NASA technicians have successfully removed the rogue knob which had wedged itself between a window and the dashboard of space shuttle Atlantis. A slight pressurisation of Atlantis and repeated applications of dry ice failed to dislodge the "quick shoe mount knob from a crew work lamp". In the end, NASA gave the go-ahead to "use …
What do you expect...
....have you driven an American car? To have a knob fall of is pretty much expected. Amazing it doesn't have a inch gap around the "windscreen" and use a steam engine for power.....
Six months to replace a pane of glass?
They'll repair it, invisibly, same day - usually for free ! (although in this case, maybe a small charge will apply). Better do it now before it develops into a crack ...
@What do you expect
I remember my brand new MG Metro. Picked it up and whilst driving home, the passenger door flew open of its own accord and wouldn't close. I never bought British again.
"Use hand pressure"... LOL! What'll those boffins think of next?
As for the American car joke, it's a few decades too late for that misinformed stereotype. Americans cars are now BETTER than the average European car, by being equal quality for the same price but in a size large enough you can actually fit more than two midgets inside.
Surely you missed a golden opportunity for "NASA pulls it off"?
Six months to change a window?
and that's if its in stock?
Get one of those Polish chappies in. Quick, inexpensive, polite and reliable.
Laurel and Hardy
Or possibly the Chuckle Brothers in charge of this operation. Not only is there the "stuck knob" and all the innuendos that can bring up, but from the article:
"Meanwhile, a cart full of payload bay equipment has fallen off a truck, leading to evaluations on the state of several longerons that were heading for installation into Atlantis."
To me, to you... <crash>
Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into
Fnar fnar fnar
Whose knob got caught in the windshield? The Pilot or the Commander? Were they playing with their knob while waiting for launch when it just came off in their hands? Are NASA Astronauts encouraged to play with their knobs like this?
On a serious side - steam engine? CHECK!
If I recall correctly, the Shuttle uses a steam-powered turbine to drive the main turbopumps for the engines. I think they have three boilers in total - so yep, steam engines. Bloody high-tech steam engines though.
Paris, because she's probably played with a few knobs in her time.
American cars, European cars, it doesn't matter they're all made in Taiwan!
Paris because she uses dry ice before doing it by hand...
I have driven an American car. Foolishly I laid the keys (the only set I had) on top of the dashboard and they slid forward, near to a demist vent. Visible from the outside but nearly inaccessible from the driver's seat. I had to crush my hand between the sloping windscreen and the dash to reach the keys. Painful and time consuming. The Atlantis ground crew have my sympathy.
"As for the American car joke, it's a few decades too late for that misinformed stereotype. Americans cars are now BETTER than the average European car"
What, you mean the quality has improved now that the US car companies are all bankrupt and have ceased production?
Hand job gets NASA knob out.
>>Americans cars are now BETTER than the average European car, by being equal quality for the same price but in a size large enough you can actually fit more than two midgets inside.
Not according to JD Power, although I guess it's tricky to define 'better' versus price from this data :-
Agree about the size thing though.
Well when you have to dismantle the cockpit instrument panel to get at the window out in the first place.
Then its rebuild and hope you have not got any bits left over.....
Beer... because its &*&%*ing hot today
RE: JC 2
Cut down on your pork life mate, get some exorcise.
P.S. It's not Americas fault it makes crap car's their roads are all straight so handling and not rolling over on high speed bends isn't important.
As an Ork might say: Turnin'? Wots dat?
Surely it's "Rogue Atlantis knob pulled off by hand"?
Are they on the Good Garage Scheme?
I mean, six months labour! That's one of a hell of a bill. Bet the parts are peanuts.
Dealer rip off sounds like.
@DolJuran - Dunno, a number of "foreign" cars are still made in Britain (for the right hand drives).
After another story on el-reg, they could've used a pair of nail clippers to trim some excess from the knob.
Sounds like they were overthinking the problem then...
Headline should be "Boffins didn't think to grasp knob by hand and give it a good tug".
Paris, because she's bright enough to know how to handle a loose knob.
The Same Genuises
This is the same agency that spent millions of [1960s] dollars to develop an ink pen that would write properly in the weightlessness of space. Millions of dollars!
The Russians used a pencil.
And you wonder why these brain surgeons did what they did?
@The Same Genuises
I recall reading somewhere that pencils are a BAD idea, graphite conducts electricity and if you broke the tip off in zero g it could drift off into the control systems causing all kinds of excitement.
