back to article Soichi to join three-spaceship club, SpaceX is going to the Moon (no, really), and rocket boffins step up COVID-19 fight

Welcome to another roundup of the week's rocket-based tomfoolery for space nerds. Let's jump straight into it. Hello to Soichi The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency announced that astronaut Noguchi Soichi is to start training to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the first operational SpaceX Crew …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Volodymyr Levykin

    Thank God for people like him.

    Him and all medical personnel who are on the front lines and putting their lives on the line in order to help everyone in this time of crisis.

    These are the people who restore my faith in the future of Humanity.

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    To consider Skylab surely you also have to consider MIR (and other Russian stations*), the ISS, the two Chinese stations...

    The lunar lander is peculiar amongst spacecraft because it started and ended in space without passing through a (substantial) atmosphere, rather than starting on earth and journeying to space (and back in the case of manned craft)

    But it was the only vehicle capable of making that landing. I would therefore suggest that it is a craft, but that only two of each crew got to fly in it.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      The Lunar Lander definitely started its journey on Earth, like the command module it was flying with. It just didn't have crew in it.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        You could reasonably argue that the lander was cargo until the in flight rearrangement manoeuvre.

        Is a car a car when on a truck? Does that phase of delivery count against the car’s mileage?

    2. Jaybus

      If the lunar lander was not a spacecraft, then the Bell X-1, and all of the other drop launched vehicles, were not aircraft. They flew it from orbit, landed, then flew it back into orbit. Of course it was a spacecraft. As for the ISS, Mir, etc., they are not "flown" from point A to point B, so are space STATIONS for the same reason a floating dock is not a "seacraft". All just nomenclature, but the lunar lander was clearly a spacecraft.

  3. oiseau
    Thumb Up



    ... who are on the front lines and putting their lives on the line in order to help everyone in this time of crisis.

    Indeed ...

    My thoughts go out to them everyday.

    Lets hope (and fight if necessary) that when this crisis gets solved and things start working again, they don't get cast aside like governments/society usually does with people like them, ungratefully forgetting about them.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forgotten

      Many of them are already forgotten about!

      My other half is an independent rural Pharmacist, and with GP's seeing even less people than usual, she is inundated with the sick. As it is, for the last 15 months, she has seen at least one heart-attack in progress in her shop per month!

      I say forgotten as:

      * she has not been able to buy sanitisers and specialist cleansers for over a month (as it's all going to the NHS)

      * she has not been able to buy Paracetamol, or children and baby versions of Calpol for over a month (because the wholesalers supply their own shops first!)

      * she is being challenged by the sick and angry constantly because of the above

      * she has no PPE to use when she fills the dosette boxes for 2 retirement villages and a large number of old peoples homes (she normally wears mask and gloves to avoid contamination of the tablets)

      * she has not been able to buy PPE for months (as it's all going to the NHS or the wholesalers' shops)

      * she has not been given any PPE by the NHS

      Pharmacists are the front-line for the NHS, the only people most of the public can see, but they have zero protection from this illness.

      [Anonymous because the NHS Trusts are threatening their staff to not say anything about the shortages - see Guardian article today.]

  4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    With apologies...

    The vehicle will lug up to five metric tonnes of cargo to the Gateway

    The tonne is already metric

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: With apologies...

      For sure, it is. But since we've lost a Mars probe because of Imperial and Metric confusion, it seems prudent to take every opportunity to be clear.

  5. Mage

    demonstrated broadband speeds of 400Mbps

    But for what size of area / projected number of users?

    Bare in mind that ONE street cabinet, even for cable or VDSL, might have 100 times that capacity of fibre feeding it and at least more than twice. Just for maybe 1/2 a street ( short suburban European/UK one, not the US concept).

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: demonstrated broadband speeds of 400Mbps

      Are any US streets longer than the UKs Ermine & Dere Streets at 200+ miles each?

      Something the Romans did for us :)

      1. RM Myers

        Re: demonstrated broadband speeds of 400Mbps

        Depends on how you define street. Many of interstate highways would be far longer, as would other federal highways such as US 40 or U.S. 41 (Dixie Highway).

      2. jt_Canuk

        Re: demonstrated broadband speeds of 400Mbps

        Yonge Street is 1896 km (1178 miles), extending from the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto, to Rainy River at the Ontario/Minnesota border. Farther than the distance from Berlin to Moscow.

        Until the 1960s and maybe even into the 1970s, street addresses of houses in towns in western Ontario could run to 5 or 6 digits. In the mid-1960s our address only 25 mi. north of Toronto changed from a 5 digit number to "400 Yonge St.", as every town was given permission to index from zero at the town boundary.

        Parts of Yonge St. between towns were named "Highway 11" on maps in the 1970s as a highway nomenclature was introduced, and in small towns it is not uncommon for sections of it to have been renamed (the most common options being Main, King or Queen St. - politicians aren't especially imaginative) but it remains Yonge Street nonetheless.

        We can't thank the Romans, but can credit the British: the first section of the road (to Lake Simcoe, where water links enabled canoe travel to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron) was surveyed & launched by John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1793 (co-incident with the founding of the city of York, now Toronto). The road as surveyed is claimed to have followed native trails, but in fact runs pretty much dead straight (like many Roman roads), conforming to surveyed grids overlaid on maps of the time.

        Much of the early road was built as corderoy (logs, laid side by side in the mud - you can imagine how hard this was on wagons & horses of the day) by homesteaders, as a condition of their receiving free land title. They received title to a section of land 1.25 mi. on a side - the distance between surveyed concession lines (major roads, now) on condition that they built a house & outbuildings (barn, shed), cleared a portion of the forest to farm, and cleared the road allowance up the side of the property, within one year. Doing this with horse or oxen on your own or with minimal assistance was a super-human effort. Ontario was heavily wooded with virgin forest (massive trees, long since logged) on glacial till plains & moraines: the soil was full of rocks & glacial "erratics" (boulders left by receding glaciers), lakes, rivers & swamps.

        Tolls were soon imposed by farm owners who had to build & maintain their section of the road; this became a significant impediment to trade within the province. The government had to pass an edict banning the imposition of tolls, and maintenance was eventually assumed by local townships in the 1800s, and the province in the 1900s.

        While we thank the British not the Romans for our first major transportation foray north, it is worth noting that when completed to Lake Simcoe in 1796, Yonge Street was named after the British Secretary for War Sir George Yonge... an expert on Roman roads.

  6. Mark 85

    Space junk?

    So the satellites that OneWeb will soon be just so much space junk in orbit. Pity that satellites aren't required to have de-orbit capabiliies. Musk is just adding to this with his little birds.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Space junk?

      They're low Earth orbit satellites. De-orbit is built in.

    2. 96percentchimp

      Re: Space junk?

      IIRC, Musk's satellites are designed to safely deorbit for end of life or on-orbit failure, and one of the early tests was to ensure this would work as planned.

    3. jt_Canuk

      Re: Space junk?

      OneWeb's satellite network, like the rest of its assets, will almost certainly be acquired & put to use by someone else. That's what Chapter 11 & bankruptcy is for.

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