* Posts by BristolBachelor

2193 posts • joined 30 Jan 2009

NASA's InSight doomed as Mars dust coats solar panels

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Re: Could something anti-static work?

The UV/light sensors on the Curiosity weather station have magnets around them to minimise light blocking by ferrous dust - and it works to an extent; you see the accumulated dust around them like doughnuts! Of course not all the dust is affected by the magnets.

SpaceX launches first totally private mission to the International Space Station

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Re: Probably time to build another space station...

What's the pool for? On Earth you need one to float and swim. In microgravity, you can just do that in the air without any worries about not breathing the water and having to dry off afterwards. Also how do you keep the water where you want it?

Now relax with a Pimms or mojito, that I understand.

Games Workshop has chucked another £500k at entrenched ERP project with no end to epic battle in sight

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I've been asked to change my way of working to agile too. I'm responsible for the power systems on spacecraft. I asked how Agile helps with that? I deliver a few cards, and they launch the spacecraft. Then later I deliver a few more cards, and they launch then to orbit, and then maybe at the end the motherboard for them to plug into and the box?

NASA's Mars InSight trips into safe mode and ESA's Sentinel-1B gives scientists the silent treatment

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Re: Anyone up for a private mission to Mars.

I've wondered about that. Do the houses have their heating and air conditioning turned off while they are stationary too?

Although admittedly i probably thought of it here, where in summer the temperatures inside a car go above 45 within a minute of turning off the aircon, and similarly in winter when it's -15°C outside, you'd freeze not long after turning off the engine (which also turns off the suplemental heating.

When civilisation ends, a Xenix box will be running a long-forgotten job somewhere

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In my first job, worked for Eliot Brothers/Marconi Avionics/GEC (depending on the day of the week). The entire business ran on a homebred system on ICL mainframes. I shipped ship before 2000, but going into that, they were replacing the system because ICL no longer existed, and as I understood it, even the OS would fall over once the magic year change occurred.

On the subject of stiff that just works, there was another temp program running on a digital VAX that just never needed anything done to it. Until they turned the machine off one day to move it, after working for good knows how many years. It didn't come back and no one even knew how to get the program/ data from that machine to put on another cluster. It's a problem with long projects when even the apprentices at the start of the project retire before it finishes!

ESA's Solar Orbiter will swing past Earth this week – sure hope nobody created a big cloud of space junk up there

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Trollface

Re: Size really does matter in this case

> Maybe they should consider a flyby of Donald Trump's ego then...

But imagine what would happen if it hit him at 12km/s.

Oh, was that the whole point? It went woosh over my head like a spacecraft on a flyby

NASA boffins seem to think we're worth saving from fiery asteroid death so they're shooting a spaceship at one

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Re: But perhaps

You're all thinking it wrong. We need to send our best negotiators. Donald, Boris, Patel, Gove, Mogg....

Russia's orbital insanity is almost beyond redemption – but there's space for improvement

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The use case isn't just to shoot down your opponents sats. When the US did it, it was to stop anyone being able to look at any bits that survive after deorbiting. (I think the excuse that hydrazine would've survived re-entry to pose a problem on the ground is a bit weak).

With the emergence of sats to perform on-orbit inspection, I see the possibility of someone deciding that they don't want someone else looking at something already in orbit. Let's hope that none decides that to avoid that they want to obliterate more sats. The correct solution is send something up to de-orbit them; which also reduced reduces what is up there.

Now that's a splash down: Astronauts spend 8-hour trip to Earth in diapers after SpaceX capsule toilet breaks

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Re: I'm sure BOEING would have gotten the toilets to work

So the Boeing toilet wouldn't suffer from a sticky valve?

Junking orbital junk? The mind behind ASTRIAGraph database project hopes to 'make space transparent'

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Sometimes, certain countries are very cagey about the orbits of certain objects (and deliberately don't list them on their publicly available databases), and have been known to even design systems capable of changing orbits while on "the other side of the planet" from certain observers.

No describing in detail what a bird does is just par for the course, except in the cases where you are trying to market and sell its services publicly.

China starts testing tech to harvest solar energy from orbiting panels

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The plans I've seen have about 1kW/m² on the Earth's surface, similar to what you'd get from the sun anyway. Mispointing just means you lose the power.