Not the same geniuses at all
The famous NASA "space pen" was developed entirely by Paul Fisher on his own dime back in 1965. You can still buy them today, they're sold over the internet (whatever that is) from their website.
Pencils are a hazard in space - they make graphite chips which are conductive, and you don't want those chips floating around in zero gravity looking for a nice live electrical connection to land on.
NASA adopted the Fisher pen and still uses it, and in fact, so did the Russians, and they do too!
Pencils in space - just say no. Bzzzt. Zap. Pooof. (Fail)
Dam I lost the bet on how long it would be before that Urban Ledgend came up again
Is that the 86 model, or the earlier one? Which window is it? Hmm, they're not a stock item.
We can you one, but it'll take a while, and we have to get them specially, so it could be a bit pricey. You could try a scappie if you want to fit it yourself, there are plenty to be found, or see if Kwikfit can help you. Tell ya da troof, she's getting a bit long in the toof, mate, and it's going to be one little thing after another. As repairs, not the end of the world in themselves, but, you know, you want a reliable vehicle dunnya? You're gonna lose a lotta time in repairs, and the cost adds up. The goverment scheme at the moment'll givya 2 grand against a new one, which is wa-a-ay over what you'd get for this, in this condition. And it could well work out cheaper in the long run. The new ones are more economical, and these are known in the trade for being a bit of a knacker
@ Doug Glass
Or more accurately spent less that 1200 (1960s) dollars to buy 400 pens from the same private company that the Soviet space agency also bought them from.
That said, I agree that they should have wiggled their knob before putting dry ice on it.
<<..by being equal quality for the same price but in a size large enough you can actually fit more than two midgets inside..>>
Or maybe one 'Merkan*.
You walked into that one like a lamp-post attracts a Pekenese dog.
*One flight I was on -JFK-DFW- I was one of the last passengers to board. Got to my assigned seat, and immediately summoned the flight attendant. Being AA, she was as rude as fuc*k, until she saw the predicament.
Obese American woman in the seat assigned next to me had lifted the armrest, so she could fit her fat ugly ass into both seats. No way could I get in there (the seat, I mean). Jeez, I cannot understand how these fat buggers can reach far enough around to wipe their own arses after a tom-tit. Or, by the smell of her, maybe they just don't bother.
JC 2 wrote: "As for the American car joke, it's a few decades too late for that misinformed stereotype. Americans cars are now BETTER than the average European car, by being equal quality for the same price but in a size large enough you can actually fit more than two midgets inside."
Umm, they're not better at all. They're considerably less fuel efficient. This may not be a problem due to fuel costing less in the USA (and if prices go up they can always invade another Middle Eastern country).
Cars in the US are all automatics, which is not a good thing in terms of fuel consumption. They're also so big that it's like trying to park a battleship.
If you had a US car here in the UK you'd never get parked and fuel would cost your entire life savings.
I'd take a European car any day (Porche, Lamborgini, BMW, Jaguar - nice!) Except I don't have any car at all - it's not economical to have one when I live in the city centre.
I'm a Brit working over in the US and funnily enough all my mates here (Americans) say they never buy American made cars due to lower quality than the imports. Most of them bought Nissan's and I got an Acura (love it- sell them in the UK damn it!), and I've never seen so many BMW M3's in my life (this is 20 miles west Philadelphia) I see on average 1-2 a day.
It's a real shame, I think there's some real nice looking American car designs (some, not lots, plenty fugly ones too) but it seems to me the general consensus out here is the big Detroit corps were killed by the unions and constantly bailing them out will only feed union members pockets with no tangible retun on investment. Lets see which ones knock on the door in 6-12 months asking for another 30billion? surely it's time to change the business models? I like the concept of a union in terms of looking after employees but not when those employees didnt have to work their way through school/university and still earn loads without the education expense -and still producing low quality product, come on, it's no surprise is it?
Back to the shuttle, will the dealer give them a loaner instead? :)
I got my knob stuck once and i was out of action for 6 months too...
Shuttle window replacement, US vs Euro cars
1. The reason it takes that long to do the window replacement is because it's not like changing out a window on a house or a car. The windows on manned spacecraft are multi-layered panes, and have to hold pressure. They can't just change out the window and roll out to the pad. The windows have to be properly sealed into place, and then pressure-tested -- all of which takes considerably more time than changing out a car window.
