* Posts by Vulch

560 posts • joined 28 May 2008


SpaceX upgrades Starlink to reflect less light, can't launch without its Starship


Re: Less per lauch?

They are a lot heavier, not just a bit. The ones currently in orbit are between 250kg and 300kg, the earlier ones didn't have the laser links so were lighter. The v2 satellites are 1250kg so 4 or 5 times more massive than the current ones, they're also twice as long so don't fit the fairing when flat and would have to be stood on end for launch on an F9.

NASA: Mars rocks won't make it back to Earth until 2033


Followed by Elon in 2030 saying "I've got 20 tonnes of samples here, where would you like them?"


Costs too much in fuel. Coming straight in can use the atmosphere to slow down, Earth orbit means they'd need to take the fuel for that to Mars and back.

A character catastrophe for a joker working his last day


Re: Nothing so severe

Back in my student days one of the porters came into the refectory and shouted loudly for Mike's brother Isaac...

Is the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope worth the price tag?


Re: And the answer to the question is

LUVOIR is the current project name, Large Ultra Violet, Optical and Infra Red. Intended for launch on an SLS or a SpaceX Starship depending on cost and availability.

Dmitry Rogozin sacked as boss of Russian space agency Roscosmos


Re: Sunflower

There is informed speculation that he will shortly be appointed Administrator of the Temporarily Occupied Territories in Ukraine.

ESA's 2030+ roadmap envisions Europeans on the Moon and Mars


Re: If ESA was smart

Equatorial sites will be a boon for rapid orbital refuelling. Launching from KSC gives you one window a day for tanker launches to a particular destination, a launch site on the equator gives you a window every orbit.

City-killing asteroid won't hit Earth in 2052 after all

This post has been deleted by a moderator

BOFH: HR's gold mine gambit – they get the gold and we get the shaft


Re: Out of all these...

Would probably know which side his bread was buttered as well...

Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth


Re: almost whoops

Under the raised floors at the ITV station I worked at were like that. Studios built and wired for 405 lines monochrome, rewired for 625 monochrome, rewired again for 625 colour, new studio built with all the extra wiring for that, sound rewired for stereo, franchise lost and studios demolished before rewiring for full digital was required.. Can't pull the old cables out until the new has been shown to work, can't pull them out then as there's too much weight on top of them. Nothing quite with enough layers to stop the floor tiles going back down, but close...

NASA's InSight doomed as Mars dust coats solar panels


Re: Big Fan

And said little helicopter is also suffering from dust accumulation on its solar array.

Chinese drone-maker DJI suspends ops in Russia, Ukraine


The article is repeating a mis-conception, for your 100 or 150K USD you get a complete *system*, not one drone. The system comprises a control centre, launch rail, five or so actual drones, and a truck to carry everything. Subtract the likely cost of the truck and control centre electronics and the choice of drone components makes more sense.

COVID-19 contact tracing apps were suggested as saviors. They sometimes delivered


Re: technical feasability

The first version used a centralised and not anonymous data store, Big Brother knew who you were and where you'd been. Google and Apple didn't allow that sort of app access to the low-level API so it chewed battery and I think had problems running in the background. They then switched to the anonymous decentralised model which helped with both. When chased for up to date source in their GitHub repository the developers stated that regularly updating was too difficult, and issues were either ignored or dismissed. At that point I decided I was never going to install the software and lost interest in following the development.

ESA: Fly me to the Moon, just not on a Russian rocket


Crew flights delay

Crew 4 was being held up by Axiom 1, that in turn was being held up by the wet dress rehersal for SLS which encountered numerous problems and delays. NASA didn't want launches from HLC-39A while SLS was still out on NSHLC-39B, but eventually blinked.

OneWeb turns to SpaceX for satellite launches


Re: How much does SpaceX charge?

67 million USD for a standard launch. Discounts available for booking multiple flights.

Volcano 'shredded' submarine cable, vastly complicating repair job


Maxar Technologies: The eye in the sky tracking invasion of Ukraine


Re: Image quality

They're not hugely better. The USA limits commercial image providers to 30cm resolution, but when you get down to 15cm resolution atmospheric effects start blurring the results. That's one reason photo-reconnaisance from aircraft still has a place, less atmosphere to peer through.

Three major browsers are about to hit version 100. Will websites cope?


Re: The real question!

Ultimate Dark Mode:

“Every time you try to operate one of these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it."

