back to article The International Space Station will deorbit in glory. How's your legacy tech doing?

The International Space Station is showing its age. It's older than a third of the population, over two and a half billion people who have never known a time without humans in orbit. Bits and pieces of it keep going wrong, most recently the EVA spacesuits; Russia may or may not be about to bail; and it's more Red Dwarf than …

  1. andy 103

    A strange set of priorities

    It still baffles me that nobody has found a replacement for Concorde yet. 30 years ago you could travel from London to Canada in about 3 hours. You can't do that now.

    Yet, we seem to be spending a huge amount of time and resource on looking at the wider universe. When things in our own planet are, for want of a better phrase, fucked.

    If there are such great engineering capabilities and bright minds on Earth - why has the speed at which we can move between 2 continents on our own planet decreased, why are we having such problems with renewable energy, etc etc etc?

    Personally I'm in favour of doing away with this, if it frees up time and resource to work on actual real problems we have here.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      There is already enough money on Earth to solve these issues already. We don't need to defund space to do so.

      The fact that an unlimited amount of money *still* wouldn't be enough to solve the issues on Earth caused by greed and criminals is all the more reason that we need to learn more about space. For example, last time, Bezos was up there for a couple of hours; I am hoping next time we can keep him up there for a couple of months at least!

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        Not even hours, he was up there for minutes

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          All that hype just for a couple of minutes? Typical celebrity crap!

          Darn, we are well off target. I was hoping to see him stranded up there permanantly during my lifespan :/

        2. Zarno

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          If Bezos is up for more than 4 hours or less than 3 minutes, he must need a space physician...

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      I'll stop downvoting this crap as soon as one of you "let's defund space to fix Earth" crowd can satisfyingly explain to me why every single space exploration article gets multiple comments in this vein, while articles announcing a movie remake, a new contract for a soccer player, or a new phone that's exactly like every other phone, hardly ever gets any. Why aren't you clamoring "let's defund videogames to fix Earth"? We spend more money on that than on space exploration.

      While you explain that to me, don't forget that we wouldn't even have climate science as we know it, if not for cheap satellite launches.

      Also, we are no longer using Concorde because it was insanely costly and could never last, and a good part of that is because it burned an ungodly amount of fuel for the mass it coult transport.

      1. andy 103

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        Why aren't you clamoring "let's defund videogames to fix Earth"? We spend more money on that than on space exploration.

        Because this article is about space exploration specifically, not video games. Had the article been "10 billion is being spent on a remake of Tomb Raider 1" then I'd probably have said something similar.

        That obvious point aside, it's interesting how all those who advocate spending this much on space exploration are largely not those who have to choose between things like heating and eating. Personally - and very thankfully - I am not in that category, but at least understand the position a huge number of less fortunate people are in. If I was in that category then I'm pretty sure not freezing to death this winter would be a higher priority than getting a high res image of some part of space!

        As for "...wouldn't even have climate science as we know it"

        Where do we even begin with this? Whatever knowledge you feel this has given us, it certainly hasn't been acted upon in a way where any of it has resulted in tangible benefits. Feel free to use examples of where you think it might have been. Just knowing that the climate is changing - and how dramatically - isn't going to be enough to save us. So just having acquired such tremendous volumes of data isn't quite as important as you'd like to suggest.

        1. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          Attempting to paint my opinions as invalid because I'm not actively freezing to death is one of the oldest logical fallacies. I am not starving or freezing to death, and that does not invalidate anything I say.

          > Just knowing that the climate is changing - and how dramatically - isn't going to be enough to save us.

          Wait, are you telling me that, since we don't have a fix right now, we might as well not even know that there is a problem? I hope you realize that awareness of a problem is a precondition for any possible solution?

          Moving on, though, there's an article, on this very site, on a bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange paying millions in bonuses to its staff - cryptocurrency, a sector that's burning through more resources than space programs, and that produces literally nothing for it. And yet, you are not there, you're here.

          It seems to me that your opposition to space science is stemming from an ideological position, rather than anything rational.

          1. andy 103

            Re: A strange set of priorities

            Attempting to paint my opinions as invalid because I'm not actively freezing to death is one of the oldest logical fallacies.

            OTOH, if you were freezing to death your own opinion might change considerably. Hopefully something equivalent will happen to you as that's clearly the only way you're going to be able to see this from more than the one perspective you have on the matter.

            I didn't actually state anywhere that spending on space exploration shouldn't happen _at all, ever_. The point being that if we were to prioritise what really matters on Earth right now... it's not space exploration.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A strange set of priorities

              > OTOH, if you were freezing to death your own opinion might change considerably

              But then would become little more than a biased opinion due to desperation. So would effectively be worthless.

              Sitting in the middle (not rich but not poor), i.e where the majority of guys on this forum are puts us at the best possible judgement. We are also likely the ones to contribute to the space funding *and* fixing of Earth via our taxes (if they weren't being stolen by criminals that is).

              What you are saying is nice in an ideal world but space exploration will at least result in *something*. Splurging our hard earned cash on damage control is a waste. Perhaps you should contact your local MP instead. I'm sure they will jump at the chance to fix the world ;)

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: A strange set of priorities

                There are certain people that don’t get space because they are missing that little bit of humanity that helped to push humans on and out of the caves. It is intrinsic in our nature to push boundaries, it is fundamentally human and when humans make discoveries that directly help people, it comes from the same place.

                You could stop space exploration today, it would not make any measurable difference to the misery that affects us. I’m fact it’s might get a bit worse. It is astonishing to me that people are so narrow minded that they don’t get that. Thankfully they are few.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          " those who advocate spending this much on space exploration are largely not those who have to choose between things like heating and eating"

          That's the same crappy argument my parents used to make - 'eat your veggies, don't you know there are starving children in Africa?'. The veggies I didn't eat then could not be eaten by starving African children anyway. Resource allocation doesn't happen like in some video game, there are costs to production, storage and transport that cannot be shifted around at will. Central Government spending also cannot be compared with the spending of billions of individual individual consumers, each of which has their own utility/resource allocation function.

          NASAs latest budget is $24billion, which sounds like a lot but is actually $80 per American (keeping in mind that because of tax bands etc, poorer people would be paying less than $80).

