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International Effort Brings an Open Standard For Docking In Space

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the best-place-to-dock dept.

Canada 140

FTL writes "Engineers from the US, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe have come together to publish an International Docking Standard for spaceships. Currently the space station has three different types of incompatible docking ports, and the Chinese are developing their own. Standardizing on one type would permit interoperability and facilitate emergency rescues."

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In Communist China... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955080)

Space docking ports standardize you!

Posting anon for obvious reasons.

Re:In Communist China... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955172)

Open standards are a terrible way to go about this docking in space crap. What if someone finds an exploit to the docking procedure and is able to copy these docking procedures elsewhere?

What about the engineers that came up with these standards? Why don't they get to benefit from their work by patenting them?

Re:In Communist China... (3, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | about 4 years ago | (#33955350)

More likely, somebody will produce a proprietary "enhanced" version of the docking standard and claim that it is now the de-facto standard, and start charging fees to anybody who tries to dock with it.

Re:In Communist China... (1)

tenco (773732) | about 4 years ago | (#33955372)

Good luck proofing that your proprietary docking standard is used in outer space.

Re:In Communist China... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33955964)

Its actually a reasonable question. The rebel alliance in Star Wars would have been better off without the docking adapters which allowed the imperial storm troopers to walk right into their spacecraft.

Re:In Communist China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956214)

Yes, it makes my future career as space pirate a lot easier. :)

Re:In Communist China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955534)

Yeah, good thing too, or else your average Americans won't be able to fit thru any space docking port!
 
Posting anon for obvious reasons.

Atmosphere (5, Interesting)

FTL (112112) | about 4 years ago | (#33955086)

Docking of course is just the first step. One also needs agreement on the atmosphere. American spacecraft (Apollo, Skylab) used 100% oxygen at 5 psi. Soviet spacecraft (Soyuz, Salut, Mir) used 20% oxygen 80% nitrogen at 14.7 psi. Neither side could change this easilly. Thus even though Apollo and Soyuz were able to physically dock in 1975, they had to use an airlock between the two spacecraft. Otherwise the cosmonauts would have gotten the bends from decompression and Apollo could have ruptured from overpressure.

Fortunately this is no longer much of an issue. As a result of the Apollo 1 fire and the deaths of Grissom, White and Chaffee, American spacecraft (starting with the Space Shuttle) adopted the Soviet approach.

Re:Atmosphere (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 4 years ago | (#33955136)

I also hear the Americans like Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf playing when they open the doors, whereas the Soviets are more inclined to Tchaikovsky.

Re:Atmosphere (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955714)

I'm always going to prefer the Blue Danube Waltz while docking..... if for no other reason than nostalgia. Who remembers the docking computers in the C64 version of Elite?

Re:Atmosphere (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 4 years ago | (#33958096)

Docking computers are for pussies. Real men dock by hand. Now excuse me while I go searching for a version of Elite and an emulator to run it on.

Re:Atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955420)

How the fuck do you survive a 5 psi atmosphere?

Re:Atmosphere (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 years ago | (#33955512)

The Soviet atmosphere mimicked that of Earths at sea level. 20/80 ratio at 14.7 psi. NASA on the other hand used a pure 100% O2 ratio, so 5psi was all that you needed. And in case you didn't know, your body doesn't need nitrogen as it's an inert gas anyways.

Re:Atmosphere (0)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 years ago | (#33955810)

Nitrogen is not an inert gas (helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon). More accurate to say humans do not respire nitrogen whilst they definitely do consume it in various forms. Nitric acid is of course very reactive and the organic nitrates are even more reactive nitroglycerine.

A standardised docking station should of course be unencumbered by any patents, keeping in mind it is not just used in space but also on the ground to control the exchange of atmosphere when astronauts enter the craft.

With joint missions being relatively rare, along of course with all manned missions, the standardised docking has more to do with global space cooperation rather than real current need, along with the avoidance of further expanding warfare into space, further growth of that could have very severe consequences.

Re:Atmosphere (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956192)

N2 is rather inert, and (along with high-quality flue gas, the noble gasses, and various N2/noble gas mixtures) is often referred to as an "inert gas". Perhaps you're confusing "inert gas" with "noble gas", or perhaps you slept through high school chemistry.

