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116 comments

I don't need to the source. It say (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756222)

10 Boom
20 goto 10

Re:I don't need to the source. It say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756364)

I'll give you some more source:

while (parent!="-1 Troll")
{if (modpoints>0) modParentTroll();}

not enterprisey enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21757526)

class BitchSlap {
    public static void main() {
        while(getPostFactoy().getPost(Post.CurrentPost.Parent).getScore() != Post.Score.NegativeOne || getPostFactory().getPost(Post.CurrentPost.Parent).getModeration() != Post.Moderation.Troll) {
            getPostFactory().getPost(Post.CurrentPost.Parent).doModerate(Post.Moderation.Troll));
        }
    }
}

Re:I don't need to the source. It say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21759300)

Dude, that's cold. Those astronauts risk their lives to explore space and further scientific knowledge, and you make fun of them dying ?

my first contribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756264)

Boeing will be the lead contractor for the Ares I rocket

I would like to participate in your open source project. My idea is not to make your rockets out of lead.

Purely Test-Driven Design (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21760620)

Brilliant! We'll do the whole project with TDD. The Pb rocket is just part of the process.

In not too long (1)

pkadd (1203286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756290)

..we will see space-shuttles being hacked in the same way wii gets hacked: People tears it apart and use it for pretty much any neat project. "Hmm, i wonder if these thrusters could heat up my apartment, instead of the old fasion fireplace i have"

Re:In not too long (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756330)

"Hmm, i wonder if these thrusters could heat up my apartment, instead of the old fasion fireplace i have"
But can they be hacked to run Slackware?

Re:In not too long (3, Funny)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759144)

Yes they can, and just like any PC based thruster, it will be more efficient, more stable, and you won't have to recycle the power every few days of bug free operation. As a matter of fact, net craft has confirmed that installing slackware and removing the windowing OS that came with it will allow for longer trips in space and even maned trips to Pluto.com and back. Long live the really hot air coming from slackware powered thrusters.

Re:In not too long (4, Funny)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756428)

But will the wrist strap on the rocket be strong enough? I don't want my Ares Rocket messing up my flat screen TV

Re:In not too long (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756752)

here is a modification that will ensure your rocket does no damage [ripway.com]

Re:In not too long (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757014)

The link in the parent is a forwarding link. It's a completely off-topic link he only added in order to increase click rates, and used the forwarding link to prevent others recognizing the link target (it's a "minicity"). Clicking it would promote his antisocial behaviour, so don't do it.

OT-note: If you really want to learn about myminicity, don't click his link anyway, but go to the myminicity main page [myminicity.com] instead. (And no, I'm not involved in the minicity web site [I do have my own minicity though, but I won't link to it here], I just want to prevent people to click on his link).

Re:In not too long (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759188)

Well, I clicked on his link just because you said not to. I have to ask though, All i saw was a "Java script loading please wait". Of course I have a high speed connection so I didn't wait actually I had no script turned on and if a site doesn't display at all, without javascript, it isn't worth visiting anyways.

An obvious attempt to obtain serious QA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756306)

Given the actual statistical reliability of the Space Shuttle vs the claims for it's reliability, they need some serious QA.

What a great learning tool for Aerospace Engineering.

Lew

Re:An obvious attempt to obtain serious QA (4, Interesting)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756886)

Watch what you say there, because the shuttle's software code is some of the best stuff out there, given that it is multiply redundant, and hasn't had a major failure that I know of, ever. The shuttle software team is known for doing code reviews at a level that most companies I know of can only dream of -- I remember an article several years ago that showed their code to be provably bug free at a something like 3-4 bugs per 500,0000 lines of code.

What seems cool about "open source" relative to this project is that it may make the specifications much more solid in all areas (any interested engineer can spot problems or suggest enhancements, not just NASA paid engineers, but at the same time I doubt that all of the rocket specs CAN be fully open sourced, because if you can put a rocket into space with sufficient accuracy to put a manned craft into lunar orbit, you can also put a warhead on that same rocket and plop it with decent accuracy anywhere in the world.

Which, given the rogue elements in our world and a number of fairly rich folks willing to fund the rogues, is, as you might surmise, NOT A GOOD THING.

Re:An obvious attempt to obtain serious QA (2, Interesting)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759326)

Watch what you say there, because the shuttle's software code is some of the best stuff out there, given that it is multiply redundant, and hasn't had a major failure that I know of, ever. The shuttle software team is known for doing code reviews at a level that most companies I know of can only dream of -- I remember an article several years ago that showed their code to be provably bug free at a something like 3-4 bugs per 500,0000 lines of code.
I think the article you're referring to is They Write the Right Stuff [fastcompany.com].