          The lowest-income quintile of Americans spend on average $4100 on food/yr, 90% of Americans spend $3000+ per year on petrol, average US utility bills are $2000/yr. $80 a year isn't nothing, but it's 1% or less of the basics budget even for the poorest people in the US.

          Now, US military budget is $800 billion (with probably a fair few more spent on black ops), almost 3 times the next one down which is China. Maybe if the US government wants to cut some spending to help families in need, that would be a better place to start?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        "We" can defund those things because "we" don't fund them.

        They are self funding businesses, and "you" fund them. If you want to defund them, go ahead and don't buy it. Send your money to Biafra instead. Use your freedom of choice.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          We absolutely do fund private companies, and we give them far, far more.

          The fossil fuel industry received around $5,900 billion in government subsidies in 2020 (IMF).

          For reference, NASA total funding in 2020 was $22 billion, ESA $5.5 billion.

          So something like 30-35 billion* on government spaceflight worldwide, meaning private fossil fuel companies got almost 200 (two hundred) times the government funding of government spaceflight.

          So to anyone thinking "why spend on space when...": Just think what could have been done with a mere 10% of the fossil fuel subsidies.

          (* I don't have figures for India and Jax space and of course China spaceflight is not published.)

      3. hoola Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        Whist I agree with you, it feels very arrogant of humans to believe that we can look at traveling to other planets as a way surviving given what a mess we have made on our planet.

        Yes space science has given us huge benefits but it is now reaching the point where it is becoming consumerised (is that even a word?). With that comes all the waste, excess and exploitation for money, not science.

        There are huge amounts of debris, launches are routine and most of the payloads now are not scientific but commercial. Even the missions to the Moon, Mars and some the various other rocky bits have left debris as it was too expensive (or completely impossible) to get the stuff back. Heck we have dropped litter on the Moon in the form of plastic bags that were discarded or mislaid. In know it was a long time ago and things have changed but even so it a sad reflection on mankind.

        So yes, space exploration is good but my personal feeling is that we are doing what we have done on Earth and are "crapping on our own doorstep".

        1. A K Stiles

          Re: A strange set of priorities

          Given that a bunch (96) of those plastic bags on the moon are full of astronaut poop, it literally is crapping on our own doorstep.

    3. Electronics'R'Us

      Many technologies that we have...

      Are as a direct or indirect result of space exploration.

      Many years ago, the effective return on investment was calculated to be between $8 to $40 for every dollar spent on space exploration. There are widely varying estimates for the good reason that some things are somewhat intangible - what is the value of an exoskeleton that lets an otherwise disabled person regain mobility? The science and engineering behind exoskeletons was originally developed from space exploration programmes.

      That is just one application of one of the advances we have due to space exploration of which there are literally thousands.

      NASA has a long write up []that goes into quite a few details.

      There has long been a programme that returns things learned in space to the wider economy - can't remember the programme name at present but it was active in the 80s and 90s at least.

      The experiments that are really only feasible in space have yielded amazing results over the decades.

      The funding for space exploration is an investment and to quite a large extent from private investment now.

      So please stop the 'it costs us money with no return'. The returns far outweigh the initial costs.

    4. boblongii

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      Why would you need to replace Concorde? It was a stupid idea and remains so. There's very little value in getting from London to Canada in 3hrs and, due to the laws of physics, a lot of unavoidable cost.

      If there were any value in it, we would still be doing it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        >There's very little value in getting from London to Canada in 3hrs

        Because Concorde is so important we need a special extra security line so please arrive at the airport 3Hours in advance

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        There is significant interest in this again in the niche market for the mega-rich..

        So there clearly is value in doing it.......

      3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        "There's very little value in getting from London to Canada in 3hrs"

        Evidently, I value my 3 hours more than you do yours.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      There are several commercial supersonic projects on the go now. Boom Supersonic seems to be the most advanced. Nothing built yet, but several airlines have committed to buying from them.

      NASA is also doing research on quiet supersonic aircraft with the X-59.

      Not mutually exclusive with also doing stuff in space.

      1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        several commercial supersonic projects on the go now

        Fireflash ??

    6. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      The Concorde was a money sink.

      That's why it died.

      Not saying super fast travel won't return someday, but who knows what form that will take.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: A strange set of priorities

        Elon Musk knows!

        Starship running through a tunnel, just like the Total Recall remake.

        (Gawd, hope I haven't just given him an idea; icon, icon, need an icon)

    7. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: A strange set of priorities

      "If there are such great engineering capabilities and bright minds on Earth - why has the speed at which we can move between 2 continents on our own planet decreased, why are we having such problems with renewable energy, etc etc etc?"

      Because each of those problems you mention is very complex and not easy to solve? Because solving problems for spaceflight have a positive impact on our understanding of those issues on earth (like solar panels and solar panel lifetime for one example)? Because the people working on spaceflight don't necessarily have the knowledge or competence to work on those issues? Because supersonic flight is extremely fuel inefficient, and the gain in time isn't worth the expense? Because sonic booms are loud and it's still not a solved issue, restricting flights of supersonic jets to routes that don't pass over places where people live, limiting them basically to either Western Europe to US east coast or US west coast to eastern Asia?

      Because renewable energy is shit, was always shit and will always be shit and we shouldn't be working to becoming reliant on them anyway?

      I can keep going but your basic premise is, quite frankly, a bit stupid imho.

  2. AnotherName

    As much as I love Concorde, it isn't the solution to the problems on Earth right now. It probably spent more years in development than in actual commercial operation. It cost too much to develop, too much to fly in and was never a commercial success that paid its way. What we do gain from projects like these though, is the developments that come out of solving the problems that arise - new materials, new designs, new methodologies, etc.

    Space is an even bigger source of new ideas, new technologies, new techniques and should be encouraged. It has helped us learn about and prove the state of the planet, far more than faster holiday trips for the rich ever could.

    What we don't see in IT is the adherence to standards and shared goals. It has become a competitive market that makes a few people very rich, who then go on to protect their gains instead of sharing them - both money and ideas.

    1. andy 103

      What we do gain from projects like these though, is the developments that come out of solving the problems that arise - new materials, new designs, new methodologies, etc.

