* Posts by Flocke Kroes

3376 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

International Space Station actually spun one-and-a-half times by errant Russian module's thrusters

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: 4, 3, 2, 1 Earth below us

I tried to find the propellants used by Nauka and the closest I could get was it is a descendant of the TKS spacecraft. That used unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide. 252ppm of UDMH will kill half a rat in 4 hours. I could not find a figure for NTO but I think it is deadly at a few parts per billion.

Space craft designers make sure everything to do with these propellants is outside the pressure hull so someone would have to put on a space suit, go outside and dismantle Nauka to find a ball valve. There are probably several buttons that could be pressed to turn of the thrusters from inside Nauka. At the time the hatch was closed and so that a leak or poor docking seal would show up as a drop in pressure.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

There is something they did tell us

Reuters wrote Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote Dmitry Rogozin said:

"Everything was going well but there was a human factor. There was some euphoria (after successful docking), everybody got relaxed,"

I believe "relaxed" is a common misspelling of "drunk".

US govt calmly but firmly tells Blue Origin it already has a ride to the Moon's surface with SpaceX, thanks

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: $2B

Amazon Prime discount?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Fly me to Venus

The Russians already landed stuff on Venus. Chris Beck from Rocket Lab has plans to send stuff there and has working orbital rockets with a viable path to re-use.

Jeff's big dream is to eventually move Earth's industry to space in giant orbital colonies. That is original and ambitious even compared to his savings account. Blue Origin got off to a slow but sane start with New Glenn until Jeff hired a new management team made of ex-Aerojet Rocketdyne employees (the ones who lost the Vulcan engines contract to Blue's previous management). Blue then switched to old-space strategy: lobby for government funds and ever lasting contracts with a promise to spread the pork to every state.

On the day I gave up on Jeff ever delivering things to orbit there were rumours that he is actually taking a step in the right direction: a stainless steel re-usable stage 2 to go on top of New Glenn made by a team unrestricted by the new old-space management.

SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit already have working orbital rockets. I expect Astra will have soon and that ULA will get Vulcan to orbit before New Glenn but I now pencil in Blue ahead of Estes and with the staying power to survive the inevitable blood bath when investors work out there are more aspirational launch providers than payload manufacturers.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: One way trip

To be fair, the Orion capsule (the bit that takes astronauts most of the way to the moon and back) has had two successful tests of its launch about system, has gone to orbit (with help from a Delta IV Heavy) and returned to Earth safely (in 2014). Its worst problem is that bits of it are dying of old age waiting for SLS.

Russia says software malfunction caused Nauka module to unexpectedly fire thrusters, tilt space station

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Several possibilities

Not sure if modern malware runs on Vista.

International Space Station stabilizes after just-docked Russian module suddenly fires thrusters

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Made from old baked bean cans.

Before laughing too hard it is remotely possible that one day Orion capsules will launch on SLS rockets. Perhaps some of the younger commentards here will still be alive if this happens and can recommend Roscosmos for their proven ability to recover from issues with antique space hardware.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: System Integration is Hard. In Space it is Harder.

On the way to the ISS they could not initially use the main engines because of gasses in the propellant lines. Fixing this was hindered by communications hardware problems and because they can only communicate when Nauka is over a ground station. By the time communications were re-established the tank pressure was too high to use the main engines and they had to use the smaller ones instead.

Overall, an excellent recovery by the operations team. They presciently used far more propellant than initially planned which proved useful when dealing with the unexpected thruster firing after docking.

Ex-health secretary said 'vast majority' were 'onside' with GP data grab. Consumer champion Which? reckons 20 million don't even know what it is

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Security definition of "trusted"

Someone who can betray you.

For security you must minimise the amount of trust involved.

Scam-baiting YouTube channel Tech Support Scams taken offline by tech support scam

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Banks that call you

Ask for a reference code then call your bank with the number that you verified at a branch. If they are not set up to handle this, change bank.

Steam-powered computers: Retro cool or old and busted?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Twenty years from now...

The failure modes are going to be different. Windows will probably fail with something like "Upgrading to Windows XXX requires more modern hardware". Linux on PC could still fail from CMOS battery expiry but PC hardware might follow Pi's example: time from the network and configuration from flash. In that case the system will die in unpredictable ways from flash bitrot.

