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ISS Gyro Fixed Via Spacewalk

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Space 143

Teahouse writes "After a failed attempt last week, the ISS Astronauts finally got to fix the external gyroscope circut breaker in the station. Tests are being run today, but it looks like the ISS is back to having attitude stability with redundancy. This is particularly significant with the Shuttle being grounded for an extended period because the ISS would have had to use thruster fuel to keep the Station's solar panels pointed in the right direction without the gyroscopes, and no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving."

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Please deposit some cash.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588799)

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Re:Please deposit some cash.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588942)

Redboxchilipepper would weep to see his groups name brought to this. However, it was refreshing to see someone on slashdot use the phrase "loser" several times without getting it confused with "looser", something more appropriate to a wholly different slashdot trolling sensation.

Attitude stability? (5, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588809)

but it looks like the ISS is back to having attitude stability

Did they put it on Prozac?

Re:Attitude stability? (3, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588824)

There are a lot better meds than Prozac. I personally enjoy the drug "alcohol", but that isn't recommended for people with severe asshat syndrome.

Re:Attitude stability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588875)

I prefer chronic

Re:Attitude stability? (4, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589016)

I personally enjoy the drug "alcohol"

Yup... that'sh gonna do wondersh for shtability...

Re:Attitude stability? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589221)

>> I personally enjoy the drug "alcohol", but that isn't recommended for people with severe asshat syndrome.

Doesn't that leave 99.865% of the population out in the cold and dead sober?

Re:Attitude stability? (2, Funny)

Maserati (8679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589251)

Out in the cold is fine by me, that leaves the rest of us inside where it's warm. And with all the booze.

Re:Attitude stability? (5, Informative)

Xshare (762241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588836)

Attitude = The orientation of a spacecraft relative to its direction of motion.

Re:Attitude stability? (5, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588885)

Wosh = Sound of joke flying right over your head.

Re:Attitude stability? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589383)

I'd make a joke about you making a joke about him without realizing he was obvioulsy not serious, but you got modded +5, and, as a newb, I'm terrified the consequences of questioning your authoritah.

Re:Attitude stability? [ot] (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589965)

no mod points.

you rock.

Re:Attitude stability? (3, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589776)

Disregarding the fact that you're responding seriously to a joke, I'd like to make one minor correction to your thought, just so people understand. A spacecraft's attitude is its orientation relative to some coordinate frame. That frame might be defined such that one axis is inline with the spacecraft's velocity vector, but this is not a requirement, in general. Such a frame would be a local frame. One could easily define the spacecraft's attitude in an inertial frame (or relatively inertial) that had no relationship to the velocity vector.

Pedantic, yes, but perhaps useful. Or not. :-)

Re:Attitude stability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588865)

no, probably just in counseling... i heard it spent hours sobbing about "those dumbass NASA scientists... no grammar... no spelling... just a bunch of mars prototypes..."

sup nigs (0, Offtopic)

Mr. Nigger (650628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588812)

stalinism [dailykos.com]

FUCK YOU! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588816)

n/t

Attitude Stability? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588820)

Who knew spacecraft would have a bad attitude?

Anyone else on this site (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588841)

attracted to asian women?
I am.
I need to find one
FAST!

Re:Anyone else on this site (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588888)

guys who like asian women have tiny dicks that still don't fill the asian's sterotypical tight snatch. my cock is so big that I need a real strong black woman to take it all without tearing her open. word.

Another space station dying of neglect? (5, Insightful)

coupland (160334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588843)

So... Mir died of Russian neglect, and so early into its mission the ISS seems to be dying of US neglect. Even if shuttle missions resume the importance of the ISS in US plans has been eclipsed by a moon base and a Mars mission. Lots of people criticize the ISS because it was largely conceived with politics in mind moreso than economics or science. Surely they hate the new US direction even more -- billions more will be blown, over the course of far more administrations who will always be gunning to kill it for more cash -- just to give the impression of superiority over the Chinese. I say either fund and finish the ISS or start a new economical, science-based space project from scratch. But moon bases? Please, ISS doesn't deserve to fall apart for this...

We're going to Mars! (4, Interesting)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588902)

Unfortunately, nobody appears to understand that with the shuttles grounded indefinitely, the International Space Station provides one of the few opportunities for the United States to safely (relatively speaking) evaluate new technology in the precise environment that it must function properly in. Hypotheses and simulation, after all, often differ from reality. And with their newly aggrandized objective to ensure "complete astronaut safety," shouldn't NASA be utilizing every resource in its arsenal?

