SAWE Houston Chapter Winter 2017 Quarterly Report

SAWE Houston is working to promote Mass Properties / Weight Control Engineering as a specialized discipline while providing a means for those interested in the discipline an avenue to explore their personal aspirations.

We have local representation from one of the top level SAWE Inc Corporate Partners (CP1), Altair Engineering with Rick Watkins. Rick Watkins is International Executive Vice President. Local member Andreas Schuster is an Honorary Fellow and the International Standards and Practices Vice President of the Society. Local members Robert Hundl, Wayne Peterson, Greg Ray, and Rick Watkins are Fellows of the Society. Local leadership includes Clint Stephenson as Director, Bill Randall as President, Ryan Kilgore as Vice President, Adam Richards as Treasurer, and Lori Sandberg as Secretary. Dave Bennett is a former member of the Houston chapter and is the 3-year Chair of the Offshore Standards and Practices committee. Bill Randall is the current 2-year Chair. Clint Stephenson is the current 1-year Chair.

SAWE Houston cohosted a Regional conference (September 21, 2017 – September 24, 2017, (https://www.sawe.org/blog/2017/11/05/sawe-texas-regional-planning-meeting-and-conference-report/), pictures below) in preparation for the International conference (May 5, 2018 – May 10, 2018) with the Texas chapter, both in Irving, TX. We are in need of technical content for the upcoming International conference. Please contact me with your commitment to share your expertise. We are seeking Sponsors and Corporate Partners. Chapter meetings are planned for every third Friday of the month.

Our continuing effort is to develop professions related to Mass Properties and Weight Control Engineering through the participation and engagement of related and interested parties.

 

Please contact me with your questions or interest in contributing to the chapter and the Society.

Clint Stephenson

SAWE Houston Director

clintdsemail@yahoo.com

 

79th SAWE International Conference, 2020: Hamburg, Germany

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 International Conference will be held in Hamburg, Germany.

The SAWE Board of Director’s would like to thank the Central European Chapter for preparing their successful bid and we all look forward to a great conference!

Your next 3 conferences are:

77th SAWE International Conference: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; May 5-10th, 2018

78th SAWE International Conference: Hampton Roads; 2019

79th SAWE International Conference: Hamburg, Germany; 2020

Effective Mass Properties Programs – Your Job is to Keep Me From Being Fired

Message from the SAWE President:

So what does it take to have an effective mass properties program?

Our society’s publications provide insights into the elements and mechanics, but organizational behavior is one element we barely address.  This is the first in a collection of stories from fellow mass properties engineers who want to share their most memorable experiences of a robust mass properties effort.  Take note over the course of these stories what the common denominator or behaviors were that led to a favorable outcome.

Your Job is to Keep Me From Being Fired 

Submitted by an Honorary Fellow of SAWE

After several years of study, a large aerospace company received the go-ahead to respond to an RFP for a class of rockets to be used as target vehicles for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to test various Ballistic Missile Defense weapons.  As a result of already being assigned to the missile defense group, a mass properties engineer found himself now working on multiple programs, including the new target vehicle program.

Of particular interest to the MDA was for the company to create a (relatively) inexpensive surrogate missile that would emulate a class of threat missiles with a longer range than SCUD-class missiles.  The company already had studied such a design, and proposed this to the customer, who accepted the proposal with one additional request.  Since the design was using existing mothballed assets to simulate this threat to keep the cost down, the design utilized solid rocket motors.  The threat class did not, and so the end-of-flight behavior of the motors would deviate significantly from the desired behavior, as non-volatile material could be unceremoniously and randomly ejected from the spent motor, imparting momentum to the stage.  A solution would be to spin up the stage, thereby pinning this non-volatile material in the stage and adding predictability to the missiles flight path, just like the threat vehicle it was supposed to emulate.