Bezos offers to knock $2bn off his bill to NASA to stay in the running for Moon contract

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I used to think Bezos wanted many people living and working in space

NASA will find itself with limited options as it attempts to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes, and cost overruns.

For commercial crew, congress demonstrated their ability to reduce the rate on funding below the agreed amount. This caused the opportunity for cost overruns for NASA to attempt to negotiate. Lack of funding (and CC funding diverted to SLS) caused NASA to miss deadlines for their side of the deal which impacted both contractors. Boeing designed their capsule for a "simple" (as rocket science gets) approval process. SpaceX's initial design was more ambitious but got trimmed back to fit the approval process that NASA could afford to take part in.

Congress will have many budgets to trim, delay and divert funding. This will give NASA ample opportunities to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes and cost overruns. Bezos has got this exactly right: adding $10B $8B to Artemis funding requirements will ease the stated limitations on congress/NASA.

Without competition, NASA’s short-term and long-term lunar ambitions will be delayed, will ultimately cost more, and won’t serve the national interest.

NASA's ambitions can be delayed with or without competition. Musk is building a Mars rocket for himself and a Lunar version of it with a firm fixed price for NASA. The National Team is offering a jobs program (federal taxes->47 states). Which is more in the National Team's interest is a matter of personal congress's opinion.

Imagine you have enough excess wealth to become a Lunar tourist. Here are you options:

Option M: There is a "flight tested" Lunar Starship near the Moon. Multiple Tanker Starship filghts will refuel a Tanker Starship in LEO which will go to the Lunar Starship and refuel it. Multiple Tanker Starship flights will refuel a Tanker Starship in LEO. A roomy luxury Crew Starship with plenty of space for a dozen tourists goes to LEO, gets refuelled and then goes to the Lunar Starship. The Lunar Starship takes tourists to the Moon and back to the Crew Starship. The Crew Starship goes back to Earth and lands the same way all the Tanks Starships did. Wild guess at a per ticket price: probably over $100M but much less than $1B.

Option B: The National Team's ride to near the Moon and back is an cramped Orion capsule (rated for two flights) launched on an SLS (dumped into the sea) for a cost of $3B. That gets you and 3 other really close friends to the Lunar Gateway. NASA will charge you money for your stay there and for any consumables used (probably delivered by SpaceX). The small Lunar Descent, Lander, Ascent stack requires a (some?) New Glenn launches (first stage reusable!) to get to the Lunar Gateway. If you want to fly before New Glenn is ready then your smaller ride to the Moon will require three launches of expandable rockets ($$$) and some assembly required (by tourists!). You get to the Moon and your ascent stage is too heavy to get back. You will have to unbolt some bits of it and leave them behind. Back to Gateway (a bit cramped) and then back into the really cramped Orion for several days with your friends on you way back to Earth. SLS is limited to one flight per year with the possibility that lots of tax payers money will double the production rate. The good news is the ticket price will limit the length of the queue.

The fear used to be that the rush to the Moon would cause a flags and foot prints mission instead of a sustained exploration program. With $8B added to the bill I am not sure there will be money left over for flags.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Last millennium...

My criteria were a free software driver and 3rd party inks. Apart from the mostly empty cartridges the printer came with it has only been fed third party inks. The box of inks I bought about 5 years ago is running low and cartridges are now £7/set but there are continuous ink supply upgrades available...

With Alphabet's legendary commitment to products, we can't wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Apocalypse

At least some unemployed elephants have a home to go back to. I can just imagine these robots desperately begging for change outside railway stations with no passengers because everyone is working from home.

Tech support scams subside somewhat, but Millennials and Gen Z think they're bulletproof and suffer

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

One to look out for

COVID has pushed bridge players online. One site offers free individual games but charges BBO$ for competitions. BBO$ cost a similar amount to US$ when bought with UK£ directly through the BBO website. I set up a book mark on Mum's computer. Her friends try to get to BBO via a web search and often find a man in the middle who charges far more for BBO$.

In tests, the trick IT professions fell for most often was the "Bank of the vvest".

Thales launches payment card with onboard fingerprint scanner

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: banks haven't yet caught on

I would be amazed if the banks catch on before I die.

