Hello, Acme? I Would Like To...
...order some of your exploding [attachment devices.]
A NASA satellite intended to bring some hard facts to the climate-change debate has crashed into the sea after lifting off from California and failing to separate from its booster rocket. The "Glory" satellite carried two sensors, one intended for investigation of aerosols – particulates such as soot – in the atmosphere and …
Maybe it's a conspiracy by those who want to believe, but are afraid the data will prove them wrong? Or... maybe not...
"Climate Change is wrong" group:
"All right, men, let's blow this thing up! We don't want THEM finding anything to support their cause!"
"Climate Change is right" group:
"All right, men, let's blow this thing up! We don't want THEM finding anything to disprove our cause!"
"Wait... was that feet or meters? Eh, whatever..."
"Stacking a rocket and expensive satelite in to the sea once might, charitably, be described as a "Mishap". But twice surely calls for something more strongly worded..."
You'd think. But Fuckup Investigation Board doesn't have the initials MiB which presumably shows that somebody at NASA has a sense of humour. Sorry, humor.
I bet it is their fault, they probably did an update and it bricked it. I know it is only 10% of one particular model that is affected but it is bound to have affected it... If it had been open source then it wouldn't have crashed...
Oh, sorry, the article is about a satellite? I just saw the word "crash" and went straight for the comments so I could post an ill informed rant about something I know naff all about, isn't that what the register comments section is about nowadays?
Don't care much about why climate change is happening, far more interested in how we intend on dealing with the aftermath. As the change is inevitable.
Why it's happening is one of those interesting things that common curiosity means I'd like to know what all the complex interactions are between all the things in our atmosphere and solar system.
However it isn't going to change the fact that the climate is going to change and we either adapt or die.
I agree entirely with you (although those who think that Man has changed so much about the planet to cause the problem also think that man can stop it!)
However, I would say that you are much more likely to have problems with the total collapse of the financial system first. Firstly, there is the issue of USA giving so many dollars to China to pay for things, that the dollar will almost end up worthless, and the only thing that USA can give to China to repay is all their land :) Then there is the issue that credit and interest means that there actually isn't enough money in the world to repay all the dept!
I think that little lot will cause you problems long before climate change does.
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You do realise that the chances of whole human even being mildly inconvenienced by climate change is slim right? The earth has been much hotter than this many times before and our ancestors and related species survived quite happily.
People like you who persist in painting climate changes as an Eco-pocalypse do nothing for the debate.
Try reading the Reg interview with one of the greenpeace founders from a couple of weeks ago and come back when you have something constructive to add.
The fairing covering the payload wasn't jettisoned when it was supposed to be. The additional weight meant it did not reach the required altitude.
It was not "dragged down" by the stage underneath it, which was still operational and indeed essential for a successful orbital insertion.
What I want to know is if the sattelite is recoverable and if they'll try to launch it again after checking it out. Some of the reports said that contingency plans were put into effect, so perhaps they had some sort of safe recovery proceedure in place. I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but I'd like to know anyway.
To "recover" the satellite they would need a REALLY big dust pan and brush...
To put it another way, over the weekend I dropped my iPhone onto the floor of a car park and it smashed.
Now, imagine a satellite, built in a clean room to prevent the slightest trace of contamination, full of delicate instruments and made of the lightest materials posible to save launch weight. Imagine that hitting the ocean at speeds somewhat faster than my iPhone hit the floor...
No, it ain't recoverable, if is scattered all over the southern pacific ocean floor where the fish are shouting "they are shooting rockets at us again!"
P.S. Not mocking, just wanting to get in my sorrow for my trashed iPhone, still my Omnia WP7 phone is working fine, even after the update!
A lot of them are doing it now. They would do it better and cheaper.
Who can forget the fiasco about the Mars lander, when ultimately, it was found to be a simple calculation error between two systems of measurement - Miles and Kilometers and the whole system went Kaput ?
Im impressed with them - again.
2 attempted launches, 2 fails.
Note this is the *old* Taurus launcher they know *how* to build and operate (but haven't very often).
