* Posts by Kharkov

313 posts • joined 16 Sep 2011

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LEGS IN 2015: SpaceX Falcon's landing PUT ON HOLD

Kharkov
Trollface

Re: "tends to err on the side of caution with each launch."

If only rocket companies could do the same thing as software companies...

"What? We started it up and it crashed? Well, never mind, just switch it off and then switch it back on again, let's see if it's repeatable..."

"Yeah, it tends to crash a lot but we'll have another version out in a couple of months so, just live with it until then, m'kay?"

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Friday: SpaceX will attempt to land rocket on floating, robotic 'spaceport drone ship'

Kharkov
Go

Fingers crossed...

Let's hope all goes well on this one.

It should be noted that SpaceX is doing its media relations strategy very well. Someone there deserves a bonus. Remember the Grasshopper? Putting out a press release taking about how they expected to lose a test article 'pushing the envelope' insulated them & stopped the SpaceX fanboys freaking out when they did lose the Grasshopper Mk I.

And now the '50%' figure for successfully landing on the ship? More insulation, and good media relations ground laying.

Or they could just be being totally honest with us but hey, I'm sure no one, in this day & age, believes that...

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ESA: Venus probe doomed to fiery death on weird planet's surface

Kharkov
Pint

And will the Venusians complain?

We're dropping a big chunk of metal on them, after all...

More seriously, kudos to ESA. They designed it so well that it lasted a lot longer than the original mission length and it continued to tell us about Venus. Here's hoping they send another one to continue the good work, at higher resolutions and for even longer and I'd say the ESA team has earned a day off, with beer.

On a more speculative note, wouldn't it be better to send a very radiation-hardened long-lifespan high-orbiting satellite to Venus whose only job would be to relay signals from the various (I can dream) orbiters & landers doing Venus studies. Such a satellite would mean that the others wouldn't have to worry about sending their data themselves, just a short, and hopefully high-bandwidth, signal to the relay and then a very secure, very high-bandwidth signal back to Earth. The laser signalling technology they've started testing for high-bandwidth satellite communications would be good for this...

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US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

Kharkov
Big Brother

Re: "...under the terms of the Geneva Convention it can't be used against humans directly..."

The US military has lots of ways around the Geneva Conventions. The most famous example would be 'Willy Pete', white phosphorus, used to create smoke on the battlefield but they also start fires - phosphorus, don't you know?

WP artillery rounds can be used in urban environments without breaching the Geneva Convention so long as... The intended purpose is to create smoke so as to obscure the battlefield for tactical reasons. If a commander uses WP for the primary purpose of burning human beings (urban environments tend to be full of the pesky things.) then he/she is liable to be charge with war crimes. If WP rounds are used to 'obscure the battlefield' and they ALSO burn human beings alive, then the Conventions have not been breached.

All of which raises the question, how do you prove intent in the mind of the commander? The same thing applies to the laser gun. Use it with the intention of burning human beings alive, causing intense suffering and someone's going to jail. Use it against a boat/vehicle with the secondary effect of burning human beings alive and it's all cool.

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SPLASHDOWN! Orion lands safely in the Pacific Ocean

Kharkov
Facepalm

Er, El Reg?

NASA sending people to Mars in the 2020's? Check your facts, please. NASA has ZERO plans to send people to Mars in the 2020's nor have they even begun work on the habitat module they'll need.

Seriously, 4 people in an Orion capsule for six months? Eww...

Kudo's to NASA for getting the mission to work but it doesn't change the fact that Orion is a horribly expensive capsule for a horribly expensive rocket, SLS and together, they're so very very (I'd even say horribly) expensive that NASA will never be able to afford to do anything with them.

Which makes all of this a bit pointless really...

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Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'

Kharkov
Pint

IT'S CHRISTMAS!

Christmas has come early! Hallelujah and so on and so forth...

Most serious Republican candidates stayed away from the last election because unseating a sitting President is hard and, historically, doesn't happen that often. They held off until this time when you can expect fewer Klown Kandidates like Cain, Bachmann, Santorum & Gingrich.

But gosh-darn it! I'm tremendously entertained by Klown Kandidates!

