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Space Junk Forced Astronauts Into ISS Escape Capsules

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the april-fools! dept.

ISS 87

According to a story from CNN, "A piece of a debris from a Russian Cosmos satellite passed close enough to the International Space Station on Saturday that its crew was ordered into escape capsules as a precaution, NASA said. The six crew members were told to take shelter late Friday in their Soyuz capsules after it was determined there was a small possibility the debris could hit the station, the U.S. space agency said in a statement." This isn't the first time it's happened, either. The escape capsules (actually, they're Soyuz spacecraft) must be nice to have on hand, but I'd hate to have to test their efficacy.

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Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1, Offtopic)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39463995)

ISS, open the Soyuz escape capsule doors.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464013)

On out of date IBM (yes IBM, not Lenovo) Think Pads? I think not.

(I think there may be a couple of Lenovos up there now, but still not the bulk)

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (3, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464065)

Havent you learned anything from Movies yet?
Macintosh saves the world.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464157)

Grand slam!

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464863)

This is UNIX, I know this!

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39473633)

And the stupid system administrator didn't bother putting in a password.

How Jurassic Park should have ending.
Hey this is Unix I know this.
Login: root
Password:
ummm Password?

Invalid Password.
Login: root
Password:

Crap well we need to find an other way as the system administrator has gotten eaten alive and we don't know the systems password. Lets see if we can find the emergency boot disk... 1/2 hour later. Hey we found it. Ok this is a Cray Super Computer. Lets try to find the Drive. Opening random panels on the super computer... Until the find the disk. They pop in the disk, find the power plug reboot the system... However although it is unix. It was a Cray so she didn't quite know how boot from External Media...

Oh well.
Raptors needed to be fed anyways.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464911)

Macintosh saves the world.

...despite his mouse being abused as a microphone.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (2)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464273)

I love IBM era Thinkpads (and *nix loves them, too, which makes them all the more useful to me). Such amazing machines in form and function. I'm an Apple fan now, through and through, but those are the only laptops on the PC side of the great divide that I'd ever consider using. The Lenovo stuff is pretty junky, but when IBM still had their mark on them they were sublime.

For their purpose, they'll probably still be useful for another 10 years. Space programs use a surprisingly little amount of CPU power.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (5, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464543)

We actually have custom built Think Pads that are soldered to/the equivalent to IPC Level 3 cert, they aren't off the shelf even though they're quite similar to off the shelf ones - more like "extra carefully manufactured" versions. For training in the simulators they have IPC Level 2 cert laptops (basically off the shelf versions) with stickers on them that say they are only for training and not for orbital use.

What's really interesting is our custom built printers, they look a lot like off the shelf models but with a unique color variant and twist lock USB cables that are built to the same standard as the rest of the hermetically sealed round connectors on the station. Even though I haven't really messed with the printers too much (I'm usually ops side but recently cross trained over at the simulation facility) I'm sure there's something in there to make sure the ink droplets don't float off. I recently had to make a bunch of custom VGA cables that used the same connectors for the simulator.

Sit back, think of the basics of how most everything works in the computer industry, then replace nearly every cable with a round hermetically sealed twist lock version then you've got an idea of how the station operates. (thankfully not Ethernet cables)

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464791)

They have thinkpads? For maximum safety they should have just got behind one of them.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465305)

Even though I haven't really messed with the printers too much (I'm usually ops side but recently cross trained over at the simulation facility) I'm sure there's something in there to make sure the ink droplets don't float off. I recently had to make a bunch of custom VGA cables that used the same connectors for the simulator.

I officially want to switch employers now. Sounds like an uber cool job, man!

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469341)

Wait, they have printers in space? Can you explain why? It seems like the cost of hauling both paper and printers into orbit would make a really strong case for keeping everything electronic.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39471611)

I don't know much about it. I do know they very rarely use the one in the simulator and I think the use the real one about as much, but I'm not really certain.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39474421)

That's gotta be a real pain in the ass when that ink cartridge "expires" and the printer refuses to print.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (2)

wernst (536414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39474517)

Hey! I can answer a bit about this.

