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Comment: Re:Old technology (Score 1) 108

by Teancum (#47956585) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

The main controls on a train are to go forward and backward. Hardly something that needs advanced artificial intelligence and 3D spacial comprehension. It is basically a one dimensional problem when operating a train, and monitoring the rails to make sure that one dimension situation doesn't change into a 3D problem. Sure, there is monitoring the equipment on the train itself where the motors are far more complex, but even that has its limits and isn't too complicated.

Comment: Re:Some of the space tourists (Score 1) 46

by Teancum (#47956463) Attached to: Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

Everybody who has paid for their own trip to the ISS so far has gone through cosmonaut training at Star City (at least a six month training effort where they learn all of the sub-systems of the Soyuz spacecraft) and have become fully qualified astronauts in their own right. They usually have been involved with experiments done on the ISS as well, and usually bring up something to do. They are also responsible for performing "chores" while at the station.

About the only thing these "private astronauts" don't perform is an EVA to do repairs on the outside of the ISS.

I would imagine that when Boeing or SpaceX does the same thing, a similar kind of training is going to be required. If anything, because they are American companies needing to work with NASA a whole lot more, they will be required to be much more active in regards to NASA experiments (the previous astronauts were guests of the Russian Federation). The most certainly won't be merely floating in space and staring out windows.

Comment: Re:Public access (Score 1) 46

by Teancum (#47956427) Attached to: Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

NASA is only paying for the flight slots. Both Boeing and SpaceX plan on reusing their respective spacecraft, although for this particular CCtCAP contract I'm pretty sure they are supposed to be all brand-new vehicles.

The CST-100 is more like the Space Shuttle so far as it needs some refurbishment that takes a little bit of time, but it is still supposed to be just a couple of months turn around time from a landing to a new launch. SpaceX is aiming for "commercial aircraft" style of reuse where they want to relaunch the vehicle potentially within the same day it lands.

Even the Dragon spacecraft which is going up tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 21st) is merely sold for the mission, and SpaceX gets that vehicle to use for its own purposes. At the moment, SpaceX is using the opportunity to take the Dragon apart to study the engineering issues that have shown up on each mission, but that will soon end.

Comment: Re:Public access (Score 1) 46

by Teancum (#47956403) Attached to: Boeing To Take Space Tourists On Its CST-100 Spacecraft To the ISS

None the less, they are real spacecraft that have life support systems which have been operating as if they could be occupied. One of them had some biological specimens (I think some insects) and it was definitely pressurized in the interior volume, not to mention that Bigelow has gained the experience of operating these modules over a long period of time.

Bigelow Aerospace is currently slated to send up a vehicle next year on a Falcon 9, and supposedly a Falcon Heavy has also been sold but not on the manifest right now. With the current launch rate that SpaceX has been pounding out lately, this seems pretty likely to happen unless it is Bigelow who isn't ready.

Comment: Re:Canada & Quebec (Score 1) 443

by Teancum (#47946127) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I suppose it is sort of like the never ending battle over what to do with Puerto Rico in the USA. Does it become a state? Become independent? Remain in its current weird "organized unincorporated territory" status?

In that case though, the people of Puerto Rico are simply too laid back to want to bother pushing the issue, and the rest of America doesn't care. Even the fact that most of the seats to Congress from Puerto Rico would likely be Democrat hasn't even remotely influenced its admission status.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 1) 198

by Teancum (#47933655) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

I apologize. I've been battling too many people on Reddit lately, and sometimes that carries over to here on Slashdot, even though I've largely faded away from here.

BTW, this particular tweet is VERY interesting:

https://twitter.com/TheLurioReport/status/512292169840099329

If there is any substance here, this story could could a whole lot more interesting. The Lurio Report, unlike Mr. Pasztor, is usually pretty accurate with these things too. Even more interesting is this tweet:

https://twitter.com/TheLurioReport/status/512293986602848256

I guess that explains the layoff notices that Boeing sent out earlier to comply with the WARN Act.

Comment: Re:Translation...and I'm a Guest, not a Coward.... (Score 1) 198

by Teancum (#47928001) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

In the press conference that was held after the announcement, the NASA PR rep actually mentioned "other competitive crewed spaceflight operators" could be considered in the future. In other words, SNC is not completely out of the picture. Indeed they will still be funded for CCiCAP as they complete the final milestones under the current agreements... SNC just missed the big funding and actual spaceflight missions which SpaceX and Boeing are now being funded for with CCtCAP.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 1) 198

by Teancum (#47923707) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Except for the nit-picky fact that they've said nothing of the sort.