D. Adams.

He ain't heavy, he's my brother: Bloke gives away SpaceX ticket because he was over weight limit


Re: Obviously didn't want to go

Might need to make it both legs to lose that much weight...

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times


Re: Pedantic - slightly inaccurate

Presfax? ITV had something similar but it used a different run-in code at the start of each data line so it could go out to the transmitters and let OBs see the feed, domestic decoders would barf on the run-in code and assume the packet was corrupt.

NASA confirms International Space Station is to keep orbiting through 2030


Re: where's the new one?

Axiom has modules under construction, the first is due to launch in 2024 and will initially dock with the ISS. Once they've launched their airlock module and added it they'll have a self contained station that can cut loose of the ISS and go its own way.

Rolls-Royce set for funding fillip to build nuclear power stations based on small modular reactor technology


Energy parks

There was a proposal in the 60s to build something like four "energy parks" around the UK. Windscale, Dounreay and Dungeness plus one TBD were the locations IIRC. Each park would have one or two fast breeder reactors, a reprocessing plant and half a dozen plutonium burners. The idea meant that no highly radioactive material would ever need to be transported outside the parks, they'd bring in the starter fuel for the fast breeder which was relatively harmless, then the reprocessing plant would extract the plutonium to run the other reactors on site as well as deal with their end results.

Boeing's Starliner capsule corroded due to high humidity levels, NASA explains, and the spaceship won't fly this year


Re: Cheap & cheerful, but mostly cheap

Leakage of the hypergolic propellants out of the valves is a known problem on all spacecraft using them. The solution is to put each valve in a box that is vented to the outside so the leakage can evaporate away in vacuum. On the ground before launch the vent is usually covered by a "remove before flight" tag or a tissue paper seal that ruptures. Why this was not done or didn't work in this case is an execise left for the investigators.

Weeks after Red Bee Media's broadcast centre fell over, Channel 4 is still struggling with subtitles


Re: Testing failover.

When I were a mere lad working in broadcast TV, "Pebble Mill at One" was essentially a regular and frequent DR test. Pebble Mill in Birmingham was the alternative network control for the BBC if TV Centre went down in a sufficiently spectacular manner, and PM@1 was used to check things could be fed directly to the transmitter network without involving London.

Facebook posts job ad for 10,000 'high-skilled' roles to 'build the metaverse' – and they'll all be based in the EU


Re: Which language?

Why "amazingly"? The EU still contains more than one English speaking majority nation.

Nothing says 'We believe in you' like NASA switching two 'nauts off Boeing's Starliner onto SpaceX's Crew Dragon


His daughter had moved her wedding once to avoid clashing with the originally planned flight. When the flight was delayed to a date where it would once more clash with the re-arranged wedding he chose family over flight.

Pretend starship captain to take trip in real space capsule


Re: Yeoman

If she is, it will be the same way Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott finally made it into space...

'Nobody in their right mind would build a naval base here today': Navigating in and out of Devonport


It's the twists and turns around Drake's Island are the problem. There's an underwater ridge between it and the Cornish shore so ships coming out of the dockyard have to left hand down a lot to pass in front of the Hoe and then right hand down to avoid running into the Lido. Removing the ridge has been investigated, but all the modelling results in Sutton harbour silting up along with the entrances to the various dockyard basins.

Long time ago I saw the proper Ark Royal setting out through there. It had to leave the dockyard empty and do a first replenishment in the Sound, and could also only enter or leave on certain high tides when there was all of a foot (I did mention it was a long time ago) clearance under the keel.

Nothing works any more. Who decided that redundant systems should become redundant?


Re: Dobby

3. Profit!

NSA: We 'don't know when or even if' a quantum computer will ever be able to break today's public-key encryption

Black Helicopters


saying it does not know "when or even if" a quantum computer will ever exist to "exploit" public-key cryptography.

It went live last week then.

Starliner takes off ... back to the factory and not space


Re: The problem

The first launch of the Falcon 1 had an aluminium locking nut give way due to salt corrosion so it piddled kerosene over the outside of the engine which turned out to be a Bad Thing (tm). Easy fix, aluminium nuts replaced with stainless steel equivalents.


The problem

The problem seems to be down to leakage through seals which was expected meeting humid air in the void behind which wasn't. In space the void is vented to vacuum to get rid of the leakage, but on the ground is connected to the outisde atmosphere and NTO plus water creates nitric acid which has corroded the valves. Humid air in Florida, who could have forseen that?