Is there a bank that does not store passwords?

The finger print scanner does actually provide one useful function - an off switch. Amateurs can get the range of contactless cards up to 30cm. RF engineers have achieved 60cm. I doubt that it is legal but I suspect an RFID logger with an over sized antenna by my back door would make an excellent burglar identifier.

For me, the obvious security improvements would be to put the keypad on the card to prevent key logging and to put a display on the card so I know who is getting paid, how much I am being charged and preferably what I am paying for.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: paper conveniently stored in the wallet

No need for post-it notes. One place I worked let each employee choose their own 4 digit entry code. I did not need one because there were enough employees for someone to pick 1066.

In a complete non-surprise, Mozilla hammers final nail in FTP's coffin by removing it from Firefox

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Root cause.

The crank handle on my ftp client could get shell globs, recursively fetch directories and continue a download that had been interrupted. Some of these features may be available on modern vehicles with built in starter motors but I am sure the user interface changes with the moon. For anything non-trivial I still use wget or curl.

Don't be too proud of this technological terror that has been created for you. You can still suffer the death of a thousand mouse clicks.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Personal opinion

I use scp and sftp when I want a secure file transfer. Using those protocols through a browser defeats the purpose. Likewise normal ftp is a sufficient security disaster that I would only consider it on an air-gapped network. Putting a cloud in the middle is as daft as requiring javascript for internet banking.

Open-source dev and critic of Beijing claims Audacity owner Muse threatened him with deportation to China in row over copyright

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Verified: UK.gov launching plans for yet another digital identity scheme

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: What's the high level picture...

Easy. Focus on the things that matter: tax payers' money and politicians' pockets. Everything else is a distraction.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Serco or Crapita

I'm betting on Palantir as the sccessful provider.

Where on Gartner's Hype Cycle is Gartner's Hype Cycle?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The world is ready for a bit less flannel

Sure? Not even Gartner would make a prediction like that.

The lights go off, broadband drops out, the TV freezes … and nobody knows why (spooky music)

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

You mentioned the possibility of a tsunami when you try to watch the Olympics and that you do not know the location of the off switch for your house's water supply...

Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Your headline reminds me...

Neighbour A kept a plant in her window that looked very much like cannabis. Neighbour B told me it was cassava, not cannabis. I later found out how he knew when the police came to his house with a search warrant. They asked him about one of his plants and he told them it was a "pot plant". It took them a while to work out that he was being honest and did not just mean "a plant in a pot".

Grow lights use a considerable amount of electricity. Be sure to have a good explanation for your electricity bill if you grow plants indoors.

Buyer of $28m Blue Origin space ticket has a scheduling conflict – so this teen will go instead

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Time to change the rules

Orbit is about 30x as difficult as space so I am a bit of a snob about orbit compared to space. I am sure there have been plenty of mission specialists who were not pilots. They were effectively cargo on the way up and down but did useful research and maintenance while in space. I am quite happy calling them astronauts along with pilots in pressure suits who flew experimental aircraft to over 80km altitude without performing scientific research with their other hands.

$1M to 19 charities is more than I have ever done and probably exceeds the sum of everyone else here too. Although "space tourist" may be a more accurate term I am not going to get angry about Jeff+fellow travellers getting called astronauts. The world is far from perfect but please try to see some of the good bits rather than focusing entirely on the bad and spending a shortened life being angry all the time.

NASA signs $1bn deal with Northrop Grumman to build studio apartment in lunar orbit with room for 3 vehicles

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: $187 million for a "small studio apartment"

$187M for designing a small studio apartment. $935M contract for construction. I have not read the contract so I do not know if that includes delivery (probably about $90M) or any running costs.

Uncle Sam sanctions Chinese AI outfits for links to Xinjiang Uyghur human-rights abuses

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What you you prefer a politician to be doing: governing or playing angry birds?

I predict a large market for child size Winnie the Pooh masks in China.

If you've mastered Python 101, you're probably better at programming than OpenAI's prototype Codex

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: You P45 is ready at reception, byeeee

There is a really old solution to reducing the number of programmers required to produce good software.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Yeah

"Owed to a Spell Checker" and variations have been all over the web and emailed back and forth a very long time. The oldest I found with a quick search was 1997 and even that references previous versions from long since vanished cobwebs. The only reason gen X/why?/Z... would not be aware of it is if they do not spend much time on the internet.