Re:We're going to Mars! (5, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589181)

It's supposed to comback online in 2005. Aside from that, safety concerns are a joke. These astronauts want to go to the space and the government, for political reasons is preventing them. What do you think test pilots, and the true explorers have been doing for ages? Sure, we don't want to needlessly die, but we're a bunch of water-meat-bags attached to a ball of rock -- if we're interested in the giant cosmos that supports us, and are willing to risk our lives to do so, isn't that a noble cause? My god. The USA will send thousands to their death to a country rich in oil, and yet, they won't even risk 5 or 10 people to explore the vast universe they live. What a short-sided pitiful view of the world. Right now, if I could fly in the shuttle, and they'd take me into space for some dangerous mission, I would go. No shit.

Re:We're going to Mars! (1)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589446)

The real issue here isn't astronaut safety, but asset safety. We have hundreds of astronauts, but only three shuttles. As such, we should be concentrating solely on how to maximize their survivability and not expending so many resources on crew survivability in the event of a catastrophic failure.

Re:We're going to Mars! (2, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589481)

"The real issue here isn't astronaut safety, but asset safety. We have hundreds of astronauts, but only three shuttles. As such, we should be concentrating solely on how to maximize their survivability and not expending so many resources on crew survivability in the event of a catastrophic failure." When we start supporting materialism over life, we've gone the wrong direction. I believe in searching for answers to our questions, but if we start caring more about our means instead of those that may risk their lives to achieve it, it's possible we've missed the purpose.

Re:We're going to Mars! (2, Insightful)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589585)

The issue isn't about materialism at all. The space shuttle is a national asset. As such, the government has to weigh its value to the nation as a whole. It sucks for the astronauts, but after a point, you simply have to decide that the interests of 280 million people outweigh those of seven.

This is the same reason we don't leave Iraq in order to save hostages and the same reason we don't spend ten billion trillion dollars installing tons of high-tech armor on every humvee. Government is about assessing cost/benefit ratios, and when those in charge forget it, we all land in deep trouble.

What the shuttle is worth (4, Insightful)

cameldrv (53081) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589815)

The Shuttle costs around $1 bil each launch. If you figure that the average NASA or NASA contractor employee makes about $50k a year and has a working lifetime of about 40 years, that's about $2 mil per working lifetime in salary. Thus the equivalent of 500 people put their life's work into each launch. A person's life's work is not the same as his life, but it's in the ballpark. The shuttle's construction is far more complicated than just launching it once, so to say that the shuttle is more valuable than its crew is true. It is the life's work of thousands upon thousands of people. Something like the shuttle is one of the only artifacts we have that is comparable to, for instance, the cathedrals of Europe in its scale.

Mod Parent UP: +1, Damn Straight! (1)

Whizzmo2 (654390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589670)

This is the first time I have seen the Iraq-Space analogy drawn. It all seems so simple now. We definitely need to beat Shrub over the head with this.

Those words don't mean what you think they mean. (1)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589496)

And with their newly aggrandized objective to ensure "complete astronaut safety,"

You've got to understand that when Bush says something like that, he doesn't really mean "completely." If you take the words "complete astronaut safety" literally, it's obviously a ridiculous concept. We're talking about going to Mars for heaven's sake! I can't drive to work in "complete" safety. How the heck are we going to propel several people several dozen miles per second to land for the first time in history on a planet with no breathable atmosphere in "complete" safety? I can only quote Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Bush says stuff like this all the time. Here's another example [cnn.com] from a 2002 speech he gave on education:

"We must make sure that every child enter school ready to learn -- every child -- not just one, not just a few, but every, single child. We've got to make sure that every child starts at the same point."


Now I ask you, how likely is it that this president is actually going to make sure that "every, single child" enters school "ready to learn"? A short drive around any city will show you that we'd be doing very well just to make sure that "every, single child" has a safe place to sleep.

Bush is a man of extremes and absolutes. It actually works out well for him much of the time, as it leads to a simple message that makes people feel good and often gets picked up in media. But you've got to remember that his words don't mean what you think they do, and you've got to look a little deeper.

