Great additional info here, thanks! Super interesting to read
72 posts • joined 18 Aug 2014
Russia's ISS Multipurpose Laboratory Module launches after years sitting on a shelf, immediately runs into issues
In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere
Only about 25 of the original Iridium sats are still on orbit at the moment, the ones that failed and are uncontrolled, the other 65 have been deorbited now. Nice to see the Iridium Next constellation is up and running though, you're correct that Iridium have some very specific niche cases that just cant be served by other constellations.
I'll miss the Iridium flares though, used to love spotting those as a kid :)
Satellites, space debris may have already brightened night skies 10% globally – and it's going to get worse
NASA to have another go at firing Space Launch System engines because just over a minute of data won't cut it
Remember that 2024 Moon thing? How about Mars in 2033? Authorization bill moots 2028 for more lunar footprints
Re: Um... cost and sustainability (of the mission, long term)
I believe they're developing the RS-25E (assume the E stands for "expendable") which should apparently be cheaper and simpler than the "fully reusable" versions..
Still rubs me up the wrong way, but hey.. I guess it's SOME sort of cost saving ...
This isn't Boeing very well... Faulty timer knackers Starliner cargo capsule on its way to International Space Station
Re: Elon Musk was on hand to offer advice.
Few comments on this
> #1: SpaceX has launch failed quite often
In terms of launch failures, I believe I can think of three. CRS-1 where a Merlin exploded during flight (mission still a success however). CRS-7 where the second stage ruptured due to a helium bottle strut and AMOS-6 again due to a helium bottle failure. I wouldn't personally classify that as "often" although I will agree it's above say the Atlas V. I do agree SpaceX has had quite an extensive amount of LANDING failures during their development of the Falcon 9. I wouldn't class these as "launch failures" though, the Falcon 9 is one of the worlds more reliable launchers statistically at the moment.
I do agree though, SpaceX have a fail fast, fail often approach to development. And I think that's great!
> #2: For Boeing, fixing and trying again is going to cost hundreds of millions, and take months if not a year. And specifically that cost is going to be paid by NASA, not Boeing, because they are contracted on cost-plus
Except this is not a cost plus contract, they were (both Boeing and SpaceX) fixed price contracts. I will agree however, Boeing has certainly tried to extract more money out of NASA as of recent, an extra $300m I believe.
I can't find fault with #3
I really do despise Boeings way of working though....
Re: Chiclet keyboard == No Sale
I honestly couldn't agree with this more! My T520 is still going strong too, and yep, 16G ram works just fine! I absolutely love the keyboard on this machine..
Really don't know what I'll do when this machine bites the dust, but with an msata ssd in there, the extra ram and an i7 as well it's certainly no slouch for its age.. more than enough for day to day coding and sysadmin tasks.
Regarding the battery, Duracell do a fantastic compatible battery for it (both standard and extended models) which for a little over £30 will make it like new again. They're great quality :)
Edit: A little under £40 for the battery now... wow, prices change fast in a year!
Re: Had no problems with the 3" floppy on my Spectrum +3
So much this, I remember upgrading my +2a with an external floppy interface from Datel Electronics once I couldn't believe the difference over the MicroDrive...
Also meant I could use 3.5" floppies as well rather than the 3" ones on the +3 - much to my dad's annoyance when he discovered the floppy drive randomly missing out of his PC one day!
Re: Congratulations to SpaceX
> Just a shame the central first stage didn't make it on to the drone-ship, though it looked like it was pretty close.
Indeed that was the only tarnish on an otherwise perfect mission! I'd personally count the failure to land as more of a success that a failure as it seems they've now managed to find the edge of the envelope for recovery. According to Elon, reentry heating actually burned through the base of the rocket and caused the thrust vectoring to fail on the center engine which explains the kaboom.
Still, at 20% more velocity during reentry than the previous FH center core (and if my calculations are correct) it should have had 16 times the heating the previous one had. It's insane it made it that close!!