I am not convinced theregister has a spell checker (my browser settings would block it if there is one). You are almost certainly seeing the spell checker from your browser. You may be able to change the dictionary that it uses but as mai is not in british-english-insane that will not help you. (Do knot yews -insane four spell cheque king unless ewe wan tar Pullet Surprise).

Wiktionary has entries for mai in many languages but it looks like the closest it comes to English is in Otaku dialect.

Fool me OnePlus, shame on me: Chinese phone firm fingered for fiddling with performance figures – again

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: 85% ≠ 0.001%

Run on A72 and X1 cores for the performance reviews then switch to a single A52 for real customers. The complaint is an "85% drop in performance". I assume the mean ⅙ of the speed.

(On the other hand if that drastic loss of performance is so difficult to spot then it may have a similar value to a 0.001% advantage)

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: This could really backfire on him

The way option 2 would proceed would be huge donations from qcumbers that never reach the lawyers then some pathetic excuse like all the required documents have already been deleted from the gwb43 email server.

The black screen of BIOS borkage haunts Space Shuttle Discovery's new home

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Second time?

Either the battery lasted 14 years (impressive but possible) or it failed years ago and has been replaced once before already. The hard disk is doing well too.

The splitting image: Sufferer of hurty wrist pain? Logitech's K860 a potential answer

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

1 & 2 work well for me but I also like:

A desk with depth (used to be lots of depth to get a CRT in the right place). In the front are a couple of old telephone directories to rest my forearms on so my wrists angle slightly downwards to reach the keyboard.

The other big fix is stress. Think about what is stressing you out and instead of worrying about it, deal with it.

Black screens in Windows 11? Bork has seen it all before

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I thought General is a higher rank than Colonel but I know a rubbish bin called Waste that claims the rank of General. I think Waste and Fault are both guilty of impersonating an officer and that Panic cannot even spell.

Jeff Bezos names the fourth person for the first New Shepard flight: Wally Funk

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: About bloody time too!

Bezos said he would not sell tickets until he had a working spaceship. Branson sold hundreds of tickets but I only see 86 on the list.

It's about time! NASA's orbital atomic clock a boon for deep space navigation – if they can get it working for long enough

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Paging Mr. Einstein...

I would assume it is important to take gravity into account for deep space clocks. GPS satellites near Earth already need special and general relativity corrections.

Former NASA astronaut and Shuttle boss weigh in on fixing Hubble Space Telescope

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Dragon limitations

Crew dragons fly with the trunk empty so the trunk can passively stabilise the capsule during an abort. Without an airlock, if anyone needs to enter or leave then everyone else must be in flight suits while the capsule is depressurised. Depressurisation is intended to be survivable but I have never heard any mention of it being safe enough to include in a mission plan.

You could try a mission plan with a crew dragon and a cargo dragon. The full docking adaptor spec is androgynous but implementations often are not. Either of the dragons could be upgraded to a full spec docking adaptor so they could dock with each other, transfer some crew to cargo dragon, undock, then depressurise the cargo dragon so people can get out. Barely started and already the plan requires fearless astronauts and has no redundancy.

Try again with a cargo and two crew dragons. Lets call them Fear, Surprise and Ruthless Efficiency...

Revealed: Why Windows Task Manager took a cuddlier approach to (process) death and destruction

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: "shutdown" doesn't really shut down the computer fully anymore

But the real time clock is ticking and and can wake up the computer at a specified time. There may well be some kind of wake on LAN feature. If you are not careful, on wake up the OS can load in a full image of the previous RAM state and put itself back into the broken configuration that caused you to shut it down.

GitHub Copilot is AI pair programming where you, the human, still have to do most of the work

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I am sure the AI will suggest the most popular patterns. As ignorance outnumbers competence then the sign of difference will depend on the human. The actual use of this software might actually be to identify useful programmers: If they use a large amount of recommended code then they lack the skill to understand what is wrong with it.

Happy with your existing Windows 10 setup? Good, because Windows 11 could turn its nose up at your CPU

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: What the Hell

The hell will start a year or two after W11 becomes the only available OS on new machines. Documents created on W11 will start to show poorly on W10. Compatibility will drop and the only available solution will be to buy a modern computer with W11 bundled into the price.