You're preaching to the choir. (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589587)

You did observe the quotation marks, didn't you? To clarify, my usage of that statement was intended to be sarcastic. ;-)

Regarding Bush, however, I agree... completely. :-)

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (5, Interesting)

character_assassin (773327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588938)

It's kind of arbitrary speculation to claim that the Bush "Mission to Mars" initiative is "just to give the impression of superiority over the Chinese." The US doesn't define itself relative to China, and only recently quit defining itself relative to Russia. Now, this may be more arbitrary speculation, but I think Bush's Mars initiative has more to do with Reaganesque feel-good-about-America vaporware. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing started on one of Karl Rove's cocktail napkins, which is probably as far as it will ever get.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (4, Interesting)

coupland (160334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589002)

character_assassin, you may be right, but personally I think the Bush administration is scared poopless of the Chinese. It's the most populous nation on earth. It can do basic, medium and even some high-tech manufacturing for a fraction of the price to do so in the US. And here's the kicker -- last year foreign investment in China exceeded foreign investment in the US. THAT IS HUGE.

If that doesn't hit you like a slap in the face, think about it this way... When people or companies make it rich around the world, what do they do? They invest their money. And for decades they have put that investment into US companies, knowing their investment was safe. Last year, more people chose to safely tuck their money away in China than in America. I think China/US relations will continue to become a major issue on the world scene, and I think China has only begun its 21st-century ascendency.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe the US is in an overt economic and political struggle with the People's Republic.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (0, Offtopic)

Saeger (456549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589270)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe the US is in an overt economic and political struggle with the People's Republic.

We ain't seen nothing yet. Multinational corporations (with no allegiance to the U.S.) outsourcing to cheap-China to sell back to the once-rich U.S. is only the beginning [blogspot.com] .

The bigger threat is from the fruits of increasing robotic automation being hoarded by the same multinational few who own the means of human-less production and fuck over everyone else who is now an unemployed "useless eater" [blogspot.com] . These productivity gains need to be more evenly distributed, but that's not the corporate definition of "globalism".

--

China is a 'threat' to greedy domination, yes (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589327)

They have more people. Are you really that suprised that 4x as many people can accomplish more, when organized just as well? The primary tension in the world these days is the coalescing of major governments into a single entity because it threatens the ways of those who many not concus with the bulk. It is the struggle between the few and the many that drives us as a people. There is, however, a big difference between the USA and China, and it is this: While China has people working just to barely survive, even the homeless in the USA can find drinking fountains and food. As I could say, stronger than the words of Jesus himself, the human society just needs Star Trek replicators. All problems solved.

Re:China is a 'threat' to greedy domination, yes (1)

Saeger (456549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589425)

human society just needs Star Trek replicators. All problems solved.

Well, it wouldn't solve all problems, but it would be the biggest and most disruptive equalizer we've ever seen.

Besides just making possible the cheap reconfiguration of a pile of molecules in your garbage into any desired object (including food & shelter & diamond), democratized molecular manufacturing [foresight.org] "printers" would mean the end of conflict [mccarthy.cx] based on trade of once-scarce resources. "Resources" could now be recycled at the molecular level given (stored solar) energy.

--

corruption=poor organisation (1)

dj_virto (625292) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589868)

Unfortunately for the chinese people, their system of government seems to have accepted corruption as a way of life. Corruption just doesn't work very well. It insures that the person or organisation best qualified to do the job probably won't be the one to get it. It prevents workers from organising to get a share of the profits, which leads to more spending power and more motivation to work. It prevents fundamental social and economic problems from being fixed my laws. It holds back almost all collective progress.

However, since we seem to have fully taken for granted the advances of progressive campaigners that we enjoy, we're sliding back down toward's china's level. Hopefully our remaining democratic structures will keep it from getting too bad.

Chinese economic growth (2, Insightful)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589440)

And for decades they have put that investment into US companies, knowing their investment was safe. Last year, more people chose to safely tuck their money away in China than in America.

You're confusing 'risk' and 'return'. People haven't put their investments into US companies because they knew their investment was safe, they did it because they felt they could get a high rate of return on their money. If they wanted a safe investment, they would buy US treasury securities, currently the safest investment on Earth.

Now, they're investing more money in the Chinese economy, because they feel that Chinese companies will grow faster (and thus provide a higher rate of return). That's not terribly surprising, as it's easy to see that China has enormous economic growth potential. Much the same occurred with southeast Asia in the early-to-mid 1990s, until their bubble collapsed.

It can do basic, medium and even some high-tech manufacturing for a fraction of the price to do so in the US.

The reason for this is not some magic, but because China has vastly lower labor costs. To some extent, this is because China uses a huge amount of slave labor.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589096)

No, the Bush mars program is about getting him votes.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588971)

The International Space Station draws upon the scientific and technological resources of 16 nations: Canada, Japan, Russia, 11 nations of the European Space Agency and Brazil, yet it is dying of U.S. neglect.