The antenas to receive this are very efficient, and only need to be a few dipoles spaced apart. You could have a nice flower meadow growing around them.

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Re: Hope

There's a simple solution. Borrow £5m. Invest £4m in starting up, marketing, brochures, website, etc. "Invest" £1m in donations to conservatives. Sit back and watch the investments/ contracts come rolling in

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

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Re: Didn't notice?!

>they can't spend the morning looking out of the window.

... because then they'd have nothing to do in the afternoon.

China has a satellite with an arm – and America worries it could be used to snatch other spacecraft

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Re: Quick idea of the back of my head

No, no, no. You miss understand. They are not making this statement to make you stop sending all your money to the US military complex. They are making this statement to make you send EVEN MORE.

In other news, the US is spraying champaign because one of their satellites successfully grappled an on orbit satellite, and started to control it.

Satellite collision anticipated by EU space agency fails to materialize... for now at least

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Re: Looking forward to full reusability & refueling

Pretty much all 2nd/3rd/4th stages de-orbit after delivering their payload to orbit now. There's still some work to get all countries to agree to limits on time in orbit after missions end though.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson reluctant to reveal his involvement in the OneWeb deal

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Facepalm

Re: £500million on a PR Exercise

"...use it for it's designed purpose and provide satellite-based Internet-connectivity..."

But I've just read that they're contacting that to Musk!

Space station dumps 2.9-ton battery pack to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after hardware upgrade

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Boffin

Re: It’s ok we’ve done it before.

If you can fling it at 27500 kph, then it should "decompose" nicely as you say.

UK Space Agency will pay a new CEO £125,000 to run non-existent space programme

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Re: Lester

To be honest, he would've been over qualified, and probably much more qualified than whoever they do choose.

ESA mulls sending waves of robot explorers into dark depths of lunar lava tubes

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Re: U-drone

The atmosphere on the moon is very thin; not enough to clay, nor enough for "air" cooling. Plus the dust is so abrasive it will eat anything worth movement.

SLAM and auto navigation and obstacle avoidance are not the problem; we were doing that 15 years ago. The moon is the problem, and nothing that isn't designed specifically for it won't survive.

Faster optic fibers and superior laser sensors set to descend from space

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Joke

Re: The beginnings of space industry, then ?

That doesn't really help, since the problem that requires the space elevator is getting the factory into space in the first place. It's a bit like inventing the chicken by getting a chicken to lay an egg and then hatch it.

Infor pays UK construction retailer Travis Perkins £4.2m settlement following cancelled upgrade of 'Sellotape and elastic bands' ERP system

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My company has just replaced an ERP system. That system replaced the original one that ran on ICL Mainframes until someone realised that the ICL's wouldn't survive Y2k. The original ran on greenscreens.

The original system would still run runs around either of its two replacements if it was still with us :-(

Android 11 will let users stop device-makers from killing background apps, says Google

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Re: So...

Developer options --> Apps --> Background check.

UK government shakes magic money tree, finds $500m to buy a stake in struggling satellite firm OneWeb

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Re: It Could Be Made to Work ???

GEC Marconi

Oh those were the days.There were circuit diagrams done by hand on drafting film, and the smell of the blueprint duplicators....

Not everything there was a failure. I have boxes still flying and still good. BOMIS (Bill Of Materials Incoice System) that ran in the ICL mainframes that were turned off for y2k still far out performs what I work with now, as did the paperless production history dossiers even running on Apricots!).

It's true that there were a few duds along the way. The done that put on so much weight it couldn't carry its own wheels, the Lidar that didn't, etc.

Out on a tangent: Almost two decades into its 5-year mission, INTEGRAL still delivers the gamma ray goods

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TMs on the way down

We did have live telemetry from Goce as it came down. The temperatures inside our unit went through the roof, but it carried on working just fine to the end.

As for Soho, I know the failure case too well. It still gives nightmares to anyone doing anything new, hoping to not suffer the same fate.

Forget the Oscars, the Solar Orbiter is off to take a close look at our nearest (and super-hot) star

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Re: "other missions [..] have endured long past their expected expiry date"

I can't remember the specifics for Solo; it was a long time ago, but I think the radiation total dose was similar to about 20 years in geostationary orbit. Then it had to work perfectly at 20°C higher than the expected highest temperature. And all of this with a reliability of something like 99.999. I had to meet the whole specification for that, but the mission could probably work with worse performance

It doesn't surprise me when it lasts longer than the initial mission life.

