back to article Returning to the Moon on the European Service Module

NASA has set late August as the launch window for its much-delayed Artemis I rocket. Already perched atop the booster is the first flight-ready European Service Module (ESM). Five more are in the pipeline. Airbus industrial manager Siân Cleaver, whom The Register met at the Goodwood Festival of Speed's Future Lab, has the task …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "everyone's on the same page, everybody's working the same way and everybody's respecting each other's deadlines"

    It's called management done right.

    No time for stupid, arbitrary edicts. Just get the job done.

    An example to follow.

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware Bronze badge
      Joke

      I was gonna talk about best wishes for getting back to the moon, but now I'm daydreaming about my job with the absence of shortsighted infighting.

      It'd be so cool, people just working collectively toward a clear, common goal.

      However, this kind of mindset can't be a good thing to go into work with if one hopes to survive the workday, so quit it, Pascal.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      As long as everybody uses SI unit...

      1. R Soul

        Good luck with that now Shagger Boris's clown cabinet is bringing back the bushel and troy ounce. We've taken back control y'see.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        For whatever reason, I had cause to do a Google search to which countries are not using Metric units as standard/default, especially in everyday life. Apparently, it's only three countries in the entire world. Myanmar, Liberia and, of course, the USA. Both Liberia and Mynamar are currently in the process of converting.

        There's a still one or two outliers who have mainly metricated but for various reasons still use some non-metric units, eg the UK still using pints for beer and miles and miles per hour on the roads.

        Sometime very soon, only USA will be non-metric. Big enough not to care? Maybe, but I bet it's already an issue with some imports. I suspect they will be forced into metrication by the back door. It took the UK a long time (and in some case still is) in that some products, while measured in millimeters, are just conversion from the inches size. Most food products seem to have transitioned away from Oz and pints to grammes and Litres now, no more 454ml of milk etc.

        I'd expect something like NASA is actually metric and they only convert to Imperial for press releases aimed at the local population.

        1. Alistair
          Windows

          There's a still one or two outliers who have mainly metricated but for various reasons still use some non-metric units, eg the UK still using pints for beer and miles and miles per hour on the roads.

          Then there's us Canadians. Distances between land based locations in kilometers, Height of person in feet/inches, depth of precipitation in milimeters, weight of person in pounds, weight of food in kilos, weight of (workout) weights in kilos, weight of despair in short tons. And if you touch the maple syrup its measured in years in prison. Unfortunately we don't seem to have a measurement in either imperial or metric for the density of stupid in certain social media groups, but I suspect it would be in tons per cubic centimetre.

          <and yes, we mix the spelling types up as well, just to confuse everyone else>

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            "<and yes, we mix the spelling types up as well, just to confuse everyone else>"

            ...and neither us will even mention what the Quebecois get up to :-)

            FWIW, I'm in the UK and will be 60 years old this year. That means we started going metric and decimalised our currency[*] while I was in junior school, ages 7-11, so find it difficult to estimate sizes or weights in either system but can use both :-) A persons height, however, means nothing to me in metric. :-)

            [*] The "new" decimalised money, however, is not an issue. Aged about 8 when we changed, money didn't have a great deal of meaning to me back then, so really I've only ever used New Pence :-)

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              A persons height, however, means nothing to me in metric. :-)

              I do some work with children. I've asked, previously, out of interest, and none of them know their height in metres. Very few say they think of their weights in kilogrammes either.

            2. WhereAmI?

              I've got almost four years on you so I am fluent in metric and still pretty good in Imperial, switching between the two as needed. I have some rule-of-thumb conversions which make that relatively easy, especially as my wife for some reason cannot handle metric size measurements. Still, I remember measuring 'something' with a friend while repairing a motorcycle some years ago and the answer was 'six inches plus a centimetre'. It made perfect sense at the time...

            3. David Hicklin

              The "new" decimalised money, however, is not an issue

              I can remember the plastic coins learning about it in Junior school

            4. RegGuy1 Silver badge

              Bloody youngsters, coming on here, posting their opinions.