Any of these other nations helping? Maybe one that didn't have a shuttle crash recently?

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (4, Interesting)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588976)

Personally (and as an American) I think we shouldn't have made the shuttle into what it was. Most engineers without a stake in the profits were very concerned with the design, since it was rather fragile. It was also expensive.

The problem was that the ISS was concieved and built with a dependency on technology, two decades old, with a somewhat troubling penchant for failure.

As for the "moon base", unless Google is going to chip in and fund it, I doubt America will go through with it. The US space program has lost a lot of the "I did it first" impetus it had when it was competing with the Soviet Union, and that could be a good thing. The NASA of today should focus on the practical, useful aspects of space, instead of being used as a political tool by whatever president is in office. I would rather have my tax dollars spent on putting communications/navigation satellites into orbit than have it spent on a moon base with little practical value to me or America.

Yes, but what is 'practical'? (2, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589242)

"The NASA of today should focus on the practical, useful aspects of space, instead of being used as a political tool by whatever president is in office." pratical? spiritual? I agree it shouldn't be used as a tool, but no matter what we do in space, with humans there, as of 2004, we will learn remarkably more than we know now about how we live, who we are, and where we can go.

Why not Google? (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589984)

They already have plans ready [google.com] , why NOT Google? :)

Mal-2

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (4, Interesting)

brianvan (42539) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588992)

Gah! I'll bite on this one:

The ISS is not dying of neglect. Far from it. If your computer loses a secondary hard drive to old age and you replace it with a new one, is your computer dying of neglect? No. If a car's tire goes flat and you put on a new one, are you neglecting it? No.

That said, the ISS is the biggest white elephant program going on in space travel at the moment relative to everything else. Actually, they're all pretty undefendable except Hubble. (And, of course, except any other additions to the list that I'm sure people more familiar with NASA will spank me with in the replies) Nothing makes money, and the science-to-spending ratio is obscene compared to most programs. If we had to transfer funding away from these projects specifically for... oh, let's say, education, cancer research, or domestic security (this is HYPOTHETICAL! No flame here, I know what our war budgets and football stadium budgets are, I'd NEVER advocate cutting NASA before those things)... then most people would never argue the loss of the projects. They wouldn't like it, but they wouldn't think twice either.

Besides, the entire point of these risky, socially purposeless, complicated, budget-eating manned space missions is basically to do more things big and showy to pat ourselves on the back as a species. In that sense, Mars would be a greater success than the ISS. We've never been to another planet, but we've already done the orbital-sardine-can trick.

Pretty soon, robotics and remotely-operated mechanical systems will eliminate the need for a human presence on many science missions, so the cost of science should decline rapidly. This will be excellent. As for the manned missions... well, if we get into the space tourism game or we privatize some elements of the various programs, things may improve. For now, we do what we can, and we're in a tough spot. We've always recovered from disaster and tragedy in space travel, and we shall do so again.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (3, Insightful)

toddhunter (659837) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589087)


Besides, the entire point of these risky, socially purposeless, complicated, budget-eating manned space missions is basically to do more things big and showy to pat ourselves on the back as a species


Just keep in mind that our planet is doomed to be sucked into the sun one day. Sure we have a fair while to get off this planet, but the sooner we start the better right?

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (4, Informative)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589190)

Never mind the collossal risk posed by an asteroid strike. Sure, the chances of a species-killer are pretty low, but the downsides are enourmous. Better to start on contingency plans as soon as we can.

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (1)

igny (716218) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589779)

the ISS is the biggest white elephant

Yeah, let's give them all names

Cassini/Huygens probes: a horse with a tick

ISS: a white elephant

Spirit/Opportunity: beetles

...

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (1)

SpankMonkeyPox (791341) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588996)

There is a difference... We are doing actual preventative maintenance. We are also working on making shuttle transport better. And we already know there is no life in space... that's why we are at Mars

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589282)

"...And we already know there is no life in space" When did we figure this out? We're floating around in space on a ball of rock. Sort of pretentious to assume that the tiny little speck we consume and what we can view into the past from there (from the speed with which light travels) is all we've got, don't ya think?

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (2, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589166)

Do you even remotely have any idea of the spin-off products created by NASA in these adventures to space? We're not just learning how to go to space. NASA is DIRECTLY responsible for many of the household conveniences you no doubt ignorantly use, as well as THOUSANDS of other spin-off products that make BILLIONS for the US Economy. People really need to lay off NASA that believe these missions are only about their surface purpose. The technology in doing what these people do to get into space is literally indispensable in real world applications and is DRIVING the U.S. technologically and economically, despite the "irrelevant" nature of the missions, in a nation devoid of spiritual inclination. Mod me to the moon... and mars! *cough*

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (2, Insightful)

Igmuth (146229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589528)

And yet at the same time, the military is responsible for even more those same things. Yet, should we go around starting wars just to get more cool toys?

