* Posts by BristolBachelor

2180 posts • joined 30 Jan 2009

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

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Re: Obligatory Film References

That's no asteroid - that's a ship

and the reason that it's so bright is that the death star isn't finished yet and the workers have left all the site lighting turned on.

Fatal flaw found in PricewaterhouseCoopers SAP security software

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So what would happen if they thought that the potential legal action might have an impact on their year end accounts? Would they have to file a report with the securities exchange committee saying "After we found a security hole in XXXXs application and informed them and offered to help, they threatened us with legal action, which may be a risk for our year end accounts".

Obviously they haven't done anything wrong! If there wasn't the threat of legal action, they wouldn't have had to do it, and the bug could have remained undisclosed while it was being fixed. Instead, at least it's existence would have to be disclosed instantly.

Phew: ISS re-supply mission launches without destroying Wallops launch-pad

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Re: Weight a minute

Just for a giggle, read the SpaceNews.com article (American) which gives the mass of supplies in kg :)

NASA opens ISS to private sector modules

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Re: Time for a bit of renovation?

Well you'd then end up with no way to keep the station boosted, so it would then re-enter. And the Russians said about separating their modules because the other partners were talking about cancelling the ISS and de-orbiting it. (especially since some are newish, and not even up there yet). I would think that they'd be more than happy to make some money from the ISS, given that their major source of cash, oil, currently sells for less than it costs then to get it out of the ground.

ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter blasts itself closer to the Red Planet

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Re: Why is this the only thing we care about?

"Other than Mars, the only other chance for finding life* seems to be outside the solar system..."

Well there are some indications that the moons on the gas giants could also harbour life, especially the icy moons of Jupiter - Hence the JUpier ICy moons Explorer project (JUICE). Now that project is really pushing the space engineers (the rocket scientists not so much); very remote, hardly any power from the solar arrays, eclipses that put other eclispses to shame many times over, radiation levels that literally cook the electronics...

UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

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Re: Consumer benefits are not falling!

@Missing Semicolon

"It's not about cutting off the power (none of the meters have the 100A contactor required)."

The meter I've had installed in Madrid (Sagemcom CX2000-9) has a latching relay that turns off the supply either based on the actions of the supplier, or if my consumption goes over 8A on any of the 3 phases. The 8A limit is something that I can choose to change, by paying a fee and then higher standing charge (demand management!). It does "remember" that you were cut off after a power cut too.

I don't know what they are fitting in the UK, but if one meter has it, I don't know why another couldn't.

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"They can in theory disconnect your services without a smart meter."

As long as you let them in to do it, or they get a court order and use the local police to make entry, and then someone "skilled" disconnects you. With a new meter, someone in a call centre (or a software auto script) clicks a box on a Web form.

ISS pump-up space podule fully engorged

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Re: How space-junk-proof is it?

Since windows aren't very flexible, they have to dissipate all the energy of the said paint flec, almost workout moving (or move and break). Since the fabric of this is flexible, there is an opportunity to deform slightly without breaking. Comparte what a car body panel does, compared to a bullet-proof vest.

El Reg Summer Lectures: Space, robots and digital homes

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International Space University

As I understand it, international space is above an altitude of 100km. Unfortunately I will be visiting a much lower altitude on the day of the event (for a pre-launch equipment resupply inspection), but far from London, which doesn't have convenient launch facilities. Will it be possible to visit the university in person instead at another time? I will be in orbit 2 weeks before or 1 week after the published date.

Google can't hold back this malware running riot in its Play store

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Re: What chance ordinary users to stay safe?

Just out of curiosity, how does this OS verify all code before execution? Maybe ban it if it sends data to the Internet? Maybe block anything that reads from the memory card? Takes a foto? Uses the microphone to listen? How do you tell unwanted from wanted?

Hope for Hitomi after tumbling space 'scope phones home

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It depends on the mission, but there is normally a "safe mode" which can be triggered for a number of reasons, for example the battery rings very low, it's spinning too fast, it's lost lock on the Earth, etc.

Often the safe mode will do a hardware reconfiguration, which is like an interrupt, and physically switch over to a different software bank and run specific software to recover the space craft, stabilise it, orient the solar array to the sun and point comms antennas at the earth (all depending on the spacecraft and orbit of course).

However if the spacecraft is spinning because of a fuel leakage, it may not have the capability to control it's attitude anymore. For all the "miraculous" recoveries (and some of the failure reports show amazing ingenuity) there are a number of spacecraft that never recover. I'm crossing my fingers.

Hi-def ExoMars launch vid lacks volcanic lair vibe

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Re: Bonkers

If you want to build a rocket without anyone knowing about it, what's wrong with underground? Quite a few of the Russian launches I've seen actually came out of holes in the ground. Of course, as son as it launches everyone within miles knows about it, but that's another issue.

Boffins tentatively fire up grav wave sniffer

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Re: too late ?

As I understand it, your gravitational waves come in different frequencies (a bit like light). Lisa is designed to detect ones that you couldn't possibly detect on Earth with any set up - LIGO is designed to detect others, and will almost certainly see some before Lisa will be operational. It's a bit like asking if we need satellites to study the sun in ultraviolet light, because you only have to look up and you can see that the sun is there.

Note: What I've said may have some minor errors - I don't know too much about the payload side.


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