Re:An obvious attempt to obtain serious QA (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756948)

Let's the Orbitors have a 120 flights pushing more than 830 people, 66 satellites, 32 orbital docking maneuvers, and 27,292 flight Hours.

So 14 people have been killed in two shuttle accidents. 14/830 is a 0.017 failure rate or just under 2%. An Astronaut is more likely to die by being killed in a drunk driving accident than on a shuttle flight.

Not bad considering it's the worlds only resuable space flight vehicle. Sure it's more expensive than forseen. and turn around time is greater than originally thought of. It is still more impressive than anything else. If Russia had finished the Buran I might consider that better, as without main engines on the vessel itself would lead to the faster turn around time that the shuttle was supposed to have.

Re:An obvious attempt to obtain serious QA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21759910)

Don't launch the rocket its too cold!
We don't want to waste money and have to wait to reloaunch
-> Challenger blows up.
The external tank insulation be hurting our planet!
Ok, we'll change the formula.
-> Columbia gets hit by foam breaking its wing, breaks up on reentry.

Rating one based on the other may cause problems.

At last i'll be able to build mine (1)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756308)

A proven (or that will be proven) rocket design, with open specs, that's amazing.

Open source rules!

Re:At last i'll be able to build mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756436)

uh, guy, it's called public domain. open source is a different idea. get a clue.

Dear President George W Bush: Command-In-Felon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756636)

The Iranian people greatly appreciate your appreciation of Open Sores development of rocketry.

We particularly appreciate the open sourcery of your so-called nucklar bombs.

Peacefully In Allah,

Mahmoud [wikipedia.org]

P,S. Fuck Cheney [whitehouse.org]

Google is your friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21758390)

"Rocket Candy"

What about software? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756326)

Surely the specifications will be open sourced, but does it meant the code of the software in it will be opened too? If so I'd love to see some of that hit the front page of The Daily WTF.

Re:What about software? (2, Insightful)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756400)

This is the Bush Administration we are talking about. If they wont ship an AMD cpu to Iran, would they really provide inter/intra-orbital software code to be open source ? (Think ICBM)

Re:What about software? (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756870)

This is the Bush Administration we are talking about. If they wont ship an AMD cpu to Iran, would they really provide inter/intra-orbital software code to be open source ? (Think ICBM)

["bubble-headed total agreement mode" on]
...because, you know, everyone and their dog can get hold of the requisite titanium, rocket fuel, high-precision valves, thermal shielding, Internal Nav Units, and electronics required... You know, all the stuff that makes a delicate and complex-all-to-hell vehicle like, you know, a rocket... fly just fine without exploding in mid-air, or, like, simply catching fire on the launch pad. All we need are, like, you know, these here plans and some duct tape, you know?
[BHTAM off]

Cripes - let's stretch things a bit more to turn promising international cooperation into yet another simple-minded Bush-hating screed, shall we? For once... for once in a great-assed while, the gov (no matter which party) does something right, and you gotta go and hose it up with some purile "OMGz0rs DA BOOSH IZ S0 st00pid!" line.

Don't you have somewhere better to go, like DU, Daily Kos, Townhall-dot-com, or some such political playpen? This is supposed to be geek pr0n here, not the communal partisan drool bucket.

(and yes, I'd really like to see those plans published "open source" style, thanks much - if for no other reason than we geeks out here can avoid having them get obliterated by stupid government officials, as the Saturn V plans were in the 70's).

(and yeah, fuggit - I got karma to burn by the supertanker-load, so all you oh-so-offended 24/7 partisan shitheads w/ points out there can Mod the post down until your dick hurts for all I care.)

/P

Re:What about software? (2, Insightful)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757058)

I was actually just stating facts. You do realize of course that the Scuds that were launched in the first Gulf war were intended to hit cities / industrial targets, and one of the main reasons they did not was due to poor guidance software ? (Patriots did knock a couple off-track of course.) The Open Specifications are of course available due to the reasons you mentioned. The export restriction variations are a specific executive decision type thing that can be directly tied to an administration. That is not political screed.

Re:What about software? (2, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757324)

New software will not help - there isn't some amazing algorithm out there that takes data from crappy sensors and makes it 100% accurate. Now if they were able to duplicate some of the hardware that went with the software then it could be of some use - but the point is that the hardware is the hard part.

Re:What about software? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759516)

["bubble-headed total agreement mode" on]
...because, you know, everyone and their dog can get hold of the requisite titanium, rocket fuel, high-precision valves, thermal shielding, Internal Nav Units, and electronics required... You know, all the stuff that makes a delicate and complex-all-to-hell vehicle like, you know, a rocket... fly just fine without exploding in mid-air, or, like, simply catching fire on the launch pad. All we need are, like, you know, these here plans and some duct tape, you know?
[BHTAM off]

Um, prior art [wikipedia.org] anyone?