      Maybe in theory. Hasn't quite worked out like that though, has it? That was very much the point of my original post. We have a lot of problems on Earth which - relatively speaking - should be easy for the brightest minds to solve. But that isn't happening and instead we're pumping money into exploration where the net benefits to people overall are actually quite negligible.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        So let's shut down all space exploration tomorrow... I'm sure that will have immediate dividends and unleash solutions for the energy crisis and food security the day after, right?

        BTW, a lot of space research focuses on energy and food.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          A very significant factor in space research is that our human physiology did not evolve to live in zero gravity and we suffer a lot of internal issues after being in space for a month or more.

      2. Filippo Silver badge

        > we're pumping money into exploration where the net benefits to people overall are actually quite negligible.

        We're also pumping money into the tenth Fast & Furious movie, and yet you're here and not there. Why?

    2. jmch Silver badge

      "It has become a competitive market that makes a few people very rich"


      ""It has become an oligopoly that makes a few people very rich""


  3. Cederic Silver badge

    false comparison

    Give a software engineering team $22bn and several years to build something to a concrete pinned down spec and they'll produce something that'll last for decades.

    Instead they get $22, a pizza and four months to build something that has its requirements changing on a continual basis while team members keep getting reallocated onto other tasks and the components they're using need to change every week due to the discovery of defects (which are caused by someone giving a software engineering team $22, a pizza and four mont... damn. Infinite recursion.)

    People have been building bridges for several millenia and they still fall down. Software engineering has been a discipline for less than a century and has transformed the world.

    Could it be done better? Of course. But perfection is never the goal of those funding it. 'Good enough' is good enough, and look what we've achieved as a result.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: false comparison

      Instead they get...

      Nevertheless, their software still lives on for (too) long, sometimes decades. It will not die in glory nor rain fiery death. But it might cause some hot heads and creeping morbidly from under the floor to bite you in your bottom painfully.

      I'd like to believe that I didn't create such legacy myself. I've seen some of those though which I wouldn't touch with a pole.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: false comparison

      Instead they get $22, a pizza and four months to build something that has its requirements changing on a continual basis while team members keep getting reallocated onto other tasks and the components they're using need to change every week due to the discovery of defects (which are caused by someone giving a software engineering team $22, a pizza and four mont... damn. Infinite recursion.)

      Ah, agile.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see what it means...

    NASA too is back to 1970s designs like IT had already done. This is because real lack of true skills. The "future"? We'll think about it tomorrow....

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Re: I see what it means...

      While the end-of-life drill for the ISS is very clean; there are other examples of space-tech with a legacy footprint. SLS anybody?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I see what it means...

        >While the end-of-life drill for the ISS is very clean

        Erm possibly, the ISS isn't exactly manouvaerable once it starts to re-enter and big bits with communications break off from the big bits with motors and the big heavy bits that are going to reach the ground in one piece

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: I see what it means...

          Maybe they have a plan to take it apart, turning it into a set of more manageable pieces to deorbit cleanly and, at the same time, train up more astronauts on space (de)construction techniques. Transferable skills for the Lunar Gateway station?

          Maybe. You never know, it could happen.

          (Or they could clear everything off the main truss and see how well the kinetic harpoon idea works?)

          1. Rich 11

            Re: I see what it means...

            (Or they could clear everything off the main truss and see how well the kinetic harpoon idea works?)

            There must be a Pacific atoll free and ready to use, that hasn't been struck by anything nasty since above-ground testing ended.

          2. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: I see what it means...

            Current plan is as described in the PDF linked in the article (though the timelines been amended. As far as I know currently de-orbit of the station isn't planned until no earlier than Januari 2031 so I don't know where the article gets the 5 to 8 years timeline from (minimum is 8).

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: I see what it means...

              There is a 'plan' but it involves simulations in the very well understood and well tested field of very-vary-large structures hitting the upper atmosphere at hypersonic speed.

              Then even if that does what the software says, the bits with the biggest motors with the most control get splattered first leaving you with less and less control as the orbit gets less well predicted

              Finally you lose comms to the remaining motors before you need to use those motors, so you pre-program a burn and hope that you got it right

  5. StargateSg7

    Probably doesn't help that there are also NUMEROUS US Air Force Space Stations the size of a School Bus hidden inside of various Keyhole and Newer series Spy Satellites used for Advanced Materials and chip-making research, photo imaging research, kinetic energy and directed energy weapons research and other defence related functions for the last 25 years now! It's an offshoot of the 1980's era SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative aka Star Wars) program initiated by President Ronald Reagan, not to mention the secret USAF TSTO (Two-Stage to Orbit) spaceplanes sending them there! So who needs the SSI?

    I might as well tell you about the whole fleet of large Flying Propane tanks and Cheese Wedges (as they are called in these flighty Black Budget aerospace grapevine circles i'm able to "access" cuz it'n not exactly all that "Top Secret: Q/EO/NOFORN" around here!) but that's another story for another day! There are so many space-related US-centric SAP/CAP (Special Access Programs/Compartmentalized Access Programs) for aerospace that it's a massive and EXPENSIVE giant spaghetti pile of interlocking space constructions and secret spaceplane systems and OTHER more esoteric transport systems.

    I've actually MAPPED OUT which "Black SAP/CAP Programs" get funded and run by whom and which programs are known/unknown by all the others and I've calculated over $25 Billion USD PER YEAR (almost Twice NASA's Budget) gets spent on these systems on a "Direct Black Budget Cost Basis" and that almost ANOTHER $30 BILLION USD of in-direct support and research costs borne by OTHER more "White Budget" projects!

    So in effect, the USA is ALREADY spending $55 BILLION USD on secret space living programs and secret aerospace transport systems that are ON TOP of what NASA already spends! So again, no more NEED for the ISS as the "Black Budget" stuff is more than working well enough for U.S.-centric Space Access and Space Living programs since 1995!


    1. jdb3

      This is a very strange comment. While the Random Capitalizing fairy has hit this ("School Bus"?), I find it interesting what you are saying.

      Are you trying to say we have other people up there, just not ones that have been publicly acknowledged?

      If "they" are keeping this all secret, that means they aren't sharing the research with NASA I would expect. Even if they share a bit, it's highly worth it to have a non-militarized, multi-country space station up there, as opposed to just ceding space to the military.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Are you trying to say we have other people up there, just not ones that have been publicly acknowledged?