So we are going to have Klown Kandidate Number 1? Three cheers, hooray & have a banana. Heck, it's the Internet, have two!

But while I'm wishing, could someone, somewhere, please (oh please, please, please!) get Cain, Bachmann et al to throw their hats in the ring again?

And even, and yes, I know this is a biggie, can someone urge The Alaskan One to run?

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NASA preps mission to probe Earth's magnetic mysteries

Kharkov
Trollface

Oh, please think of the children!

The video was made for the American populace... so yes, it was made for children! That way it would fit the American populations expectations.

Remember, whenever you see the Enterprise in space, there's always that background hum. If they want to suggest that the Enterprise is struggling a bit, they mess with the hum a bit.

Of course, they could have played the Blue Danube...

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Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

Kharkov
Boffin

Re: Space Elevator?

How will it avoid getting hit by orbiting space junk? Long story short, it won't. So there'll have to be enough redundancy/toughness in the building material to survive that. That said, there won't be that much junk on an orbit that intersects with the elevator.

A lot in total, yes but not that much in the fairly small volume, as compared to all of Earth's orbital volume, will be prone to bumping into the elevator.

One thing they've discussed for space junk is lasers. Not big blast-em lasers to vapourise them but just to heat them up and so 'nudge' them into raising/lowering their apogee/perigee so as to shorten their orbital life. If you can do that, then surely you can use lasers (small ones, remember) to prod the junk into (or away from) certain orbits so as to diminish the frequency of likely meetings.

Just wait, soon a newsreader will be calling them 'orbital oopsies'....

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Kharkov
Joke

Re: Less If's please, we're... Done this before?

Those were water landings? I thought they were drone strikes (and before there were drones no less!) against evil, terrorist fish! It certainly explains why we haven't heard of... Salmon Bin Leapin...

Hey, the icon says 'joke', it doesn't say good joke...

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Kharkov
Go

Less If's please, we're... Done this before?

...if, and it's a big if...

Gadzooks, sir! Seeing as how SpaceX has Landed a rocket from space before (on water, true, but still, landed), I'd say it's a much smaller 'if' than, say, in 2010.

Surely they're at least at the 'probably going to work' stage now.

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BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

Kharkov
Coffee/keyboard

Damn you, Eddy!

You owe me a new keyboard, you bar-steward! Literally, I had a mouthful of coffee when I read that.

An upvote, sir!

And you could probably note that the screwing only happens after the third... bounce.

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Kharkov
Thumb Up

Anyone read Terry Pratchett's Strata?

"The crow hung on to the oxygen handle like grim death, and thought about survival."

A two-hour bounce brings it home just how incredibly weak the gravity is on a ten-billion ton comet. Let's hope it's now safely screwed down (let me be the first to say it, ooh err!) or else it'll be taking another trip once it gets closer to the sun and the outgassing starts

Could someone insert a clip from Bruce Willis' Armageddon please?

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Euro space boffins ready, mere HOURS from flinging Rosetta lander at Comet 67P

Kharkov
Joke

1 body landed on, several billion more to go...

That's one small step for Wall-E, one giant leap for Wall-E-kind...

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Elon Musk hits the brakes on Tesla's e-SUV Model X production

Kharkov
Happy

Another (moderate) success for Musk...

Well, just goes to show, you can invite others to copy your battery designs and still make a profit...

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Plasma-spaffing boffins plan spaceships driven by FRIKKIN' LASERS

Kharkov
Stop

Re: Saw this on Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle's novel, Footfall

In the novel, the humans manage to take out a laser not long after a Fifthp ship launches, causing it to lose thrust & so crash.

While hostile military action isn't likely, the chance of a power-outage or BSOD shutting the laser down and so causing a loss-of-vehicle is something to worry about...

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Kharkov

Saw this on Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle's novel, Footfall

So... big tank full of fuel & oxidant and someone's going to point a big laser at it...? Well, the video will be fun, at least. I like explosions. (/humour-off)

Seriously though, high-powered lasers are still off in the distance, the power requirements are huge and there's a lot of work to do before you can effectively shoot a laser up a rocket's bum while it's moving without going off-target and causing an oopsie.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that by the time they get all the bits together to make this work, we'll have low-cost rockets and spaceplanes plus enough orbital infrastructure to make this method unneeded.