You can see where this is going – this is a huge mass properties nightmare in the making.  Spinning along the long axis is unstable, yet that is what is necessary to keep the vehicle going where you want it to.  The amount of “leftover” material in the motor is variable, as is its location, which affects CG, and more importantly, Products of Inertia.  Each test flight would have different equipment, meaning even if you could come up with a set design to keep the spin axis pointed correctly, this would have to be recalculated for each flight.  So, the mass properties engineer (MPE) had a real problem to work on when the go ahead to go for this class of threat targets was received.  And to complicate matters, as happens so often, a new management team came in. This was emplaced on top of the skeleton proposal management team, and the team started to hear about this new Program Manager, whose name we will call Oscar (not his real name), in unpleasant terms from those the MPE reported to, including the person who had been the proposal manager and now was reconfigured into the engineering manager.  He emerged from one high level meeting and stated, “I’ve been Oscarized!”  Soon, the whole team started hearing of others who had been Oscarized.  None looked particularly happy about it.

A week after the management insertion, when the MPE had introduced a possible solution to the variable product of inertia (POI) problem and was busy trying to get the design team to understand that the mechanism proposed had to be configurable right up until the payload was attached, the MPE received a call from Oscar’s secretary, saying that Oscar wanted to speak with him.  “Uh-oh, here comes my Oscarization,” he thought to himself.  The dreaded “BOHICA” that had been the talk 20+ years earlier.  Nevertheless, he prepared for the one-on-one with Oscar, set for 10AM the following morning.  The MPE showed up at Oscar’s door few minutes before 10 AM and was told to wait. Ten minutes went by.  Fifteen, then the door opened and the Engineering Manager came out, looking uncomfortable and mouthing at the MPE, “I’ve been Oscarized”.  “Come in,” the MPE heard Oscar say, and “shut the door.

The MPE had his proposed solution to the POI problem, as well as what he was proposing to keep the other mass properties under control, and was prepared to go over everything.  Instead, Oscar said to sit down, and proceeded to talk.  Oscar went through his career, where he had spent the majority of it on space launch vehicles, having started on the company’s mainline program.  He had risen through a succession of positions which put him on the management track, eventually reaching the company equivalent of a brigadier general.  He worked directly for a Vice President on a program that had several problems.  One of those problems was mass properties – in this case the weight carrying capacity of the launch vehicle.  At this point Oscar looked right at the MPE.  He said “You are in charge of the mass properties of this program.  If there are any problems I need to know about them.”  The MPE started to pull out his papers and Oscar said, “Not yet!  I’m not done.”  He continued with his narrative – somewhat familiar via hallway talk.  Turns out this launch vehicle program from his past promised certain customers that the vehicle could perform certain missions, and then failed to do so.  This caused multiple investigations, both by the company and the customer, where it became obvious that the promised capability was not there, and this was not known to everyone.  The Vice President was asked to resign, in other words he was fired, being ultimately responsible for the program.

Oscar looked at the MPE.  He stood up and paced.  Then he said, “I’ve seen what messed up mass properties can do.  Mass properties is a hot ticket item to the company and to our customer.  As far as I am concerned, you are the lead of the mass properties team, and I know we have challenges, so you do whatever it takes to keep mass properties in line.  Your job is to keep me from being fired!  Do that and everyone will be happy.

The MPE realized he was being offered a favorable hand, even if it was carrying a stick.  He also realized that he had an opportunity to really affect the program.  Properly cued, he went through what he thought had to be done to ensure the program would not have weight or POI problems.  Oscar looked at the proposed mass properties control program and the POI solution, and told the MPE to get with the engineering manager and tell him he approved the concept.  And then he stood up and opened the door to his office and said to the person sitting outside his office, “Come in, and shut the door.”

The program was successful.  The vehicle flew successive multiple missions, maintaining the desired pointing of the spin axis.  Additional class vehicle programs came the company’s way, each with their own idiosyncrasies to contend with.  And Oscar was not fired, but instead was able to retire, vindicated.  Everybody was happy.  Well, except for the usual grumbling…

 

SAWE Texas Regional Planning Meeting and Conference Report

September 21-24, 2017, SAWE came together to deliver a successful International Planning Meeting and Regional Conference at the SAWE Texas Regional in Irving, TX.

I want to Thank the Regional conference Vendors/Sponsors.  Thank You (SINCERELY) Intercomp, GEC, and Altair for your continued support of the SAWE as a SAWE Corporate Partner and Sponsor at our events.

SAWE Texas and SAWE Houston delivered the Regional after many months of planning, with superior support from SAWE leadership.