        That's why you never see Lizard People astronauts - even though they would make much better astronauts than mammals.

        1. Little Mouse

          But wouldn't they fall asleep as soon as they got cold?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            >But wouldn't they fall asleep as soon as they got cold?

            You just keep the spaceship pointing at the sun.

            That's why you sent dogs into space and not cats, the cats would just find the ray of sunlight and go to sleep

        2. ITMA Silver badge

          "That's why you never see Lizard People astronauts"

          Don't get David Icke started FFS!

      2. StargateSg7

        As a bit of a background .....

        Our parent Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based all-Canadian Aerospace Company is the world's LARGEST manufacturer of ITAR-free high-performance 128-bit combined CPU/GPU/DSP/Vector Array Processors (60 GHz on GaAs). We are also the WORLD'S LARGEST manufacturer of storage memory used in SSD-like storage systems cuz we use them for our YottaFLOP-scale supercomputer systems located in our massive underground northern British Columbia, Canada datacentre which runs multiple instances of our WBE (Whole Brain Emulation) software which is a Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorous electro-chemical gating simulation of neural tissue within C++ classes. (i.e. 160+ IQ, 20 languages, PH.D-level super-intelligence, etc)

        This ALSO means we have massive innovations in reversible consumptive anode/cathode process Aluminum-Sulfur Battery technology (8x the energy density of Li-Ion per cubic litre of volume), massive innovations in Sheet Graphene super-capacitors (500 KWh charged to full in 4 minutes), acoustic-wave liquid metal plasma compression and super-heating for megawatt to terawatt-scale clean power production AND our fancy 148,000 lbs (67,131 kg) SSTO Spaceplane which DOES NOT USE aerodynamic principles to fly but rather uses Gigahertz and Terahertz waveforms waveguided within structured layers of Bismuth, Aluminum, Magnesium, etc. to form MASSIVE electrostatic fields that PUSH and PULL against the atmosphere.

        For far exospheric travel, we have GWASER-based (Gravity Wave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) propulsion systems that trap surface waves of millimetre-waveforms onto the surface of stainless steel waveguides and cavity resonators to form a VIRTUALIZED resonator/waveguide that keeps and traps high frequency and medium frequency gravity waves created by the collisions of heavy elements created within portable cyclotrons pulsed and controlled by powerful supercomputers so we can LASE them and create a linear series of pop-in/pop-out artificial gravity wells that distort and shrink local 3D-XYZ space which we can then "Surf Upon" as we travel wherever we want.

        It's a LITERAL HIGHWAY up past 1000 miles (1600 km) where there are so many Earth-based and non-human-made vessels that come and go from Earth that it's almost ridiculous that a few crashes aren't more common. AND YES we've got the still photos and videos TO PROVE IT!

        Ergo, for those of you IN THE KNOW ..... I have my A-Wings Patch AND my 22K Patch! Plus I've got the PHOTOS/VIDEOS I took of the USAF Cheese Wedges coming up from their base at Dryden or Utah and what I am assuming is Westchester, NY or Diego Garcia (Are the flying Propane Tanks Navy so they have to come up from AUTEC, or Whidbey/Olympic Penn/Alaska? --- not sure on that one).

        Anyways, there are over 30 active USAF/USN SAP/CAP programs TODAY as of 2022 working on all sorts of aerospace projects and I get to see the results of a few of them! Plus we have our OWN all-Canadian SAP/CAP programs at YVR which will soon be fully disclosed as FREE AND OPEN SOURCE under GPL-3 licence terms! Kinda hard to argue against and refute a 148,000 lbs spaceplane hovering silently over English Bay beach in Vancouver, Canada!


        1. John Sager

          That's some interesting Soma you're using there!

        2. Little Mouse

          "we've got the still photos and videos TO PROVE IT"


          Would these be actual photos & videos that are readily accessible to people outside of your immediate circle, or are they secret photos and videos that we just have to take your word on?

          1. StargateSg7

            The photos and videos are no secret BUT they will have FAAAAAAAR MORE PUBLIC WEIGHT assigned to them once we show off that fancy 148,000 lbs spaceplane we have stored in that secret hangar at YVR by making it hover silently over English Bay beach in the middle of the day!

            Like I said earlier, it would BE REALLY REALLY REALLY DIFFICULT to refute shat sort of high technology display which would make our still photos and video all that much more weighty in terms of evidence for both human-built and alien extra-solar capable spacecraft.

            The USA based it's advanced propulsion and space living systems technology upon systems created by the North American Aviation company in the 1950's and 1960's. LMCO (Lockheed Martin) Skunkworks, Northrup-Grumman Special Projects and Boeing PhantomWorks have further these advanced propulsion systems into working spacecraft and living systems since 1995 based upon funding that started in 1984 as part of the SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative aka Star Wars) program that was championed by President Ronald Reagan.

            Again, there are current AT LEAST 30 SAP/CAP aerospace projects running during 2022 that I have been able to find based upon the "Black Budget Grapevine" that I have been part of for the last 25+ years! THAT IS $55 BILLION USD worth of "Black Budget" spending PER YEAR that is hidden directly with the normal Congress approved Black Budget AND that which is scraped away from White Budget programs used as hidden in-direct research and development and technical support for those Black Budget Programs.

            This spending DWARFS NASA's public yearly budget by four times!

            We will be PUBLICLY DISCLOSING our spaceplane and all the other technology listed as FREE AND OPEN SOURCE under GPL-3 Licence terms soon enough! We are disclosing under GPL-3 all of our advanced DCI 16K camera systems and Specialty Prime and Zoom Lens systems FIRST and the the rest comes soon after.


        3. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          I have no idea what you're on about. But my medical incompetence asks: did you forget to take your pills?


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Random Capitalization is a trait indicative of markov chain models.

        But otherwise, what he's saying is there is a private Canadian company (that started off ~10 years ago as a satellite imagery analysis company) with clearly a multi billion dollar research budget and multi billion dollar facilities and infrastructure (including a hollow mountain) that has fantastic tech that will be open sourced any day now but for some reason the only guy who can talk about it or say anything at all about it on the internet decides to post it in random comment threads on the register, and his employer does nothing about this, despite taking down or preventing any other employee from mentioning either the tech or the existence of the company...