Now lasers and solar sails in deep space ala Robert Forward's Flight of the Dragonfly, now that's something I'd like to see...

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Virgin's SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert during test flight

Kharkov
Unhappy

Damn...

While I have been snarky about VG in the past, I'm pretty sad that this has happened. My sympathies to the family of the dead pilot and my hopes for a speedy and full recovery to the surviving pilot. I even hope that Virgin Galactic gets back on their feet

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BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

Kharkov
Facepalm

Re: $200 million?

The reason for the much higher cost by the Americans is this, American companies (the ones involved in government spaceflight anyway) operate on a 'cost-plus' contract. They build the rocket, calculate their costs, add on a percentage (let's say 10% although I have no idea what the actual percentage is) and give the government a bill. In theory, the 10% is their allowed profit.

So how can they enlarge that 10% figure? Simple, jack the costs up. Lockheed Martin and SpaceX have roughly the same number of warm bodies on the factory floor. LM however, has tens of thousands of office staff which count as 'costs'. SpaceX has far, far fewer office bods. 10% of a small number is a small number but 10% of a freaking huge number is... a huge number.

Case in point, the Atlas V which costs at least 180 million (it gets a bit more complicated 'cos there are several different versions of the Atlas V but MAVEN launched on an Atlas V 401 for 187 million) to build & launch versus SpaceX's Falcon 9 which is advertised at 60 million. Boeing got a large amount of money for their CST-100 capsule to take people to ISS while SpaceX was able to bid a much larger amount of money for the same service.

I don't know but I'd imagine that Indian companies involved in spaceflight, and their recent Mars orbiter, are more like SpaceX, as many people on the factory floor as they need and only those office bods that are needed and much, much less like Lockheed Martin or Boeing.

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Kharkov
Alien

Re: Rocket science is never easy

Yep, you're right. Mea Culpa, mea culpa... Sloppy language, hastily written. Consider it amended to 'rocket engineering'

And the icon? Well, when I wrote the post, the moon was in Sagittarius & Jupiter was rising (probably after sleeping in after a wild night) in the lower-third declension... or something...

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Kharkov
Joke

Re: Flash! Bang! Wallops!

Kinda yes but funny nonetheless...

An upvote, sir, for a moment of levity amidst sadness!

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Kharkov
Unhappy

Let me give an English response... Bugger!

While we don't know what the cause of the loss-of-vehicle was, I think we can safely expect a lot of attention to go to the engines, their age and... gasp... the fact that they're from RUSSIA (oh noes!). Expect much Russian-therefore-rubbish nonsense for the next couple of weeks.

And again, more seriously this time, commiserations to Orbital. Rocket science is never easy, there's a million things that can go wrong when you're at the very edge of what the tech can do.

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China lunar mission readies for return to Earth

Kharkov
Happy

Well done China! It's looking like they're going to bring this mission to a successful conclusion. Expect the US Government/Senate/Congress to get increasingly more worked up as China gets closer to a successful Lunar Sample Return. Expect the space race to start up again...

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BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army

Kharkov
Boffin

Think Nailgun, not Railgun

Think light railgun for soft targets, with a missile launcher for the heavy stuff.

Tanks, helicopters & putting holes in thick cover are covered by the missiles while people, light vehicles & thin cover get shredded by the Nailgun. In fact, with a millimeter-band radar, or a datalink tying into one, you've got a point-defence gun for handheld, infantry-fired anti-vehicle missiles.

Although as I recall, with this type of weapon, it's heat dissipation that's the real problem...

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Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN

Kharkov
Boffin

Well if we've got to go faster...

As others have commented I agree that nuclear thermal rockets are the solution here. They'll get you to Mars faster than the six-month journey offered by chemical rockets. Sadly, I doubt we'll see a NERVA-type rocket in operation anytime within the next 20 years or so.

The public will hear, "...blah blah technobabble something complicated NUCLEAR STUFF IN SPACE blah blah..." and are highly likely to freak out leading politicians to block the use of nuclear thermal rockets despite the fact that THEY OFFER TWICE THE PERFORMANCE OF CHEMICAL ROCKETS.