My last job was at Epson, and around 1998, we made a special Epson Stylus Color 800 inkjet printer for use on the Shuttle. It went up on STS-95, which was the same mission John Glenn went up in. It (or perhaps a clone of it) now sits in the Epson America HQ lobby.

Anyway, I can confirm that other than a special black plastic case, which included plastic "cages" for both feeding paper in and taking paper out (it kept the sheets from floating away), a special latch for the USB cable, and maybe a special power supply (I don't remember anything special, but it may have had one), it was an off-the-shelf printer.

There was no special technology needed to pressurize the ink carts, or to move the ink from the heads to the paper during the act of printing. It just worked.

Now I'm not saying that current printers weren't engineered especially to work in zero-G, but we found it was unnecessary back in the 90's.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465105)

The simpler the technology, the less it breaks.

In the Apollo program, they had slide rules. Which continue to work even if the cabin is depressurized.
And Voyager 1 and 2 are still alive, not despite their simplicity, but because of it.

If I were to design a space craft where my life or welfare depended on the operation of the computers, I sure as hell wouldn't choose anything on the shelves today. Not only would I want components that meets the 883 standard and can withstand radiation bursts, and a fab process not miniaturized to the point that each particle impact has a large logical impact, but I'd want hardware and firmware that has stood the test of time, and bespoke software that wasn't outsourced to the lowest bidder, but written by gifted individuals still kept on retainer.

Return craft? Yes, I'd feel much safer in a Soyuz than with the space shuttle. Because there are fewer things to go wrong.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (2)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465271)

The simpler the technology, the less it breaks.

In the Apollo program, they had slide rules. Which continue to work even if the cabin is depressurized and the crew has not depressurized

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39466133)

Astronauts only depressurize after taco night.

Re:Has the ISS become sentient yet? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468125)

The old socket 8 Pentium Pro has got to be the most hearty processor built in the past 15 years or so. Setup correctly those things didn't crash for anything. I actually had an ultra rare Socket 8 Pentium II that was meant to upgrade those systems. All the stability only the blazing fast 333 Mhz speed!

Actually I'm impressed with modern stability.

The best things to happen to computers in a long time is the reduction in chipset offerings. No longer do we have to decide between a dozen concurrent chip sets among half a dozen or more manufacturers, and we've benefited greatly.

Back in the socket seven days there were several Aladdin, at least three or four Intel, maybe a few AMD if you were lucky, a couple of cirrus, some off names I can't recall, heck I even saw DEC chipsets used on socket 7's, and they were crap. Part of the game became matching which chip and which CPU worked best together. Computers were nothing but horrible crash fest and the face it was Windows 95 and 98 in that era was only partially to blame! (The rock solid Pro I mentioned ran 98 and never friggin crashed).

Take the relative simplicity and undeniable efficiency of a modern Atom CPU, scale the fab process up so the chip becomes physically larger with larger dies even though it will lose some of it's power efficiency that would be a bullet proof CPU worth looking at for reliability purposes. I'm an AMD fanboy and I'm saying this. Put BSD on it and now we're talking.

We're better equipped now than ever to make ultra reliable CPU's. The fact we're trying to cram more into less space is holding back to ultra-reliability part, but our designs really are picking up in the reliability field. Make any modern CPU that was designed with power efficiency, not performance, in mind, scale it up in size using manufacturing process sizes of a couple of generations back and you have an incredibly hearty bullet proof system that still has performance that's way more than you need for most mundane life support task.

analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464011)

"The debris was predicted to pass about 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) from the space station, NASA said."

Sooo, 14 miles and CDR Riker yells "red alert!"

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464051)

the blacks. it's their fault.

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (5, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464089)

When you consider how amazingly big space is and how incredibly fast debris can travel, that's actually really close.

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (2)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464127)

i mean it's big. Really big. So big you could... never mind.

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467031)

The orbital volume of space displaced by the ISS, Isn't as big as you would imagine. Sharing that space with all the crap that's disintegrated over the last 20 years becomes an increasing problem.
I've read the meteoroid flux for particles >1mm in this orbit is around 5.22 E-03.
  This thing gets hit all the time, by lesser objects.
If I were those guys, I would become very familiar with my abandon ship drills.