Re:What about software? (1)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756954)

Do you really think there will be much code that is worthy of The Daily WTF? NASA and its contractors go to great lengths to try to produce properly engineered code [fastcompany.com]. Sure, it's still not perfect [nasa.gov], but I seriously doubt we'll see the kind of "what were they thinking?!" things that are typically featured on The Daily WTF.

I can hear it now (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756356)

CAPCOM: Good morning Persues, how are you today?
PERSUES: 5 by 5 Houston, what's the plan for today? We're only halfway to the moon.
CAPCOM: Persues, we need you to run a few 'patch' commands, we're uploading the diffs now...

Re:I can hear it now (3, Funny)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756942)

NASA: I just tried to launch OpenAres 1.1, but my rocket blew up!
RoxetMan: RTFM, noob!

Re:I can hear it now (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759572)

PERSUES: Ah, roger that, Houston. Standing by...
(10 minutes later)
PERSUES: Houston, we have a problem. Our guidance system says we're now heading for Disneyland...

newclear powered planet/population rescue kode.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756382)

completely open. no gadgets required.

in the end, the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in.

for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it?

we're intending for the nazis to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continues on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

whilst (yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

still making his views known worldwide, whilst many of US keep yOUR heads firmly lodged in the silicon sand hoping (against overwhelming information to the contrary) that the party LIEn scriptdead pr ?firm? fairytail hypenosys scenario will never end.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

!Open Source (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756394)

This sounds more like Open Standards, not Open Source.

Re:!Open Source (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759246)

How much do you want to bet that you have to sign it out, protect it from getting loose and keep it a secrete.

I don't think this would be a any country or citizen of any country can get it thing. Not even from P2P programs.

Open source? (5, Informative)

link5280 (1141253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756396)

Not the same as open source for software. They will make the data available only to future bidders and only when it benefits the government. You're not going to download rocket technology off of NASA's website.

Also, not just Boeing (4, Informative)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757986)

The summary also says that Boeing will be the prime contractor for the Ares 1. This is not true. The article is about Boeing being the prime contractor for the avionics. Incidentally, Boeing is also the prime contractor for the second stage structure. However, the first stage is being built by Alliant Techsystems (who also makes the nearly identical shuttle SRB's...that part of the contract was a shoe-in), the 2nd stage engine is being built by Pratt and Whitney, and the Orion spacecraft that the Ares is being designed to launch is contracted to Lockheed Martin.

Open source (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756444)

... the system's specifications will be 'open-source and non-proprietary ...
Ok, where can I send my patches?

In theory.... (3, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756462)

In theory anything developed with public funds is supposed to go into the public domain. But that seems to have died even faster than the Bill of Rights.

Re:In theory.... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756650)

In theory anything developed with public funds is supposed to go into the public domain.


In what theory, exactly?

Re:In theory.... (2, Insightful)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756910)

The problem with that logic comes with things that are related to military tech. It has never been in the best interest of a nations public to aid an enemies military development. Rocket technology that can achieve lunar orbit, is also capable of sending (nuclear or conventional) ballistic warheads anywhere on the globe. Publishing those designs in the open, so that rouge nations could literally copy the design, would likely get us all killed. In these cases, and others, it is in the best interest of the public that these technologies stay out of the public domain.

Re:In theory.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21757092)

Don't be silly. As has been pointed out in the past, if you want to design a rocket for military strikes using a Lunar rocket design is an ABSURD way to proceed. The payload requirements are absurd overkill, as is the support infrastructure.

Now, if you want to worry that the technology itself might be adapted to weapons, I point out certain political realities.

1. Anyone stupid enough to launch a rocket at the US or other modern nation is toast. Missles can be tracked back to the origin, and the origin will shortly thereafter be reduced to some rather fundamental particles.

2. Anyone wanting to deliver a doomsday suicide nuclear payload or other payload would do MUCH better at MUCH cheaper prices to smuggle it into a port city or across the border. If they're capable of engineering such an attack they can figure that out - and we have no missle to trace back to the origin. Not to mention we can't shoot it down...

The only concern that I might buy would be China or some other large country we're worried about having to fight on a large scale getting access to modern tech they don't currently have. However, most of what they need to figure it out themselves they already have thanks to loads upon loads of outsourcing and buildup of their own economy and academic brainpower. They're trying their own moon shots already, remember? And one of the founding members of their program we chased out of OUR country.

If you want to limit rocket building potential, you'll have to limit everyone else's access to smart people. Otherwise you'll eventually face the problem anyway, after imposing a lot of pain on your own smart people to no particular purpose.