Re:Atmosphere (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33956966)

Helium, neon, argon,krypton, xenon and radon are noble gasses. Nitrogen is an inert gas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inert_gas [wikipedia.org]

Nitric acid is not nitrogen gas. Neither are organic nitrates. I am very sorry for someone who confuses nitrogen gas and nitroglycerine.

Re:Atmosphere (1)

dkf (304284) | about 4 years ago | (#33958108)

I am very sorry for someone who confuses nitrogen gas and nitroglycerine.

I don't think you need to be very sorry for them for a long time though. But do bring a mop to clean up the mess.

Re:Atmosphere (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 years ago | (#33958476)

Humblest apologies.

Re:Atmosphere (1)

srothroc (733160) | about 4 years ago | (#33956080)

I've been wondering why we don't use an oxy-helium combination, actually. Does anyone know?

Re:Atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956142)

1 mol of He is lighter than 1 mol of N2 :)

Re:Atmosphere (2, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | about 4 years ago | (#33956182)

I've been wondering why we don't use an oxy-helium combination, actually. Does anyone know?

Might have something to do with this [independent.co.uk]

Re:Atmosphere (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33956992)

Why would you? Oxy-helium is used in high pressure environments where nitrogen becomes a narcotic. In a space ship the last thing you want is high pressure.

Helium is kind of a pain too. It tends to leak through seals a lot faster than other gasses.

Re:Atmosphere (2, Funny)

hcdejong (561314) | about 4 years ago | (#33958050)

Because Mission Control would have a hard time keeping a straight face due to the Chipmunk effect?

Re:Atmosphere (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 4 years ago | (#33955528)

That's similar to the pressure at the top of Mt. Everest.

I suppose the fact that it is 100% O2 makes up for the fact that it is low pressure. So.. 1/3rd pressure, but 5x concentration... net would be similar, yeah?

Besides the point though, as people have done Everest without oxygen anyways, right?

Re:Atmosphere (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33955996)

Besides the point though, as people have done Everest without oxygen anyways, right?

Only acclimatising for a long time. The natural atmosphere at that altitude is only marginally survivable. If you dump the atmosphere from a 747 at 30000 feet most people would die quickly.

Re:Atmosphere (3, Informative)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 4 years ago | (#33955562)

At 100% O2, the partial pressure of oxygen at 5 psi is actually higher than it is on Earth, so it's quite easy.

Of course, there are other issues [wikipedia.org] with an all-oxygen atmosphere, but breathing isn't one of them. The idea was to reduce the amount of pressure the cabins had to be designed to withstand.

Re:Atmosphere (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33956012)

Operating at 5psi makes eva much easier. Lunary surface EVAs would not really have been possible on the moon if the crew had to decompress for three hours every day. They were busy enough anyway.

Re:Atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956130)

Unless the space suit is at or near 1 atmosphere of pressure itself. I thought modern space suits operated at about 80% of an atmosphere of pressure anyway?

Re:Atmosphere (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33956160)

Unless the space suit is at or near 1 atmosphere of pressure itself. I thought modern space suits operated at about 80% of an atmosphere of pressure anyway?

No, that would make them unusable. You need the pressure as low as possible which means pure oxygen.

Re:Atmosphere (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956932)

That would give you suits resembling fully-inflated balloons. Not so easy to move around in.

Re:Atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955578)

If my 'Murkin units aren't failing me, that's about the pressure at the top of Everest. Certainly survivable if the risk of oxygen deprivation is eliminated (100% oxygen atmosphere), and the cabin is closer to room temperature. That's if you don't go all Apollo 1 on the astronauts.

Re:Atmosphere (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955526)

Docking of course is just the first step. One also needs agreement on the atmosphere.
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Re:Atmosphere (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 4 years ago | (#33955696)

Clever bot! copying the parent or alternate poster and then adding in the stupid ads

Re:Atmosphere (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 4 years ago | (#33955990)

Not clever so much as ... marginally less stupid on a good day. Maybe.

That, or whoever wrote the script intended for it to quote the poster above, but failed.

Re:Atmosphere (4, Informative)

Catmeat (20653) | about 4 years ago | (#33955532)

Not exactly.... Apollo 1 was about 8 years beforeApollo-Soyuz. They kept flying with 100% oxygen until the Shuttle era.

The US used pure oxygen because it meant the spacecraft presure could be less, while still delivering the same amount of O2 to the breather. Lower pressure meant a lighter spacecraft with thiner walls. Also, life support systems could be simpler - they just scrubed everything from the atmosphere that's wasn't oxygen.

