back to article Jules Verne gets intimate with ISS

The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle yesterday manoevered itself to within 11 metres of the docking port of the ISS's Russian Zvezda module during a second "demonstration day" designed to test its "critical optical navigation system" prior to a scheduled docking on 3 April. The Jules Verne seen …


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  1. E



  2. Matt Underwood
    Thumb Up

    Missed trick?

    I do hope the boffins in charge of this have had the good sense to get it to play "Blue Danube" when it goes though it's autodocking sequence.

  3. Brian

    sounds like...

    sounds like ABORT, RETRY, FAIL to me.. :P

    mine's the one with a space helmet

  4. Sean Purdy


    Looks like they're still running it on DOS.

  5. Colin Jackson


    no CTRL-ALT-DEL?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    In Soviet Russia...

    cargo vessel rams you!

    Mine's the MIR flight jacket with "ramming speed" written on the back.

  7. ImaGnuber

    Stand Clear

    I think I saw this guy trying to park in a local shopping centre. HOLD RETREAT ESCAPE ABORT - repeat sequence.

  8. Mike Tubby
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds like MS-DOS?

    Surely its ABORT, RETRY or CANCEL?

    or if you go back far enough REDO FROM START?

    (Why Paris? Coz she wouldn't have a clue :o)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Star Wars?

    Looks like an X-wing in that picture. Maybe in a few years, they'll add FLY_INTO_EXHAUST_TUNNEL_AND_BLOW_UP_DEATH_STAR_FOLLOWED_BY_EXCITING_ESCAPE_SCENE?

    Mine's the big furry one that goes BWEEEEEEERH. Wait, that's not a coat...

  10. Steve Evans

    Oh yuck!

    Look at that font... 8x8 pixel char grid all in caps...

    Where's the truetype fonts with anti-aliasing, I thought the USA was supposed to be advanced?!

    It's the big white one with the jetpack on the back.

  11. Jared Earle

    +++ REDO FROM START +++


  12. Mike

    Re: Missed trick?

    Maybe they're just not that Elite? I'm mean they're really Krait.and everything, but not that good, I only managed Deadly.

    Just don't hit the 'a' key, unless you have retros.

    Makes me want to find my old games disks now......

  13. steven

    wow... thisth ith thuper!

  14. fissuria

    STOP Command

    There was a STOP command, but the dev team removed them due to some errors:

    *** STOP: 0x0000000A (0x0A1F0008, 0x00000002, 0x00000000, 0x804E524D) ATV_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

    Rumors have it that they upgraded to a newer version.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. MD Rackham

    @Steve Evans - Fonts

    As I understand it, the automatic docking system is adapted from the Russian one used on their Progress re-supply capsules. Just be glad the displays aren't in Cyrillic.

    (And remember that the Russians crashed two Progress capsules into Mir, one hard enough that it sent the crew members scrambling for the Soyuz escape capsule. At least according to the American astronaut on board at the time. Officially, it never happened.)

  17. Luther Blissett


    luuurv in a cold climate

  18. b shubin

    Consumables not optional

    @ Underwood

    no, "Missed truck!", as in, "our supplies didn't get here", and "we're out of air/water/[other non-optional stuff], so off to the escape pod".

    @ Evans

    sorry, the US spent all the money "spreading" democracy (or manure? or maybe death and destruction?), not enough left to fund the space program adequately, and Russia is still recovering from US democracy-spreading efforts in the 90s.

    @ Rackham

    it is the Russian way: if you don't succeed at first, try, try again. the capsules got there, didn't they? sheesh, everybody's a critic...

  19. Graham Marsden


    Stage computer on-line

    Standing by for Sun Dive...

  20. Dave Bell

    Waiting for YouTube

    I shall be terribly disappointed if there isn't a YouTube video with the proper music.

    Who cares in the Americans don't get it?

    (Yes, that is a Clavius Base shoulder patch...)

  21. Aubry Thonon

    That should be...

    ...Abort, Retry, Ignore. (not Cancel).

    (with apologies to the original author)

    Midnight Dreary

    Once upon a midnight dreary,

    Fingers cramped and vision bleary,

    System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor

    Longing for the warmth of bedsheets,

    Still I sat there, doing spreadsheets;

    Having reached the bottom line, I took a floppy from the drawer.

    Typing with a steady hand,

    Then invoked the SAVE command

    But I got a reprimand:

    It read "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

    Was this some occult illusion?

    Some maniacal intrusion?

    These were choices Solomon himself had never faced before.

    Carefully, I weighed my options.

    These three seemed to be the top ones.

    Clearly I must now adopt one:

    Choose "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

    With my fingers pale and trembling,

    Slowly t'wards the keyboard bending,

    Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,

    Praying for some guarantee

    Finally I pressed a key--

    But on the screen what did I see?

    Again: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

    I tried to catch the chips off-guard--

    I pressed again, but twice as hard.

    Luck was just not in the cards. I saw what I had seen before.

    Now I typed in desperation

    Trying random combinations

    Still there came the incantation:

    Choose: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

    There I sat, distraught exhausted,

    By my own machine accosted

    Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor.

    And then I saw an awful sight:

    A bold and blinding flash of light--

    A lightning bolt had cut the night and shook me to my very core.

    I saw the screen collapse and die

    "Oh no--my data base," I cried

    I thought I heard a voice reply,

    "You'll see your data Nevermore!"

    To this day I do not know

    The place to which lost data goes

    I bet it goes to heaven where the angels have it stored

    But as for productivity, well

    I fear that IT goes straight to hell

    And that's the tale I have to tell

    Your choice: "Abort, Retry, Ignore."

  22. Joe Cooper

    @b shubin

    "sorry, the US spent all the money "spreading" democracy (or manure? or maybe death and destruction?), not enough left to fund the space program adequately"

    As evidenced by the LAMEZ0RZ fonts, clearly the US cannot fund it's space program.

    Apparently all the money went to some thing called Cassini, some lamez0rz mars rovers, a bunch of so-called satellites, a mission to pluto, and building a so called "space station".

    But since the fonts are soooo lamez0rz, clearly they can't do ANYTHING!!! Stupid 'merkins.

    As for Russia, I'd say it was the US's democracy spreading efforts combined with the fact that just about everyone was sick of Russia's shit. And everyone is STILL sick of Russia's shit, or so is the impression I get living in Poland.

  23. Colin Barnes

    Space program budget

    Apparently the Americans spent millions of dollars developing a pen that would write in zero gravity.




    The Russians used pencils

  24. Clayton Smith

    @ Colin Barnes

    Sure they used a pencil, but did they remember to bring a sharpner?

  25. Peter Mellor

    Russian pencils (Space program budget)

    I have been to the NASA goodies shop and have my very own zero-G biro (with a spare refill). It surprises some people that a normal biro won't write (for long) on a vertical or inverted horizontal surface. The zero-G pen will, since it has a built-in micro-pump for the ink. Mind you, I cannot recall any occasion in the last 20 years when I absolutely had to write on a surface that wasn't roughly horizontal, but I suppose it's a good present for the man who has everything.

    Now, the Russian "pencil" was not only a well-designed clutch pencil (no sharpener required, Colin) but it had a slide-rule attached in case the on-board computer went down. I *really* want one of those! Where can I get one?

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