        1. StargateSg7

          The pseudonym of the company is North Canadian Aerospace (NCA) but it's been in business for 30+ years not ten! One of my personal friends is one of the partners (aka owners) who have lots of technical people and systems support behind them. It is NOT a small company!

          In just in the last 15 years, due to the completion of the GaAs 60 GHz combined CPU/GPU/DSP/Vector Array Processor systems development, they been able to advance in-house technology research and development to incredible levels!

          ALL executive board members of NCA have UNANIMOUSLY AGREED to publicly disclose almost ALL of the in-house developed aerospace, video-centric, computer processor and power production technology publicly under FULLY FREE AND OPEN SOURCE GPL-3 Licence Terms.

          Soon kiddos! Very Soon Now !!!! .... ALL will be revealed! We have a few OTHER SURPRISES but were not quite sure you're ready for THAT until the other stuff is disclosed FIRST!


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yes, yes, you've been saying similar several times a day for 5 years or so on these very forums, but nowhere else and neither is anyone else. Which is weird for a super secret multi billion dollar company, on so many levels.

            1. StargateSg7

              This is a start as these are reputable sites used as a public disclosure mechanism: (i.e. we can legally defend the nature and contents of the disclosure)

              CanonRumors: May require membership to read all depending on country: (Can see preview images)


              SCRIBD Membership Login Wall:


              The above discloses a rotating multi-image sensor block assembly and a soft disclosure of the Scandium Notch Filtered RGB-CMY-Luma-IR-UV-Photosite image sensor. i.e. meaning you see it here on paper first but can buy it for yourself once we put it into our for-public-sale Mil-Spec Ruggedized 810-K/IP-69-standards adhering waterproof, drop-proof, freeze-proof and heat-proof WORLD'S FIRST 128-bits wide DCI 16-K resolution colour camera and installed on our 128-bits wide super-smartphones, super-tablets, super-laptops and super-desktops. Available 2023!

              We are going all in on this public disclosure. Worldwide Technology will be jumping quite significantly within a few months.

              Remember: I am merely doing a soft disclosure in preparation for a HARD DISCLOSURE where the Camera and Computer systems will be disclosed and SOLD TO THE PUBLIC FIRST and then we can show off our 148,000 lbs spaceplane hovering silently over English Bay beach in Vancouver, Canada.

              Remember! This technology was originally developed by North American Aviation in the 1950's/1960's and has been kept under MULTIPLE SAP/CAP programs since then at LMCO/Northrup/Boeing/Scaled Composites, etc and various Top Secret:SCI USN/USAF/NRO-run programs since Ronald Reagan's days in the Oval Office!

              We are all-Canadian and fully ITAR-free and will be disclosing under FULLY FREE OPEN SOURCE GPL-3 Licence Terms!


        2. StargateSg7

          Actually, NO EMPLOYEE is restricted from commenting on any of the research!

          NCA management does NOT work that way. However, employees (about 380+ now) have a significant financial incentive to keep quiet as ALL are fairly quickly becoming significant multi-millionaires due to the patents filed by related companies that are secretly licencing the technologies created by in-house personnel.

          I am NOT an actual employee of NCA (North Canadian Aerospace - aka our pseudonym)!

          I am a 30+ YEAR PERSONAL FRIEND of one of the owners. Plus I don't even get paid for the Synthetic Vision Systems consulting and Encryption/Security/Database Systems consulting work I do for them. I get "paid" with 28 day aged Alberta Beef Steak dinners, nicely BBQ'ed Alberta Bison and more than a few shots of 25 Year old Scotch and Okanagan Ice Wine!


          I do receive un-used night-time computation on the Vancouver, Canada located 119 ExaFLOP 128-bits wide Supercomputer that nets me about 25 hours per month or about 428.4 ZettaFLOPS total per month at 128-bits wide per computation, which I have used for MY PERSONAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT that is UNRELATED to NCA's core functions mostly relating to materials research on Boron Nitride and Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube long-filament (10 metres and greater) mass-production and the relevant nano-scale product safety research which I will eventually monetize.

          I also have been allowed to PERSONALLY access the "Special Contacts" of NCA who have given me a reward that is TRULY PRICELESS !!!!! Let's just say that I will be able to SEE and USE the products of mine and NCA's research and development for a considerably longer time than anyone here on this website!


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Patents filed on secretly licensed tech you intend to GPL? Sweet deal.

            And the last paragraph- either you are one of the WBEs you mentioned, or intend to become one, or believe far too much sci-fi.

            See you in January 2024.

            1. StargateSg7

              We ALREADY HAVE PATENTS on various business and enterprise-level software products, metallurgical products (alloy formulas), Glass and ceramics, medical software, medical devices and pharmaceuticals licenced to 3rd parties which funds our operations. It's a quite significant income which is WHY every employee is basically a millionaire or more, including our youngest administrative assistants and they ain't quitting for quite a while! (there's a massive profit-sharing plan which you get when you stay!)

              The OTHER products which I have listed in earlier posts ARE BEING DISCLOSED as FREE AND OPEN SOURCE under GPL-3 Licence Terms.

              Our WBE has actually commented and posted on The Register, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter. Since it speaks/reads/writes 20 languages and works in parallel-mode, it has no problem posting anywhere and everywhere it wants.

              AND YES! We monitor it fully for security reasons and if necessary, we can STOP the entire WBE process and do a complete CORE AND MEMORY DUMP of the last 4 weeks of processing to analyze every decision made using a LINEAR AND NON-INTELLIGENT EXPERT SYSTEM.

              Remember! Our WBE (Whole Brain Emulation) code is merely an iterated set of electro-chemical states and a basic molecular-scale chemistry simulation stored and run as an extremely large multi-dimensional class/object array that is now divided up into multiple instances of ONE MILLION by ONE MILLION by ONE MILLION of C++ class-based array elements that have multiple internal values iterated on a linear time basis using an array of ZERO-to-N where N is the current nanosecond and ZERO is the start of the array values iteration which are based upon simple rules of Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Glucose/Protein/Enzyme, etc production, attraction, repulsion, gating and pass-through rules.

              That process grows a digital brain which eventually turns into neurons which self-organize and become generic human-specific neural structures that can be TRAINED exactly like a human child but much, much faster! Ergo, we now have multiple artificially-intelligent 160+ IQ Ph.D-level super-intelligences used for research and development purposes that are guided and reviewed by real-world Ph.D's !!!