The International Conference Planning meeting took place Thursday.  The host chapters provided the status for the conference beginning May 5, 2018.  It is going to be more than worth the trip in May 2018.

Friday began with a panel discussion on Coordinate Systems used in the varying industries.  I was impressed by the panelists.  On the panel, there was representation from the Airlines (Michael Byham – American Airlines), Offshore (Bill Randall – Wood), Military Aircraft (Vearl Durrington – Lockheed Martin), Space & Missiles (John Nakai – The Aerospace Corporation), Marine (Alan Bird – Marinette Marine), and Automotive (Stacie Matschinsky – SAWE Deputy VP, Standards and Practices) Industries.  It was an interactive experience between the panel and the audience.  I thought SnP Vice President Andy Schuster did an excellent job planning and orating the panel discussion.

We had interesting and thought provoking technical presentations throughout the day on Friday from the SAWE industries. Mrs Stacie Matschinsky delivered her presentation on “How to use the SnP Template”. SAWE Honorary Fellow Mr Andrew Brooks discussed “Nesting & Trees : Nested Sets in MP DB Design”. Mr Kevin Tharp delivered a double shot with “Practical Considerations for Balancing” and “Tanker Aircraft Fuel Fraction”. SAWE Honorary Fellow and International Leader for Technical Content Mr Robert “Zimmie” Zimmerman enlightened the audience with his expertise on “The Case for In-Service MP of Missiles & Space Vehicles”. SAWE Fellow Robert Hundl shared his experience on “Weight Distribution for On-Shore Modules”. Instructor Mr Brian Wiegand delivered insight into Automotive Dynamics with his presentation “MP & Automotive Vertical Dynamics”. Society of Allied Weight Engineers President and SAWE Honorary Fellow Mr William Boze delivered a passionate, interactive, inspiring assessment of the industries served with “The Mass Properties Discipline – Risk & Opportunity”.

Standards and Practices breakout sessions were held with representatives from the Military Aircraft and Offshore Industries. Contact SnP Vice President Andy Schuster for information about the proceedings.

Saturday and Sunday were training days for the very established Aircraft Weight and Balance class delivered by Mr Tom Oole and the New Automotive Lateral Dynamics class delivered by the passionate Mr Brian Wiegand.

A survey was distributed to determine which industries were represented, what was the primary purpose for attendance, what other reasons brought attendees, what could be done to make the 2018 SAWE Texas International Conference a success, and to gauge what kind of participation we could expect from attendees in the future. Over half of the people in attendance submitted survey input. Overwhelmingly, Aerospace was the industry most represented at about 68% for those who submitted their input. We also had Offshore, Marine and Automotive / Land Vehicle representation all the way from the college student level to the retired professional level. Some primary reasons for attendance included planning for the 2018 conference, to take training, to deliver a presentation, and general support of the Mass Properties discipline. Some things to focus on as we plan the 2018 conference include plan/plan/plan, entice vendors and sponsors to attend, encourage and develop technical content of relevance to SAWE Corporate Partners and Company Members, and Standards and Practices development. About half of the people would support future conferences and events by developing technical content or working to gain company support. Thank you everyone who submitted a survey with your input. We will use it as we develop future conferences.

Networking is a key benefit of participating in the Society of Allied Weight Engineers (SAWE). You meet your International leadership. You hear them make speeches about their decades of experience and the health of the discipline. You meet other experienced people from around the industries as well as young adults building their abilities in order to build the future. The SAWE is a Worldwide conglomeration of very intelligent individuals interested in using their talents to make a better future.

We ask you reach out to a mentor/mentoree to develop mutual expertise to share with the SAWE.  This is an opportunity for everyone thinking about the profession to grow it.

We will be reaching out to Universities to solicit the participation of their students and faculty.

We will be reaching out to Vendors and Sponsors, both established and new, to participate.

We will be reaching out to authors and presenters to deliver technical content.

We will be reaching out to those interested in supporting the development of Standards and Practices throughout industries Worldwide.

Please contact me at clintdsemail@yahoo.com or 8326475599 (leave a message) if you want to share your thoughts.