Re:In theory.... (1)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757612)

1. Anyone stupid enough to launch a rocket at the US or other modern nation is toast. Missles can be tracked back to the origin, and the origin will shortly thereafter be reduced to some rather fundamental particles.
While I agree with this notion, do recall that we almost faced this situation back in 1962. Cuba, rather Fidel, wanted to launch. Fortunately, others did not. This illustrates that there are some really stupid people out there who would love to acquire and use long rage missile designs. And being able to copy a proven long range missile design (however overkill it may be) is simpler that trying to develop and test the required technology on ones own. I for one am not going to trust any of our present day nut jobs with this type of technology.

2. Anyone wanting to deliver a doomsday suicide nuclear payload or other payload would do MUCH better at MUCH cheaper prices to smuggle it into a port city or across the border. If they're capable of engineering such an attack they can figure that out - and we have no missle to trace back to the origin. Not to mention we can't shoot it down...
The other thing to consider, though, is that the "device" does not need to be nuclear. It in fact does not even need to be explosive with access to an Ares scale rocket. If you can get a large enough mass up in a high orbit, and send it down with decent accuracy, the place where it impacts is going to suffer some major damage. If one targets cities with this, it could be an effective kinetic energy weapon.

I would also argue that copying a long range, heavy lift missile design, and using it as a kinetic energy weapon, is probably easier than developing a nuke and detonating it in a port. Although, the latter would be easier if we open-sourced nuke designs as well.

Re:In theory.... (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21758606)

The other thing to consider, though, is that the "device" does not need to be nuclear. It in fact does not even need to be explosive with access to an Ares scale rocket. If you can get a large enough mass up in a high orbit, and send it down with decent accuracy, the place where it impacts is going to suffer some major damage. If one targets cities with this, it could be an effective kinetic energy weapon.

Maybe it would work if it was a solid chunk of iron ... but dropping a spacecraft on somebody from a great height would likely just shower them with tiny pieces - if that.

Re:In theory.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759694)

The Ares V is supposed to be able to lift a 284,000 pound payload into low earth orbit. Considering this and that steel is only about 49 pounds per cubic foot, we could see a projectile cylinder of around 2.6 meters in diameter and 3 meters in length. That a little over 8.5 wide by 9.8 feet thick of solid metal. That's about the size of a room in some small apartments. Shave half a meter or so from it and place a heat shield to stop it from burning up directly and we will have a serious problem when that hits. Use lead and you can get an even smaller package with a big punch.

I don't know what the payload for the Ares I will be. I don't even know what the terminal velocity would be. But I know that if you drop something like that from any hight, the ground will shake. Letting it build up speed could be devastating for quite a distance. I'm surprised that we don't have something like that already in space acting like junk floating around. It would be relatively cheap compared to a Nuke. Send a signal and down it comes without a hint of where from.

Re:In theory.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21758528)

If you can build a rocket that can go to the moon, you can build a rocket that can deliver a nuclear warhead to Washington DC. If you already knew how to do the latter, this isn't a big deal, but a lot of nations can't, and the technology that got us to the moon was derived from our missile technology. The reverse can be done, too. If you've been paying attention to world news over the last couple years, you'll know one of the developments has been intermediate range missiles being tested with improved results by North Korea and Iran. We don't want to make it easy for them to bump intermediate range (able to hit Japan if the wind is right and it doesn't explode on the pad) up to intercontinental range (able to hit anywhere).

1.) There are certain instances where a nation may decide to make a kamikaze strike. Say, for example, Kim Jong Il decides to "fix" his country's dead economy by finally taking over the South. Except the US moves in as we've said we would and kick his butt. Rather than go gracefully he decides to do something even mnore rash with his nuclear weapons. Fortunately, we decided in a slashdot discussion that all missile and rocket technology should be public domain, and congress listened. He does have to deal with the time delay and uncertainty of smuggling a warhead into the country. He can push a button and it will be there in 20 minutes. Or he can smuggle it in. Now he has two options instead of one, and the new one is pretty potent.

It's also possible for this to help a nation like China with their first strike capability. Our missiles are better than theirs. Probably quite a bit better. A Trident D-5 can land a 80 kiloton warhead in a baseball diamond after flying 6000 miles. That's accurate enough to take out a missile silo, and might be enough to let someone think they can shift the balance away from MAD and in their favor.

2.) It does not help our safety to give potential enemies another option to hit us, or to improve their odds of getting through with an existing option. Also, if the fact that a missile can be traced back to its source is a convincing argument that no one will attack with a missile, why do the US and Russia spend so much money maintaining strategic missile forces?

Building rockets of this size is not simple. At the very least, keeping the information private from those you don't trust means that only those with the resources to take on the research and development on their own will get them. Rather than limiting access to smart people, you're limiting access to enough smart people. The bigger, more industrialized and educated nations, theoretically, have more to loose by doing something stupid with their toys.