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464297)

"The debris was predicted to pass about 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) from the space station, NASA said."

Sooo, 14 miles and CDR Riker yells "red alert!"

Ah, in the vast chasm that is outer space, 14.2 miles is officially known as "splitting-hair" close.

Re:analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464457)

"The debris was predicted to pass about 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) from the space station, NASA said."

Sooo, 14 miles and CDR Riker yells "red alert!"

The key word is "predicted". When something will pass within 14 miles of your location, give or take 20 miles...

Awesome (1)

Sav1or (2600417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464015)

I'm always glad to hear our almost forgotten friends come out of danger without a scratch. So bad ass.

Re:Awesome (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464697)

Even so, if you'd pay attention, you'd notice outside the Soyuz there's a Space Indian looking at the debris and shedding a single tear. Littering has got stop.

Test the efficacy? (5, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464023)

You are kidding right? They ARE going to test their efficacy, that's how they get back down.
   

Re:Test the efficacy? (2)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464131)

Thank you! I was going to post it if noone else had. Soyuz are the only way to get up to ISS and back down right now.

Re:Test the efficacy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464893)

Are we swapping them out between missions though? If the Soyuz has been sitting up there since construction began (at least for one of the emergency capsules) I might be a bit wary of it myself - unlike something thoroughly vetted a month or so ago at most its been up in space for a significant period of time at this point.

Re:Test the efficacy? (3, Informative)

NalosLayor (958307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464923)

Yeah, they swap them out. People fly up and back on the ones they came on, and leave them parked for the duration of their stay, more or less. It's kinda like calling your parked car an "escape car".

Re:Test the efficacy? (2)

afeeney (719690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39470225)

You mean not everybody calls them that?

Man, I need to make some friends who aren't bank robbers.

Re:Test the efficacy? (2)

timothy (36799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465443)

Heh, I meant "as escape vehicles per se," to leave a wounded ISS. That would be ... stressful.

timothy

silly commentary indeed... (3, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464025)

The escape capsules (actually, they're Soyuz spacecraft) must be nice to have on hand, but I'd hate to have to test their efficacy.

You mean you don't want to come home at the end of the mission?

Re:silly commentary indeed... (5, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464093)

Indeed. You'd think a slashdot editor would be up on his ISS knowledge! :) The escape capsules are definitely tested and found efficacious every few months or so when the crew is rotated. In fact they cannot stay at the space station for more than 6 months or so. That was the whole reason they were thinking of abandoning the station back when Soyuz was grounded last year. That and the fact they didn't want to land the soyuz escape capsules in the dead of winter.

Re:silly commentary indeed... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464213)

You'd think a slashdot editor would be up on his ISS knowledge! :)

I should have known it was a temporary lapse! [slashdot.org]

Re:silly commentary indeed... (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464101)

Indeed, one of the bigger facepalm moments of /..

Re:silly commentary indeed... (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464735)

Maybe they like it up there.

-- Your signature is not the place to complain about the quality of moderation on /.

Klingon-built (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464037)

Good thing it's not Klingon-built.

Re:Klingon-built (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464207)

Aren't the Russians supposed to be Klingons? The Federation are Americans, the Vulcans are British and the Romulans are French (out of NATO in the 60s). Once the Cold War ended the Klingons became much more friendly, but still distant.

Re:Klingon-built (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464277)

I always had a problem with that analogy, because of course the Federation no longer used money in any form. Is the US still the US when its a non-monetary, communist-like state?

Re:Klingon-built (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464777)

Ya know I never figured out how that was supposed to work. Using credits or some plastic chips? i could see that. But if NOBODY has anything that takes the place of currency then how do you decide who gets something rare? I mean you watch the movies and Kirk had some seriously old collector's items, so how did he get it? they have a lotto or something and he was REALLY lucky? Hell even in DS-9 Nog was able to use barter with the Federation crewmen so they had to actually own things otherwise they wouldn't have anything to trade.

Re:Klingon-built (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465129)

DS9 took some liberties for the story, and starfleet personnel at least got some kind of stipend they could spend and gamble with at Quarks. Generally though an economy based on stufd is gonna go through a massive change when matter replicators exist.