Sincerely, Clint (Stephenson), SAWE Texas Conference Chair

 

New Emphasis on Standards and Practices

Everyone reading this blog is involved in some way with mass properties – as an engineer, a technician, a manager, or sales. Every one of us has experience and knowledge that we could pass on to others involved in the mass properties world. Broadly speaking, this knowledge can be broken into two overarching categories – Technical Details and Methodologies.

Throughout its many years, the SAWE has concentrated on the first of these categories, asking mass properties personnel to spread their knowledge of technical details by writing papers, giving presentations, or teaching a class. We still want (and need) our practitioners to do this.

Paradoxically, the influence of the SAWE as an organization has grown while our individual influence has shrunk. Let me try to explain this. Several years ago, the SAWE became a Standards Organization by seeking and achieving recognition by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). As a result, the society has gained a growing influence in both America and abroad. However, even as the society as a whole has gained recognition for our unique mastery of the science and art of mass properties concepts, our members have experienced erosion of the profession by those who employ mass properties personnel. Primarily this has been a consequence of ever more capable automated capabilities of computer programs. This has created a sense that what we as mass properties professionals can do can be duplicated by computer algorithms. This is not a new phenomenon. Forty years ago, when I was a fresh out of college new mass properties engineer, I heard the head of the mass properties group say, “Eventually, we’ll be able to push a button and the computer will spit out a new airplane design.” Implied in this was that we would not be needed.

I will be the first to admit that much of the calculation duties that were required all those years ago have been supplanted by Computer Aided Design programs, provided that the required parameters have been properly implemented. Calculating weight, CG, and inertias rarely gets performed by today’s mass properties engineers, except perhaps during early conceptual designs. Although this was a large part of my initiation into mass properties, there were many other aspects, including evaluating assembly drawings for completeness and crucially, compatibility. I have lost track of the number of supposedly connectable parts which obviously wouldn’t connect, missing parts, and even parts that shouldn’t be in an assembly and whose presence would preclude operation of the assembly I have found. And these were assemblies that had made it through the Checking group! This was never written down as part of my job description, but are errors I found that had to be corrected before I would accept an assembly into the database. These problems don’t disappear because a computer has calculated some numbers. It still takes a person looking at a project as a whole to find and solve these problems.

Which brings us to the second knowledge transfer category – Methodologies. The SAWE has an obligation to ensure that its members know what is required to perform as mass properties practitioners. The most effective means of performing mass properties tasks is to work through the task in an orderly fashion, so that we can be sure that nothing of importance is inadvertently missed. And the society has found that having a blueprint of what tasks are required is an effective aid. We call these task “blueprints” Standards if the “blueprint” conveys specific technical information that results in a consensus of how that information is presented. An example would be a standardized coordinate system used by a specific industry. How a standardized coordinate system is implemented is not included in the Standard. A Practice is the flip side of the coin regarding Standards – a Practice delineates the accepted means of performing a task. The SAWE designates a Practice as a Recommended Practice, such as SAWE RP A-3, 2016: Mass Properties Control for Space Vehicles. This RP defines what is accepted in industry to ensure that required mass properties tasks are completed and in useable form.

The SAWE has requested that mass properties practitioners consider writing a paper for the conference in Fort Worth in May, 2018 to address specific gaps in our Standards and Practices. Applicable papers do not need to be fully realized Recommended Practices or Standards, but should be utilizable as a framework upon such RPs or Standards could be taken up by our Industry Committees and turned into RPs or Standards (using our standardized templates). Specific areas of interest are delineated on the SAWE web site at https://www.sawe.org/technical/papers/2018Campain (yes “campaign” is misspelled in the URL). Please consider what you can contribute to the SAWE by helping us fill in the gaps in our Standards and Practices, and increase our visibility into Mass Properties Methodology. And if you know of specific Technical Knowledge, we will of course accept Technical papers as well. In either case, if you write a paper for the conference, please submit your abstract at http://www.sawe.org/technical/papers/submittal.

Addition of Chapter Website Links

I have added some of the Chapter websites to the side of this site.  This allows chapters that utilize their chapter websites prior and outside of the main blog to continue to use their sites without having to post everything to the main SAWE blog.

