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NASA Satellite Un-stranded

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the get-out-and-push dept.

Space 21

Ronnie Coote writes "In March, a previous article mentioned that NASA's latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (used for communications between Shuttle, Space Station, ground, etc) had been stranded in a low orbit due to fuel leaking from its tanks. Well, thanks to the hard work of Boeing and NASA boffins, it's now reached geostationary orbit and "expected to fulfill its contractually required 15-year service life". More details from Boeing."

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21 comments

I would have gotton first post (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4381274)

unfortunatly my first post was routed through this satelite, and got stranded inbetween the tv and 802.11b antennas

Re:I would have gotton first post (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4381378)

It looks like you did get first post. Sidenote: Is it just my imagination, or did this story appear in the archives before even appearing on the front page?

Re:I would have gotton first post (2)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4387929)

Is it just my imagination, or did this story appear in the archives before even appearing on the front page?

I suggest you check your ping times. You can get all sorts of odd results when they go negative.

-

well.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4381653)

Richard Stallman's writings about the GPL are designed to hide his true
intent and to make it seem as if he is engaged in some form of "noble"
cause. In fact, the aim of the GPL is to destroy a particular group --
to sabotage a legitimate class of endeavor which Richard claims is
"immoral."

Open source itself is a noble pursuit, as are public libraries. It's
wonderful when software which was developed at the public's expense, or
by those generous enough to share their work, is available to all. But
the GPL is an attempt to use open source as a weapon by preventing
exactly one group of people from benefiting from it: programmers and
engineers who would build upon that work and be rewarded for doing so.
In fact, it goes farther in that it damages or destroys the prospects
of ANYONE who would hope to make a living by creating software.

When he played in the sandbox of academia more than 20 years ago,
Richard insisted upon MAKING everyone else share his or her toys. When
they did not, he vowed vengeance. He has, for more than 20 years, nursed
a grudge against those who would not give their work away for free.
He has built a storehouse of rhetoric -- employing time-honored propaganda
techniques -- in an attempt to sabotage their efforts.

The fundamental problem with Richard's crusade was (and is!) that he failed
to recognize that the norms and practices of academia were artificially created
to bring about a particular end: the development of knowledge which can then be
used "outside the bubble" in the real world. In the world of academic research,
researchers forego material rewards, but are rewarded instead with an
opportunity to live, full-time, in an incredibly rewarding intellectual
playground. But that world is not self-sustaining; rather, it is created
and supported by funding from government and from private businesses. What
they ask, in return, is that they be able to build practical products based
on the work that is done there. This symbiotic relationship works well, and
most academics understand it. But Richard did not -- and was angered by the
efforts of companies such as Symbolics, which sought to use the work
done in the MIT AI Lab to produce real world products. (It failed,
incidentally, though for reasons which had nothing to do with the quality
of its products.)

In short, the GPL is effectively the result of an academic's tantrum --
railing against the "unfortunate" reality that the real world is not entirely
like the cloistered world which once existed in the MIT AI Lab. In the
real world, the reward systems are inescapably and irrevocably different,
and we must recognize and in fact appreciate this.

Richard, it's still time to recognize that what you are doing is hurtful and
harmful and stop doing it. Would you really like to be remembered for having
spent your entire life nursing a petty grudge?

rerouted pressurant? (2)

budalite (454527) | more than 11 years ago | (#4382267)

Ignoring the fact that I do not know whether "pressurant" is a real word or not, the fact that they were able to (ala Star Trek Enterprise, which could apparently reroute damn near anything through and to anything) "reroute" the pressurant around a blocked valve is a pretty cool thing. Promote that guy to Chief Trilithium Engineer!!

(I registered just so I can moderate. Bahaha. )

RTF Press Release, damn it! (5, Informative)

Observer (91365) | more than 11 years ago | (#4382439)

The problem was not a leaking fuel tank. The Boeing press release linked in the /. story (it's only a few hundred words, for pity's sake) says clearly that the problem was that the pressurant (that is, the thing that pushes the fuel out of the tank to the motor) didn't get to the tank, because of a blockage in a valve.

But all kudos to the engineers from Boeing and NASA who worked out what the problem was - quite possibly from fairly subtle clues in the telemetry information or some very careful trial and error experiments - and how to get around it and coax the satellite up to its intended orbit.