On the other hand, has anyone considered a solar thermal rocket? Much greater performance than chemical rockets, no scary bugaboos, and in the Inner system at least, quite a practical method of getting around.

Of course it'd take 10 to 20 years of research to get the kinks out but hey, we're not going to Mars in that much less than that.

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America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft

Kharkov
Devil

Re: X-37's mess things up...

I agree entirely. As I said in my earlier post, there's nothing (bar one thing which I'll get to in a moment) that the X-37 can do that can't be done more efficiently & cheaply by other means. A rescue mission isn't impossible but it presupposes the idea of a fully-fueled Atlas V sitting on the launch pad with an X-37 ready to go. Possible but not practical.

The wings and cargo bay, plus plentiful delta-v, suggest one mission profile to me. I'm not an aerospace engineer and the profile is a bit James Bondish but it would work.

Imagine a launch from the American west coast that matched orbit with a target satellite. The X-37 pulls it into its cargo bay and then deorbits at the end of its first orbit. A snatch, grabbit & run (sounds like a law firm) mission which would be done and finished so fast that the satellites owners/operators wouldn't have time to react. 90 minutes after launch, the American west coast will have moved about fifteen degrees to the east so the X-37's wings, and the cross-range capability offered by them, would come into play, allowing it to enter the atmosphere, slow down some, turn towards the coast and glide at high speed and from a high altitude back its point of origin.

As I said, it's a terribly James Bondish mission profile and, from a political point of view, just not tenable. The world would be watching so there'd be no secrecy or deniability at all.

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Kharkov
Mushroom

Re: x-37's mess things up...

Do feel free to explain what an X-37 is used for then. Is it for a purpose I didn't cover in my post? Is my reasoning incorrect? Please, enlighten us with your wisdom.

And why not put your own name on it too?

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Kharkov
Stop

x-37's mess things up...

Right, first things first. Kudos to the USAF for a successful mission & getting their bird back. Space flight is hard & isn't something anyone should take for granted.

Second, why? What is the purpose of the X-37? Research into spaceplanes, SSTO, materials development, new-and-improved avionics or sensors? If the U.S. military is doing this then ALL results get classified out the wazoo, never to see the light of day & American companies are strongly discouraged from making or researching civilian space-access or usage technology for fear of finding out, or being told, once they're a few hundred million dollars in, that they're impinging on classified technology.

My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37, it's blocking cheap safe civilian access to space, or one route to it anyway.

Third, is the X-37 testing weapons? Weaponizing space is a really bad idea. Once the U.S. starts doing it, Russia & China won't be that far behind. More & more guns, more & more automated because the speeds, distances & human reaction times lead that way. Battle of Camlan, anyone?

My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37. It's really taking us down a bad road.

Fourth, is the X-37 spying on or observing... stuff? If it is then surely it'd be simpler & cheaper to just launch the optics/sensor package, or a few dozen of them (no way will a couple of dozen of those things break the bank for the NRO. Remember, those guys built a near-Hubble just because they MIGHT have needed it) into orbit, possibly with an enlarged fuel tank if they really need a lot of delta-V, and send up a dozen more each year.

My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37, it's a horrible waste of money.

Fifth, is the X-37 intended to (or be the precursor/prototype to something that can) dock with, or disable, or download from, other people's satellites? It seems a bit unlikely to me, but if it is then no politician will EVER authorize the mission. It's not the 50's anymore, the world, the whole world, is watching. You can't steal/pinch/purloin/nick a satellite & bring it home & not have the world yelling about it before it's even touched the runway.

My opinion if the above is true? STOP the X-37. It's a horrible waste of money & will only encourage other countries to build self-destruct devices into their satellites. We really don't need to add to the space debris problem.

So really? STOP THE X-37!

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

Kharkov
Facepalm

Re: I Want To Believe

I too want to believe but...

As the man said, "An extraordinary claim without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence"

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Tesla's Elon Musk shows the world his D ... and it's a MONSTER

Kharkov
Angel

What? No KITT?

Listen, if I can't paint it black and have it drive me to the shops, then I for one won't be buying it!

