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Comment Re:They almost didn't make it! (Score 1) 184

I'm surprised the flight controller didn't call for an abort.

Another mention in the book was a portion of descent called "dead man's zone." If a landing abort is commanded (the computer will first need to switch to Abort mode), LM first needs to shutdown descent engine, separate ascent stage from descent stage (there's a lot of stuff that happens on that one), and then fire the ascent engine. All this takes time and if too close to surface.... there comes a point too low for an abort.

Comment Re:They almost didn't make it! (Score 1) 184

Followup on the book "Apollo: Race to the Moon" that describes mission control consists of three major portions. MOCR that makes realtime decisions, Mission Evaluation Room (MER) that makes neartime decisions, and Spacecraft Analysis (SPAN) that interfaces MOCR and MER. The "captain" of MOCR is Flight Director, i.e. one of the shifts during Apollo is Gene Kranz as portrayed by Ed Harris in "Apollo 13." When there are systems that don't quite look right, they call MER that is a room with several tables with about 100 engineers, specialized in various systems. Neartime because they will get back to you later in the day or the next day on what problem and solution may be. Across these tables are blueprints, detailed documentations, and telephones for these guys to call various companies for even more details. Along the walls are monitors of data displays like in MOCR, from the picture I've need this room looks chaotic and noisy. The notable "captain" of MER is Don "Mad Don" Arabian. He got this name because many see him as mad, wild, cut-to-the-chase, slash-and-burn style of management. In the Murray and Cox book Don has said what he thinks of MOCR, "We don't need any fancy damn consoles or anything." Astronauts, "Not all of them are that smart." NASA HQ, "Hubcaps, useless ornamentation."

Comment They almost didn't make it! (Score 2) 184

All you old timers remember the "we got a 1201 alarm" (or something like that) the LM computer indicating to Neal and Buzz it is taking in data too fast to handle. I was always puzzled by that story as what action can an astronaut do for something like that (unlike low fuel, high temperature, off course, loss of Bus A voltage, etc.), the book "Apollo: Race to the Moon" by Charles Murray and Catherine Cox gave a detailed explanation of that. Disclaimer: I'm extracting what I read 20 years ago so some details a little off.

Authors of this book interviewed many key and other notable people of the Apollo program but not much of any astronauts. That 1201 and similar alarms were intended for computer programmers for debugging (the digital display will flash certain numbers to indicate software problems). The LM software obviously thoroughly tested before flight but this situation occurred the Flight Dynamics Officer "FIDO" in MOCR heard this call on the loop. He then talked with one of his backroom guys (each one of those controllers in that "Mission Control" room, formally Mission Operations Control Room, has a group of guys with more monitors and indicators he can talk realtime intercom with). FIDO asked one of them should he call for an abort? One of the backroom guys said its ok as long as that particular alarm code doesn't occur again if a 1205 alarm is flagged. So FIDO says to Flight Director, "Flight, we're go as long as we don't see that code again [or 1205]." Flight says to Capcom they are go, which Capcom radios "you're go for landing."

So a 23 year old in the backroom says to a 27 year old in the main control room they are go for landing, who relayed it to Kranz and rest is history. If they said otherwise, then Pete Conrad would have been the first man on the moon.

Comment Re:Amazon is awesome for knockoffs! (Score 1) 334

I thought it was the Republican party that ended slavery and ended segregation in the schools of the south and state democrats were the ones that opposed it.

The R and D parties were different back then. Also the country is different now from what it was (which is why we cannot put a man on the moon like we did nearly 50 years ago).

Comment Re:Just do it. (Score 1) 106

This particular project doesn't connect to the Internet, but it is an example of what can be done with volunteers and without any revenue.

There are other hams that have created broadband mesh networks using Ubiquiti equipment (can use high power, some slivers of the 2.4GHz for just amateur radio, and cannot encrypt), some groups have a port to connect to internet. But that port is tightly controlled as don't want to be "surfing the web" visiting sites with data (smut and business) not allowed on amateur radio. I like to get in on this action, I've seen some of these places where hams set up a county wide network including VOIP phones. And the phones have landline voice quality! They mostly do this for fun and demonstrate to local govts this can also be used for emergency communications. And some of these officials allowed the hams to put some nodes on water tanks overlooking large areas.