        2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Sometime very soon, only USA will be non-metric. …

          … Big enough not to care? Maybe, but I bet it’s already an issue with some imports. I suspect they will be forced into metrication by the back door.

          Here in the US, the use of metric units has been legal for trade since 1866. It’s common in retail for some items — soft drinks in 1 l, 1.5 l, 2 l, and 3 l plastic jugs; wine in 750 ml glass bottles, each with US customary equivalents marked — but we still mainly prefer items in US customary units, albeit with accompanying SI equivalents marked, e.g. butter sold by the avoirdupois pound in boxes marked “Net wt 16 oz (1 lb) 454 g”. With the exception of the survey foot and its multiples and divisions, all US customary units have been defined in terms of SI units since 1959.

          I’d expect something like NASA is actually metric and they only convert to Imperial for press releases aimed at the local population.

          Their local press release conversions are to US customary units rather than to Imperial units; we’ve never used Imperial units here.

          I’m close to your age, and we had a short-lived metric push here back in the mid 1970s — and none since. I can convert to and from metric readily enough, but it’s analogous to a “second language” in that I still think (and “grok”) primarily in terms of US customary units.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Sometime very soon, only USA will be non-metric. …

            Their local press release conversions are to US customary units rather than to Imperial units; we’ve never used Imperial units here.

            Yet, perversely, I've often heard "US customary units" referred to as "British units" despite the fact that many of them differ from British Imperial units, for instance a "pint" being 473ml there, and 568ml here.

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              Yet, perversely, I’ve often heard “US customary units” referred to as “British units” …

              … despite the fact that many of them differ from British Imperial units, for instance a “pint” being 473 ml there, and 568 ml here.

              I’ve never heard them called “British units” here, with the possible exception of the BTU (“British thermal unit”, not “Board of Trade unit”), which has a US customary definition of 1054.804 J (the initial temperature of its avoirdupois pound of water is 59 °F [15 °C]).

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Sometime very soon, only USA will be non-metric. …

            "US customary units."

            I still find it annoying when doing a factory reset on an HP printer that it still defaults to US letter paper size though. :-)

            IIRC, it was suggested that the newly formed US should depart from the Imperial system (I never heard it called US customary units before today), but Thomas Jefferson objected quite strongly and so it was decided to use a subset of Imperial measurements, choosing "standardised" things like gallon and pint etc., whereas the British Empire as was still used multiple different gallons, pints etc for different products as they'd not standardised on specific standardised measurements across the board yet.

            1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

              US customary units

              IIRC, it was suggested that the newly formed US should depart from the Imperial system (I never heard it called US customary units before today), but Thomas Jefferson objected quite strongly

              The Imperial system of units was introduced in 1824, about 35 years after the Treaty of Paris formalized UK recognition of US independence. In 1790, Thomas Jefferson (as Secretary of State under Washington) submitted this two-part plan to simplify the plethora of contemporary English units used within the US; the first part concentrated on reducing the number of units in use (e.g. to use only one gallon instead of the multiple gallons then in use — as it happened, he was not a fan of Queen Anne’s wine gallon, although that’s what was eventually decided upon here), and the second part was to make a “metric” version of English units:

              But if it be thought that, either now, or at any future time, the citizens of the United States may be induced to undertake a thorough reformation of their whole system of measures, weights and coins, reducing every branch to the same decimal ratio already established in their coins, and thus bringing the calculation of the principal affairs of life within the arithmetic of every man who can multiply and divide plain numbers, greater changes will be necessary.

              As a francophile, Jefferson admired the efforts of Lavoisier et al. in their efforts to reform French metrology (which had even more regional variants than English metrology), but he chose the path of keeping familiar names for new units, e.g. for units of length, redefining the point, line, inch, foot, decad, rood, furlong, and mile (well, the decad was an original definition), with each unit being redefined as 10 of the immediate subunits; it was based on a foot that was redefined as a fifth of a standardized rod length, with the redefined foot being slightly shorter than the modern foot of 30.48 cm. His redefined mile would thus have been nearly twice the length of the modern statute mile.

