Acme to replace Boeing as prime contractor on Space Launch System.

This blog does not discuss politics. Since I do discuss space exploration, I will cover an announcement from the new Biden administration that Boeing will be replaced as the prime contractor on the Space Launch System.

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for NASA. It will lift astronauts to space so they may explore the solar system.

(Article cross-posted from Nonprofit Update just because.)

Acme

The new prime contractor is Acme. You may have seen the products on television in the past.

The story has not received much publicity, so I’ll try to draw attention to this major change in federal policy.

Thanks to Behind the Black for calling attention to this major story:  3/1/21 – Behind the Black – Biden fires Boeing on SLS: gives job to Acme.

3/1/21 – Transterrestrial Musings – Acme To Take Over As SLS Prime Contractor – Acme is a highly diversified manufacturing company.

Article points out they don’t have any actual, you know, aerospace experience. However, they have extensive experience in smaller rockets. They make a range of small solid-fuel rocket motors, which are the platform for a wide variety of launch vehicles.

A White House representative was a bit defensive in making the announcement. She pointed out Acme has extensive experience in manufacturing rockets for use by launch crews and the company has not experienced any loss of human life or even animal life, and in fact the company’s products have never resulted in serious injury.

The company has an extensive catalog of products. Like all manufacturers, especially aerospace companies, they are proud to highlight their product line. Check out the company’s catalog:

I count over 130 specific products.

The website proudly declares:

“ACME is a worldwide leader of many manufactured goods. From its humble beginnings providing corks and flypaper to book collectors… to its heyday in the American Southwest…ACME has set the standard for excellence.”

If you watched television a lot as a youth, especially on Saturday morning, you have undoubtedly seen many of the products in use.

Article says that Acme is expected to retain Boeing has a major subcontractor. Of course, I am wondering if the delays and cost overruns on SLS might leave Acme motivated to retain SpaceX as an additional subcontractor.

Litigation

One downside to the administration replacing Boeing with Acme is that Acme has spent a lot of time in court.

One particular piece of litigation can be easily found on the Internet. The case is titled COYOTE v. ACME. It is case B191294, filed in US District Court, Southwestern District, in Tempe, Arizona.

Plaintiff is Wiley E. Coyote.

Defendant is listed as Acme Company.

Mr. Coyote has been injured at least 85 times, excuse me, he alleges he has been injured 85 times by defective products, all of which were purchased by mail order. He further asserts his alleged repeated injuries have frequently restricted his ability to make a living.

The first specific incident described by Mr. Coyote is relevant to the president’s decision to replace Boeing.

In this incident Mr. Coyote alleges he purchased a rocket sled which did in fact launch as needed. However, it accelerated with such great force that it stretched two limbs out to distance of 50 feet, which caused injury.

He alleges the rocket sled was designed negligently in that it did not have any braking capacity, so when his lunch took a sharp right turn, Mr. Coyote was not able to stop the rocket sled.

In addition, the directional control was inoperative (he alleges) thus resulting in the rapid disassembly of the rocket sled when it attempted to co-locate with the side of a mesa. Said injury allegedly caused extensive injury, to include concussion and multiple broken bones.

The severe acceleration and lack of directional control might be an issue for SLS, if those allegations are actually true.

I do need to note that Acme may have a solid defense in that Mr. Coyote immediately ordered more products from Acme and in fact was back at work the day after the alleged injuries.

Oh yeah, there is video showing Mr. Coyote immediately returned to work.

Mr. Coyote also alleges a wide variety of explosive devices produced by Acme detonated prematurely or did not detonate at all. He alleges extensive, repeated injury from premature detonations, to include but not limited to singeing of hair, fur discoloration, partial separation of left ear, combustion of whiskers, and charring of eyebrow and eyelids.

Multiple other allegedly malfunctioning devices are described. Please see filing for details. Please do not laugh. These are serious allegations.

One may wonder why Mr. Coyote continually purchased Acme products when he alleges he had repeated poor experiences. He asserts in his filings that Acme has an essential monopoly on the products needed in his line of work as a predator. Apparently, he is not able to find any other company that can provide the tools he needs to make a living. Or even catch lunch.

Mr. Coyote request compensation for $38.75 million, consisting of:

  • $17M – economic losses and punitive damages
  • $1M – actual losses for medical expenses and missed meals
  • $20M – general damages for mental suffering
  • $0.75M – attorney’s fees

Do read the filing, you’ll find it quite educational.

In accordance with best journalistic practices, I called Acme for comment before writing this article.

An Acme spokesperson acknowledged the company is defendant in many lawsuits. The representative did point out that every case has been filed by one particularly litigious individual. The company has had no litigation from any other customer ever.

In a bad omen for Mr. Coyote, the representative showed me plenty of video clips showing Mr. Coyote immediately returning to work after his alleged injuries. I would expect the video will substantially undermine Mr. Coyote’s claims of serious injury.

In the article at Transterrestrial Musings above, an Acme spokesperson is quoted as pointing out that Mr. Coyote has never experienced any permanent injury and in fact has lost extremely few, if any, days of work. 

In fact, in spite of his claimed injuries, for many decades he has held the title as the second fastest runner in all of the southwest portion of the United States.

In an unnecessarily snide comment, the representative also pointed out that no one has died from use of any Acme product. Unlike Boeing.

In case you have not already figured it out, please check the date this article was posted.

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