Also, the argument was not just rocket technology. It was any technology developed with government money. Iran recently built a new fighter based on some of those cheap F-5's we were stupid enough to sell them back in the 70's. Fortunately, Iran is one of those little nations without enough smart people to fully copy the technology even with the actual parts on hand. Now you're proposing that we just give them the design for the F-22's we spent over a decade and tens of billions of dollars developing. This is a plane that's just as stealthy as the F-117's that ooh'ed and aww'ed us on CNN in the Persian Gulf War, but 2-3 times as fast, carries twice as much weapons, has about three times the weapons options, and has the most advanced radar and communications suite of any fighter jet ever. It outscored the previous generation of fighters 114-0 in a recent exercise.

Re:In theory.... (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757480)

That is what the GPL is for. Release your military projects under a GPL distribution license, and if other nations use them in secret to annihilate you, you can sue them, and force them to release the designs to their derivative projects.

Many people miss the point unfortunately (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759564)

We have got to where we are today by having knowlege disseminated by journals and by having published standards. Poorly educated business types that think a financial gain should come from ANY advantage miss this. Open source is just a subset of the sharing that has enabled us to develop and improve technology.

The future of space travel and nanotechnology (3, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756468)

If nano-technology reaches the point where we can program assemblers to take local materials and build structures from electronic plans, what are the implications to space travel?

Imagine, for instance, if someone could take a box of Rocketbuilders out to an island somewhere and deploy it, then sit back as the nanocites build a metal extraction plant, extracted the materials it could get from the sand/ground, built pipes into the sea to process metals that are there, etc. It'd build a gantry, then assemble a rocket from specs and finally fuel it from hydrogen and oxygen cracked from the water.

An open source rocket would be a neat, easy way to get a good start for a project to create the instructions for these assemblers. I figured the big open source project when this technology came onto the scene would be digitizing and CAM'ing the specs for, say, the Saturn V (moon rocket). Make it easy enough to grow these launchers, and folks could launch prefabbed housing and supplies no problem. Just find the right spot, maybe rent an acre of seafront property with no downrange population, and go for it.

Sure, it's fantasy at this point, but who knows? This is a shot across the bow for folks that are inevitably going to say "This is a stupid idea. What use is an open source rocket if you aren't a huge government or company with a bajillion dollars/euros/rubles to spend?".

Sure, maybe the reward isn't obvious now, but what about sometime in the near future?

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756756)

If you have nanotech at that point, why would you need big spaceships at all? Alastair Reynolds has the concept of "travel cauls" in Pushing Ice, where nano (well, he calls it "femtotech" since it's beyond nanotech) thingies basically just grab your body, disassemble it, and then you just travel as a particle stream where ever you like, to be reassembled.

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (1)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756898)

It'll probably happen, but you'd better have one hell of a super-cooled superconducting pipe to supply the energy. That is to say, iff someday this is pulled of, it won't be magic. I'd wager you wouldn't want to be within a kilometer of a fab like this, you know, lest you become a source of complex organic molecules for the circuitry ( or seat cushions ).

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756930)

Prefabbed housing????
If I have nano assemplers why would I launch prefab anything? Just launch a colony of nanites to build my city on the moon while you're at it.

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757146)

I think you completely misunderstood the summary and TFA.
"the specifications will be open-source and non-proprietary"

Not the technology, not the software, not the blueprints, just the specifications.

It's a pretty shitty deal for Boeing. After they spend billions subcontracting & integrating all these diverse systems, NASA is going to farm things out to the lowest bidder & bypass Boeing.

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757988)

Very true. Boeing is going to get shafted on this, while companies that didn't spend the money to do the R&D will be able to price themselves low enough to get the production contracts while still making very nice product. Hopefully the bid writers at Boeing saw it coming and obtained enough funding that Boeing doesn't end up losing money on the R&D.

Re:The future of space travel and nanotechnology (1)

Cally (10873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757198)

"open source" is meaningless in the sense of Free software and the GPL. Sure, NASA / Boeing won't sue you if you scrape up $20,000,000 with a few garage sales and use their blueprints to build yourself a launcher. Oh yeah, you'll need some infrastructure as well - nothing special, just a few control rooms, the DSN, hmmm I guess a TDRS system would be useful too...

In short, Burt Rutan ain't gonna be building one of these in a garage at White Sands.

When will the manufacturing be open source? (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756472)

For mass-produced products, which is what we'd like rockets to become, the cost of the design the parts is relatively minor. So giving away the design does give away that much. Instead, it's the design of the manufacturing systems that determines how cheap and reliably we can make the thing. Cars are cheap because they have almost no labor (most cars take less than 40 labor-hours to build). And what make a Pentium so valuable is not the design layout of the transistors, but the $1 billion fab that can reliably etch all those transistors on a wafer of silicon.