Rocket Labs mean business, Brits stick pin in Mars map, and Japan celebrates HTV-7’s dive into the atmosphere
Re: Hippy-friendly hybrid-electric rocket motors
> I wonder how electric pumps would scale to larger rockets that use turbopumps in the tens of megawatts.
Short answer is, they just don't.. Specific energy of the power source, and weight of the machinery, are going to be hugely limiting factors. The energy density of say RP-1/LOX is just so much better and turbopumps just produce a massive amount of power given their relative weight, something no electric motor can come close to as it scales up, using any current or projected technology.
Rutherford made a great choice using electric for the Electron, it hugely simplifies the engine design (and probably hugely increases reliability to boot) but electrically driven engines will never be more efficient than a more traditional turbopump driven engine.
The gains here are in simplicity, not efficiency, basically.
This two-year-old X.org give-me-root hole is so trivial to exploit, you can fit it in a single tweet
I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space
Re: I disagree...
> I think before we even start looking to other planets we need to sort our own out first or we'll just repeat the same mistakes all over again.
With respect, I disagree. I see this argument all the time "lets fix our current home first before messing up any others", in reality, humanity has reached that "inconsiderate teenager" phase of it's existence. You know the phase, doesn't care, does their own things, leaves mess all over the place, can't be arsed to clean or help with the housework. It's only when you leave school and you're expected to move out, pay your own way and actually find yourself HAVING to do your own washing, cleaning and such, because there's nobody there do just do it for you, that you finally develop an appreciation for the need to do it.
The same applies here, we're only going to develop an appreciation for cleaning up our own mess (and so "fixing up our home") when we've got an appreciation for not taking things for granted. When you're forced to live on an inhospitable rock, thousands of miles away from any help, with no guarantee of clean water, clean air or even food unless you get your act together, pitch in and do your chores. That's when mankind will finally develop an adult appreciation for what we're doing to the environment, and a want to correct the mistakes of the past in the process.
Not to mention, the technology we need to develop to do such things can be of just as much use here on earth as well.
> If you had the first clue about orbital mechanics you’d realise the above is wrong.
Actually, I hate to break this to you, but the second stage for TESS did indeed go into heliocentric orbit. The remaining fuel in the second stage was only enough to do one of two things, burn at apogee to lower perigee into the atmosphere, or burn after deployment to reach a hyperbolic orbit.
Since the second stage doesn't have the endurance to coast the 6 hours to apogee (batteries, lox boil-off etc) the decision was made to burn to earth escape and enter a heliocentric orbit.
However, I will agree, a majority of second stages are intentionally deorbited :)
So in summary...
Thing punching hole through ionosphere, punches hole in ionosphere.
Ionosphere recovers within hours, like it does every time something punches a hole in it.
GPS *SIGNALS MAY* have been affected, although no study was actually done to measure the actual effect on GPS signals.
Slow news day?
Luckily for me, both of my parents were in the film business, my mother a sound recordist and my father a lighting cameraman. This gave me unfettered access to a whole editing suite at home of professional quality, stacks of C90's lying around and most importantly of all - a decent two deck cassette recorder!
I think I made a pretty penny (spent on actual penny sweets) dubbing off copies of albums for friends, as well as spectrum and c64 games too! Pirate at the age of 8 years old I was.. Miss those days with a passion!
Re: What they currently use on the ISS:
You're right, the ISS is full of laptops.. Lenovo Thinkpads mainly. However these are FAR from considered "off the shelf". In one way or another, specialised Thinkpads have been flying to space since 1993 aboard STS-61. They're quite significantly modified however to meet stringent NASA requirements.
Here's an interesting story from a few years ago, posted to nasaspaceflight.com by one of the IBM project managers responsible for initially putting the Thinkpads on the shuttle.
TL;DR - The laptops on the ISS aren't "off the shelf" at all.