Only, on the ground waiting for launch, such a spacecraft would be at atmospheric pressure (to avoid imploding). While 100% O2 at low pressure isn't much of a fire-risk, 100% O2 at atmospheric pressure is a fire-catastrophe waiting to happen, which it duly did with Apollo 1.

They solved the problem on Apollo by having a normal atmosphere on the ground. As the rocked ascended during launch, the concentration of oxygen slowly increaed, with the overall-pressure slowly reduced in step, so the partial pressure of oxygen remained constant. On the shuttle, they went to oxygen-nitrogen. A downside of this is the need to pre-breath oxygen for 24 hours before a spacewalk. Spacesuits operate at the lowest possible pressure and to go straight-outside in one would give you diver's bends. Bends were never a risk on Apollo as there was simply no nitrgen there to cause it.

Re:Atmosphere (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33957842)

A downside of this is the need to pre-breath oxygen for 24 hours before a spacewalk. Spacesuits operate at the lowest possible pressure and to go straight-outside in one would give you diver's bends. Bends were never a risk on Apollo as there was simply no nitrgen there to cause it.

Only true for US spacesuits. The russian suits use a higher pressure and need only a short prebreathing period (30 minutes).

Re:Atmosphere (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33955536)

American spacecraft (Apollo, Skylab) used 100% oxygen at 5 psi.

Wha??? That seems rather unlikely, judging by the distinct lack of all-consuming fires on board those aircraft. You got a citation, by any chance?

As a result of the Apollo 1 fire ... adopted the Soviet approach.

Ah. So the fire on the very first Apollo spacecraft lead to the change ... and then he subsequent Apollo and Skylab missions used 100% oxygen anyway.

Wait, what?

Re:Atmosphere (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955692)

Correct, once they got as far as Apollo 1, it was too late to change something as fundamental as the air pressure. That would have meant a major redesign. Skylab did back away from pure oxygen, but not by much (and only for medical reasons).

When Nixon threw away everything NASA had ever built (Apollo, Skylab, Saturn, etc), NASA finally had a chance to revisit their earlier error and correct it.

Citation:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wQEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51&dq=apollo+oxygen+skylab&source=bl&ots=5tZFkd3KX5&sig=9ttntVLIZQQjMHin_9rLzy0avZc&hl=en&ei=qD6-TOKTJImssAO0xZn6DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAg [google.com]

Re:Atmosphere (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 4 years ago | (#33955722)

It all has to do with the partial pressure. As long as your partial pressure remains the same, your body functions as normal, and there is no higher combustibility than normal air. The problem with the Apollo 1 fire was that they were running pure oxygen at 100kPa for ground tests.

Re:Atmosphere (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33955858)

Ah! Shit, yeah, I should have thought of that. Thanks :)

Re:Atmosphere (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955820)

There were several changes as a result of the Apollo I incident, but first a little background:

All american manned spacecraft up until the shuttle was designed to work at a 5PSI pure oxygen environment. This pressure level gives you a similar oxygen content as on earth at sea level, but at a much lower pressure. There were a couple of main reasons for this.

1) Simpler consumables management as nitrogen doesn't need to be carried as a consumable
2) EVA activity simplified as no pre-breath required for the space suits. Even today, US space suits operate at about 5PSI (a bit less actually). Currently on the shuttle, the pressure on the shuttle is lowered (with a corresponding decrease in nitrogen content) to about 9psi as that requires a reasonably short pre-breath. I assume that the space station would be similar.

The space shuttle changed to a sea level environment mainly because it was designed to be a normal work environment for non professionally trained astronauts. Didn't exactly work out that way but that was the intent.

As to some of the factors of the Apollo I fire, the incident occurred during a test that had been performed on every manned flight within the US space program to that date. The pressure inside the capsule was actually closer to 18PSI pure oxygen as it was to test the pressure differential. In addition, the capsule hatch would only open into the capsule instead of outward. This made it impossible for anyone to open the hatch. The pure oxygen environment at that pressure created an extremely dangerous situation in terms of fire control, but nobody ever thought it was a problem, because it was a routine procedure.

In terms of citation, you could read the Apollo I accident report which is in NASA's document repository, along with many other references. It isn't hidden knowledge.

Re:Atmosphere (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33956030)

The apollo 1 fire happened at two atmospheres pure oxygen. This is absolutely insane. Five PSI O2 is perfectly safe.