Oh chute. Two out of three ain't bad, right? asks Boeing after soft-ish crew module landing

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Re: Martian satellite?

NASA has asked for an orbiting telecom relay sat to relay to/from rovers/stations on the Martian surface. If you had one there, there wouldn't be much competition.

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I seem to remember reading something about it. A failure Review Board notice or something. Made for interesting reading.

I don't remember the word "success" ever being used to describe the event though.

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Trollface

Redundancy

A redundancy of 2 working out of 3 sub-sytems is very common in space flight. It's good that everything was ok with only 2 parachutes, to cover the possible FAILURE of one. However If they are doing that this WASN'T a failure, does that mean that the system has to cope with one less in a real failure case?

Now the boffin icon, or the troll one?

Metropolitan Police's facial recognition tech not only crap, but also of dubious legality – report

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Meh

Re: Help with "Innovative Solutions"

"Surely he of all people would've stood to benefit from any alternative technologies they might have had"

My reading is that with this technology, they would've shot 42 people instead of only 1, but only 8 of the shot people would've actually been of interest. (Actually shooting anyone is another topic)

Look out, Titan. Plutonium robots from Earth are on their way

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Trollface

Probably ≈200km * 0.0037 assuming a straightish line. As an engineering approximation, lets call it 0.74km², or 0.036 microWales

IEEE says it may have gone about things the wrong Huawei, lifts ban after US govt clearance

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Re: Security concerns?

You are also missing the 3rd part of the server extra chips story. A security researcher presented a hypothetical idea of something that might just be possible, and Bloomburg turned it into an article of "fact"

Supreme Court says secret UK spy court's judgments can be overruled after all

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Re: Judges

"getting shot of pesky meddling foreigners with their European Court of Human Rights for example is one of their goals."

All very good, but the divorce is only from the economic side of Europe (EU). The ECHR is something entirely different, and as I understand it, the rules were basically set up by the UK and particularly the Conservatives, in order to avoid the nasties seen in Nazi Germany. Funny how they now complain that the rules are limiting them from doing what they want to do (looking at you Blunket, May, Rudd, etc.)

How big is the UK space industry? It hauled in £14.8bn for 2016/2017 – report

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...or Mobile industry

I've always said that it's only headline having to lump in SKY with the space industry.

If we do the same calculation for mobile, adding up all the expenditure on mobiles, infrastructure etc. and then everyone's mobile bill, and then all the business "facilitated" by mobile, we probably end up with something like the GDP.

Actually, the calculation for space will look bigger next year, because it will include all the money spent on customs (eg. Sky buying all that capacity, etc, so expect the report to show a growith due to B. :-)

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

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Re: Actually transistent failures are to be expected

Something like that. But even up higher in GEO, more than one shutdown/glitch/SW error in 15 years continual operation is a MASSIVE issue.

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Re: Could be worse

I would ask that the movie version of Rama doesn't mention the Grand Oral Disseminator; it really spoilt it for me.

ISTR that there was some effort towards a film version of some sort, but don't know what came of it.

UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

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ESA & Copernicus

Copernicus is not an ESA project. It is an EU project, and so it is they who say what goes. Where ESA plays a part is that it is "sub-contracted" to manage the delivery of the complicated stuff.

And again is a bit like leaving your snooker club; your previous subscriptions helped pay for the tables, but you lose access to them after leaving :-/

'Surprise!' West Oz gummint is hopeless at information security

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If unsalted password hashes are available, then the system is not really secure; it just means you need a bigger dictionary. If you have no unsalted password hash file, you only have 3 attempts; is "password1234" one of your first attempts? What if "Sunday10" is the password, but is 4th on your list, and the account is locked out first?

I've worked in facilities where there was very strict password control (think auto generated passwords comprising 5 blocks of 3 letter syllables, changing every month, and a different one on each system). What happens is that people write their password in their logbook or underneath the keyboard.

HPE supercomputer is still crunching numbers in space after 340 days

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Rad Hard

Rad Hard means that they'll be no effect, not that it won't break. In my experience, most things will survive the radiation in space for a year without major failure. There are occasional latch ups where you have to power off quickly to prevent burnout, but they don't happen too often.