Re:Klingon-built (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467465)

But that STILL doesn't explain rare stuff like what Kirk had. He had Romulan ale, he had 300+ year old glasses, these things are RARE with a capital R, so how did he get them? Was he REALLY lucky? There has to be, even with replicators, a way to decide who gets the rare things because even with a replicator an original thing is gonna be more treasured than a copy, its just human nature. And as you pointed out how do you deal with other races? Janeway pointed out on Voyager there are STRICT rules about giving replicator tech to other races because of the obvious life changing implications, but there are still gonna be times when you need to deal with other races as not everything can be replicated, such as starship fuel.

I personally think Rodenberry just never sat down and thought things through and left a couple of glaring plot holes nobody said anything about. Because lets think about it, you have replicators AND holodecks...why the fuck would you ever work? How do you get people to do the shitty jobs, like the guy that crawls in the tubes running the wiring? Why would you do the shitty jobs when you can push a button and have a feast and walk into this room and instantly be God? I can't remember which Sci-Fi writer wrote this but I agree that they didn't think Star Trek through, as any race with holodecks and replicators would probably be wiped out. aliens would land to find mummified corpses in holodecks as why deal with reality when you can have perfection? Why would you care when a simple button press gives you anything you desire? I just don't see how if one logically thought the process through it would work.

Re:Klingon-built (1)

afeeney (719690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39470323)

I think that was one of the more optimistic aspects of the Trekverse, that people would be inspired to continue to work in order to be part of a great undertaking or for other intrinsic motivations. (I nearly said "greater enterprise" there but my shame module kicked in at the last minute.)

Not everybody might, but in all the population of the galaxy, you figure that even if fifteen percent of the population is interested in making discoveries, improving things, perpetuating making things by hand for the pleasure of craftsmanship, improving lives, and so on, that would provide more than enough researchers, engineers, doctors and counselors, peacekeepers, artists and artisans, archaeologists, authors, explorers, and so on.

I'm thinking of the people I know who, if they were suddenly handed enough money that they didn't have to earn a living, would still work in some way, either because they love what they're doing now or to follow some kind of other dream. There are people who would be engineers still, some would be world travelers, some would try their hand at writing, others would do volunteer work, while others would happily enjoy leisure.

A world without need wouldn't necessarily be a world without work, it would just be one where work would be optional.

Re:Klingon-built (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480253)

But would that "instant bazillionaire" take a job cleaning puke at the Chuck E Cheese? ya see this is in a way the same argument I've been having with some of the FOSS community on why the GPL doesn't work on the desktop, its the "busted shitter" problem. You can get humans to do creative things for free, to write songs, create art, make some cool piece of software, but NOBODY wants or is willing to do the nasty jobs for free, cleaning the neighbors busted shitters or in the case of FOSS all the regression testing QA, document writing, fixing the current driver model, all those long, boring, dull, tedious and thankless jobs simply wouldn't get done. I mean if everyone has everything they want how would you get someone to spend all day cleaning plasma pipes? you wouldn't and THAT is the problem.

Sadly the ONLY way I see out of the busted shitter dilemma in the ST universe would be to take a page from Star Wars and look into earth's history and create a slave class who were FORCED to clean the busted shitters. that is what the droids really were after all, a slave race forced to do the menial tasks that the other races didn't want to do. In a way we are seeing this problem play out IRL sadly with the ghettos and the third and fourth generation welfare queens. I recently read a very sad article by an inner city schoolteacher that when asking students "what do you want to be when you grow up?" several girls basically said 'i'm gonna have a couple of kids and get paid" and the others in class saw that as a valid "lifestyle" choice. Whether we choose to accept it or not a human can be a VERY lazy and pleasure driven creature and the problem with the ST universe is that given basically unlimited everything you'd have an insane number that would simply sit on their asses, get fat, and watch HoloTV. After all EVERYONE wants to be Picard, but how many would want to be Barclay? Or the guy who spends his day installing the sonic showers?

Re:Klingon-built (1)

Crosshair84 (2598247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39470197)

Yea, that was always a glaring plot hole for me as well. Here is a good article that I think you would like on the subject.

