From an anonymous Constellation employee —
The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for Santa’s sleigh, North Pole One
(NPO), was held recently and mission managers revealed that Northern
Launch Range officials had recently discovered an unverified
requirement for the triboelectrification launch commit criterion (LCC).
An audit of verification paperwork is underway with the prime
contractor, Saab Aerospace, to try to discover where or how this
requirements gap formed. NPO Deputy Chief Engineer, Ulf Glockenspiel,
expressed his confidence that this does not represent a
safety-of-flight issue for the vehicle and stated that the search for
original verification paperwork would be a potentially
elfpower-intensive endeavor. A number of prime contractors have held
the contract over the years and NPO program manager Kristoff Kringel
admitted that record keeping has probably been lax in many years, under
the intense pressure to meet launch schedules. The trail from Saab to
Airbus, to Dornier, to Fokker to contractors that are no longer extant,
such as Wright, DaVinci, and Icarus, is a difficult one to follow.
Launch director, Ragnar Gunnar, stated in a recent press conference
that, even in the face of layoffs, every available elf was being
re-directed to the search for the official record and a parallel
process of drafting flight rationale was also underway. As of this
writing, launch remains scheduled for 12/24/09.