Probably my worst day at work..
I remember, back in the late 90's, working for a company that had a large warehouse, and at the far end of this warehouse was a lonely PC used for shipping the days items out, printing the labels and booking consignments etc. One day we got a call from the dispatch guy to say the machine wasn't connecting to the network, he couldn't ship out the days orders and could we come take a look.
True to form the computer wasn't connecting at all, and there was no obvious reason I could find, so I took it back to the lab and set it up there to diagnose the issue however, when connected at my desk, it worked first time. Odd, must be an issue with the network connection at the back of the warehouse then.. seemed a reasonable assumption. The port on the switch was live and worked without issue so my immediate thought was "ah someone in the warehouse has probably broken the cable with a palette or something". Now this particular network cable has been installed for years.. a lowly piece of Cat5 that SOMEHOW makes it's way to the end of the warehouse.. nobody quite knows how, nor what route it takes to get there but after much faffing around following it through ceiling tiles and the like, I finally discover that the cable follows along one of the steel roof supports of the warehouse (the whole length of it!) before dropping down a piece of trunking used for the switch for the lights outside the delivery bay.
And this is a big warehouse, two thirds of which has a mezzanine floor over it, thankfully, which made inspecting the cable all the way along a fairly easy task with a long ladder until the point where mezzanine floor ended and there was still no sign of any breaks or damage in the cable. Now the rest of the cable ran along this beam for the last 1/3rd of the length of the warehouse.. some 50' up in the air from the floor and, whilst pondering exactly how to investigate the remaining length (or even how on earth I'm going to rig a new cable along that length anyway), it was then that I noticed, about half way down, a small piece of thin black cable sticking out from behind the roof beam. Thinking this was odd I set about coming up with a possible way to inspect what the cable was, could it be something related? I was unsure but I knew I needed something with more reach than my already quite long ladder to get up there.
Roll the clock forward twenty minutes, and there I am.. shaking and sweating, standing atop a pile of 10 palettes, perched atop a long reach forklift, fully extended, fifty feet above the solid concrete floor of the warehouse with about 20 pickers and packers laughing and cheering below me. I'm not all that good with heights, I'll be honest.. this was probably my worst nightmare. But then the reason for the failed network connection was finally obvious.
Turns out that the dispatch computer USED to be located at the end of the mezzanine floor, with parcels rolling down an old parcel chute out to the loading bay and originally this network cable had dropped down from the ceiling straight to it. When the machine was moved next to the loading bay doors.. the remaining cable wasn't long enough to reach the new position and apparently splicing and extending the cable made the reach too long and caused connectivity problems. The previous admin, several years before, had decided that as a quick fix he would extend the cable by the addition of an old 8 port hub stuck up behind the beam, wiring it into the power supply for the outside lights! This poor thing had been up there for all these years acting as, not only an improvised network repeater, but also the improvised central heating for a nest of pigeons up in the roof!
Needless to say, whilst the hub had impressively weathered several years of one of the toughest environments I'd ever seen.. it had finally expired, probably due to the fact it had to be dug out of a monumental amount of pigeon crap that had accumulated over the years.
Also needless to say, I was VERY glad to be back on the ground once more a little while later, still sweating profusely, with legs like jelly from the vertigo.. and pigeon S#*T all over me...
Worst, Day, Ever
Re: Spaceport in the UK
> There's a big savings in rocket fuel if you launch from the equator. Or, to put it another way, there's a big cost in rocket fuel if you launch far from the equator.
That's very true, the reduction in dV by launching east from the equator is significant indeed.. The east coast of the UK would be perfectly viable for northern polar and sun synchronous launches however, something that's not possible from say VAFB on the US west coast (southern only).
Being able to have your satellite built and launched in the same country could be a significant plus for some companies.