However, the skills built up spending personal time doing this stuff can then use these skills to build an "internet service." Something like a place where you can connect direct to the internet without having to go through AT&T or Comcast, then shoot 5.8GHz or 2.4GHz to customers. Yes, it is clunky for those living in condos or apartments. I guess dialup to the rescue (don't laugh, many wifi sites are slower).

Comment Re:Not impressed (Score 1) 236

Not really, Dale Myers explains in this 2005 MIT Open Course Ware video in 1971 he was faced that last Skylab flight for 1973 could have been the last manned spaceflight for the US. At that time Apollo Soyuz was not scheduled. Myers and other high level NASA officials were aware of inherent limitations of the Shuttle. The STS program could have easily not occur if 1972 was not an election year and Nixon had to get delegates from California and Florida (even though McGovern was trailing way behind). Listen to Dale Myers explain, he was there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

This is one of 15 videos on systems engineering were MIT brought in several key people of the STS program. Including Kraft (I think) describing Frosch's meeting with Carter, "How much you need? Frosch, "$600 million." Carter, "I will get it." I was pleasantly surprised to see this story get more exposure. Though a partner like Mondale didn't help Shuttle but yet this is worth noting.

Many other fascinating aspects in this video series (gets me thinking ISS must have a whole host of stories of the good, the bad, and the marginal). Aaron Cohen describes how his friends showed the 747 can ferry the orbiter when they built a RC model. Cohen said this made so many things in design much easier (no need for jet engines on orbiter, 747 can carry orbiter from many places including those if orbiter had to make emergency landings). Other aspects like orbiter goes through 15 different flight regimes during entry (no way a human can manually pilot it from Mach 25 to subsonic), also several tons of lead were placed in aft of orbiter for CG control. Yep, several tons of "useless mass" was brought up and down on 135 flights.

Comment sometimes I check if my friends are there (Score 1) 91

Using APRSISCE program (RF only) occasionally I zoom out to see what stations are there as result of lat/long settings of 000/000 (either too lazy to check configuration or testing hardware). I find a few there. One time I saw a friend's truck in North Atlantic, "hey Norm, how did you get there in just two days?" Obviously some screwed up bits from the laptop.

Today I heard someone said, "APRS: The original Pokemon Go."

Comment Re:Free-for-all spectrum? (Score 3, Informative) 64

So some government regulation is quite appropriate.

if you go way back there was a time when spectrum was unregulated. Gordon West wrote in his GROL book in 1920s (or early 30s) the Supreme Court ruled Dept of Commerce did not have enforcement authority. Radio stations went wild, using whatever freq and power levels they wanted. It became such a mess many listeners turned off their receivers and radio sales plummeted. Later when FCC was created they wrote legislation more carefully.

But it seems FCC has become regulatory captured as they seem more interested in selling spectrum. Interesting to talk with old timers recalling when FCC did enforcement and regulation including Part 15 products (maybe the high tech just got too fast for proper regulation). Many think the free market is more efficient but then there is no and never was a free market (except in the wild west and things were not that great, kind of like Somalia), everything is owned and controlled. If owned and controlled by one or a very few entities, well we get what we got which is what we are all bitching about today.

Comment Re:If they want to solve it... (Score 1) 187

They missed a couple opportunities to get fingerprints. In Bernie Rhodes book, "DB Cooper: The Real McCoy" mentions Cooper offered one of the stewardess a bundle of dollars from the ransom money as a tip, she turned it down in disgust (crap, that could have had his fingerprints for FBI if she took it). And another from that book is when FBI began detailed inspection for prints, "oh he was reading magazines, his seat is 18C, just grab those and dust them" (crap, airliner people cleaned out the trash and stuff before FBI begun inspection).

Comment Re:Thanks for the concise summary (Score 1) 187

one thing I always wondered is why did he choose the worst rig to jump, the Navy NB-8. Too lazy to read the details but didn't they provide a Paracommander? Of course he would not know what is packed inside (I'm sure it wasn't laundry as they want to capture him alive), probably a T10 but at least grab a rig that is the more comfortable such as the B-4 container?

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