              Congress eventually settled upon a variant of the first part of the plan, to reduce the number of units in use; they had no taste for the second part of the plan. (The French eventually tried their own version of this, in the early 19th century, giving old names to their new units; unsurprisingly, it didn’t work well for them, and they eventually went back to the old new names for the new units, which started catching on internationally in the second half of the 19th century.)

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          no more 454ml of milk etc.

          And it's a testament to how far we have moved, that nobody has yet pointed out that a pint is 568ml, and a pound is 454g.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Bugger! Well spotted :-)

        4. Potemkine! Silver badge

          I'd expect something like NASA is actually metric and they only convert to Imperial for press releases aimed at the local population.

          NASA maybe, but not necessarly all of its suppliers

  2. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

    erm

    Gateway?

    Frederick would be pleased...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: erm

      Hee :-)

      1. Jonathon Green

        Re: erm

        Chee?

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    SLS - going where RocketLab has gone before

    CAPSTONE launched this morning and is on its way to NRHO.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: SLS - going where RocketLab has gone before

      To be fair, for those who didn't click through your CAPSTONE link, CAPSTONE is a part of the Artemis project to test the near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO). Assuming CAPSTONE is successful, Artemis plans to use the orbit as a staging area.

      Here's wishing them success (and I hope NASA provides an update on the Lunar Photon engine which should have ignited for its first burn by now).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where have El Reg's usual units of measurement gone?

    "the ESM is not pressurized and measures approximately 4 meters in length"

    What sort of meter: gas, water, electricity, sound, etc? How many square meters make a Wales?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Where have El Reg's usual units of measurement gone?

      My meter is rectangular.

      Well, a rounded off cuboid.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Where have El Reg's usual units of measurement gone?

      To be fair, if you're going after them for that, you should be properly pedantic and point out they spelt "pressurised" "wrong" as well.

      I think maybe the author is left-pondian where they speak English (Simplified) and not English (Traditional).

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        I think maybe the author is left-pondian …

        … where they speak English (Simplified) and not English (Traditional).

        Each side of the pond has its traditional bits and its simplified bits; for example, here in Medioleftpondia, I’d describe the season “fall” and the past participle “gotten” as English (Traditional) rather than English (Simplified). [However, “autumn” might be better described as English (Reformed) rather than English (Simplified).]

  5. Jim Mitchell
    Boffin

    Airbus industrial manager Siân Cleaver, whom The Register met at the Goodwood Festival of Speed's Future Lab, has the task of managing the assembly of the spacecraft, which will provide propulsion, power, water, oxygen and nitrogen for the Orion capsule.

    This sentence had me confused until I realized the plural of spacecraft, is, well, spacecraft. So there are more to complete.

    Ah, English, why do you suck so much?

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Ah, English, why do you suck so much?

      Back in the days of Old English, the plural of cræft was cræftas (and never cræft ). However, Old English came with its own baggage of distinct dative and genitive declensions, e.g. “of the [multiple] spacecraft” might have been rendered something like þára ƿeoroldrúmcræfta.

    2. GBE

      Ah, English, why do you suck so much?

      Ah, English, why do you suck so much?

      If you really want to know, I heartily recommend https://historyofenglishpodcast.com/

      There really are reasons behind all the weirdness. They're not usually good reasons, but it's not nearly as random as it might seem.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    ...old Space Shuttle bits are a limited commodity.

    How they must yearn for the days when all you had to do to get old shuttle bits was stand in America and wait.

  7. Richard 12 Silver badge

    So they'll have to redo man-rating

    For the sixth launch.

    Doesn't seem worth using the old shuttle bits.

    If all goes well, they get one test launch, then four manned launches, then have to redo the man-rating because it's a new engine.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: So they'll have to redo man-rating

      By ESM-5 someone might have cancelled the project or moved other mission goalposts but the rest of the systems should be settled by then.

      And that's presuming they don't have to make other changes along the way, which could have an effect on the choice of engine.

  8. John Robson Silver badge

    Pleasing???

    ""We've taken those directly from old Space Shuttles", Cleaver told us, which makes for a pleasing symmetry considering the mission."

    That's not a pleasing symmetry. Taking such bits of kit and throwing them away isn't particularly pleasing in today's world

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