Re: Why is air launch not done more
Just a case of cost and payload weight.. It makes sense for very small payloads, but for anything bigger than a few Kg's (cygnss was about 29Kg iirc) the rocket equation quickly means the booster gets too big for even the biggest aircraft to lift. You either develop and MUCH bigger aircraft, which most likely wouldn't fly, or you just say **** it and build a big first stage booster like everyone else!
Air launch looks good, but really you're only getting to 4% of orbital altitude and about 3% of orbital velocity before launching - it doesn't make THAT much of a difference.
Re: Not quite that remarkable
> I wonder if that's the last Tristar flying?
To my knowledge there are eight remaining Tristars flying with various operators, it's nice to see Orbital ATK keeping this one in good condition as well! Fantastic aircraft!
> but they deserve kudos for their science and unmanned-lift work.
Whilst I agree with the "science" part.. The Pegasus is owned and operated by Orbital ATK, the most involvement NASA had with this launch was supplying the chase aircraft... I agree though, for all the awesome things NASA have done, they have made a right royal hash of manned spaceflight to the extreme. As impressive as the shuttle was, it was functionally unfit for purpose in almost every single way.. not to mention being the most dangerous space system to ever fly.
Don't even get me started on the SLS, I struggle to find a reason why they're even bothering to build it. By the time it flies I fully expect SpaceX to be ferrying people all over the solar system ^.^
(okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating a little on the last sentence.. but I don't think I'll be far off)
Re: Actually less about the Amosposion I think.
I do indeed, NASA's Sep. 1 CCtCap report (https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY16/IG-16-028.pdf)
Some cited statements...
"SpaceX officials attributed the delays to capsule design challenges, specifically switching from a design that used a ground-based landing to a water-based landing design in the first year after contract award. This resulted in significant challenges, including complications with vendor components and the effectiveness of the integrated landing system designed to ensure parachutes work and the capsule does not take on excessive water after landing in the ocean. In addition, SpaceX stated it had underestimated the number of interfaces to the weldment and radial bulkheads, which also resulted in design delays."
"NASA Program officials anticipate SpaceX will encounter additional delays on the path to certification. For example, in January 2015, the tunnel that provides a passageway for astronauts and cargo between the Dragon and the ISS was reported to have cracked during the heat treatment phase of the manufacturing process. As a result, SpaceX delayed qualification testing by approximately one year to better align the tests as SpaceX moves toward certification."
"SpaceX has also experienced ongoing issues with stress fractures in turbopumps that must be resolved prior to flight."
"Additionally, SpaceX has not yet completed parachute system level testing which may reveal issues that would require redesign that could further delay the test flights."
And the final killer, with no mention of AMOS-6...
"Accordingly, we anticipate additional schedule slippage and do not expect certified flights by SpaceX earlier than late 2018."
With regards to the spacesuit issues, the only thing I can (quickly) find a mention of is in the following WSL article (http://www.wsj.com/articles/spacex-has-delayed-first-manned-nasa-launch-to-2018-from-2017-1481581294 - paywalled).
"At SpaceX, over the years those challenges have ranged from problems with space suits to onboard life-support systems to leaks involving unmanned Dragon capsules that returned and splashed down, as planned, in water."
My information on that might be somewhat out of date however, it was quite a while ago ^.^
Actually less about the Amosposion I think.
I think this has virtually nothing to do with the AMOS-6 anomaly back in September but more to do with design problems in Dragon 2 itself. The explosion, whilst annoying, shouldn't have affected any of the Dragon 2 development critical paths. If anything it probably allowed more time on Dragon 2 during the investigation.
From what I understand, SpaceX have a fundamental set of problems with several components of the Dragon 2 craft and it's associated hardware. There are ongoing issues with stress fractures in the SuperDraco engines, along with crack issues in the tube used to dock and transfer items between it and the ISS. There have also been issues, apparently (source /r/SpaceX), with the SpaceX spacesuits currently under development. We know NASA have been kicking up a fuss with the whole "put astronauts on board the rocket first and then fuel" for months now, and the September event undoubtedly ruffled the feathers further in regards to that, but at the end of the day that's just a procedural hurdle to get over.