The Economic Fantasy of “Star Trek” http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-economic-fantasy-of-quotstar-trekquot/ [thefreemanonline.org]

“He believed that by the 23rd century, mankind would have evolved past the need for money.”

The problem with Roddenberry is that he never understood what money is, a unit of measure and a medium of exchange. Humans can't get rid of money any more than they can get rid of rulers or numbers. Well, technically they can, but only if you enjoy the hunter/gatherer lifestyle.

The Federation could never work in real life, and would quickly collapse for the same reason the Soviet Union during War Communism, 1918–1921, did. That reason is the problem of economic calculation, as pointed out by Ludwig von Mises in 1920. Without profit and loss it is physically impossible to make rational economic decisions. The only way to figure out what to produce and how to produce it is by the profit and loss mechanism. Without market prices entrepreneurs have no way of knowing what or how to most efficiently meet the desires of consumers.

Should car chassis be built of Steel, Aluminum, or Titanium? From a technical point of view, the answer is Titanium as it gives the lightest and strongest chassis. The entrepreneur though can look at the market prices for those metals along with the costs of fabricating with those metals and see that the most economical choice is steel. A central planner would not have market prices and would have no idea which choice would use the fewest resources. Thus you ended up with the Trabant in East Germany, built with cotton reenforced resin because steel was artificially scarce in the Eastern Block and an inefficient, labor-intensive production process because there was no competition in the automobile industry to force innovation.

One way that the Federation could have kludged along is with the help of the Ferengi. The Soviet Union was able to kludge along economically because it could borrow the market prices from the capitalist West and use that to crudely calculate, but the calculations made were never close to optimal and choices were frequently made for political reasons, like the retention of the Trabant's labor-intensive production process.

This is of course the same reason why all the government's/central bank's efforts into the economy over the last 12+ years have failed, no profit/loss and decisions are politically motivated. It's not that they are stupid or don't care, it's because it is impossible for them to know the information that would be necessary for them to make the correct decision. The distortions they put into market signals cause the rest of the market to go haywire as entrepreneurs act upon false economic signals.

And what if .... (4, Interesting)

realitycheckplease (2487810) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464047)

The debris hits the Soyuz and not the main station?

Re:And what if .... (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464067)

Screwed.

Re:And what if .... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464069)

Then you might have some dead astronauts. The Soyuz has a much smaller cross-section area than the ISS does so it's much less likely to be hit.

Re:And what if .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464105)

But have you taken sod's law into account? It is quite possibly the most important law of the universe.

Re:And what if .... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464123)

Sure. NASA is covered in the event that sod's law applies.

Re:And what if .... (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39473151)

This makes no sense, either it's hit or it isn't. That's a 50% chance.

Re:And what if .... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479665)

Let's consider a similar example. In the past few minutes, you may have spontaneously changed gender. Either it happened or it didn't. Using that famous Slashdot logic above, that's a 50% chance that you're now differently equipped.

Re:And what if .... (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464325)

The debris hits the Soyuz and not the main station?

If that happens, then the voice from Unreal Tournament comes on the station's PA and announces: "HEADSHOT!".

Re:And what if .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464691)

"MULTIKILL"

Need the dragon (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464103)

Seriously, one of the hidden issues on the ISS is that the crews are split. Lets assume that SOMETHING happens in the middle of the station. That would seperate the western group from the souyz. Once the dragon is rated for cargo, it would actually be good if it got enough of a life support and seats put into place to launch a dragon up there and dock it there. According to SpaceX, it has a life of 1 year. Once dragon or any other western craft is human rated, then stop the life boats.

Re:Need the dragon (1)

SgtAaron (181674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464533)

Seriously, one of the hidden issues on the ISS is that the crews are split

'
Good info. I don't believe this would stop the crew up there from investigating, trying to
find and investigating again some way to save the other half. I'm guessing, but if I were up
there, saving these friends of mine would be a priority. Up there, I suppose, my wishes
might be like dust.

Re:Need the dragon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39465103)

The thinking is if something catastrophic happened in the middle of the station that prevented the crew from moving over to the Soyuz, it would be enough to doom the whole station.