SpaceX Starship struts its stack to show it has the right stuff


Re: "100 people at once or 100 tons of cargo"

Unfortunately people have this tendency to want to breathe and eat and have something better than the floor to lie on during the high-g bits of the trip. The mass needed for an individual and their support works out at around a ton as a rule of thumb.

Russia's ISS Multipurpose Laboratory Module launches after years sitting on a shelf, immediately runs into issues


As it's not raining (yet)

There's an ISS pass due over the UK starting just after 22:50* this evening. Watching last night I saw the ISS itself with two objects chasing it, one of those was Nauka and I suspect the other was the second stage of the Proton.

* Use something like Heavens Above to get exact timings for your location.

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



The ITV company I worked for once upon a time hired summer work experience students. One summer the maintenance department were contemplating putting calibrated markings on the floor by the monitor repair bench so they could estimate the EHT voltage by how far their student jumped/got thrown back when he touched the internals in an inadvisable manner. You'd think he'd have learnt after a couple of shocks, but this went on for weeks...

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip


His Elon-ness was actually at the site watching yesterdays flight apparently.

Revealed: Perfect timings for creation of exemplary full English breakfast


Re: Lost me in the first paragraph.

Turn off the gas, flip the eggs, count 12 and turn onto the plate. Yolk stays runny inside but the top of the white is proper.


Pah, what does a tabloid know...

The bacon needs to go in a frying pan, and the mushrooms go in the same pan at the point where you flip the bacon over. That way they soak up all the smokey salty goodness from the bacon that would otherwise drip away...

Wanna feel old? It is 10 years since the Space Shuttle left the launchpad for the last time


As I've mentioned in past comments, I worked on the BBC coverage of the first shuttle orbital flight...

New Yorkers react to strikingly indifferent statue of Elon Musk with cheerful hostility



Now we know what the payload will be for the SpaceX Starship orbital test flight...

FYI: There's a human-less, AI robot Mayflower ship sailing from the UK to US right now


Re: Units

Well the colonials still use short measure units they call tons where that conversion may work, but in proper historic British tons it translates as 4.5.

China launching first crew to its own space station on Thursday


Re: Better not be claustrophobic

Similar in size to the Mir core module, with the resupply ship being larger than a Progress but smaller than the FGB modules that were used for the Mir extensions. Skylab is a whole different and much roomier thing.


Re: Better not be claustrophobic

More or less the same size as a Salyut with attached Soyuz and FGB.


Re: Uncomfortable

How incremental do you think they should be? They've already done a month long flight so three months feels reasonable to me, and is comparable to the way others have gone about things.

The Starship has landed. Latest SpaceX test comes back to Earth without igniting fireballs


Re: Thunderbirds are go!

Definitely Gerry Anderson, but more the Fireball XL5 look.

Spent Chinese rocket stage set to make an uncontrolled return to Earth


Re: If you can

It's in a 41.5 degree inclination orbit so can't hit outside the range of 41.5 degrees latitude north and south. If your garden is inside that band, keep a hard hat handy.

The station module, Tianhe, only gets about 10 degrees above the horizon from the UK.

Elon Musk's SpaceX bags $3bn NASA contract to, fingers crossed, land first woman on the Moon


Re: To do list

The contract is to do one unmanned test landing followed by the crewed one.

It is 60 years since the first cosmonaut reached orbit and 40 years since the Shuttle first left the launchpad


Some time ago...

The delay on the first shuttle launch meant that the studio booking at Televison Centre for the BBC's coverage had run out. The only spare (BBC) studio available was in Bristol so all but one of the production team had headed down the M4, but Bristol had no videotape machines free. As a freshly minted VT engineer in the dungeons of TV Centre I was known to be a bit of a space enthusiast, and myself and a housemate got the job of feeding the inserts from machines in London to the studio in Bristol (and even editing some of the packages ourselves) for the duration of the mission, along with the remaining member of the production team who had been in her job about as long as we had in ours. We even got a day or two of overtime out of it as it was going to be tricky enough without the Bristol end having to deal with multiple sets of London engineers.

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain


Re: Optically challenged

I realise that I have not been on a train for over a year.

A bit over two years ago I qualified for a Senior Railcard, 30 quid a year or 70 quid for 3 years and gets you a third off most tickets. Bargain thinks I. HoHum...

The JavaScript ecosystem is 'hopelessly fragmented'... so here is another runtime: Deno is now a company



Beat me to it!



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