RYOF Comment, damn it! (1)

Observer (91365) | more than 11 years ago | (#4382477)

Oops.

"...didn't get to the tank..."

motor, of course, mea culpa.

--
See how dangerous righteous indignation is?

Re:RTF Press Release, damn it! (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4383071)

But all kudos to the engineers from Boeing and NASA who worked out what the problem was - quite possibly from fairly subtle clues in the telemetry information or some very careful trial and error experiments - and how to get around it and coax the satellite up to its intended orbit.

Probably the geek who suddenly remembered his missing gum pretended like it was lucky guesswork to figure out the segment position and density of the object clogging the gizmo segment he built. Telemetry my ess.

Treknobabble (5, Funny)

Psion (2244) | more than 11 years ago | (#4382580)

I suspect they rerouted the EPS conduit from the primary pressure manifold to the secondary navigationdal deflector array and used the resulting graviton flux to trigger a rapid nadion cascade and thereby providing just enough kick to get the whole system back into spec. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought the satellite was named "Voyager."

Re:Treknobabble (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4382996)

I suspect they rerouted the EPS conduit from the primary pressure manifold to the secondary navigationdal deflector array and used the resulting graviton flux to trigger a rapid nadion cascade and thereby providing just enough kick to get the whole system back into spec. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought the satellite was named "Voyager."

That is not Voyager, but Jimmy Neutron's toaster.

Re:Treknobabble (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4383848)

if this were voyager, half the ship would have been vaporized by the resulting phaser blast aimed backwards

Re:Treknobabble (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4385864)

I always wondered why they named the series after the villian in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Technically how? (3, Interesting)

lommer (566164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4383793)

What I want to know is how did they acomplish all of this? I mean, reprogramming electrical circuits are one thing to reroute and fix remotely, but how do you fix a valve-blockage from several thousand km away!?

My only thought was that they somehow had a completely redundant backup valve and pipe system in anticipation of this exact problem. But when going into space, every gram costs $ so I highly doubt that this was the case. Kudos to them for first figuring out what was wrong in the first place, and then actually being able to do something about it. But really... how the hell did they do that?!

Re:Technically how? (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4390328)

Obviously, they used a Field Programmable Valve Array.

Re:Technically how? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4392134)

Almost all spacecraft built have extra plumbing to reroute around stuff like this. Its a hard lesson learned over the years. You always have redundant thrusters, cross-configurable piping between your fuel tanks and your thrusters. Whenever you fly a new type of thruster you always have the old reliable model on-board as well.

You are correct that every gram costs $$, but not planning for contingency situations costs even more.

Ok, that really takes the cake for /. grammar (1)

therealmoose (558253) | more than 11 years ago | (#4383814)

"Un-stranded"?? Man oh man...

Re:Ok, that really takes the cake for /. grammar (3, Funny)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 11 years ago | (#4383887)

Well, since this is /. we have to at least give them some credit for spelling "stranded" correctly.

To paraphrase a Monty Python & the Holy Grail (1)

EaTiN cOfFeE bEaNs (513655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4384527)

The satellite was recovered and restored to its orbit, and there was much rejoicing... ...yaaay...

Another Slashdot Ad. (4, Funny)

Perdo (151843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4384637)

This is just another case of slashdot being a mouthpiece for corporate America. The link is to a corporate press release for god sake.

"The TDRS-I recovery effort was an incredible feat that demonstrates the inherent design robustness of our products and the incredible space operation knowledge and experience of our team,"

Blatant advertisement designed to get all us geeks to buy Boeing's satellites instead of Ratheon's or Lockheed's.

Well not me. My billion dollars is going to Alcatel Space. They are an open company that doesn't engage in these slashvertisments. Slashdot is so corporate owned.

(joke)

geostationary orbit (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4397915)

In terms of a floating-in-space standpoint, what is the difference between "geostationary" orbit, and "geosynchronous" orbit.

Does stationary mean it sits in relatively the same position while the earth rotates below.

Synchronous I believe means it moves with the earth's rotation to be fixed over the same point?
Maybe they mean the same thing. Any space-heads out there that can clarify this. Thanks.

All your satellites are belong to us? - phorm

Re:geostationary orbit (1)

lommer (566164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4398084)

Ya, they mean the same thing...
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