Re:Atmosphere (4, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | about 4 years ago | (#33956050)

Unlikely but still factual. What's combustible at 14.7 PSI pure O2 isn't necessarily so at 3 PSI (not 5) pure O2. 3 PSI O2 is roughly the partial-pressure of O2 in air at sea level.

Even so, a lot of people said it was stupid at the time, and the post-Apollo 1 redesign of the vehicle, while not eliminating the pure O2 atmosphere for flight, did eliminate it during ground tests and also eliminated many potential ignition sources and potentially flammable components. (They also redesigned the cabin hatch to open outwards, quickly, rather than inwards -- increasing the risk of a possible blow-out but enabling for quick escape in the case of another fire.)

Redesigning Apollo to use a sea-level-like air mix would have made it too heavy to get to the Moon on the existing Saturn V.

Mind, as a resident of the Denver area and knowing that there are plenty of people living at even greater altitudes, I'm a little surprised they opted for 14.7 PSI for Shuttle when ~12 PSI works just fine. Commercial airliners pressurize the cabin to = 8000 feet, typically ~7000 feet or about 11.5 PSI, but you start running into issues with avionics cooling, comfort, and extreme exertion if you beyond that.

Re:Atmosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956366)

Unlikely but still factual. What's combustible at 14.7 PSI pure O2 isn't necessarily so at 3 PSI (not 5) pure O2. 3 PSI O2 is roughly the partial-pressure of O2 in air at sea level.

Yes, but there is 12.7 PSI partial pressure of N2 which is missing -- gas that would ordinarily absorb some of the heat of combustion, slowing the overall burning reaction. Without it, the heat of combustion goes almost completely into... more combustion.

Imagine (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33955154)

Imagine if *humans* didn't have standard docking ports.

"Hey babe, you in the mood?"
"Yes, but you have a TR-71 and I have a OML 3.0. We'll need to go to HumanShack and get a converter first."
"Eh... never mind, let's just watch TV instead."

Re:Imagine (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 years ago | (#33955278)

Imagine if *humans* didn't have standard docking ports.

"Hey babe, you in the mood?" "Yes, but you have a TR-71 and I have a OML 3.0. We'll need to go to HumanShack and get a converter first." "Eh... never mind, let's just watch TV instead."

Well, one good thing about humans being wired like that is it would be a hell of a lot easier to find a virus, unlike today.

Then again, people run around thinking they're not infected on their computers too...

So *that's* what Lennon meant? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | about 4 years ago | (#33955314)

Imagine all the people, living in harmony...

Cheers,

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955388)

Humans don't have standard docking ports...

I'm guessing you've never seen an Asian woman and a black man?

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955540)

A woman's "receptacle" will stretch or shrink to match her mate's equipment. This is the 2nd best thing about monogamy. First is STD-free bareback (standard warnings apply).

Re:Imagine (-1, Offtopic)

Dthief (1700318) | about 4 years ago | (#33955732)

but what is the docking port is being used by an american, and as a russian you want to go in the back door.......does its stretch/shrink as well?

Re:Imagine (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33955566)

They're not standard, they're adaptable. That's why you can use the same probe on at least three different types of orifices.

Re:Imagine (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955572)

Imagine if *humans* didn't have standard docking ports.

I believe they are called homosexuals

Re:Imagine (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955574)

Imagine if *humans* didn't have standard docking ports.

Not all do. The popular meaning might be a bit different than what you were thinking.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=docking [urbandictionary.com]

Re:Imagine (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 4 years ago | (#33955620)

After all, you wouldn't want to be screwed by a bear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WtftQ7AbEw#t=0m40s [youtube.com]

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956000)

Says who?!

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955324)

After Officer Bubbles, the federal government muzzling scientists, and wifi crazies in Ontario, I'm glad we've finally got a Canada story on the front page that isn't full of fail.

Well, duh (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955342)

I must have been pretty naive to think this was already done. It seems like a pretty serous no-brainer to me...

Feels like SF becoming slightly more real to me... (1)

MagikSlinger (259969) | about 4 years ago | (#33955394)

More accurately space SF. I dunno, but somehow the idea of a standardized docking port makes space travel feel more routine part of every day--which it should be.

