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SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

bledri Re:Any news on the first stage landing tests? (126 comments)

This time, they launched without the landing legs, but since they are still testing above water that does not matter a lot. Deploying the legs and soft landing on water have been tried successfully already, so I imagine they could test other things like partially flying back to the launching site, fuel permitting. The twitters are silent, so far, however.

At the NASA pre-launch press conference, Hans Koenigsmann said that they would be doing the first boost back burn, as well as a re-entry and "landing" burn. At the SpaceX CRS-4 Post Launch Briefing he said that it looked like all the burns wear successful, but they had to wait for the boat that collected telemetry to return.

I feel like I've seen some confirmation on good telemetry on twitter, but I can't find it now and this story is old enough that no one will likely see my post anyway...


SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

bledri Re:Decisions, Decisions... (123 comments)

SpaceX is already in the process of man-rating Dragon. NASA is, apparently, perfectly willing to let SpaceX run through the man-rating checklists as long as NASA doesn't have to pay for it.

This is true, you can lose funding but continue to participate in meeting various milestones. I believe that Blue Origin already falls into this category.

But NASAs "manned rating" only applies to flying NASA missions. NASA has no control over non-NASA missions - think Bigelow private funded space stations, MarsOne, etc...

about two weeks ago

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

bledri Re:Can someone explain to me (123 comments)

There is no purpose to manned spaceflight.

If we want to settle Mars and generally expand into space, you need manned spaceflight. I know not everyone thinks that is important. But some people, myself included, do believe that is a worthwhile endeavor.

The scientific return comes from unmanned spaceflight. Manned spaceflights are stunts to keep the pork flowing to Congressionally powerful districts. There is nothing done by manned spaceflight that could not be done unmanned for one tenth or one hundredth the cost as an unmanned mission.

This is true, if the only reason for spaceflight is pure science. I am a huge fan of pure science, but I don't think that is the only purpose of spaceflight.

The problem is that NASA is run by ex-flyboys and astronauts. There is an internal battle between the manned spaceflight directorate and the science directorate (NASA/JPL). The former do maned pork and are always trying to steal funds away from the science guys. The manned fighter-jocks tried to kill planetary science many times, the last time was earlier this year. At one point they allocated more for a Space Toilet (30 mil) than they did for a Europa mission (15 mi). NASA needs a shakeup and the science guys need equal control at the top.

I think the bigger problem is that NASA funding (and therefore mission selection) is completely hostage to election cycles of Congressmen, Senators and the President. It's impossible to have a coherent long term plan.

about two weeks ago

SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

bledri Re:Gov't contract award..... bah (123 comments)

While commercial corporations interested in launching their product into space may go with the best price/performance ratio, the chances of a USG contract even being written in a vendor-agnostic manner are slim. It's all about whose district or state the potential money will go.

Actually the commercial cargo and commercial crew contracts were written specifically to avoid those sorts of shenanigans. Congress has no say in who wins. Of course Senators and Congressmen are still trying to play games for their constituents (like the latest accusations that SpaceX has had unreasonable flight anomalies from senators in competitors states.) They are also trying to starve the entire program of money specifically because it is a threat to ULA. But all in all, the commercial contract approach is a huge improvement and it looks likely that SpaceX or SNC will win the bid (possibly both, if Congress will fund that. It makes sense to have two launch providers so an "incident" doesn't completely halt flights - like the shuttle disasters did.) Funny that the article doesn't even mention SNA (Dream Chaser.)

One of the reasons that SpaceX and/or SNC will likely win is that they both are dedicated to developing their spacecraft regardless of the outcome of the bidding process. Losing the contract would slow development, but not stop it. Where as Boeing, with all their money and resources, has publicly stated that they will mothball development if they don't win. (This is a strange attitude given the fact Boeing and Bigelow are partners in the commercial crew competition.) One of the criteria for winning is the commercial viability of the spacecraft. NASA does not want to be in the position of being financially black mailed with threats like "we need more money or we can't survive". The fact that SpaceX and SNC are pursuing non-NASA missions is seen as a major advantage according to insiders.

about two weeks ago

Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

bledri Re:Low grade code monkeys don't need to know (213 comments)

There is nothing in there that low grade code monkeys, which is the vast majority of the software industry, need to know. I mean, how much skills do you have to have to run a mom and pop web store, publish the jillionth fart app, or maintain a payroll system?