              And those A.I.'s (WBE's) are located in our northern British Columbia data centre which is currently 20 Million Square Feet inside of a very large and super-remote mountain powered by a massive methanol-based Proton-Exchange-Membrane (PEM) fuel cell setup. It takes TWO HOURS to drive in good weather using 4x4 off-road vehicles to the site it is so remotely located. In winter it takes even longer to drive or we use the snowmobiles and tracked Fast Snowcat vehicles!

              ThunderHorse (One YottaFLOP at 128-bits), DragonSlayer (One YottaFLOP at 128-bits), FyreScreamer (Five YottaFLOPS at 128-bits) and Quasar's Child (10 YottaFLOPS at 128-bits upgrading to 25 YottaFLOPS by March 2023) are the world's fastest supercomputers of any kind and they are ALL running 24/7/365 running WBE's and linear expert systems used for various scientific and medical-centric research and development!

              We get a LOT of patent income out of these supercomputers due to the "Islands of Discovery" they make which lets our real-world scientists and engineers focus very hard on only the specific areas where an income-earning patent can be obtained from. Our real world human scientists do the actual hard work of finalizing and testing real world research but the A.I.'s point out WHERE they should be looking closer!

              The income of our OTHER patentable work lets us OPEN SOURCE the more generic discoveries we make!


            2. StargateSg7

              Wait until you see our sheet graphene super-capacitors which wraps each 2D-XY hexagonal carbon atoms sheet with a CHEAP GLASS insulator that is only six atoms thick (just enough to prevent electron tunneling) but enough to form the net positive and net negative charge gathering layers.

              Since capacitors need SURFACE AREA to store any significant charge, it is the sheer amount of surface area created by something that is literally only 7 atoms thick plus another multi-atom thick extra separation and current conduction/tunneling layer wrapped layer-by-layer into something the size of a double-length D-Cell that creates an enormous amount of stored energy!

              It is notable that the voltage (i.e. electron pressure) and SPEED of discharge is much, much faster than any other material configuration. This means high current FAST discharge supercapacitors suitable for ground electric vehicles, marine vessels and aerospace applications is very feasible with this type of capacitor technology!

              It also charges much faster! That means a 500 KWh battery block can be charged in less than FOUR MINUTES! (480 Volts at 200 amps)

              Since you want to PREVENT electron tunnelling, I have been told the glass formula used for the dialectric IS CRITICAL! But they found a cheap glass formula using advanced electron-orbit simulation at the atomic scale to see HOW the Carbon sheets interact with multiple dialectrics and what the PREMIERE dialectric sheet thickness configuration and glass formula should be.

              While I am not a chemical engineer or physicist, I do understand on a very general basis WHY this works so well. These are now IN REAL WORLD TESTING but is still ten years behind our reversible consumptive anode/cathode process Aluminum-Sulfur battery tech which I understand is being disclosed in December 2022 or sometime first quarter 2023.

              The ONLY OTHER material that might outperform sheet graphene are long-filament single-walled boron nanotubes oriented as long single sheets of unbroken nanotubes which we are ALSO now being simulated and tested virtually on our supercomputer systems. The sheer nano-scale size of the boron nanotubes allows for individual streams of electrons to be collected, stored and carried within said structure WITHOUT tunneling through the walls of the Boron nanotubes. That means no current leakage and a vaaaaaast electrical storage capacity that is probably TEN TIMES that of sheet graphene super-capacitors per unit of volume. (i.e. in litres)

              The science teams that are working on the sheet graphene and boron nanotube super-capacitors now have an official in-house competition that is to be scored to a well-defined mass-manufacturability level. The prize is Two Million Canadian Dollars ($1,400,000 USD) per team member to the winning team who gets to mass-production ready scales. (i.e. Nobody really loses though as the retail sales of the supercapacitors are part of the profit sharing plan so ALL people at NCA will benefit!) They even have the biker-style leather jackets with back logo patches and custom made beer steins (i.e. stone beer mugs) indicating the team name and a logo of the technology used! So if you see biker jackets with Carbon and Boron logos named on the back in the Metro Vancouver area or during your travels, you know it's NCA science teams!

              That a pretty cool and fun thing to do as motivation!


    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      You and AmanfromMars must get along well.

    3. ITMA Silver badge

      You've stopped taking your medication again, haven't you?

      1. StargateSg7

        NOPE! I take PLENTY of 25 year Old Scotch and Okanagan Ice Wine medication which is downed after my BBQ'ed 28-day aged and well-seasoned One Inch Thick (2.5 cm) Alberta Beef and Alberta Bison Steaks with Fries (i.e. chips!), Corn on the Cob and LOTS of Red Onions and Mushrooms pan fried in butter!

        THAT is my medication and I haven't stopped it EVER!


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software Engineering - NOT

    It cannot be called Engineering until it has rigorous standards backed by a body enforcing those standards!

    You wouldn't employ an un-Chartered Accountant to submit your company accounts. (ACCA, ICAEW, and 4 others)

    You wouldn't employ an unqualified Electrician to rewire your house. (NICEIC, IEE, IET)

    You wouldn't employ an unqualified Gas Fitter to replace your boiler.(IGEM)

    You wouldn't visit an unqualified Doctor or Pharmacist. (BMC, GPhC)

    You even need a registered person to take waste from your house!

    So why do firms employ people without software qualifications and without membership of a professional body that assess their qualifications and continued learning?

    I will get my flameproof jacket with CITP certificate, BCS and IEEE memberships.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Software Engineering - NOT

      So people with a PEng know how to make perfectly engineered software?

      Or does this just mean that you have to pay 1K/year for a MSCE certificate and all software is Excel macros?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Software Engineering - NOT

        Or does this just mean that you have to pay 1K/year for a MSCE certificate and all software is Excel macros

        Best not to pay for a certification that hasn’t existed for almost 2 years now.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Software Engineering - NOT

          But if everyone who uses computers professionally is required to have certification then it wouldn't expire.

          As long as you keep paying your PEng subs they aren't coming round to make you re-take any exams.

          After all if a civil engineer can graduate and then keep stamping drawings for 40years why would that be different for software?