Re:Need the dragon (1)

GrayNimic (1051532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39471619)

Even with a craft docked to every module, they probably wouldn't stop having the crew shelter in docked vessel(s) capable of crew-return.

If you have the crew in arbitrary locations, then damage could isolate the crew from their lifeboats. If you require the crew to be adjacent to their lifeboat, damage to that module is still a large hazard, since you have to evacuate it post-failure. By sheltering in the lifeboats themselves, they become the only critical target - damage to anywhere aside from the Soyuz capsule, Soyuz orbital module, and the docking interface is 'fine' for crew safety, aside from secondary debris concerns.

Given the emphasis placed on crew safety, I'd think it'd take an awful lot to convince them to keep the crew outside of the lifeboats during a potential conjunction. The increased risk simply isn't a worthwhile tradeoff for the working time you'd reclaim.

The Dragon (or any other commercial-crew vehicle) would simply add another location to shelter in, and potentially remove the need to shelter in the capsule during some Russian spacewalks (which use the docking module as an airlock, causing crew to potentially be cut off from a Soyuz docked to the Russian segment were an emergency to occur).

Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

regular_guy (1979018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464139)

Does anyone know if Lockheed's Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle will actually replace or be a backup for Soyuz? It's wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] states

"Features the development of a new crew exploration vehicle (CEV), the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), and an early retirement of the shuttle orbiter. Orbiter retirement would be made as soon as the ISS U.S. Core is completed (perhaps only 6 or 7 flights) and the smallest number of additional flights necessary to satisfy our international partners’ ISS requirements. Money saved by early orbiter retirement would be used to accelerate the CEV development schedule to minimize or eliminate any hiatus in U.S. capability to reach and return from LEO."

Does anyone know if this "U.S. Core" is something different all-together?

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

regular_guy (1979018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464171)

Never mind, misread that part about the Core component of the ISS.

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464211)

It will be several years before it is ready to launch on a TEST flight. It will cost 300 million PER COPY. To launch it will costs 200 million. It will last 200 days in orbit. It will hold 5-6 ppl.

The dragon seats 7, has already done its test flights, in orbit of 1-2 years, and costs less than 100 million to BUILD AND LAUNCH.

Any reason why you want a compromised craft that will not be ready until private space is actually flying regular human flights for 2-5x the costs?

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464295)

The idea of using the Orion MPCV for ISS is just in case Commercial Crew doesn't follow through. It looks like we won't have the worry about that, and the MPCV can worry about being used in deep space missions.

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464341)

They're never going to finish Orion, not if Falcon/Dragon X flies. It's a few billion in pork to Lockheed that'll get cut the next time some Congresscritter needs to buy some more votes. Chopping NASA's budget is damned near the national pasttime on The Hill these days. It looks good in press releases, though, but when crunch time comes and nobody's looking, they'll kill this sucker deader than disco just like they did Ares I.

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467181)

Depends, as it always does, on how many jobs are getting delivered to which districts. Congress doesn't care if it works.

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468373)

Naw, if SpaceX is putting flights up for 150 mil, Congress isn't going to fund any manned flight that costs 450 mil or more. They'll grudgingly give 150 mil to SpaceX to fly it for them and then pat themselves on the back for saving the taxpaers 300 mil, then try to figure out how to cut the number of flights down for the next budget cycle. Forget the jobs they'll lose, they'll brag instead about the 'jobs created in the private sector' by 'contracting out to private enterprise'..

Re:Would Lockheed's Orion be any use? (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 2 years ago | (#39469315)

Actually Congress IS funding manned flights that will cost a LOT more than 450 mil on SLS/Orion.

In fact NASA requested more funding for commercial crew recently and less for SLS/Orion and Congress did NOT like that.

http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=a2593bd3-8859-4e7d-869d-7e670a654664&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a [senate.gov]

Love to test efficacy (1)

SgtAaron (181674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464453)

Give me a Soyuz capsule, or give me an eternity in this gravity well.

Soyuz capsules... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464585)

The "efficacy" of Soyuz vehicles, you say? Care to compare the number of astronauts killed on Space Shuttles vs. the number of cosmonauts killed on Soyuz?