Of course, these code monkeys get swamped whenever the next major technology change comes along but, hey, we can't all be good enough to work for Google or Apple, etc.

Slashdot, where egotistical rants (by someone to lazy to create an account and log in) about other people being idiots is modded insightful.

about 2 months ago

California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

bledri Re:"...vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's..." (172 comments)

..., not to mention that Texas has no income tax; what moron would build a factory in California? Elon was just being nice when he didn't categorically rule it out when asked.

You realize that both the Tesla factory and the SpaceX factory are in California, right? So I guess Elon Musk is a moron...

about 2 months ago

Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

bledri Re:Ok, but the thing is ... (214 comments)

If negative mass and positive mass collide, what would happen? ...

I'm not positive...

about 2 months ago

Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

bledri Re:Another Malaysian Air 777 (752 comments)

If I were Malaysian Air I would not be surprised if passengers start asking for flights on some other model plane.

I'd be asking to fly an airline that can stay on course...

about 2 months ago

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

bledri Re:Too bad he has no Foreign policy (533 comments)

We Americans need to remember what war is and what it is not. It's not about winning hearts and minds, it's about fragging hearts and minds. If we kept this in mind we would resume winning wars again ala 1945, but there are too many bleeding heart liberals who couldn't handle this brutal variety of truth. Therefore those who can't handle this sort of truth should STFU re: foreign intervention.

Maybe a better lesson would be not to invade countries that pose no serious threat to the US and not to believe the fantasy that if you destroy a country's infrastructure that a thankful democracy will emerge from a sea of sectarian hatred.

about 2 months ago

Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

bledri Re:Iraq (533 comments)

George Bush left Obama a stable Iraq. It didn't have to go down the tubes.

Actually, he invaded a stable Iraq (admittedly run by a ruthless dictator). He left Obama an occupied Iraq with 157,000 US troops in it.

about 2 months ago

The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

bledri Re:For The Love of Glob! (552 comments)

I'd rather have seas 30 feet higher in 100-300 years and living with (say) 2314-year tech than current seas and year 2200 tech in 2314...or 2214. Hech, a 10% slowdown, miserably easy for an overbearing government to achieve, would yield a 30 year delta at the end. Hell, I'd rather have 2014 tech than 1984-tech.

Proposed solutions matter and should be judged in the context of tech advancement, or lack thereof. That's what saves lives.

You seem to be creating a false dichotomy, implying that addressing climate change would slow technological growth. Modernizing the power grid, storing energy from non-greenhouse gas generating power sources, better power management, electric cars, solar power, nuclear power, fusion, etc are all technologies that would make life better. Besides reducing green house gasses, energy ultimately becomes cheaper and pollution is reduced worldwide.

Sounds horrible. It's interesting to me that many opposed to AGW (not saying you), complain about the AGW alarmists, but they themselves are economic alarmists. As if addressing climate change will destroy the economy.

about 2 months ago

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

bledri Re:"An anonymous reader" (112 comments)

SpaceX is not competing with NASA, because NASA doesn't make rockets. NASA has input on the design requirements, but all the real work is done by private contractors, like Lockheed and Boeing. SpaceX is just a new contractor and they operate just like the others. They have some interesting new engineering approaches that may reduce costs, but it's not any fundamentally new business model.