NASA has also further contributed to delays with Dragon 2 by insisting the first flights are splashdowns rather than using the SuperDraco assisted propulsive landing it was originally designed to do, that alone required an extensive redesign of many parts of the craft.
At the end of the day, schedules slip and there are problems, that's just how things are. I'd be interested to know how this is going to impact the Red Dragon mars mission currently scheduled for 2018 Mars synod though.
Actually very useful
Being a 99.5% Linux shop here I very much doubt we'd be migrating any systems to SQL server in the future however this does help with the constant problem of having to find some free space on a windows machine somewhere in the office to temporarily host a database we're importing. The usual sort of stuff, being able to spin it up on one of the many Linux machines we have helps out a LOT.
More options is always good so, despite my long running distrust for anything Microsoft (hey, some things take a while to die!) I for one am very appreciative for their work here.
I think the worst thing I've seen was shortly after we had a leak in the aircon unit in the "server room" (comms cabinet would be closer). The aircon was above the door and when it leaked it saturated the door to the point where it expanded and jammed itself closed. We had to drill out the lock, and a substantial part of the door and literally kick the thing open again. Oh well, these things happen right?
Anyway, got a heap of notifications a week later after the aircon (but not the door) was fixed about temps running high in a majority of the rack so wen't to investigate only to be faced with what I can only describe as a "wall of toilet roll" behind the server room door. Yes, the cleaners had their quarterly delivery of goods for the office, and without anywhere to store fifteen hundred toilet rolls, they thought they'd re-purpose our little server room for the use of storing not just the rolls, but also bottles and bottles of various cleaning chemicals to boot.
The door was quickly replaced after that.. and I think we have a new cleaning company too..
Re: 4000 satellites in a similar orbit
... I think basic orbital mechanics says otherwise. Being in the same orbit requires they also have the same orbital velocity. Even counting ever so minor differences between satellites, they'd have de-orbited from atmospheric drag long before they'd catch up to one another, even in the case of a failed satellite.
Although I will admit, something other than another MuskSat impacting them could be a little messy. Looking at their filing from today though, they've picked orbital altitudes/inclinations that are basically clear of debris and have a very thorough de-orbiting process at the end of their useful service life to quickly get them out of the sky (and not just parked into graveyard orbits). 4000 may sound a lot, but there's a very, very low risk of triggering KS in reality :)
And even if it does happen, whilst it would undoubtedly be bad for the satellites in similar orbits, the mess would de-orbit relatively quickly (in the order of years most likely). It certainly wouldn't be the space age apocalypse it would seem..
From another viewpoint...
I've been an Arch user for about two years now. After repeatedly having to deal with crap, borked updates and software chosen for me with other distributions I decided to trial it inside a VM just to get a feel for it, then I took my work desktop home for the weekend.. backed up, blew it away and installed Arch.
I've never gone back, it's an absolutely wonderful distro! Sleek, fast, simple and straightforward.. it's very much like a gentoo but without the build everything from source mentality. For a person who was first introduced to linux in '95, and has used nothing else since 2000, it is absolutely everything I could possibly want or need.
I too was worried about a rolling release causing me problems on a Monday morning, that's fine, I run my updates Friday afternoon before leaving work.. In the two years I've been running it, I have had ONE (minor) problem - resolved by rolling back the obvious package that updated and caused the issue. If I compare that to the untold woe of updating ubuntu releases (even lts > lts) it's been the most painless, problem free distribution I have ever used.
Some of us don't want user friendly, some of us don't want distro mentality.. some of us just want a specific stack of software, fairly up to date that assumes we know what we're doing. There's no elitist views that I can see in the Arch community (although I will admit, there's a fair bit of "look, if you can't understand this.. you're using the wrong distro" which I think is fair.. it's not like you weren't warned) just a lot of knowledgeable people with the same requirements as you have.