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Software Engineering - NOT

      "So why do firms employ people without software qualifications"

      Probably because there currently aren't any software qualifications that are worth their salt. They're almost entirely just about the knobs and levers of some specific language or dev system - not about the underlying principles, knowledge and application of which would eliminate a lot of the problems.

      I've been promoting the idea of creating some truly independent standards internationally for at least a decade, but the response so far has been either silence or some statement to the effect that "it would be too expensive".

      But BTW, speaking as a chartered engineer and professional member of more than one professional institute, I can certify that CPD has seriously lost its way in the IT sphere. It's become little more than a money spinner for providers and an administrative clocking up exercise for practitioners. For example, I used to sit on a cross-party IT panel advising our parliament, and I contribute to the content of international standards on the subject, but for these activities I get the (at best) the same points per hour as for sitting at the back of the hall in someone else's powerpoint presentation.

      To raise software development to an engineering discipline, what's needed is an agreed set of international standards based on genuine best practice coupled with the obligation to adhere to them. The big problem, however, is who gets to set the standards. In most cases in the IT sphere as a whole, 'best practice' means no more than most common practice, and that's what gets enshrined in public standards as they're typically based on a consensus of practitioner opinion. Consequently improvement is really hard to achieve.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Software Engineering - NOT

        You would just need an International Building Code for software. The spec says that apps must be 640K and that remains the law until every jurisdiction and every professional body agrees to a change

        1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

          Re: Software Engineering - NOT

          Yes, but 640k is 10 x more than anyone will ever need!

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Software Engineering - NOT

            That's the nice thing about building codes, they are 10x overspecced for somethings while hopeless inadequate for others - but they are the rules so what can you do?

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Software Engineering - NOT

      In order to have a body that enforces standards, you would first need to have standards. Currently, software engineering as a discipline doesn't have them - not in the same sense as civil engineering, electrical engineering, etc.

      All we have is a loose set of best practices that rarely gets scientifically tested, and is changing all the time anyway. You can't build a certification worth a damn on that.

      I have an engineering certification from my country's board of engineers, the same organization that certifies other people as qualified to build skyscrapers, and I assure you that if I had to hire someone to write some software, whether they have that certification or not would make very little difference to my choice.

    4. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: Software Engineering - NOT

      Can explain why across on the other side of the pond (North Amercia) they call train drivers "engineers"?


      1. Phones Sheridan Silver badge

        Re: Software Engineering - NOT

        2 reasons,

        First is that what we call train drivers, over there were originally called enginemen. Over time this became abbreviated to engineer.

        Second is the American habit of adding "eer" onto the end of a verb, to describe what a person does. i.e. engineer - someone who operates engines.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    End of Life

    The day any software project includes a definite end of life date with a definite shutdown and removal procedure is the day that software engineering grows up.

    I don't expect to see it in my lifetime.

    1. John Sager

      Re: End of Life

      Seen any bridges, or nuclear reactors like that?

      1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

        Re: End of Life

        Fair point, but Civil Engineering structures generally do have a design life. Bridges get replaced. Nuclear reactors are closed (or life extended) at the end of their life

  8. Locomotion69


    Any IT solution is out there because it just "works", it fulfils a need today as it did for the last >put your number here< years. So why spend money to bring it up to date with current technology? It will take long to complete, extensive training, many trials and even more failures and in the end we end up with something less we had before and users complaining that the previous version was far better.

    This is why "old" languages like COBOL and (forgive me) C are still around and alive.

    Your software will only "deorbit" when the need for it is gone.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I was hoping the re-entry would be uncontrolled

    It would be my only chance at getting a piece of the space station!

    (and no, I'm not actually joking)

    1. Mr. V. Meldrew

      Re: I was hoping the re-entry would be uncontrolled

      I'm with you on this. Assuming it came down in one piece, which is very unlikely. Which piece would you take and why?

      I'd go for a solar panel and put it my garden, needs must at these difficult times in the UK.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: I was hoping the re-entry would be uncontrolled

        I fear that the solar panels are unlikely to make it down, but perhaps something like a ceramic would survive?

        Although, at the speed it arrived, you may feel somewhat incommoded by the commode, a-ha-ha.

  10. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    What has agile taught us?

    "What you cannot find is an attempt to systematically analyze what agile has taught us about software engineering and project management, in its own terms or in the context of the total history of software."

    What does that actually mean and how is it different from the previous sentence?

    "You can easily find many discussions of how well it did these things, whether its time has passed, and what strengths and weaknesses have been exposed over two decades."

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: What has agile taught us?

      I did rather feel as though Rupert had pressed send a bit too quickly when he was reviewing the software bot generated article before publishing!

  11. flat wrong

    Software engineering is an oxymoron.

    I remember reading "The Mythical Man Month" in the seventies. I remember watching hierarchical database systems fade from relevance in the Eighties as RDBMs replaced them.

    I lived through waterfall development and function point analysis (the results were always depressing and sure to get your project cancelled due to honesty).

    During the dot bomb, I watched managers throw people at late projects. In the early aughts, I repeatedly told MS developers that their XML based file system was doomed because XML is hierarchical and has traversal issues (the technical evangelist told me I was an old idiot and they know more than we did because they are young and brilliant). The agile developers told me they return results faster, but the original Raytheon agile team shutdown their project after 11 years with it incomplete.

    The reason there is no software engineering is tech investors believe there are unicorns which pairs them with adolescents who will sell them dream without the experience to create a reality.

    1. Rich 11

      Re: Software engineering is an oxymoron.

      Am I showing my age if I agree with you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Software engineering is an oxymoron.

        Yes. With age comes experience, and sometimes wisdom.

        1. Rich 11

          Re: Software engineering is an oxymoron.

          Oh well. One out of two ain't bad.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Software engineering is an oxymoron.

      One quote from TMMM is particularly relevant here: “The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.”

      Many of the professions quoted previously are rooted in basic laws of physics. Biology*, the root of medicine and pharmacy, is slightly less well tied down (we're usually pleased to get 2 sigma) but still based on the physical world. The difference between these and software is real.

      * A long time ago there were threats to make the practice of various sciences dependent on membership of the relevant chartered institutions so I took the pre-emptive step of joining mine. If its regular publication was any guide it seemed to be largely populated by biology teachers and the best bit of said publication was the regular page of exam howlers.