Please still post to the main blog!  We want to link the Chapter sites so they do not become obsolete and can still be used as means of communication among chapter members.

I only added the Texas, LA, and Hampton Roads sites currently, as they appear to be the most utilized sites.  If you wish for your chapter site to be added as a link to the SAWE blog please let me know and I will add it.

Thank you for all those that have subscribed thus far, posted, and have reached out to be involved in the blog.  This is what we hoped for and envisioned when we first talked about a blog. Please continue to reach out to your chapter and make sure people are subscribing! That is the easiest way to be involved and be kept up to date on posts.

Melissa Rapier

Los Angeles Chapter Meeting – Speaker: Dr. Jeffry Padin

The Los Angeles chapter held its first meeting of 2017-2018 on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at the S Building on Northrop Grumman’s Space Park campus, Redondo Beach CA.  Dr Jeffry Padin of the Aerospace Corporation was the evening’s featured speaker.  After a delicious meal of Chinese food, Dr. Padin gave an impassioned presentation about the unique corporate culture at SpaceX (Dr. Padin is a manufacturing and design liaison between the Aerospace Corporation and SpaceX).  Many companies try to understand and improve employee engagement – SpaceX seems to have found the magic ingredient !
Dr. Padin’s presentation was enthusiastically received by an audience of 18 members and guests.  Honored guests included new members Maben Jimenez (the Aerospace Corporation), Kushal Patel (also the Aerospace Corpoartion) and Randy Quon (Northrop Grumman).  Also in attendance were Ron Fox (SAWE Executive Director and Honorary Fellow), John Hargrave (Honorary Fellow), John Nakai (Honorary Fellow), and Mike Notarangelo (Fellow).
John Nakai and Yi-Ling Tam (both from the Aerospace Corporation) led a brief discussion of Tailoring Instructions for ANSI/AIAA S-120A-2016 Documents Status.  This impacts both Launch Vehicles (TOR-2017-02292) and Space Vehicles (TOR-2017-02395).
All in all, a very successful start to 2017-2018 for the Los Angeles chapter.  Kudos and Thanks to Yi-Ling Tam (Los Angeles chapter President) for arranging the speaker, and also the food and to Oliver Philippi for arranging the facility.
Respectfully,
 Dan Rowley
Los Angeles chapter Vice President

In the news, Space related, Cassini

Cassini Spacecraft Makes Its Final Approach to Saturn

From Wikipedia :

With the launch vehicle adapter and 3,132 kg (6,905 lb) of propellants at launch, the spacecraft had a mass of 5,600 kg (12,300 lb). Only the two Phobos 1 and 2 spacecraft sent to Mars by the Soviet Union were larger. The Cassini spacecraft was 6.8 meters (22 ft) high and 4 meters (13 ft) wide.

How to interact on the blog

I will do my best to hit all the points on how you can interact on the blog.  As I stated from the beginning this will be a bit of a learning curve to start, but I hope that you stick with us and utilize the blog as much as you can!  As I am finishing writing up this blog post, I realize it may be long, but I believe it hits a lot of the questions on how to interact with the blog.  I have tried to test everything out myself so that I can speak to everything as best I can, hopefully I am not wrong on anything!

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU FIND SOMETHING DIDN’T WORK AS I STATED! I WILL UPDATE THE POST TO REFLECT ANY ISSUES AND HOW TO WORK AROUND THEM!

Subscribe to the Blog

On the right side of the blog, the last menu allows you to subscribe to the blog via email.  This will allow you to receive notifications of new posts!

Create an Account

You do NOT need a account to interact on the blog, you will have limitations but those will be addressed in each section.  I do highly recommend that you register an account, this will allow you to do more as well as subscribe to the blog to be notified when new posts occur

To create an account, on the right side of the site you will see “Recent Posts”, “Recent Comments”, “Archives”, “Categories”, “Meta”

Under the Meta section you can register an account, this will also automatically make you a “Subscriber” to the blog.

After you register an account, you click the username and password to login, this is not necessarily a WordPress account, I believe this just registers you to the SAWE blog.

When you login, it should take you to your profile, please make sure you have your name filled out, and chose your full name to be displayed. This way we aren’t trying to guess on who a user is that comments!