Actually, it is a fundamentally different business model. You are correct that it was always private companies that did the final design and construction of the rockets, but historically Congress forced many decisions on NASA based largely on spreading the money around. For instance, NASA wanted the Space Shuttle to use liquid fueled boosters, but Congress insisted on the SRBs specifically so Thiokol Corporation of Utah would get the business. The same thing is happening with the STS under development now. Congress is forcing NASA to use Shuttle components in the first generation STS specifically to funnel money into certain congressional districts. Under the non-commercial contracts, Congress and NASA actually make design decisions that may not be optimum from an engineering perspective.

The rules under which SpaceX performs NASA missions, are much different. NASA does not get involved in the design of the rocket/spacecraft beyond listing requirements that must be met. Some seed money is provided, for companies that win bids to compete. But ultimately the winners are paid a fixed price - which is also a big difference. Historically, these contracts were cost plus. This new approach does appear to be saving money and it is also leading to competing designs which is interesting as well. For instance with commercial crew, Boeing is building a fairly conventual capsule that lands under parachute, Sierra Nevada is building a lifting body that will reenter and glide like the shuttle, and SpaceX is building a capsule that will land propulsively (parahutes will only be deployed if there is a malfunction in the engines.)

about 2 months ago

The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

bledri Re:The hero Gotham needs (78 comments)

Musk strikes me as a lot of things... Carnegie and Franklin aren't among them.

He's an emerging master at PR and managing public opinion, and his fan base (very prevalent here on Slashdot) just laps it up.

His rockets get to orbit with RP-1, not PR. You don't get a $5 billion launch manifest with PR.

Yes, there are delays and difficulties with both Tesla and SpaceX. Now show me someone that is building more compelling electric cars than Tesla. Owner's of Tesla's love them. If it wasn't a good car, it wouldn't have the satisfaction ratings it does. Car magazines wouldn't be raving about it.

Show me a "new space" company that is delivering cargo to the the ISS, returning mass to Earth, developing a manned capsule, self-funding reusability development, self-funding development of seriously big rocket engines for Saturn V size rockets.

I'm an unabashed fan because he's making interesting shit happen. The main reasons I've seen for people bagging on him are envy or ideology (Tesla got a government loan - that they paid back, SpaceX got NASA money - to deliver cargo cheaper than any competitor, etc...)

about 2 months ago

CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

bledri All the ideological responses are depressing (454 comments)

Time to rename this site "News for People with Knee Jerk Ideological Reactions While Patting Themselves on the Back Just Like Every Other Site on the Internet." God forbid we study the human condition and try to learn for fear that The Big Bad Government will use that information in a way we don't agree with.

about 3 months ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

bledri Re:How is encryption different from a safe? (560 comments)

> Can you be compelled to open a safe?

Probably not, if it has a combination lock. With a warrant they can always break open a physical safe. But that method does not compel the owner to do anything.

Interestingly that article seems to imply you can be compelled to hand over a physical key, but not a combination as it is "contents of the mind." So if the key is stored on physical media it may not be considered "contents of the mind." And if it's stored in your mind, it can probably be brute forced fairly quickly.

about 3 months ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

bledri Re:How is encryption different from a safe? (560 comments)

I am not thrilled with this and I wish that slashdot allowed editing (with an edit history.)

about 3 months ago

Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

bledri How is encryption different from a safe? (560 comments)

This is slashdot, so I didn't read the article. I'm thrilled with this, but I wonder how encryption is any different than a safe. If the government has the legal authority (via a warrant) to open a safe, why wouldn't they have the same authority to decrypt your documents? I'm not arguing that I like the idea, but I don't see how encrypted documents would be a 5th amendment right if documents locked in a safe are not. Can you be compelled to open a safe?

about 3 months ago

China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US

bledri Re:This I didn't expect. (274 comments)

It makes perfect sense. After enough time of disparaging the factory life, Americans are finally realizing that it beats the alternative.

I can make sense of it at an intellectual level, it's just my gut reaction to go "WTF" -- it's a bit counter-intuitive.

The news is welcome, I just wish American companies would start making things in USA again. I know we can do it. I suppose in time, we will.