More seriously, while autonomous driving is cool, the legislatosaurus will probably spend ten or more years wibbling about making it legal. As usual, the science is way, way, way ahead of the politics.

Could we set a donations group to get politicians moving faster? Money always seems to get politicians moving faster... for some completely unknown reason of course.

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Inflatables in SPAAACE! ISS 'nauts to enjoy bouncy castle spaceship

Kharkov
Go

Re: Well this is fun but...

Well actually, Skylon doesn't liquefy the air in microseconds, it just cools it by several hundred degrees in microseconds. It's still gaseous, albeit cold and gaseous, when it mixes with the hydrogen fuel.

It is pretty nifty how they manage to cool, but not liquefy, the air by so much without frosting up the pipes and in such a short space of time but that's the special secret sauce that makes the idea feasible.

And yes, it'd be wonderful to get a Skylon article, maybe with some recent quotes from the REL team, outlining the next few years for Skylon...

Hint, hint, El Reg.

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Kharkov
Happy

Well this is fun but...

A high volume module costing under 18 million dollars? Great.

An indicator showing how things could be in the future? True.

Something you can build LEO hotels out of? Or research labs? Or entirely private space stations? Right with you.

Even something you can make a habitat module out of for astronauts going BEO? Yep.

But all of this STILL requires... low-cost access to space. 7 astronauts/passengers on a 60 million-dollar Dragon v2 equals... 8.5-and-a-bit million dollars PER PERSON.

By all means, lets have high-volume modules, they're the first step to cheaper space stations and interplanetary craft but, most importantly, gotta get the seat price down.

Skylon, taking 20 passengers for only 10 million dollars works out at 500,000 dollars.

Just saying...

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I'll show you the D next week – billionaire space baron Elon Musk

Kharkov
Thumb Up

The D will be great but we want three OTHER letters...

By all means, Elon, tell us about the D but when, oh when will we get to hear about three other letters.

Come on, Elon, tell us more about MCT!

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SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...

Kharkov
Trollface

Re: In a more interesting universe...

In a more interesting universe, the station would host ambassadors from Mimbar, Centauri Prime, Narn and we'd see a big wurlitzer floating around and a guy called Morden who would...

Hang on, wrong station.

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Look out, SpaceX! Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin boffins tapped for US rocket launches

Kharkov
Facepalm

Probably too little, too late from ULA...

A new engine for a (probably) updated, (probably) cheaper-to-build Atlas derivative - the Atlas V Mk II or Atlas 6 (and will there be an Atlas 6 Plus)?

Cool but...

Five years before the engines are ready, probably a bit longer than that for the Atlas V successor to arrive, but unless it'll have things like deep throttling, long lifespan & reusability, then it'll (probably) be competing against an established 1st-stage-reusable Falcon 9 v1.1 with, lest we forget, 2nd stage reusability (probably) coming down the pipe.

So new rocket with no previous track record competing against an established rocket that's already in a dominant position...

ULA will be the new SpaceX...

Without reusability and at a higher selling price...

Good luck with that.

NOTE: Nobody would be happier than me if ULA could actually compete on things like price, payload & other stuff against SpaceX. I just don't think they'll do it. In my opinion, the new rocket will be another expensive, one-time-usage beast and the market will have moved on by the time it arrives.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Kharkov
Facepalm

Re: What a total rip-off!

Yeah, just re-read the NASA twitter feed. You're right, it was the figure bid, not the figure NASA arbitrarily awarded. I just read the numbers and the red mist descended...

Still, it looks really bad (for Boeing) that SpaceX can do a launch for, at best figure for an Atlas V, 3 times less and will provide a passenger-carrying capsule that can land propulsively on land (there's got to be a better way of saying it instead of 'land on land') for half the price of the CST-100 which, I think, will only do parachute landings on water - I'm sure about the parachute bit but I'm assuming the land on water bit.

Anyway, if all goes well, then I firmly expect Boeing to end up with one launch a year (gotta have competition, don'tcha know? Even if that competition is much less capable and much more expensive) while SpaceX, as speculated in the article, takes 99% of the astronauts up to ISS.

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Kharkov
Flame

What a total rip-off!

Ok, Boeing gets... 4.2 BILLION dollars for CST-100 and SpaceX gets...