Bug at payments processor WorldPay swipes £2k+ per ride ticket from Brighton Pier revellers

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: The return of the Y2K bug

When I have no other choice but to deal with a spreadsheet file the first thing I do is convert it to CSV and run each field through a bunch of regexes to identify which column the field belongs in. I am sure few people here would be surprised by the large number of errors this corrects in every single file. It looks like WorldPay need a similar level of paranoia. I wonder if account number YYYYMMDD, sort code YY-MM-DD gets a pile of unexpected payments.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Cash please

Make sure to bring multiples of £2021. Cash uses a four digit year.

BMA warns NHS Digital's own confidentiality guardian could halt English GP data grab unless communication with public improves

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Flawed design

There is no need to share any data with anyone. By all means put all the data onto a single air-gapped system and allow third parties to submit statistical queries for review. If the results are sufficiently course grained that no-one can be identified then the can have the statistics but they never get to see the data.

UK urged to choo-choo-choose hydrogen-powered trains in pursuit of carbon-neutral economic growth

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I wondered the same thing

Apparently everyone involved in UK railway electrification cannot calculate the cost. Electrifying Maidenhead to Cardiff went from £1.6B to £2.8B in a single year. With costs like that, hydrogen might actually save money.

The good news is that you can add a diesel generator to (some?) electric trains so they can cross routes with no overhead power. If you can make hydrogen based energy storage the same shape as diesel then you may still be able to standardise on electric trains.

Spacey McSpaceface: Artemis takes shape ahead of '2021' launch – but first you need to name the crash-test dummy

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

So many to choose from

Dougal Boone

Three Billion (Rough cost of SLS+Orion launch)

Cost Plus

Florida Man

USA's efforts to stop relying on Russian-built rocket engines derailed by issues with Blue Origin's BE-4

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Bezos Billions

Jeff has dumped more of his money into Blue than Elon invested in SpaceX. The difference is the Blue focused on a sub-orbital human rated rocket with delivery real soon now and SpaceX focused on putting things in orbit a decade ago. Blue has earned some loose change from some sub-orbital science payloads and nearly delivering some engines. SpaceX has earned money one the same scale as Jeff's investment in Blue by putting tons of stuff into orbit and creating a commercially viable ride to the ISS and back.

Jeff would love to have a real rocket company and is still prepared to spend his own money to get one. The bad news is he just did a Boeing/McDonnell Douglas (hiring the management from Aerojet Rocketdyne and installing them over the heads of his own team that beat them to get Blue's biggest contract).

If ULA and Blue continue with their current rate of progress the second place US launch provider will be Rocket Lab. Blue could be a big litigation company or with some drastic changes actually launch some rockets to orbit. They could also become a payload company and leave launch to SpaceX+Rocket Lab. Jeff's choice.

SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband constellation to achieve full global coverage by September, boss claims

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Does space have an ecology?

Presumably ecological due diligence includes environmental problems such as collisional cascading, ruined astronomical observations and bits of dead satellites falling on giant clams. Viasat demonstrate their vexatious litigant credentials by trying to block a change to a lower orbit which would reduce the risk of collisional cascading and reduce the impact on astronomy. Starlink satellites are designed to burn up completely before reaching the ground so that is a non-issue too - unless constellation operators are expected to deal with threat of invasion by shell snails.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Full Coverage

Starlink satellites cannot (yet) communicate with each other. Instead they form a link between the customers and a ground station connected to whatever is available such as debt financed oceanic cables. Starlink is effectively useless in cities and towns and limited in villages. Cell networks are excellent in cities and become more problematic when approaching central nowhere. Combining the two makes sense: Starlink can be used in rural areas for back haul. Even a country that has invested millions in a failed competitor has given Starlink a license. I am not convinced that Starlink is a commercial danger to a state run post office either.

I am sure there will be hold-outs, but more related to censorship than competition with a state run Post Telegraph and Telephone service.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock follows delay to GP data grab with campaign called 'Data saves lives'

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The data is only useful when it is accurate

Remove the confidentiality and the data becomes inaccurate which damages public health along with sales to the highest bidders.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021