On the contrary, they even prepared the lay-off notices to most of the staff working on the CST-100:

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/40931boeing-preparing-layoff-notices-in-case-of-commercial-crew-loss

It was a prudent business move none the less, but Boeing certainly didn't seem ready to compete in general commercial spaceflight endeavors. Now that they've won the award, I guess all of that paperwork gets burned, which should be a relief to those working on the CST-100.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 1) 198

by Teancum (#47923585) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

And the award to the biggest asshole on slashdot goes to businessnerd, who can't tell time to see that I posted before the official announcement. Not only that, but besides the raw "Boeing and SpaceX got the award", Mr. Pasztor got nearly everything else in the article flat out wrong.

It should also be pointed out that NASA has yet to select a "prime contractor", if any is to be selected at all.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 2) 198

by Teancum (#47917897) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Slow down there..... you don't know who has received what, if there is even a "prime contractor", or what is going to happen. Assuming that Mr. Pasztor is 100% accurate (his previous record of accuracy in reporting about the space industry suggests strongly otherwise), it would still be pretty good for SpaceX. Although I would say it is just at the beginning of the fireworks as whatever deal actually comes from this announcement today (4 PM EDT according to NASA) is going to be reviewed by congressional committees in the future and may even change. It will still remain competitive between the companies in the future and I can see the down selected company getting business in the future from NASA if they continue development and independently get passengers into space.

The interesting thing is that Blue Origin is rumored to be potentially purchased or some sort of stock swap with Boeing with a merger. The future of Boeing and whatever they are going to do in the future will be interesting, and I think Boeing is going to feel the pinch to be competitive. Both SpaceX and Sierra Nevada have promised that they will continue with development of their vehicles even if they don't get selected, which I hope is not a criteria being used for selecting Boeing if this proves to be true.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 4, Interesting) 198

by Teancum (#47917733) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Boeing paid off Andy Pasztor to write this hit piece. Basically it is being done, I would guess, to push up stock prices so somebody else can make a bunch of money shorting the stock afterward or something silly like that. This "reporter" has rarely been right and deserves to be embarrassed if everything he says fails to happen.

BTW, I agree with you in regards to Dreamchaser. It is a good enough vehicle that the ESA is even looking at using it, and Sierra Nevada is already on record saying they will continue the development of this vehicle even without additional development money from NASA. Indeed the only company that has said they will stop any further development if their vehicle isn't selected is Boeing.

Comment: Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (Score 1) 155

by Teancum (#47914161) Attached to: Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

Some of the issue with automobile manufactures is that the vehicles are so complex and need so much capital that almost everybody who tries to build a new manufacturing company in this industry usually goes bankrupt. Tucker and DeLorean are really good examples of this, in spite of conspiracy theories that suggest ulterior motives of existing manufacturers.

The other issue is simply complying with government regulations in the industry. Some of those regulations certainly have been established because of major screw-ups in the past, but many of them (in spite of the manufacturers complaining about them) are enacted explicitly to discourage new entrants into the industry. At the very least the existing manufacturers only offer token resistances to things like seat belt and safety laws that add complexity as long as it hits everybody in the industry equally... and keeps new companies busy trying to catch up if they tried. If somebody built an exact replica of the Ford Model T, it couldn't be driven today except as a historical re-creation for off-road usage and certainly not something for mass production.

Comment: Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (Score 2) 155

by Teancum (#47914107) Attached to: Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

The point of the dealership is to have a local representative who can help with compliance with local regulations. A hundred years ago, selling stuff was a whole lot more complicated in terms of trying to keep track of things each state wanted or didn't want, not to mention often even different laws for each city even in the same state. Communication was also a bit slower as well... and more importantly the system simply worked for almost everybody.

The problem is that once you have the franchisee in place, getting rid of them is nearly impossible, even if the situation has changed. This is why several historic systems still stick around years, decades, or even centuries after they are obsolete. Some places in Europe still use Roman aqueducts for their water supply... because they still work. There may be more efficient ways to get the same thing to happen now, but why change if it still sort of works?

Comment: Re:Car Dealers should ask why they're being bypass (Score 3, Insightful) 155

by Teancum (#47914055) Attached to: Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla From Selling In Massachusetts

You are the one who made the first mistake.

If you do that kind of research by looking stuff up on-line, reading Consumer Reports, and digging up information about the automobiles before you show up to the dealer.... what is the point of the dealer in the first place?

I agree with you so far as that is the best way to avoid getting screwed over by incompetent salesmen, but you can intelligently use sales reps to get more information about their products. This is not strictly about the automobile industry either, and I've done that with electronics, software, and even groceries.

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