More than a new rocket design, we need a new rocket manufacturing technology that cranks out high quality rockets for very little per each additional rocket.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21756912)

Absolutely. But to take this a step further... When will the raw materials be free? Afterall, the aluminum and everything else that goes into these is a big part of the cost. And what about the labor? Why not just make that free too? Then we might as well just give these things out at fairs. ...5. Insightful... Yeah, stroke of genius, this guy.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (2, Insightful)

ardent99 (1087547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757248)

If you read TFA, they are not opening up the designs for any parts, or making the software public. They are just making the *specifications* (i.e. the technical requirements) public. This is to encourage more competition in the bidding process. I don't think the project manager is right to call this "open source". They are probably just trying to get some public play out of using that phrase.

But be that as it may, it is still interesting that they even published the specifications, given the forces at work in the world today. As any engineer that has built a system knows, it is *much* easier to build something when you have been given detailed specs than when you have to come up with the requirements yourself. Also, the specs are very revealing about what the actual capabilities and weaknesses the final result will have. This could be useful information for someone who wants to compete with, or interfere with, the US space program. So this move is rather interesting.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21757408)

Frankly, we can do that now, if we wanted to be building thousands of rockets. The problem is in the number of orders, not in how people are thinking about the problem. The most cost effective way to build a single rocket is pretty much entirely with manual labor.

What do your car and Pentium examples have in common? We're cranking out thousands or millions of identical copies. That simply isn't the way that launch systems work right now.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757822)

When will the manufacturing be open source?

Maybe when it makes financial sense to do so? Which could be never or when the information is old enough to be worthless.

The investment it takes to make a competitive manufacturing plant is enormous. Those making that investment (shareholders) want a return on their investment and aren't going to want to give away that work such that competitors can upgrade their plants at half the cost.

The reason why open source works for software is that it costs practically nothing to build and rebuild, and nearly anyone can use it. A large machine that can make rocket parts or ICs is only useful for a limited number of people, and have a high material cost. The machines to make parts to make the machines are expensive too. An IC fab is in the billions of dollars.

I think you're kidding yourself if you don't think the circuit design for the Pentium wasn't valuable. The fab is worthless if you don't have a chip design to fab. I think Intel may have spent a billion on the design of the Pentium.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (2, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759090)

Instead, it's the design of the manufacturing systems that determines how cheap and reliably we can make the thing.

Yes, but building the manufacturing systems is *expensive*. It is nearly hand-made machinery with ridiculous tolerances and materials. Having the design won't do you much good without the industrial base to support the building.

Re:When will the manufacturing be open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21761052)

"And what make a Pentium so valuable is not the design layout of the transistors, but the $1 billion fab that can reliably etch all those transistors on a wafer of silicon."

Nothing makes pentiums "valuable", production cost, including the factory, is about $5/piece. "Price" is something else and Intel, as a price setter, is in a position to ask whatever they want. AMD just follows Intel's pricing scheme.

Intel's profit is about 40% of their revenue, in competetive corporations, profit is about 15-20% at highest and that's "very good". Best proof that there's no price competition at all. Theathre for unwashed masses.

Making it easier for China (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756488)

Now instead of stealing designs from the russians maybe what will happen is that they will open their great firewall for a few seconds and steal our rocket designs and with no safety standards they will reach the moon first on their cheapo open source spacecrafts.

Re:Making it easier for China (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756944)

China doesn't have the funds to build an Ares rocket. Keep in mind that these things are based on shuttle technology. They're going to be incredibly expensive for us to fly until we get better at mass production, much less a country that has only minor space-infrastructure.

- WWII
- Space Race
- Cold War

The U.S. won these because it's an economic powerhouse, not because it was technologically superior. Heck, Germany was kicking our asses on technology in WWII and Russia was ahead of us for most of the space race. The Cold War couldn't have been won by either side, so we bankrupted the USSR.

The deciding factor in all cases was that we could out-spend, out-manufacture, and over-commit manpower that the opposition could not. Combined with a bit of American "can-do" attitude, these factors have always lead the US to victory.

China does not have the economic power (at least, not yet) to compete in a true space-race. If they did, they wouldn't actually need our designs. They'd be capable of making their own.

Re:Making it easier for China (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757638)

China does not have the economic power (at least, not yet) to compete in a true space-race. If they did, they wouldn't actually need our designs. They'd be capable of making their own.

Dude, China currently has more US currency reserves than the US does, and almost everything you buy was made by them -- your trade deficit with China is massive. Don't underestimate what China could do if they mobilized.

The Cold War couldn't have been won by either side, so we bankrupted the USSR.

That mostly happened on its own.