Re:Feels like SF becoming slightly more real to me (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | about 4 years ago | (#33956954)

What next? Universal helm control interfaces? Standard hailing frequencies? Translation matrices? Uniform plasma injectors sockets? Stun mode?

Possible solution to make the docking port open... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33955424)

... use the GPL v3 license.

Re:Possible solution to make the docking port open (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 4 years ago | (#33956656)

We don't want the docking port to be open. That would let the air out.

Re:Possible solution to make the docking port open (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33957674)

Then protect it with a firewall.

Re:Possible solution to make the docking port open (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33958216)

Fires in space are bad.

Re:Possible solution to make the docking port open (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956984)

And to close it and prevent any traffic, just switch it to the old Dan J Bernstein license. You have to install the port in the middle of your rocket nozzles, and if you move it from there, you're only allowed to assemble the port in outer space with your own tools: you're not allowed to build it and attach it to the spacecraft before you launch it.

The Chinese standard (0, Flamebait)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 4 years ago | (#33955434)

It will be oddly similar to the US/EU standard, sport a Luis Vuitton label, will cost 90% less, and will fail after 3 dockings. Warranty claims will be met by a government official surnamed "Wang" stating that his brother's ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H the company that produced them is no longer in business and that the principals have fled to Belize along with the proceeds of their sales. A full investigation will be promised, but appeals for transparency will be met with "mind your own fucking business, laowai!"

Film at 11.

Re:The Chinese standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955558)

Close...

The warranty period will be defined by the purchase contract as being in effect after all invoices are paid. Sounds great, right? Even...Generous

Except the Chinese company will bill for almost all of the product (perhaps, 50% upfront, 45%+ on completion, rest on delivery), leaving the last little bit unbilled until after delivery, because "final costs might be lower, and they don't know what shipping will cost, final exchange rate correction etc."

Then, they will never issue an invoice for the last little bit, meaning the warranty period can't start, per the terms of the contract. They will eat the loss of that little bit and you are left with something that breaks or wears out after a couple years, and has no warranty coverage. The Chinese company eats the cost of that little final invoice, because it is cheaper than warranty repairs.

At least, that's the way I've seen it go down...On a 8 figure (US dollars) piece of equipment.

Only now? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | about 4 years ago | (#33955442)

Hard to believe that Sci-Fi has been poking about the issues of non-standard docking ports since the 1960's and the real world is just catching up 50 years later.

Re:Only now? (1)

outsider007 (115534) | about 4 years ago | (#33956206)

I kind of doubt the aliens will be using our docking standard when they arrive.

It's about time (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 4 years ago | (#33955460)

Why wasn't this thought of years ago before the space station was built?

Re:It's about time (2, Interesting)

cmowire (254489) | about 4 years ago | (#33955554)

It was.

This is fairly similar to the APAS docking adapter they created for the Apollo-Soyuz test program in the 70s.

Now... why the ISS doesn't use APAS for all links and why the ISPRs (international standard payload racks) that everything in the US section is contained within won't fit inside an APAS docking tunnel... well... heh heh.

Re:It's about time (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33958354)

At least there were recently news about smaller racks; one of nice things with tech progress & miniaturization, I guess (and why the past rack standard was preferred to be rather big)

And hey, Russians just used what they deemed sufficient (considering small sizes of resupply ships and how the big stuff goes up inside its own module) on a hardware that was long in the making - it's not like what is basically Mir 2 was meant to use ISPRs, or that they would have problems with implementing either of essentially their standards, if they wanted to (though they still did in one case, Zarya has both probe & cone and APAS - and who knows, maybe it was still built like that for docking with Buran).

Re:It's about time (1)

gagol (583737) | about 4 years ago | (#33955576)

Bureaucracy.

Not true (5, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 years ago | (#33955520)

"Currently the space station has three different types of incompatible docking ports"

No, it has two. APAS [wikipedia.org] , which is used by Shuttle, and Probe and Cone used by Soyuz, Progress, and ATV.
 
The third system (CBM [wikipedia.org] ) is used by MPLM and HTV, and cannot be docked to. The difference is important - as the docking mechanism can take the full force of an approaching spacecraft, and berthing mechanisms cannot. To berth, one has to station keep with the station, and then be picked up and attached by the station's CANADARM-2 manipulator arm.

The other important difference is size, APAS and Probe and Cone are limited to essentially man sized tunnels. CBM is a full sized door.

The International Docking Standard actually already exists aboard the station - as APAS.