2. Anyone who thinks that British or European cars can only hold midgets needs to get around more. You haven't checked out the last twenty years' worth of Jaguars (or, Jag You Ares, if you insist) or Benzes, or BMWs. The two-seaters from MB and BMW have about the same seat and legroom as a Corvette, and the higher-end Mercedes and BMW sedans have about the same amount of room as an Impala or a Crown Vic. They aren't all Morris Minis and Isettas over there.
That said, I'd go with a Z4 or an old BMW 2002 any damn' day.
The big, tall pint ...because it's July now, and getting really friggin' hot here on the mid-Atlantic East Coast -- and because all of you over there in the Isles are probably solidly ensconced "down the pub" right now... glug, glug. (burrrrp) Ahhhh.
American cars better?!
Even 'merkans have worked out that they are not, which is why GM has gone bust, Chrysler is in dire straits, and Ford are busily importing the rather better automotive know-how that they developed for non-US markets. In the meantime Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen are eating just about everyone else's lunch.
Of course it's their own fault, for thinking that gas would remain under a dollar a gallon for ever, and having the sort of taste that led them to choose demilitarized APCs (Hummers and two-ton look-alikes), and cut-down goods vehicles (Station Wagons) over anything sane, like perhaps starting with a VW Passat and making it a foot wider for the benefit of wider people inside and wider roads outside.
BTW Automatic transmission can actually save fuel, if it's a modern computer-controlled real gearbox rather than a 1950s technology torque converter thing.
Oh come on.. (fnarr)
NASA knob gets hand relief from boffin.
As fro Merkin cars, let them believe they're better, that way we get to keep the real cars.
Manipulating the knob with the hand. Hmmmm. :-D
NASA probably put off the 'by hand' approach until all the more convoluted technical approaches had failed solely to try and avoid all the people like us making snide remarks regarding hand manipulation of knobs.
@ American Car Bashers
The thing to remember is cost versus size. You can pay too much for a tiny car and get good fuel economy, can get something more mechanically complex that is more difficult to repair yourself. Mentioning exotic cars misses the point since they are a quite small % of the cars on the roads.
Not all areas in the US are even close to flat, but for those that are there is little point in buying car with harsher handling. US automakers targeted the market including the roads, the buyer preferences, gasoline costs, and the desired level of interior quality versus price. They apparently did fairly well as corps like GM and Ford have been quite popular globally. By the same token several European cars sell well in the States, that's just how a global market works.
The often ignored factor in car reliability is that someone with more disposable income, enough they will pay more for a smaller car, has more income to put towards maintenance so of course the car will last longer if treated properly. Same can be said for American cars treated well, they'll last over 20 years which is longer than most people want to own the same car.
As for a large car being a problem to park, it's all a matter of what you're used to and/or the parking situation. Where there are more large cars people leave larger areas for parking. With all the trucks and SUVs in the US, parking the largest sedans is not a problem at all as there is more than enough space.
As for US cars being automatics, most Americans consider someone driving a manual to be either childish in trying to act like they have a sports car when they don't, or too poor to afford an automatic. It's considered rather crude to have to constantly, manually shift gears and truth be told manuals today do not get much better fuel efficiency because the testing is using a far more conservative shift pattern than the typical driver uses, and with more recent efficiency mandates the auto manufacturers have tweaked automatics to shift nearer the most fuel efficient point possible. As with the other areas of our lives computers can do things as well as a human.
For a sports car on the other hand a good manual transmission is useful to handle the higher torque, but since most people aren't driving sports cars they should be considered an aside.
...this thread really brought out the anti-American zealots in force. I'm glad to know that such superior people are out there. Why, even the average British commenter knows more about the space shuttle's engineering issues than the people who operate it!
Given that, it's quite remarkable that we, such fat, stupid, lazy people, managed to drive an (American-made) buggy around on the moon a few decades ago... must be you guys have never done it because the problem is so simple it's beneath you.
And, as I recall, that was right around the same time some other fat, stupid, lazy Americans were building the network infrastructure for the Internet... which would eventually host the brilliant swarm of Reg commentards we see here today.
Full circle, then.
@JC2 21:53 GM and Ford tend to sell DIFFERENT cars in Europe
The Mondeo was the FIRST Ford in YEARS to be aimed at the global market. So using the popularity of GM (mainly Opel) and Ford (true) are popular in Europe does not prove we stomach the American designs. The only way Chevrolet got a foot in the door in Europe is by rebranding Deawoo (mostly Opel copies at lower price (own one, cheap, works fine, plenty of space)).