The deciding factor in all cases was that we could out-spend, out-manufacture, and over-commit manpower that the opposition could not.

All of which China has in spades over the US right now.

China has something orbiting the moon as we speak, the US can't keep their shuttle program straight.

Maybe not now, but before long, China will be a very dominant player in space.

Cheers

Re:Making it easier for China (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757978)

Dude, China currently has more US currency reserves than the US does

It also has a population of 1.3 billion people among which those resources are spread. The US's economic backbone is based on a mere 300 million. That's about a 4:1 difference. The US is still more economically powerful, and will remain that way for now. I'll start worrying when modern living conditions, technology, and high-paying jobs become available to ALL 1.3 billion Chinese, and not just those living in major cities.

Or to put it bluntly, the Communist control is not conducive to strong economic development. The USSR also tried to run their economy out of just the major economic centers and went bankrupt for it. (Much of the US's strength comes just as much from its rural economic machines as it does its high-population areas.)

The Cold War couldn't have been won by either side, so we bankrupted the USSR.
That mostly happened on its own.

No, it didn't. The USSR was definitely headed in that direction, but we seized the opportunity to stick it to them. Remember the Star Wars program? It was mostly hogwash that forced the Russians to spend incredible amounts of money to "keep up". Remember the Russian Space Shuttle? Yeah, it cost them a fortune to "keep up". (Amusingly, for no real return on space technology.)

Altogether, the US was able to force the hand of the USSR on some really expensive stuff. By the time it collapsed, the government was bankrupt and the leaders were all too ready to get out of office.

All of which China has in spades over the US right now.

Not really. The Chinese economy has been improving, but it's nowhere near powerful enough to match the US's economy. If it was, they'd be devoting all their economic power toward producing products for the average Chinese person and not the average American or European.

Make no mistake: China is really good at posturing. They make themselves out to be a lot more threatening than they actually are. That's not to say that they are not dangerous on a world stage, merely that they cannot compete with US economic output. Yes, our heavy industry would take a huge hit if China stopped producing tomorrow. But it would recover very fast (partially through a factory building program, and partially by shifting to our industry outsourced to other areas of the world), and have no real impact on our ability to execute military or space-based industry. (Both of which are required to be handled by US companies.)

Re:Making it easier for China (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759664)

Or to put it bluntly, the Communist control is not conducive to strong economic development

Do you really think China is run that way now? I will have to inform you that Mao is dead now and a lot of China privately curses his memory and publicly goes the other way.

Re:Making it easier for China (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21758720)

China has something orbiting the moon as we speak, the US can't keep their shuttle program straight.

That's a disingenuous comparison, since China doesn't have anything even remotely similar to our shuttle program. They're certainly growing, but they've got a long ways to go to even rival Russia's diminished program. We "can't keep our shuttle program straight" yet the shuttle launches 3-4 times per year, with 7 people and up to 50,000 pounds of cargo. The Chinese have launched 2 missions in 4 years with a total of 3 taikonauts. Soyuz also flies 2-3 times per year with three people.

The Chinese have a small probe orbiting the moon, which is great for them. It's a major step forward for their program. However, we have a much larger double mission to the moon preparing for launch next year. We have a probe orbiting Saturn and two orbiting Mars. We have one on the way to Mercury and another trucking along all the way to Pluto, not to mention two on the surface of Mars and another on the way. Don't forget a mission to visit an asteroid, and two comet probes which just finished their missions and are preparing for bonus missions, and the Voyagers. We also have four major space telescopes operating (Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, SOHO).

China's got quite a ways to go before those spades prove to be a straight flush.

Re:Making it easier for China (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759340)

Actually, China (if given the materials and information) can build and run anything NASA does for far far less money. Now, Whether or not its mission completion would be just as successful as NASA's is a whole other story...

Reason: No political turmoil over their space program that we know of. Second, they don't have a rugged and bureaucratic QA/Safety program that NASA has. That alone saves a fortune in costs.

Human safety has and will always remain the major political hurdle in the US.

Re:Making it easier for China (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21759614)

China doesn't have the funds to build an Ares rocket

I find this very funny. There is the assumption here that the borrowing country has the finances to build the rocket but the lending country which has more funds does not. Of course the USA already has more of the required infrastructure so the cost would be less but the parent poster is very much out of touch.

I thought that said Arse Rocket. (0)

TheGeneration (228855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756544)

Which having that open source would be be a good thing for gaymankind.

How open will it truly be? (4, Informative)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756548)

ITAR restricts technology related to satellites and launch vehicles to a select group of individuals and prevents export to other countries without a lot of hassle. If it is open source, how are they going to prevent other nations from getting the plans to these "weapons"?