Re:Not true (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33958214)

Plus Chinese use APAS, apparently (in the linked article there's nothing about their docking mechanism, so I'm not sure why it was linked to...); even if this new version isn't strictly compatible, it certainly looks like another evolution of APAS (after quite a few already - original from RKK Energia used in Apollo-Soyuz, Buran version used by Shuttle in Mir dockings and its modification used currently, or the Orion one) / since the Chinese opted for it already, it shouldn't be too hard to get them aboard, so to speak.

Uh Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955648)

Let's just hope that NASA gets their imperial -> metric conversions right...

Re:Uh Oh... (1)

ThePeices (635180) | about 4 years ago | (#33955866)

NASA doesn't use an archaic imperial system anymore, they use metric.

Re:Uh Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955954)

No, they reverted to Imperial measurements:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=33782 [spaceref.com]

Re:Uh Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955962)

Really. Because I'm currently looking at NASA documentation from 2008 and it's chock full of lbms, slugs, and ft/sec^2.

Dear NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955720)

Remember, kilo means 1000, not 1024.

Watch the polarity guys (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33955748)

Better build diode bridges into every connection! You wouldn't want an astronaut from the opposite side of the sun to try and dock with the ISS to cause a polarity inversion!

Re:Watch the polarity guys (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#33956228)

I seem to remember that after the attempted docking with Phoenix Ross said that there had been no polarity switch. Something else caused the whole thing to go FUBAR that was never really explained.

I'm going to head over to Netflix and put it on my Q, this is going to bug me till I find out.

_

Hurry... (4, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | about 4 years ago | (#33955760)

Microsoft is greasing palms to fastrack their open docking standard, dockx.

Re:Hurry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956132)

and Apple will come out with iDock 6 months later. Wait, didn't they already???

Space Nutters are so cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33955766)

You've got a standard door after 5 decades... Obviously, the rest of the universe is now up for grabs! BBAAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!
Look out, space! Tail-less apes with a 10-20 year useful lifespan and serious medical problems in free-fall are floating around their upper atmosphere!
Watch out for those metal tubes filled with kerosene! We're coming!!!!

Re:Space Nutters are so cute (1)

Literaryhero (1379743) | about 4 years ago | (#33955946)

Apes never have tails, you insensitive clod!

Gn44 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956100)

the bootoms butt Facyt there won't be a cock-sucking

Why now? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 years ago | (#33956240)

So there wasn't one international standard until China comes along, and then it's a standard made by everyone but them. Doesn't that sound odd to anyone else?

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956268)

Not really. Up until now it hasn't really been an issue, what with only a few superpower governments able to afford spaceflight.

Try not to grasp at straws just because you can.

starfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33956254)

Replace three orifices with one? Why emulate the starfish?

All this space talk. (1)

Hecatomb00 (1350893) | about 4 years ago | (#33956346)

I am not sure what all this talk about outer-space and ships has to do with placing the head of your penis into the foreskin of anothers penis. I for one am all for open standards as far as docking is concerned. No more awkward silences to ruin the mood.

What an utter waste of time (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 4 years ago | (#33956532)

Who uses docking ports these days anyway? I want them to standardize the frigging batteries.

Still, I'm not surprised the Chinese are the impetus for this. They got charging to standardize on mini-USB, after all.

"Docking" (0, Redundant)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 4 years ago | (#33956950)

You can keep your standards I'm not into that gay stuff. Even in space.

Standard parts... (1)

alxkit (941262) | about 4 years ago | (#33957104)

Are great when people are honest. When people are crooked - it becomes a nightmare.

Take the cue from apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33957200)

Why not just use the Apple Universal Dock?

This should be under the domain of the CCSDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33957304)

This should be tabled as a CCSDS Whitebook and slowly moved to a Blue Book.

x

Facilitates rescues? (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | about 4 years ago | (#33957508)

More like facilitating BOARDINGS. The Chinese have the right idea, no fat stupid Americans are gonna be taking THEIR space stations!

Standards (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | about 4 years ago | (#33957998)

The greatest thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.

How fast? (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | about 4 years ago | (#33958042)

How many people per second can this new dock transfer? And does it support hot swapping?

What about ET? (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#33958298)

We should be including this design in any broadcasts to stars, and on any plaques attached to future deep-space probes. Wouldn't it be a disaster if visiting aliens arrived and we couldn't dock with them?

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