Re:Another space station dying of neglect? (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589196)

Just because we all live here on Earth doesn't mean we can't sustain ourselves elsewhere, and furthermore, that the journey won't net us valuable knowledge and intelligence that can greatly benefit those of us here on Earth.

NASA Spin-offs make the U.S. Billions Regardless (1, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589224)

http://www.nasatechnology.com/ NASA's byproducts make the missions thus far almost pale in compairson, if you're actually so spiritually devoid that you consider exploring your own universe, that which sustains you, a waste of money. Hell, if the USA hadn't invaded IRAQ we could have given NASA 10x its budget, and learned about us, as a species, a people, a planet, a consciousness. And yet, here we are, grounding our efforts because a few people died tragically. It's sad, yes, but so it sending thousands to their death for a questionable cause. How can we value life more in war, but less in understanding ourselves as people? The Earth spins round and round. It's all a mystery.

Dyslexic (3, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588850)

I thought for a moment that a gyro in IIS got fixed via a spacewalk. I never knew that there was a gyro in IIS requiring a spacewalk to fix, but it might explain the bugs.

Greek Astronauts? (1, Funny)

The Monster (227884) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589182)

And I thought for a moment that someone was fixing a Gyro for dinner.

Reminds me of Galaxy Quest.. (5, Insightful)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588856)

Specifically, the line "Why is this room here" when they're in thec hompers room. Note to self, when designing something where it is incredibly dangerous to go outside and fix, spring for the extra twenty feet of cable and put the circuit breaker INSIDE THE DAMN SHIP.

Re:Reminds me of Galaxy Quest.. (3, Interesting)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588898)

Seriously, why can't they just put all vital electronic arteries inside the ship? Unless that part of the station was put on after the main section was sent into orbit, I don't see any reason for it to be outside. Isn't it also more vulnerable to damage from debris out there too?

Re:Reminds me of Galaxy Quest.. (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589009)

maybe they're worried about it shorting out and catching on fire, like Apollo 1?

Ignorant observations about technology placement (1)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589418)

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I've never designed a space faring vessel. That said, I'm going to go ahead and give these people the benefit of the doubt and assume that in piecing this thing together, they worked as well as they could under the money and time constraints they exist in that they could. These people all know lives are at stake and most probably have a passion for it. The point is, it may be obvious. Some fool would say hindsight 20/20, but seriously, in something THAT SOPHISTICATED if we don't have obvious comments for improvement after an incident that occurs, I'd be suprised. Naturally, any problem that occurs on a sophisticated product will always have any easy solution: why didn't they just blah blah That's a main reason Microsoft gets raped in the tech community. hehe

Re:Ignorant observations about technology placemen (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590001)

no it went more like this...

pr comes in. day after day, the technicians couldn't understand why the thermoelectric discombubulator kept blowing fuses. they tried replacing the chickenelectrometer. they tried replacing the positronic ejector. they even tried pressing the reset button. by about the 11th day they were so sick of replacing the fuses on the thermoelectic discombubulator (which you must access with a 1m discombubulator defuser through the equivalent of a mouse hole in a panel with two giant 02 vents mounted side by side blowing in your face the whole time) just to test the new fix that they mounted the fuse box on the outside of the said module. Good thing they did... they finally figured out... it was the flux capacitor. anyways, some guy came through the room about two weeks later and said, "Ship It!" and, well you know the rest.

it's really that sophisticated.

Assembly. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590016)

There's a -ton- of stuff up there, all bolted together, all brought up in stages, over time, on various rocket systems.

All that gear needs to be brought up slowly.

Sure, if we had mega-ton capable boosters, we could build a nice exoskeleton and put it all inside with room for boots, but since its all going up, slowly, bit by bit, and must be assembled up there, cables go where they can, in relation to the rest of the project.

I think we've got the assembly wrong, however, personally. I don't know why we're limiting ourselves to tubes and cans (booster hardware, yeah, i know) that need to be bolted together, when with a little more serious robotics and industrial process "space-a-fy'ing" we could be blowing big bubbles out of the raw material instead [neubert.net] , and having more controlled space to work in and around for less energy ... but I guess there's a reason for it.