Re:Soyuz capsules... (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465029)

Exactly... what's to test... they're used to board and leave the space station every single time! The Russians have been using these for decades. One of their early modules failed, but that was in the early 70's... since then they've been very reliable with only minor issues.

Re:Soyuz capsules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39465139)

Two crews have been lost both in Soyuz and in the Shuttle, the Shuttle just happened to carry more people at once. Both also happen to have roughly the same number of flights completed.

Re:Soyuz capsules... (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465687)

The shuttle can house upto 11 crew members (emergency missions), 5-8 is common, 2 is minimum to run the flight systems (first few test flights). And has had 2 failures out of 135 launches.
There are several different Soyuz variations which have different characteristics, we are in the fourth generation which has three separate designs (two in current service, one retired), however no Soyuz ever been in service has been able to support more than 3 crew (some models had a maximum of 2). Crew in the Soyuz capsule must wear space suits since the depressurization of Soyuz 11 killed all crew aboard. The Soyuz capsule is launched on the Soyuz rocket which is also used for unmanned flights too (usually satellite launches and ISS resupply runs), while considered the most reliable with over 1700 launches (exact numbers are hard to come by as it gets used for various military/intelligence launches too) it has had several failure (4 I think, one of which killed several ground crew) on several unmanned runs. That makes 5 failures by my count.

Space condiments!! (1)

ikarys (865465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464695)

Who ever thought of putting Soyuz saucer up there anyway

i hate to blah blah blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464823)

i hate to test. you will hate do do many things.

but science does not.

by the way, wait for your next ihate product, blogger.

Andre Kuipers blog article about this event (1)

Meeuw (552270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464833)

This reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39464905)

Makes me think it is time to start thinking along the lines of PlanetES, for real. Awesome anime if anyone has ever seen it, truly a piece of art. It is a drama about space garbage collectors whose jobs begin after a screw orbiting the earth causes a spacecraft to depressurize and explode. Anyone else see this?

Silly post (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39464985)

In Soviet Russia, space conquers you!

Efficacy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39465051)

Test their "efficacy"? So we split the astronauts into two groups randomly, put one group in the escape capsule and one group in the main ISS (without the astronauts realising which group they're in) and compare the survival rates (maybe after thousands of iterations)?

Or did the editor mean "effectiveness"? You'd think the editors of a site like slashdot wouldn't try and use difficult words that they don't understand.

"Crap on a cracker...!" (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465619)

I'm glad they're okay, of course... but I can't help but think how interesting it'd be if, for one moment in my life, I get to yell, "LOOK OUT, RUSSIAN SATELLITE FRAGMENTS ARE HEADING STRAIGHT FOR US!!" Kinda like the drummer in Jackie Chan's 'Rumble In The Bronx' getting to panic and yell, "HOVERCRAFT!!" in order to clear the area before disaster struck.

Precious scrap metal in orbit; (1)

diaflux (1058774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39465829)

One could anticipate that old satellites might have enough gold and other precious metals for a new age of space scrap pirates. Pirates with privately owned retrieval craft, cleaning up abandoned craft. Freeing up the orbital space around Earth. This industry would be a scurvy one and then lead to a space scrap colony on the moon, without question.

I wish it had been destroyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39466085)

Best case would've been that the ISS did get destroyed by space junk (with all the personnel successfully escaping first, of course). That way we wouldn't waste any more money on this hugely expensive, yet remarkably unproductive piece of engineering.

Tens of billions of dollars that NASA has spent from their increasingly-limited budget, that could've been better used in so many other ways. What a waste.

You are testing one right now (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39466995)

The Earth our giant Soyuz capsule.

When something wrong eventually happens (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39468357)

Mankind will collectively decide to Soccer Mom the whole project and abandon manned spaceflight forever.

I was an astronaut... (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39471251)

Then I took a space arrow to the knee.

Thanks, Title! Thought it actually hit the ISS. (1)

davewoods (2450314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39510945)

I freaked out, it made me sad. On the other hand, I guess me clicking through to the article got them a little revenue, so there is that.
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