It's already turning around. Tesla builds its cars in Fremont, CA and they're planning to open a battery factory somewhere in the US. SpaceX makes rockets in Hawthorne, CA. SolarCity bought Silevo and is planning to build a solar panel factory in NY. Now we just need to convince someone besides Elon Musk (which is actually happening.)

about 3 months ago

Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

bledri Re:No He Won't, There Is No Money in Exploration (275 comments)

I admire Elon Musk. But he's dead wrong. Neil Degrasse Tyson is right.

I admire Neil Degrasse Tyson, but he's basically shilling for NASA. (I like NASA, more on their limits below.) And he is over simplifying what people's motivations where.

As others have pointed out, taking your company public means surrendering a significant amount of control over the long term. Board members and share holders like revenue. It's all about the next quarter. They don't like pet projects that are giant money sinks without the remote possibility of a return. Persist on that path post-IPO Elon, and watch yourself be fired from your own company, ala Steve Jobs.

Good thing Elon Musk has stated over and over that he won't take SpaceX public until all the long term development is done, specifically for those reasons.

NDGT is spot on the issue of exploration. It takes a government interested in (mostly) pure science without profit motivation.

You want to put people on Mars? I'll tell you what puts people on Mars - the U.S. government thumbing their nose in the face of Chinese ascendancy - Ala Cold War 2: Space Boogaloo.

Let the government, or team of governments blow tax dollars on building Mars mission tech. That tech will filter down to private enterprise years later, so the next generation of Elon Musks can farm minerals off asteroids, or some other future commercial endeavor.

NASA lives and dies by congressional funding and congressional funding is fickle. NASA has done great things, but those days are over and where basically a fluke. President's come in, they say they want to return to the Moon or go to Mars but they don't push congress to fund a coherent plan. Next president comes in, new plan, still not funded. When congress does fund something, the funding is based on getting jobs in their own districts not on what actually makes sense from an engineering standpoint. Look into the history of the "Space Launch System" (that's the rocket congress wants NASA to build that would be used to send people to Mars.) It's mandated that it must use components from Space Shuttle technology. In the space industry, the Space Launch System is known as "the rocket to nowhere." NASA's history is littered with cancelled projects due to the fickleness of Presidents and Congress.

At this point in history, the US Congress is incapable of funding an expensive and on going coherent space program. I don't see that changing in the next twenty years. NASA may land a man on Mars in the 2030s, but I doubt it. But even if NASA does land a human on Mars in the 2030s, they are not working on the technologies, infrastructure and transportation systems to put a colony there. If NASA puts humans on Mars, it will be just like when we landed on the Moon. Plant a flag, shout "we're #1", and then go home.

Elon is overreaching with this.

No, he's reaching. Something I wish more people would do even though they may fail.

Long live the oligarchy (and how sad is it that is our best hope?)

about 3 months ago

Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

bledri Re:Musk must finish what he started (275 comments)

... Please focus on finishing what you started instead of constantly shifting focus like someone afflicted with attention deficit disorder.

  1. He's not doing it all alone. He's got 2 or 3 people working for him (by 2 or 3, I mean over 10,000).
  2. He founded SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla in 2003. He didn't intend to be involved with Telsa, but the original CEO almost killed the company. Now both companies are kicking ass. People whine about delays, but delays are the natural result of pushing boundaries aggressively and don't matter when you're still outpacing everyone else.
  3. He's on the board of Solar City because he provided the seed money, he is not involved operationally.
  4. He spent a few days thinking about hyperloop and then put the idea in the public domain (the bastard!)

Elon Musk is doing fine and luckily will ignore your advice.

about 3 months ago



Climate-Change Skeptic Richard A. Muller Now an AGW Convert

bledri bledri writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bledri (1283728) writes "The results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature are in and Richard Muller, the study's director (formerly an AGW skeptic) declares, 'Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.'

The study was funded by the Folger Fund, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates), the Bowes Foundation, the Koch Foundation, and the Getty Foundation."

Link to Original Source


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