Commenting on Posts:

The easiest way for members to interact with the blog is comment on posts.  This provides us feedback on our articles, and we believe the discussions that can come from the blog will provide us something that sending out email blasts and newsletters couldn’t.

  • You do not need a login to comment on posts
  • At the bottom of a post you can “Leave a Reply”
  • Provide your comment, name, and email address
  • You may also check to be notified when follow up comments occur, so if you forget about a post, you will see when you have responses to your comments! You can also check to be notified of new posts by emails
  • Admin has to approve the comment, this helps us weed out spam bots from posting on all our posts.
    • If you have an account, once you are approved for a comment once, you do NOT need approval on future comments
    • If you choose to not have an account and provide your name and email for comments, you will still need to be approved for all comments
  • As we start posting regularly, I will check the site daily to approve comments.  I am also notified of comments via email so I will see when things are happening and will approve them as soon as I can.
Posting to the Blog

If you wish to post an article, update, etc. to the blog — first off, thank you!  This is exactly what we want.

  • You DO need an account to be able to post to the blog.
  • Once you have Registered an account as discussed above, you will be a “Subscriber” to the SAWE blog.
  • Once you are a “Subscriber” to the blog, I can change it so that your role is not a subscriber, but a contributor or author.  This will allow you to be able to post to the blog
  • You will need to contact me and let me know that you wish to be able to create blog posts, otherwise you will be a subscriber
  • If you do end up being a contributor or author, I will send a separate email to you on how exactly to post and things you can add (i.e. categories, tags, etc.) if you are having trouble figuring anything out!
  • Another option is to post through me, if you have a write up or an article that you want posted you are more than welcome to contact me (Melissa.rapier@sawe.org) and I will post for you.  I have no problem doing this!
Other comments
  • Remember that this is a public blog.
  • If you are a blog poster, keep this in mind if there are things you do not want on the public blog, we can and will link stuff back to the SAWE website where users will need to log in to view

Thank you if you made it this far and read everything, I hope that I hit on all the main points and cleared up any confusion.  Please do not hesitate to ask questions if you continue to have any, I will do my best to answer them.  Looking forward to the future of this blog.

Melissa Rapier

(Melissa.rapier@sawe.org)

 

 

Welcome to the SAWE Blog!

In the newsletter we discussed all the changes that are coming in regards to our social media presence.  I am excited that this blog is one of those changes.  We really want this to be interactive, having members ask questions, add comments, and get conversations going on the blog.

This blog is a public forum so it is not just for members.  For anything that we plan to be for members only, we will hyperlink to the website where you will need to sign in to view.  There will also be a block on the website front page that will link to recent blog posts.

We are using WordPress for the blog, as the features are very beneficial.  Posts will be able to have categories and tags to be easily searchable (i.e. Standards & Practices, President, etc.).  There are many other features we will be implementing and using on WordPress that the SAWE website could not offer.  You may need to create a WordPress account to be able to interact with posts.

Blog posts will include a variety of content.  The blog will allow us to dispense the newsletter, as we will be posting updates from the Executive Board members regularly on the blog.  We hope that this will prove more useful, timely, and interactive than a 10 page newsletter that comes out quarterly.

We will spotlight SAWE members’ careers and accomplishments, in a series of brief career autobiographies.  I believe that this will be most beneficial for newer, younger members to see where a career in Mass Properties can take you.  I also think that this is a great way to get to know some of the members of the society, as some of us only see each other once a year.  I hope this also leads to easier interactions at conferences.  This can also lead to mentoring opportunities as younger members may be very interested in the work and accomplishments listed in the blog post.

We will include articles related to mass properties, and occasionally may reference back to a paper from a conference.  We believe it is very important to promote the importance of mass proprietaries, and this forum should allow us to do so.  Being a public blog, this may be a way of reaching nonmembers.  Blog posts such as this will be connected to our LinkedIn page, hoping that cross traffic will bring in new members.

As to be expected, I am sure we will run into issues as we start using the blog.  Please be patient as we will work through any issues as quickly as possible.  If you have any questions or want to contribute to the blog, please contact me.

Melissa Rapier                                                                                           (melissa.rapier@sawe.org)