At one time I rented a Chevrolet Corsica in the States, which gave LESS internal room, LESS storage space, and horrible handling for half the fuel economy of the Toyota Corolla I rented earlier on the same trip. It was more spacious, handled well, and in my experience Toyotas do not break down easily. Therefore, though more complex, I do not have to repair things myself, because (as my cousin in South Africa put it when talking about his 275000 km on the clock Toyota) it just never breaks down.
Size-wise: I am about 1.80m (5'11" approx), which might make me a bit of a shorty in the Netherlands, but I never felt cramped even in a Peugeot 106.
There may well be very good American cars, I just have not encountered one yet.
Automatic vs Manual
"As for US cars being automatics, most Americans consider someone driving a manual to be either childish in trying to act like they have a sports car when they don't, or too poor to afford an automatic. It's considered rather crude to have to constantly, manually shift gears and truth be told manuals today do not get much better fuel efficiency because the testing is using a far more conservative shift pattern than the typical driver uses, and with more recent efficiency mandates the auto manufacturers have tweaked automatics to shift nearer the most fuel efficient point possible"
Nah, it's just many Americans can't cope with shifting manually properly ;) (same as they can't cope with parallel parking). We're all used to it here and (with a few gear cruncher exceptions) we can generally shift smoothly and efficiently. Given the nature of the roads here I'd rather be manual changing than frustratingly be waiting for the automatic to change and end up having to floor the thing to do it (which is worse for efficiency).
Automatics here aren't something you pay much of a premium for either so manual isn't seen as the poor man choice. The attitude here is you must be incompetent if you need an automatic.
As for the last part, we are far more obsessed with fuel efficiency due to the high cost of fuel, and modern cars are very fuel efficiently "tweaked", but with power where you need it depending how much you spend on the car. Besides we have so much computer control even on manual cars that fuel efficiency can be assured whilst gear changing manually. Having hired many American cars (small and large), I'm always shocked by the gas guzzling nature of them, but I can see why you don't care because of the fuel prices. It's not like they were more poweful either. Foot down and lots of growl, but pulls away slow as a snail.
And anyway, automatic transmissions are more complex and costly to repair.
"For a sports car on the other hand a good manual transmission is useful to handle the higher torque, but since most people aren't driving sports cars they should be considered an aside."
Many European cars drive more like sports cars anyway and don't have the handling of a bus ;)
A few years ago, I did a number of liaison stints at Ford in Detroit. Company policy at the time was to hire cars about 2-3 steps up the rental scale, so the first time out there, I was given a 3-litre V6 Ford Taurus. "Great", I thought, "this thing will really shift."
Nope. A good 5s lag between applying foot to pedal and the power reaching the wheels, due to the wonders of the automatic transmission. Fuel consumption which emptied the tank in two days of half-hour-each-way commutes. Suspension which gave such a poor grip on the road that moderate braking (on a bone-dry surface) caused the ABS to kick in. Turning circle like a tanker. And performance which was noticeably worse than my 1.4l Peugeot 309 back home.
Thereafter, I made a point of telling our travel organiser to book me the lowest grade car that the rental company had in stock. That got me a succession of Escort-sized cars which handled reasonably well, gave reasonable fuel economy, accelerated and stopped fairly well, and could be parked in a space smaller than a basketball court. They still had fairly bad suspension, and crappy inefficient and laggy automatic transmissions, but at least I didn't get a Taurus again.
It's not that Europeans like to pretend they have sports cars, it's just that they like driving. There's a reason that American racing drivers are an absolute rarity on the international motorsports scene, and that when Europeans enter American motorsport they stomp the locals - that reason is that the roads and cars in America quite simply don't allow you to take pleasure in driving, or allow you to develop any skill at driving.
A Truth Table for the programmers here
........................|.....Left-hand drive........|...............Right-hand drive............|
1: (Americans) Right hand free to masturbate
2: (Smart British) Left hand free to grope passenger
3: (Rest of world) Something for right hand to do (see 1)
4: (Dumb British) Working-class chip-on-shoulder
RE: Ray Gratis
The British drive on the left so their right hand is free for jousting or shooting pistols at highwaymen.
P.S. Don't worry we don't let people who learnt to drive a manual, use cars where you have to control the engine yourself. Your lot are only allowed to drive the cars designed for the "Differently abled" people with the peddles labelled stop and go.