Further reading about ITAR can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic_in_Arms_Regulations [wikipedia.org]

Re:How open will it truly be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21757216)

Mod up. That's a very serious issue and a very good question

Re:How open will it truly be? (1)

linoleumcp (575039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757226)

A "select group" of approximately 300 million people, namely American citizens and permanent residents. Lots of NASA documents aren't classified, but are marked "ITAR" or "Export Control". It doesn't mean they are impossible to get, but it also means they aren't going up on a web site.

Re:How open will it truly be? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757574)

It's not really open source. All they are saying is that the designs will be made available to other companies for bidding and estimation purposes. I'm sure there will be plenty of hoops to jump though to see them.

Change of heart? (2, Funny)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756594)

This is what happens when Karl Rove leaves the building. (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/30/0215204)

WRONG on so many accounts (2, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756728)

Lets start with the fact that the prime contractor for the Ares-I is ATK, who provides solid rocket booster for the thing. What Boeing got was upper stage contract.
So many aspects of the technology are protected by ITAR, that no matter of how open you may want to make any other parts, its not going to be "open" in any traditional sense.
Plus, there is high likelyhood that Ares-I will never fly, because its ( again ) grossly over its initial cost estimates, falls short of any reasonable performance goals, and is not liked by anybody but few managers and select few policicans with certain interest areas, who are shoving this completely bass-ackwards technical solution to the launch problem down everyones throats.
Just look up the DIRECT launcher [directlauncher.com] concept and the discussion surrounding it, and see what i mean. It was conceived and proposed by a group within NASA under the radars to provide a sane, working alternative to the Ares-I fiasco, way sooner and way cheaper, with performance to spare.
Ares-I is the reason why the NASA lunar return plans are late, underwhelming and underperforming even before they got off the ground, and may well be in danger of cancellation, post elections.

Re:WRONG on so many accounts (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21758526)

The heavy lifter looks remarkably like ARES V. The light lifter seems a lot more expensive than the ARES I - there is a lot more expendable stuff.

It's interesting. It would be wonderful if NASA could explore both approaches, plus a third, expendable cargo lifter to be piggybacked shuttle-style to a standard shuttle external fuel tank.

Unfortunately, such budget decisions are not my responsibility ;-)

This is the Avionics / control systems... (3, Interesting)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756892)

The part that NASA is (purportedly, I haven't seen the contracts / specs yet) making open is the avionics architecture, the control computers, attitude and position sensors (GPS, Inertial navigation gyros, etc), and the software and physical network interconnects.

This isn't the rocket motors or physical stages. They want people to be able to propose upgraded computer systems, gyros, GPS units, etc. without having to rebuild the whole guidance system from scratch. So you make it modular, you use a technology like Avionics Full-Duplex Ethernet as the networking PHY and Datalink layers, you specify a realtime IP stack and the higher level protocols to use for transmitting status and position and control codes, etc.

Having to maintain 40-year-old computer and navigation equipment designs for the Space Shuttle has made everyone open to the idea of modular, upgradable, scalable, etc...

this is for the avionics, not the rockets (1)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21756980)

there are at least two other companies that have been awarded prime contracts for major system components (pratt & whitney / rocketdyne and atk thiokol). lockheed is supplying the raison d'etre in terms of the orion crew vehicle.

This is B.S. (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757184)

Uhm hate to to pee in the koolaid but this is open standards. We will not be able to download the avionics. ITAR and or other national security agencies will not allow this to be public. Sorry but this just isn't going to happen. How in the world this is tagged suddenoutbreakofcommonsense is beyond me. Common sense seems to say that we need to keep our secrets better eg.. *(Los Alamos)* et al. Yeah. Iran or anyone else would love to have thier hands on our avionics.. Again. Not gonna happen. Ever.

Re:This is B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21760020)

I for one would welcome our compelling-government-need-to-discriminate-against-protected-classes overlords.

There is no way (1)

bandannarama (87670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21757798)

that the entire thing will be open to the public. No government would permit countries like North Korea to easily acquire sophisticated ballistic missile technology. The "hard parts" will remain under tight control indefinitely.

- B

Innacurate Summary (surprise) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21760274)

Boeing is not the lead contractor for the Ares 1!. Boeing is the lead contractor for the Ares 1 *avionics*.

The lead contractor for the Ares 1 rocket is ATK Thiokol. They beat out United Space Alliance (the lead integrator for the shuttle program) for the coveted role.

And I have to be at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at five o'clock in the fucking morning tomorrow to work on it.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21760302)

open source specs? Only thing that I find disturbing here is that rocket launch vehicles and ICBM's are kissing cousins, one is just designed to go a bit further and land back on Earth.

Excellent (for China) (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21761224)

This is great for China. Like with OSS they'll benefit from it without spending a dime or contributing back.
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