Much more likely are upsets where something gets corrupted and then you get soft failures; sort of the equivalent of running Windows and using Excel/Outlook on Earth :D Depending on the orbit and sun activity you might expect one of these a day or even more often.

It would've been interesting to read how often these occurred.

European Space Agency squirts a code update at Mars Express orbiter

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Re: Vxworks, probably

I received a couple of those as a Windriver customer. It's a shame but they eventually went in the bin. I didn't realise that they were so collectable.

Brit military boffins buy airtime on HD eye-in-the-sky video satellite

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Yeah; about that - at the beginning it says buying airtime on. That's not the same as buying the bird; the same way I don't own an A320 after buying a ticket on easyjet.

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Re: Low-res?

I'd heard that Virgin were increasing their monthly charges, but £4.5m to watch a football match? No wonder people are leaving in their droves.

Vodafone customers moan about sluggish data abroad

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Re: Throttling exists

Well, in my case I have a Virgin UK SIM and a Spanish Voda SIM. When I use the Voda SIM in the UK, it struggles to even get 3G, whereas in Spain it gets 4G, and puts the Virgin broadband to shame! The Virgin SIM sends to get equal service at both ends.

A big day for the ESA: Sentinel snaps and ExoMars brakes

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Sentinels

Note that this isn't the second Sentinel satellite. However, it is the 2nd Sentinel 2. There are also 2 Sentinel 1s (1A and 1B), and there is a Sentinel 3A already in orbit. Sentinel 2C is currently in manufacture as well. The Sentinel 4s are due to go up with MTG-S, so are still a few years off, and Sentinel 5 will go up even later on Metop (although they'll be a Sentinel 5-precursor to start getting data sooner). Sentinel 6 will be the new Jason in combination with the NASA.

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Boffin

Re: ExoMars...as the mission starts to slow down.

Nope; you slow down. Imagine that you swing a weight on a string around you. As you go slower, the circles are smaller, and as you go faster, the circles are larger. It's not exactly for the same reason, but the visualisation may help.

Note that speed up and slow down here refer to the speed of the object; not the time per orbit.

Japan's Venus probe power plight panacea: Turn it off and on again ...and again and again...

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Re: "and will try turning them on then off again over time"

I tend to think that the 1 year lifetime is to allow for really pessimistic dependability/reliability analysis. Also you look good when it lasts much longer than expected. If you sell it as a 10 year mission, but only make it to 8, you look like a failure.

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Re: Different approach to it

Yeah, but they're now telling me too design out the TO-5 relays. There have been a number of other, erm, happenings, so someone is going off them.

As for crazy phone calls about why you want to use an LM139 compartor designed in 1960, who are you? and list every single person who will work on it, and every address the unit will ever be at, and...

LOST IN SPAAAAAACE! SpaceX aborts Space Station podule berthing

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Boffin

I don't know many details of the Space-X system, but I read elsewhere that the error possibly came from bad GPS value or calculation. Typically, medium range docking uses a sort of Differential GPS to compute relative distance and velocity. Possibly the distance and/or velocity suddenly changed by an amount outside of expected values.

In an earlier failure report that I read for Dragon, it said that the system failed from a Single Event Effect; some particle of radiation corrupted a value or signal, causing the system to trip. Normally critical space systems are designed to be immune to these types of event.

Google mistakes the entire NHS for massive cyber-attacking botnet

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Re: "generate 'abnormal' quantities of traffic"

"The impact on the user is, essentially, fill in a CAPTCHA to prove you're actually human. Then Google leaves you in peace to get on with it."

No, it does the search and then when you change it slightly, or horror want to see page 2 throws another captcha at you. Sems to happen continually if you use any of the search parameters (filetype, inurl, etc.)

Let's go ARM wrestling with an SEO link spammer

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Re: Wow.

I would like to think that the Google bot is cleverer, but my experience with Google search results suggests otherwise. Whatever happened to the planned Chrome feature where I could flag websites as SEO spam and never see then in search results again?

It's now 2017, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a Word file

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@Electron; yes; but there are still some programs that don't work properly without higher acres permissions.

@Doc; my account has the privileges to edit my files - that doesn't mean that I want someone pwning my system and stealing/editing/deleting them, even if they still don't have permissions to do admin stuff.

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