Not the new hotness with the Russian built (and probably designed) liquid fueled first stage with the engines they picked up off ATK when RPKistler went down the pan along with the cash left from the NASA contract with RPKistler.
OSC have been smoozing NASA for about another $300m for a "Risk reduction" flight.
This would suggest they need it.
You're assuming there is a problem, and the planet isn't supposed to work this way. And assuming that even if we could figure out what and why, there's a chance of changing it, changing it the way we want to, and that would be a good thing. Lots of assumptions that basically seem to hinge on someone figuring out how to see far into the future, and trusting someone to decide how the future should be.
Before we get too far into the conspiracy theory territory, remember this.
There have been a sum total of 9 attempted launches with a Taurus XL stack. Of those, 3 have failed. That means there is (if my maths is actually working this late on a Friday) that there was a 1 in 12 chance that 3 random failures would happen to take out these 2 satellites.
Worse still, 3 of the last 4 launches have failed. Again, by random chance that gives you a 50/50 chance that both the climate change monitoring satellites would have been lost in a random event.
This should have been the *last* system they should have had a problem with.
However separation and engine failures are the *most* common causes of launch failure
In some ways the shroud failure is *worse*. Most satellites have maneuvering propellant and an error in the thrust duration/level can be compensated for (IIRC Orbital have some experience of this with other satellites they have operated) with a resulting shorter mission but a shroud failure adds quite a lot of weight to the final stage (much lower orbit) while trapping the satellite so it cannot deploy solar panels if it has them or get light to any body mounted ones. Battery run down followed by satellite failure then becomes inevitable.
...we need indirect cycle (or, if you're launching from a place you don't like, I guess direct air cycle could be used too!) Nuclear Jet engines. Nuclear reactions heat the air quickly as it passes through the engine, causing it to expand and producing a thrust similar to that of a regular jet engine.
As you're not particularly worried about the amount of oxygen in the air around the plane (i.e you can fly even on less-oxygen-rich and less-dense air) you can reach heights similar to or even greater than the magnificent SR-71 spyplane, scraping the edge of space.
I've been thinking, and I think getting any further without reacting chemicals would require a tank of something like liquid nitrogen (stored as liquid, but heated to gaseous state for use) to be vented through the engines and over the control surfaces to provide something to react against. Previous aircraft have used the technique of venting off intake air over the control surfaces, but the non-air-burning nuclear jet would be able to use it as propulsion reaction mass as well.
There ya go, a space-faring jet bringing clean, efficient nuclear energy to the rest of the universe. Find a way of capturing and compressing pockets of low-density matter in space and it's even re-usable so long as you've got your nuclear engine!
I've probably got something totally wrong... If not, then someone call the ESA and ask about funding for me...
Now here's a plan for a cash-strapped NASA to get funding for the projects they really want to do:
1) Propose Climate Change project. Get funded for $2bn.
2) Buy plastic soccer ball + roll of aloominum foil at Kmart. Stop off at Radio shack for a few LEDs 555s and a battery. Spent $25 or less.
3) Get mates + few beers. Build shiny blinky round thing. $20 for beer. $5 for band aids.
4) Put shiny blinky round thing in rocket. Pay rocket manager $100 to crash rocket.
5) Put $1999999850 into NASA fun ad games fund.
6) Goto step 1.
I'm a little surprised that no one thought to make any observations about the weather before there were satellites. You'd have thought that making systematic notes about temperatures, rainfall, crop yields, pressure would have occurred to someone before the 1950s.
All those long voyages around the world in sailing ships, and no one recorded any data. What a lot of missed opportunities.
Yes, historical records do exist, but nobody is sure how accurate they are. How accurate were the instruments? How well and often were the instruments calculated? Were the instruments correctly housed and located away from external influences?
Someboy told me recently that we only have reliable historical data going back to 1914 for London. You'd expect London of all places to be on the leading edge of such things. So if we don't have accurate records for London for even 100 years what chance do we have for the more remote areas of the planet? You can't talk about global climate history when you only have records for a hand full of cities.
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