  12. that one in the corner Silver badge

    We'll none of that here

    Lessons learnt - well, we wrote them down and put that into the Document Store (cue choir of angels)

    Then, TRADITION!

    Each time a New Project to build The Next Generation of our product has started, the New Team has chucked away all of the preceding versions' work, including any tooling that may have been created to get the job done: "Everything important is in the new deliverables spec". Which, once again, only tells us what the customer will see, not how we got there.

    Cross-platform Makefiles with features to fit our procedures (and extra builtin help)? Nah, we want to just start small, no need for all that. Put this guy on it; ignore that he has just googled all the basic how-to's and manuals that are already in this directory on the server.

    Collection of OSS libraries that we've built on all the platforms already and have sorted by licence, collected in one tree and shared from there? Nah, to Github we shall go again; ooh, look, Fred's branch has a copy of the same library I'm just downloading, that makes the fourth different version of it in our new repo. Didn't the author change the licence from MIT to GPL at some point? What fun!

    Compact scripting language? Nah, this one is all the fashion - see, yours doesn't even have has half as many books written about it!

    You have a tested Over-The-Air firmware updating tool? Cool, always wanted to write one of those! Don't understand that the cryptographic signing though, but XOR is good enough.

    Tool to generate Open Source compliance document? Doesn't work with our new build but don't worry, we can just do it manually in Word as we go along. So, did we use Fred's branch in the end?

    Copy to go into escrow? Easy peasy, our build just gets all these libraries fresh from Github, no need to put *them* onto CD/USB, they'll always be there. Don't be so old-fashioned.

    (At this point, I may be getting a bit ranty, so shall stop and lie down for a bit)

  13. Bartholomew

    Anyone know if this is possible ?

    How much effort would it take to change the orbit, and send the ISS on a super slow trans-lunar injection orbit, because even if it took 10 to 20 years to get there and was eventually crashed into a graveyard site on the surface of the moon. Putting useful raw material there that can eventually be recycled in my mind would make more long term sense than depositing it into the spacecraft cemetery under the sea here on earth in the south pacific ocean uninhabited area.

    A lot of energy was expended on getting that mass out of earths gravity well into low earth orbit, why just dump it back down again ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone know if this is possible ?

      I have always wondered why you can't have an ion drive or laser vaporising drive using whatever trash you have as reaction mass instead of deorbiting it

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Anyone know if this is possible ?

      There is much to be said to change ISS's orbit so it stays up there as a relic of our first steps into space, potentially outlasting the life form that put it there...

  14. bernmeister

    Legacy tech v New tech

    The comparison between old and new consumer tech shows some important points. The high cost and short life of new tech raises the question of why is it often expensive and short lived, does it need to be? Ignoring the needs of industrial and scientific applications look at the tech that the man/woman in the street gets these days. Computerised everything, cars, cookers, fridges, watches etc. Computers have their place in life but not everywhere. You can switch a llightbulb on and off without a computer, you dont need to design a car in such a way that failure of the CANbus completly immobilizes the whole vehicle. The list of unneeded tech is long. I wont even bother analysing the need for smartphones.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Legacy tech v New tech

      Even in PLC-land asset lifetimes are still usually no better than 10 years. At least, not without carrying significant risks because of the the shortcomings of software.

      The most obvious problem is that vendors want to sell their next product, thus enforced obsolescence because reasons puts an end of life on parts. For all it's age and inadequacies, DOS persists in such environments - because it is very small, simple, and minimal attack surface. More featured systems tend to last a lot less. I have had one vendor in particular that we had a service contract with - which wasn't worth the paper it was written on - if a device needed attention and wasn't "a current model" the tech support answer was buy a new one. Needless to say the vendor has been axed along with the service contract. We could fight them in court over not complying with the the terms of their agreement but honestly the cost of doing so is better spent on finding something else.

      The moment you lob a more featured system into the mix, the liability that are firmware updates, software, the need to repeatedly connect to systems etc. open up whole cans of worms for maintenance that older equipment could basically be left and ignored.

      Implications for total cost of ownership and delivering services are obvious.

      And the motivation for a vendor to create a box that DOES have the functionality and lifetime support we want is equally obviously limited. (There are exceptions, but of course the price tag inevitably balloons - and then you are into arguments over borrowing more money today with a view to lower TCO)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Legacy tech v New tech

        "Needless to say the vendor has been axed along with the service contract."

        I hope you got as high powered as possible sales team along to try an flog the next generation and then explained to them why they were being excluded.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Legacy tech v New tech

          Legally speaking, past performance cannot be used to judge future tenders. Which is one reason why Crapita got government work again and again.

          In this case there is a shortfall in future people to educate (but el Reg is very welcome); and the dubious vendors offerings are amongst the most expensive of their type. As such they have ruled themselves out of future work.

          The real skill is writing your tender criteria in such a way you get who and what you want.

  15. 2Fat2Bald

    I've been working in computer for a long old time. If I had a penny for every time I've seen hacked off techies forced to support some hopeless old system because manglement believe that every year it has another year in it, i'd be a very rich man indeed. Users groan over the lack of speed, managers groan over the frequent downtime and inability to produce reports, techies grumble about the continual fiddling and lack of security - but it's always put off because it does not "drive revenue".

    Then. One horrific day, part of the legacy kit underpinning it breaks.

  16. Spanners Silver badge


    Why doesn't some humungously rich nerd pay for the fuel to move the ISS to a much higher orbit?

    I know that one managerial attitude is just to destroy everything so that the next shiny thing can br brought about.

    If it was going to be broken up for its (very expensive) scrap, that would be one reason, if not a very good one. Just to melt it dow in a few minutes and dump it on the bottom of the seabed seems pretty pointless.

    Stick it up in a Lagrange point and forget about it. Future archaeologists and film makers will thank you!

    1. cmdrklarg

      Re: Why?

      The amount of delta-V needed to get the ISS to a Lx point would be enormous, plus the station would probably not stand up to the necessary thrust.

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        OK about the total delta-V but it doesn't need high acceleration to do that. In a (nearish) vacuum, you can do it at 0.1 m/s2 just as effectively as 10.

        That was why I asked for an ultrarich person. getting rocket fuel up there is never going to be cheap.

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