Re:Reminds me of Galaxy Quest.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589324)

How much does twenty feet of cable weigh? How much does a shielded and extra redundant twenty feet of cable weigh? How many components would they have to outfit w/ cables in order to do so? Now, wouldn't that make a spacecraft unneccessarily large, complex and that much harder to get off of the ground?

Or here's another scenario. Some companies had servers and datacenters in one of the WTC towers. Where were their backup computers? In the other WTC tower.

Reasons for putting it outside (5, Informative)

rosbif73 (673259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590070)

The reasons were explained recently by a NASA insider on sci.space.station:
To minimize the number of penetrations through the pressure hull (both the power source and the load are outside, in this case), minimize the number of connections through hatches (lesson learned from Mir), and minimize potential crew exposure to ammonia (used to cool external power components).

zerg (-1, Troll)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588858)

w00t, rock on!

Fixing a bad gyro... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588860)

Anybody can fix a bad gyro, so the question is: How does one fix a good gyro in orbit? There's no gravity! Extremes of temperature! I for one wouldn't want to eat an ISS gyro. Space tourism will never take off without good space resort chefs dammit!

Now *THIS* is a gyro [fromto.cc] !

(on second thought, this joke isn't very funny. posting anonymously anyway.)

Re:Fixing a bad gyro... (3, Funny)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588870)

Falafel is much better in zero G

No Jew Food In Space!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588952)

We must keep our food pure!!!

T minus 5 seconds until -1 flamebait...........

Re:Fixing a bad gyro... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589032)

But afterwards, you feel awful.

Re:Fixing a bad gyro... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588891)

"Opa!" the pod bay doors, HAL!

I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that... the oxygen would ouzo out.

Ruskies to the Rescue (-1, Flamebait)

Performaman (735106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588877)

Once again, when NASA gets cold feet and shows how incompitent they are when it comes to Human Spaceflight, the Russians save the day. Astronauts are going up there on Russian rockets and repair the station in Russian suits. Jeez. Why can't we do something right for once?

Re:Ruskies to the Rescue (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589145)

We got some probes to Mars. No other country has had much luck doing that.

Re:Ruskies to the Rescue (0, Flamebait)

Performaman (735106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589206)

That's great. But as far as earth-orbit human spaceflight, our record isn't that good. Yes, we went to the moon, but we did not establish anything permanent. Instead, Nixon decided to waste money on the shuttle when he should have extended Apollo.

Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (5, Interesting)

A. Pizmo Clam (779689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588882)

I'm sure a lot of people are going to use this malfunction and (necessarily) hazardous repair as an indictment of the current investment in manned, shuttle-based spaceflight.

However, until NASA has a better platform, they will probably continue to use the shuttle.

Perhaps if the open source movement were to desing and implement a shuttle replacement, we might have a working replacement faster than if NASA were told they have to come up with a cheaper faster replacement.

For those thinking of suggesting that Soyuz would work, might I remind you that every Soyuz capsule is a one time use vehicle. Even when everything goes right, it doesn't get re-used. It has no airlock, so either everyone gets suited up, or no-one does a space walk. It has no payload capability, so no sattelite recovery. It has no manipulator arm, so you can't rely upon it for doing sattelite maintenance as the shuttle crew has.

The shuttle may not be perfect. It was designed for a set of missions that have very little to do with what it is doing now. (The military provided some of the specs to support black projects, few of which have ever been attempted.)

The Civilian side of the project was to haul people and material to and from the space station that was being desinged by NASA, which was not the international space station. It was also decided to use it to deploy sattelites as well once the capacity of the payload bay was defined.

As a jeep, the shuttle has done an ok job. If you think we need a better design, I am all for it. Start working on that better desing, and give us status reports as you find the time.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (2, Interesting)

complete loony (663508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589020)

... few of which have ever been attempted

And how the hell do you know? The whole point of black op's is ... wait for it ... they're black. Though I can see the point that it's hard to hide a shuttle launch, we won't know for 50 years if the shuttles have actually been used as they were designed.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589710)

It's not hard, it's impossible. You can see the launch for hundreds of miles around, and the reentry is visible for hundreds of miles to either side of a path that's thousands of miles long. If you think the military has the ability to hide such an event, you may as well go all out and start believing in alien technology recovered from Roswell or whatever.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589761)

<devils advocate>
Yes, launch and re-entry is hard to hide, but how hard would it be to run a black op, or launch a black payload when it's up there?
</devils advocate>
I don't personally "believe" that anything untoward has been done with the shuttle's, but I can't discount the possibility.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (2, Interesting)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589943)

There have been some secret missions carried out on the shuttle. The fact that these missions have been carried out is public knowledge, although the details are not.

