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Comment: Re:Docking with the International Space Station? (Score 2) 44

by FullBandwidth (#44988113) Attached to: Cygnus Spacecraft Makes Historic Rendezvous With Space Station
Yes, but for a geosynchronous vehicle to be in its station-kept orbit might be precision of something like 0.05 degrees ( Cygnus had to hold at 30m and again at 10m distance (see, slide #11) for go/no-go decisions prior to moving to the docking position. Totally different orders of magnitude.

Comment: Re:Historic? (Score 4, Informative) 44

by FullBandwidth (#44986885) Attached to: Cygnus Spacecraft Makes Historic Rendezvous With Space Station
Think you might want to check (and cite) those numbers again. I think you've confused launch mass with cargo mass. - Dragon delivers 2300 lbs (1045 kg) cargo to ISS. - Cygnus delivers 2000 kg (standard) or 2700 kg (enhanced) to ISS. The vehicles serve two very different purposes upon reentry. Dragon brings back garbage and recoverable cargo, Cygnus just takes out the trash. That's one of the reasons that Cyngus carries a much greater payload to the ISS. So if you are going to do any kind of back-of-the-envelope calculation about which one is a better value for NASA, then you have to include the value of bringing the wanted & unwanted cargo back versus disposal. Your argument reminds me of the old "which is better, Mac or PC" arguments we used to have in the 20th Century. The answer is "two players are always better than one." Now, how can we extend that analogy to SLS ... "which is better, Mac, PC, or IBM/370 running MVS?" Hmm, IBM/370 may still be considered a lightweight compared to SLS... And what exactly do you mean by "stuck in orbit?" A functioning space vehicle that maneuvers and allows another visiting vehicle (Soyuz) to rendezvous, before making its own approach, hardly sounds "stuck."

Comment: Re:Antares: an outsourced rocket (Score 2) 85

Not to denigrate the fine contribution of lobbying and paperwork to any successful endeavor, but you might find that turning a collection of components into an integrated system - even for something as trivial as a space launch - is a little more complicated than clicking Legos together. Besides, only the first and second stages were delivered as components. That still leaves the fairing, separation systems, launch vehicle interface to the ground systems, the ground systems themselves (1st stage is liquid), etc. etc. etc.

Comment: Re:Why mock cargo? (Score 1) 85

Slight correction to your "anything like the confidence" comment - that is actually irrelevant, all that sort of thing is specified in the contracts that Orbital and Space-X have with NASA. The next Antares launch will in fact carry a completed Cygnus vehicle, including cargo, with the intent to dock with the station. That's what they keep referring to as the "COTS demonstration mission." Space-X did the same thing under their COTS contract - the only difference is that after the Falcon's successful maiden voyage, Space-X talked NASA into dropping one of the two demo missions their contract originally called for (Orbital always had just one). So after Space-X's COTS demonstration flight - when Dragon docked with the station successfully - they immediately went into the CRS phase of the program and have flown one mission so far under that agreement. Orbital will enter the CRS phase once the COTS demonstration mission is successful, presumably this summer.

Comment: Re:Yikes! (Score 1) 97

True - but where in the article does it say anything about making any code tweaks? All I saw was they want to do more hardware-in-the-loop testing and review the data. If all that passes muster, no code will change and presumably they will be go for launch. If it doesn't pass, THEN they may consider standing down to make code changes. Or, change operational procedures or ground software or ask for a waiver or any of a number of corrective actions. Maybe MSNBC updated the article after you read it ... or maybe my browser hid page 2 or something? The only mention of "code tweaks" is in the incorrect /. headline. Cheers

Comment: Re:Not what I want from Amazon (Score 1) 140

by FullBandwidth (#37509912) Attached to: Amazon To Launch Kindle Tablet?
I dug my venerable Kindle out and dusted it off, after working with a variety of tablets over the last few months. I'd forgotten how much smaller & lighter it is, with battery life in months, not days. It's hard to see how to preserve those good traits of a e-reader while also loading it down with features to make it a desktop/laptop/netbook replacement, which seems to be where the tablet market has to go (or has already gone?).

+ - Ask Slashdot: Info on upcoming handhelds?

Submitted by FullBandwidth
FullBandwidth (1445095) writes "Seems like some intrepid slashdotters are always getting scoops on the soon-to-be-released handhelds (phones, tablets). What's the best way to get technical information and release dates? Apparently in the US, the vendors have to submit a certain amount of documentation that then gets published on the website, but I'm not sure if many of us have time to pore over that site. Are there reliable sites or RSS feeds dedicated to what's the bleeding edge of mobile computing?"

+ - Space Telescope to track objects in GEO orbit->

Submitted by FullBandwidth
FullBandwidth (1445095) writes "A while back we reported on the DARPA Space Surveillance Telescope, though loyal slashdotters were divided on exactly what astronomers would be looking for. DARPA now makes it clear that the telescope will "enable wide-field views of objects in geostationary orbit" in support of the Air Force mission of "tracking satellites and other objects in Earth orbit and reporting that information to U.S. Strategic Command.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Glory lost to Taurus XL Failure->

Submitted by
FullBandwidth writes "The protective nose cone of an Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory environmental research satellite apparently failed to separate after launch Friday, preventing the spacecraft from achieving orbit in a $424 million failure. It was the second nose cone failure in a row for a Taurus XL rocket following the 2009 loss of another environmental satellite."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Give credit where it isn't due? (Score 4, Interesting) 54

by FullBandwidth (#34543550) Attached to: Microsoft Backtracks On Accessibility In Windows Phone 7
I had to laugh when I saw Microsoft described as "doing well" in terms of accessibility for the blind. It's simply not true; their attempts at accessibility are token at best and largely ignored by the blind community. I know lots of blind people and I don't know a single one who uses a Windows desktop or mobile product without a third-party application such as JAWS for Windows, ZoomText or Nuance. Oh and while we're on the subject: Adobe's accessibility "features" are non-functional - not only are they totally inadequate standing alone, they also prevent those 3rd party applications from doing their jobs. PDFs and Flash are pretty much inaccessible to blind users. I am holding out hope for Pico on Android ... though I have yet to get it working on anything but the emulator that comes with the SDK.

Comment: Re:Super (Score 1) 754

by FullBandwidth (#34467714) Attached to: Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US
No, I am simply suggesting that your visibility is better when going forward than backwards. When you pull up to a parking space (forwards) you can see whether it's clear to back in, and whether that situation is likely to change in the amount of time it takes to back in (i.e. pedestrians that you can see walking towards your space). Not saying it's foolproof, nothing is. Just saying that when you back out of a parking space you have very limited visibility side-to-side, compared to pulling out forwards. I guess it's less about the straight-backwards view - that is provided by the backlight ("rear window") if your vehicle has one (mine doesn't) or mirrors, or camera - it doesn't seem to me this is the limiting factor, once you have a straight, clear shot at backing into the spot. Or maybe I'm overthinking/overexplaining this?

Comment: Re:Super (Score 1) 754

by FullBandwidth (#34447258) Attached to: Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US
Yeah I'm going to have to side with "encroachment" this time. You can dramatically increase your safety in a parking lot simply by either backing into a space or pulling through two adjacent spaces when available. That way when you exit, you're going forward and have maximum visibility. When you approach the space to enter it (either backwards or pulling through) you again have much better visibility and can assess the presence of obstacles such as children and the elderly. Seems like better driving practices could cut that 292/18K number down with no bogus technology injection.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long