hard to form questions that don't involve one of those areas. I'll give it a stab:

First off -- what was your primary job role in the project? Knowing your role would make it easier to devise questions which you could (hopefully) answer.

Hindsight is 20-20, of course. However -- considering that the 'possible' launch date has now been pushed to sometime in November, in your opinion was the original launch date of October 1st that was given to the town of Kindersley ever realistic?

The original October 1st launch date was announced in early to mid August (I beleive it was a few days after the August 5th unveiling) or about a 50-55 day window. The elapsed time is now approaching 90 days. Would you characterize the difference as being caused primarily by internal factors (i.e. tasks that were scheduled to take four days to complete are taking six days to complete) or external factors (i.e. a part was ordered and instead of arriving in four days, it took six days)?


Sir_Realist wrote:
The project has been taking something of a beating here. I think that's as a result of the dearth of information about the project, moreso than the actual project itself.


There are twenty-some teams that were signed up for the contest -- with the exception of Armadillo and Scaled and to a lesser degree Space Transport, C-Arrow, and Arco -- ignorance as to their current status is rampant. However -- only DVP (Brian) is claiming to be 'right behind' Scaled. DVP is being blasted because the claims are huge, the evidence is nonexistent, and delivery dates are being missed.


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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:52 pm
Hi Mrmorris,

Hindsight is 20-20, you're right. My opinion at the time was, and remains, that the launch date was certainly a tough challenge to meet, and would have required a great many things to go just right for us. Realism lies in a contimuum, somewhere between pesimism and optimism, and is subject to personal interpretation. Some of you will feel that this was unrealistic, and some will feel that it wasn't. That decision I leave to you.

Forgive my circuitousness there, but you have to understand that we were in a race. The X-Prize was like any auto race (Champ car, for example; plug-plug). Thirty drivers may show up on race day, but only one can win. The drivers can't go in thinking they'll lose. They just can't. They all enter knowing they're good, and knowing they can compete.

Consider the case where everything went our way and we were ready for launch on Oct 2. If we hadn't put in our notice for launch 60 days earlier, we wouldn't have been allowed to go per X-Prize rules. We decided it was feasible and went for it.

The primary factor in the ongoing delay is, I think, the change in methodology now that the prize has been taken. We're not as much under the time pressure we were before. So to more directly answer your question, it's in part because of the procurement snags publicised earlier, and in part due to inclusion of more comprehensive testing now that the prize is over. Ramping up Kindersley for our Oct. launch was unfortunate, but we certainly intend to not let them or ourselves down.

Space projects have historically been subject to delays. That's not to excuse an industry for its bad behaviour. It's just a fact that things don't go according to plan all the time.

I hope that covers it at least to partial satisfaction. Feel free to slam me for being vague.

Thanks for the Qs,
Sir-Realist


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Post Authentic   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 12:17 am
Give us a piece of evidence to prove who you say you are.

Can you think of anything that would make us believe you are on FB's 'team'?

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Post Re: Authentic   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:30 am
tom karns wrote:
Give us a piece of evidence ... that would make us believe you are on FB's 'team'?

How about his Login? :wink:

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Post How About a Pic   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:57 am
How about a picture of him with the 'Magic Helmet"?
:lol:

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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 3:56 am
Sir_Realist wrote:
The X-Prize was like any auto race (Champ car, for example; plug-plug). Thirty drivers may show up on race day, but only one can win. The drivers can't go in thinking they'll lose. They just can't. They all enter knowing they're good, and knowing they can compete.


Sir,

That analogy is seriously flawed. You can't exactly be in a race if you don't even have a working race car and you can't even make the starting grid.

Considering that the XPrize is over and the fact that DVP's supposed mission profile/WildFire craft is well known, why is such a high level of secrecy imposed when there is no serious competitor is the balloon launch profile other than ILAT (which is still raising funds). I don't not see any business or commercial considerations especially when DVP has repeatedly claim the vehicle is almost ready. Showing the vehicle now would not adversely compromise business plans at all.

Second, given winter is setting in, I presume that DVP is going to push this all the way to Spring 2005 before attempting?


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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:44 pm
Sir_Realist wrote:
Space projects have historically been subject to delays. That's not to excuse an industry for its bad behaviour. It's just a fact that things don't go according to plan all the time.


Indeed. In fact -- to cite a current example -- the launch of SpaceX 's Falcon I has been delayed several times. Originally it was supposed to have launched in the spring of this year. I believe the current projection is Jan/Feb of next year.

However -- no one is making fun of Elon, or speculating that the Falcon is a hoax. This is because throughout the process, SpaceX has done an excellent job of demonstrating where they are, providing evidence of their activities and progress, as well as detailed information about the difficulties they are encountering. In fact -- the photos and information they have been providing about their craft is sometimes more than I think they should. The rocket they are building has *very* obvious commercial value, the innovations they are introducing are cutting-edge, and they may be giving competitors a leg up. By contrast -- I quite simply don't see the WF6 concept as ever being a route to a commercial venture. In addition -- the only part of the project that is groundbreaking is that it is being done privately -- the technology itself is nothing spectacular. If it were to prove itself commercially viable -- it would not be difficult for a firm with sufficient funding to duplicate. Therefore -- why the over-the-top secrecy?