Given the amount of preparation required for a mission and the number of people involved, I don't think it would be possible to carry a secret payload or carry out a black operation during an otherwise normal mission without at least the existence of such a thing being known to the public. I'm not a big believer in conspiracies, and something like that would just be too hard to keep secret.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589060)

Perhaps if the open source movement were to desing and implement a shuttle replacement, we might have a working replacement faster than if NASA were told they have to come up with a cheaper faster replacement.

Yet another open source zealot who thinks open source is the answer to everything.

Design is one thing, but who's going to build it and pay for it? Raw materials cost money. Maintenance costs money. Actual operation costs money.

Good designers don't just design and walk away from the job once the design is done. They go down the the shop floor and help with the assembly. Are the open source designers going to work with the assembly guys? I don't think so.

Please check your open source zealotry at the door and think before you suggest something.

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (4, Interesting)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589232)

Could Titan provide heavy lift to LEO? Could the Proton? Could Ariane V? Do the astronauts need to ride the freighter?

The Shuttle was the wrong paradigm. It's the Concorde of space. Columbia couldn't even make it to the ISS orbit, IIRC

Could the money being spent to keep Discovery, Endeavor and Atlantis going be better spent figuring out how to get US ISS components launched autonomously using existing lauch vehicles and purchasing additional Progress and Soyuz maintenence and crew transfer launches?

Re:Problems with the Shuttle-centric approach? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589949)

Just replying to inform this parent poster.

Many of rocket boosters can be used to launch something into LEO. No problem there. But they are NOT designed to carry human inside the loading cargo on its tip of a rocket. One consideration, which is often ignored, is a supersonic vibration within the closed cavity. [The downside of it is your gut may explode under the supersonic vibration.]

In any manned rocket design, the vibration is suppressed and is safe for human to ride inside. But not so for many unmanned rocket boosters.

Cheers,

-b

Pak chooie (1)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589460)

The shuttle may not be perfect. It was designed for a set of missions that have very little to do with what it is doing now.

Well, the shuttle was successful in repairing the gyros on the ISS, so that it could be pushed away from the Terrible Secret of Space. That's got to count for something.

Russia = 1 time | Nasa = repeated use (3, Interesting)

dj42 (765300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589468)

It's clear that Russia designs things to be used once and replaced. It's a good strategy. Look at their spacesuits: Russia intends for them to be used up and then discarded, provided extras. Whereas the USA sends up very specific space suits which must be carted up and down from space for restoration. To suggest that a maintenance plan is better than a "brute force" approach is questionable at this point. Frankly, I like how Russia does space. They keep it simple, they send backups. Then again, the USA's refusal to use disposable technology drives our innovation. Let's just consider that that both ways are valid, and we're all humans trying to explore our existence. What is space travel? Just hanging out above the air because you can? Don't you have any interest in what's out there?

no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving (-1, Flamebait)

anandpur (303114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588889)

no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving
True. We all pray this war will be over soon and everyone will get enough fule.

Dell Offers $100 For Old iRaq [weblogsinc.com]

I for one... (0, Offtopic)

dark-br (473115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9588893)

... welcome our new gyroscopic overlords!

Oh... come on... you were missing those silly jokes to! ;)

boring ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588917)

Slightly off-topic, but what do the two guys do in the space station day after day? Maybe keep checking the weightlessness science experiments sent up by school students. Do they check in on the monkey every once in a while?

Re:boring ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588933)

They spend all their simply MAINTAINING the station. Not much actual science happens aboard the debacle called ISS.

Nice, but.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588954)

The station's computer is still complaining of an ongoing fault in the AE-35 unit.

how do gyros work?? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9588966)

can someone explain how gyros work w/o talking about calculus and conservation of angular momentum?

Re:how do gyros work?? (2, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589001)

Inertia. Gyros work for the same reason that it's not easy to push a stopped car. It takes a lot of energy to make an object change its rate of motion.

LK

Re:how do gyros work?? (4, Informative)

eingram (633624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589011)

Maybe this [howstuffworks.com] will help? I can't really think of a simple way to explain it. They're a lot of fun to play with, though. :)

Re:how do gyros work?? (2, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589902)

I'll try.