The Arch documentation (the wiki) is undoubtedly one of the best resources in the Linux world today, even to non arch users, and is something that I feel could have been mentioned more in the article, it's as important as the distro itself.
So yeah, it's not noob friendly, it doesn't pander to the windows converts, it doesn't have a one click installer - it's just not meant to. It's bare bones, custom Linux for those of us who just want to get on with the job and know what we're doing.
Re: A never-ending study on how to mess up humans...
I think this is mainly a cost problem really. To do proper, long term, research into artificial gravity (and I mean something more involved than say Gemini 11 where they tethered two capsules together) would require putting a huge amount of infrastructure into orbit. A rotating space vehicle would have to have a large enough radius to generate 1g (or even half a g, that would probably do) through centripetal force without causing disorientation in the occupants via the Coriolis effect. Keeping the spin fairly slow, say about 2 rpm, would require a radius of some 50-60 meters at least.. a diameter comparable to the length of the international space station.
Whilst it's certainly achievable, that's a lot of stuff to put into orbit for just an experiment. It's certainly well within the reach of some future rockets though, SpaceX's ITS booster, for example, would probably make it financially feasible within two / three launches. I certainly feel it would be a research benefit. With proposed transit times to mars around an average 115 days though (to quote SpaceX) I think the impact of this would be fairly minimal, especially considering Mars gravity is a third of Earths. Less time in microgravity for a start, and less of a shock to adjust to on arrival.
Coming back to Earth after a two years stay in 1/3rd g and then three months in 0g however.. I can't see that being a pleasant experience!!
Congratulations to all at Orbital ATK on a successful return to flight with Antares! Definitely a great start for the new 230 model. As Brian said, it's fantastic seeing the commercialisation of space begin, what a time to be alive :)
Beers all round for the people that pulled this off!
Re: Do the job right
As much as I'm a Trek fan.. Unfortunately I have to agree, give the people what they want and stop trying to "do something new". Starting to get a little sick of this revisiting the past nonsense as well, Star Trek was supposed to be forward looking to a utopian, inspirational future.. hopefully it wont turn out as bad as these godawful, alternate timeline "movies"..
I'm really hoping Discovery delivers something for your average Trek fan.. but I'm losing hope all the time. At this rate, the first episode is going to be "everything in the quadrant gets blown up, except for the gay guy.. he lives happily ever after" :-/
Indeed, they are ENORMOUS.. I live and work just around the corner from them (got to see the flying bum yesterday as well from the office). Even when you're standing right next to them, the scale of them still doesn't compute.. incredible buildings, and look fantastic after their refurbishment too.
Indeed this is a story that resonates a lot with me as well.. spending hours into the night in a comms cabinet at a new office just the other side of the office park to the main HQ, configuring a router where the link would stubbornly refuse to come up and everyone else had given up.
Checked the newly installed cat5 drop to the downstairs comms room where the fibre terminated.. and the so called "professional" network engineer has punched two wires into the same bloody pin.. sigh..
Always check the cables.. yes..
Icon because, well, Friday!
I don't know why people STILL have problems with this
RedHat 6 (and so CentOS 6) is based on kernel version 2.6.32, that's just how it is and how it will always be. If you're looking for a stable distro, that will be maintained for a solid decade whilst maintaining ABI compatibility, you're looking for RedHat/CentOS. If there's a further update for EL6 in 2020 at the end of it's support life.. you get it, it will be based on Linux 2.6.32.
In enterprise environments you are looking for support, stability and compatibility with the applications you are going to be running on there. You're not looking for major ABI breaking changes, fancy new drivers or the latest and greatest bleeding edge features (although some of these do get back ported by RedHat).
Running a lot of CentOS boxes here in production, I would have an absolute FIT if 6.8 moved to a 3.x kernel ^.^