In addition, Brian continues to make spectacular claims about Wildfire. On several occasions he has compared himself to Scaled Composites and indicated that the only reason they are ahead is because they have a billionaire in their pocket. While I don't argue that Paul Allen's money made the creation of SS1 possible, what Rutan has accomplished is no less amazing. Belittling the accomplishments of Scaled Composites in the fashion Brian has -- and then failing to follow-up on his bravado has done as much or more damage to the reputation of DVP than failing to supply any evidence of progress. It's a common thing for people who accomplish great things to brag about them. However -- the normal order of things is to accomplish first, and then brag.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 5:17 pm
Hello, Sir-Realist,

what idustry is the enterprise from that had a delay in delivery to DVP according to an article a few weeks ago under www.xprizenews.org?

And are there public relation specialists among your volunteer collegues? Or has DVP a PR consultant under contract?



Hello, mrmorris,

your reactions to Sir-Realist are of that kind I consider to be right. Similar comment is valid concerning your post, koxinga. This a wanted to say because of my warnings in other threads concerning DVP.



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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:02 pm
Regarding koxinga's comment, I think the X-Prize 'race' was a race to get a ship into working order, ready to fly. Being 'on the starting grid' was a matter of having a viable plan to go from design to implementation. However, this is a matter of personal philosophy.

To address both koxinga's and mrmorris' questions about our secrecy, I don't really see it as that. Staging a public showing takes inordinate amounts of planning and money. I don't know what the plans are in this regard, but I imagine we're only going to do one more of those close to launch day, not one now and another then. As for ongoing updates with pictures from the shop floor, I don't know. I personally respect very highly the model used by Armadillo and SpaceX, and I think it would be interesting, but I don't know whether that would fit into our plans. Those groups are both fully financed internally as far as I know. Obviously, our team is sponsorship based. I'm not a marketing expert by any stretch, but I imagine gradual dilution of information through weekly updates is not as effective use of a sponsor's image as a splashy entrance would be. As I said, this isn't my area of expertise, and I really don't know our plans in this area.

With respect to mrmorris, there are some groundbreaking aspects to the project's technology. Unfortunately, I can't reveal those, as I'm sure you understand. To reveal those through public updates would certainly harm (or even eliminate) their value as intellectual property. The first rule of IP: "Shut up about it." You have to understand that while the WF6 itself may not bee intended as a commercial ship, the act of designing, building and flying it definitely plays into whatever future endeavours come from the team. I'm sure you don't claim that Armadillo's current effort is the final version commercial ship. They're part of a learning process too.

Thanks for the Qs,
Sir-Realist


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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:42 pm
Sir_Realist wrote:
...our secrecy, I don't really see it as that. Staging a public showing takes inordinate amounts of planning and money.


I'm not referring to a time and money-consuming event such as driving WF6 through the streets of Toronto. However -- if I were -- DVP is the only team I know of that *has* staged several such events -- although all but one have used the WF2 shell. Such an event has to either be completely controled (don't touch that... don't look there), or it will be completely uncontrolled -- and might well give away more information than is prudent.

Sir_Realist wrote:
As for ongoing updates with pictures from the shop floor, I don't know.


Who needs ongoing? How about *any* updates? The DVP site has a couple dozen photos in the gallery of WF2 under construction, and at public events such as you refer to above -- but not a single one of WF6. You have several photos of Microcosm's engines test-firing, but not a single one of the engines Brian says have been designed and built internally. You had a balloon test flight a few weeks back, but the only photo released of it was to the news services, and nothing in that photo shows any DVP insignia or GP.COM logos -- *and* it's not posted on your site. You have several photos of a diving suit, but none of the spacesuit Brian intends to wear on the flight. Do none of the volunteers own a digital camera? Posting photos such as this on your site won't give away any secrets, or take much time, or *any* money -- but they'll raise the credibility of the project considerably.

Sir_Realist wrote:
I'm not a marketing expert by any stretch, but I imagine gradual dilution of information through weekly updates is not as effective use of a sponsor's image as a splashy entrance would be.


Any sponser *other* than GP.COM would likely prefer to have the project present itself in as straightforward a manner as possible. The reputation of DVP has suffered greatly in the past couple of months because of the disparity between claims and proof. Carmack's weekly updates are a little over the top (not that anyone really *minds* that). However -- refusing to provide any evidence whatsoever isn't building an aura of mystique for the team, but rather a sense of prevarication. GP won't mind that -- they like controversy in their advertising. However -- you can't pursue a model like that and then complain when there is widespread disbelief.

Sir_Realist wrote:
With respect to mrmorris, there are some groundbreaking aspects to the project's technology. Unfortunately, I can't reveal those, as I'm sure you understand.


I fully understand. You haven't revealed anything else, so why should you reveal what groundbreaking aspects exist to WF6. This exercise is no longer worth the wear to my keyboard. Perhaps someone else will take up the gauntlet and try to get something useful from your offer. I wish them better luck than me.


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Post Re: Will Answer Questions   Posted on: Sun Oct 31, 2004 7:19 pm
Mrmorris, I guess it's pretty clear that what you really want is revelation, not explanation. You'd like pictures and proof-of-life, not an understanding of why thiings are as they are. Unfortunately, I can't help you with the first, and I can only provide glimpses at the second. I'll run the idea of photo updates by the management tomorrow, though I'm sure it's been considered before.

As far as I'm aware no one is complaining about the disbelief. I was told about this forum and I saw that people here are a little angry at the project for raising hopes and not following through. I apologize for being unable to reveal enough.

On that note, as to Ekkehard's questions, I can't say anything about the first. I believe a video exists describing the procurement issues. I'm not sure where it is, but it might be this one at the goldenpalace.com website: http://www.goldenpalace.com/events/davinci/

As for the second, I think there are and have been PR people involved. I don't know what their relationship is or was.


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