Gyro is short for gyroscope. Did you ever play with a top as a child? Hopefully, at least once. Conceptually, a gyro is like a top; it is spun up very fast (thousands of RPM, typically), gaining a lot of angular momentum (sorry). Part of the gyro is fixed in the housing in which it resides; the rest is free to move around, typically in two axes, just like a top leans to and fro a little as it moves across a surface. The housing is mounted to the spacecraft in an orientation that aligns the gyro in a known way. When the spacecraft's attitude, or orientation, changes, the housing moves with it BUT the gyro "top" remains fixed inertially, i.e., with respect to things outside the spacecraft. Remember Newton's first law of motion? Paraphrasing, an object in motion stays in motion, maintaining it's orientation, unless something acts on it. The gyro is free to move in the housing, so its orientation remains fixed (inertially) even though the housing its in moves around it.

Anyway, electronics in the inertial reference unit, the overall package of which the gyro is a part, sense the change in orientation of the gyro with respect to the housing and convert this into rotations about the axes the gyro is aligned with. Actually, IRUs typically put out accelerations, which must be integrated to produce rotations, but the idea is the same.

Hopefully, that helped a bit. :-)

Wouldn't it be easier... (1, Funny)

Geak (790376) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589025)

... to put a giant laser on the moon developed by Alan Parsons and call it the death star? Minime! Stop humping the laser!

Re:Wouldn't it be easier... (3, Funny)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589240)

This is significant with the Shuttle being grounded for an extended period because the ISS would have had to use thruster fuel to keep the Station's solar panels pointed in the right direction without the gyroscopes, and no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving.

I'm not the type of person who usually points these types of things out, but after the first few sentences of atrocious grammar, the remainder of attrocious grammar is all packed into a run-on sentence, that, depending upon proper comma placement is incomplete.

New technique (0, Redundant)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589052)

This must be a new technique for preparing gyros. Around here gyros are made in the kitchen.

Why build a space station? (1)

colonist (781404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589364)

"Why build a space station? Since the beginning of the Space Age the stations that have flown have fallen short of the ideals of space advocates and science fiction writers, who foresaw orbiting hubs of transportation and commerce--the giant spinning station from 2001: A Space Odyssey, complete with Pan Am shuttles and a Hilton hotel, being perhaps the best-known example. Instead, the space stations that have been built have been, at best, modest conglomerations of modules and solar arrays, serving as cramped homes for two or three people who spend much of their time simply keeping their station operating. The justification for such facilities has been rooted primarily in geopolitics--first Cold War competition, now international cooperation--coated with a thin veneer of science."

"Yet there is a far more important purpose for a space station, argues Robert Zimmerman in his book Leaving Earth. Space stations, he believes, are essential proving grounds for the eventual human exploration of the solar system. Space stations allow scientists to find out how people can handle extended periods of weightlessness, as well as how they can--or sometimes can't--get along with fellow crew members in cramped quarters. Stations also offer an opportunity to develop and test key technologies needed for interplanetary journeys, particularly life support systems, as well as test the resourcefulness of crews to carry out repairs in space. While politicians may have been motivated to fund space stations for foreign policy or other political reasons, the various space stations built and flown to date have gone a long ways towards achieving those exploration goals."

The full article is on the web: Review: Leaving Earth [thespacereview.com] by Jeff Foust, The Space Review.

Get with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9589407)

Space exploration and science is expensive. We need to finish ISS before we move to the moon. If we can't even finish ISS, what's the chance the moon will be successful? The moon is 10x farther than ISS orbit, and probably cost 20x more to get there.

"attitude stability with redundancy" (5, Funny)

geek (5680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589530)

"attitude stability with redundancy"

Wish my ex-gf had that =/

I don't really know, who made that... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589695)

...but a gyroscope with a circuit breaker placed OUTSIDE THE SPACE STATION strikes me as a typical American design decision.

What Idiot... (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589760)

to fix the external gyroscope circut breaker

And just what idiot made it an external circuit breaker?

Re:What Idiot... (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9590111)

This is something I've wondered about. NASA knew going into the project that the Gyroscopes were not all that reliable, so made them replaceable and designed in redundancies. Given that forthought, why in the hell didn't they put this in an area the crew could reach without a space walk?

Fear of Space (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9589766)

We seem to have this fear of someone dying in space, or re-entry, and keep grounding the Shuttle. But all things considered I'd rather die on a shuttle flight than in bed -- unless it's in bed with Raquel Welch, that is.

You must be even older than I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9590097)

If you're still name-chedcking Raquel Welch. If you're into GMILF, I'd prefer Germaine Greer myself. She's funny, articulate, and has researched the sexual practices of a lot of societies that go around with very few clothes. Off-topic yes.
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