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+ - China's first reusable shuttle?

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "On Monday China launched the first of a new generation of GPS satellites using a secretive new upper stage they call Yuanzheng-1 (“Expedition-1 in English).

The first article describes Yuanzheng-1 as follows:

The Yuanzheng-1 (“Expedition-1) uses a small thrust 6.5 kN engine burning UDMH/N2O4 with specific impulse at 3092 m/s. The upper stage should be able to conduct two burns and has a 6.5 hour lifetime. It will be adapted for use on the CZ-3A/B/C series mainly for direct MEO/GEO insertion missions (mostly for the navigation satellites of the Beidou GNSS).

This description make it appear that Yuanzheng-1 is nothing more than a typical upper stage, capable of bringing its cargo to the appropriate orbit.

The second article, however, has a concept picture of Yuanzheng-1, a shuttle-like craft that looks to me to strongly resemble the X-37B. Nothing in the second article however contradicts the first, which leaves us with a mystery. Is this upper stage capable of returning to Earth after it deploys its cargo? The fact that the Chinese were unusually secretive about the launch itself suggests that there was definitely something unusual about the rocket itself.

If the Chinese have made their upper stage reusable they have taken a big step to reducing costs in a way that will allow them to compete with SpaceX, should that company succeed in returning its first stage so that it can be reused."

+ - German Paper's Timeline of Flight 9525's Final Moments->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "German tabloid newspaper Bild has released what is claims is a summary of the timeline from downed Germanwings flight 9525 (4U9525/GWI18G). The timeline is based on the data recorded on one of the black boxes recovered from the wreckage. An official transcript of the cockpit voice recording has not been released, so Bild cites sources close to the investigation for the information. CNN translated Bild's report, but cannot independently verify the information. The timeline provides one of the most detailed descriptions of the plane's final moments, and makes it seem that the crash was indeed intentional."
Link to Original Source

Comment: He's right (Score 2) 161

by hcs_$reboot (#49368691) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

[encryption] has become perhaps the biggest problem for the police (...)

He is right. Eavesdropping everyone everywhere in all possible ways without any ethical limit made everyone aware of
- the privacy intrusion risks posed by non encrypted communication
- the privacy intrusion risks posed by weakly encrypted communication
- the privacy intrusion risks depending on the communication media being utilized.

Comment: Re:And what good would it do? (Score 2) 442

by hcs_$reboot (#49364991) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

We already have a pretty good idea of what happened to the Germanwings flight even with 1 damaged black box.

Indeed. Every day the poor guy has a new condition: he was depressed, had vision problems, was a narcissist, ... So he was also probably deaf, and didn't hear the captain knocking at the door - which he locked by moving the button to the opposite direction, being also dyslexic. This in addition to some orientation problems, making him think he was already at Dusseldorf airport (his internal clock being also broke).

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354