Wait for it, wait for it...

2.6 billion dollars.

The company that's doing the most to make space travel cheaper gets... less than the company that's making REALLY expensive stuff and has NO plans to make stuff cheaper.

/ragequit

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Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

Kharkov
Alien

Can anyone spot the hidden message?

Earth-passing asteroids are nature's way of asking...

'How's that space program coming along?'

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Nevada to host Tesla gigafactory: reports

Kharkov
Angel

The Future is... finally... here.

Electric cars (and batteries of course), solar energy, reusable rockets and reusable BIG rockets. What we've been waiting for since the early days of Dan Dare, Captain Scarlet and yes, even Judge Dredd.

Finally, bit by bit, the future's getting here. High-capacity batteries with a (hopefully) quick recharge time and a long lifespan sold at low, low prices.

Last person using gasoline and an internal combustion engine's a rotten egg!

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Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD

Kharkov
Joke

It shows how powerful the PornStars Union is...

Let this be a warning! Non-union members participating in filmed nookie...

The PSU is waiting to get you. You'll never see it coming...

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Kharkov
Unhappy

A Great Man Has Left The Stage...

RIP Robin, you'll be sadly missed...

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Warm, perhaps ALIEN LIFE-bearing water gushers FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Kharkov
Angel

Spot the Outer Planets Fuel Station of the Future...

Plentiful water, significant temperature difference & a key location on the edge of the Outer System?

Future colony & fuel depot... Called it!

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Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket

Kharkov
Facepalm

Is anyone surprised?

So NASA is building a massively expensive rocket and has been told that, due to the massive costs, they are highly likely to fall behind schedule?

I'm shocked, shocked! I tell you.

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Cave pits, ideal for human bases, FOUND ON MOON

Kharkov

One Giant Leap... Downward?

Well that's a step toward The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress except...

Growing enough food on the Moon to support a large population is still going to be the factor that limits the number of people that can live on the Moon.

That said, the Moon is a great place to do science, research & engineering studies and one day some manufacturing but I doubt we'll ever see a large autonomous population living there permanently.

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Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet

Kharkov
Megaphone

This Makes Me Want To Shout (In 72 Point!)

So, the US aren't the secret powers behind the scenes?

Well why don't the Swedes do their initial interview in London? It doesn't smell of CIA involvement, oh deary me, no.

And Assange would get a fair trial in the US too.

Wow, I got through all that without vomiting! Yay Me

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Kharkov
Thumb Up

Kudos SpaceX! Well done on getting your bird away and it looks like a successful deployment of the satellites.

As for the landing of the first stage, as long as they had control of the 1st stage all the way down, and the stress on the 1st stage wasn't excessive, who cares if it popped a gasket after it landed and then fell over?

If they had full control on the way down (without undue stress on the stage) then I think SpaceX should declare victory and move on to a land landing (Wow, that sounds weird!) with their next launch. August, isn't it?

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Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

Kharkov
Trollface

Quote: '...quickie sex in national monuments, art museums and VIP motorcades...' Unquote

Forgive me for this but the first thought to go through my mind was...

All these places usually offer Wi-Fi so... to discourage illicit nookie on their (very public) premises, might they have their Wi-Fi set up to... switch off the contraceptive implant?

That'll dampen their amour...

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European Space Agency demos MARS LANDINGS BY DRONE

Kharkov
Happy

Progress!

Well it's nice to see ESA developing the control systems for an eventual Mars landing system... but I'm curious.

Is the software/control system used in the Curiousity landing proprietry information? Why are different agencies (apparently) rediscovering the wheel? Why not share the software/hardware? Yes, you run the risk of the Russians/Chinese/Evildoers Inc getting their hands on it but why worry? Without a fairly big rocket to get your package to Mars, it's not exactly critical information is it?

Now we need to do the same thing again, this time with rockets...

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Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

Kharkov
Facepalm

Heavy sigh...

Right, let's do this. The various Senators & Congressmen on the space-related committees want...

to keep highly-trained people in their districts employed, happy, and voting for them.

money to keep flowing to their States/Congressional Districts.

And that's it. Forget a 'grand vision for the future of the American Space Program', forget actually doing anything useful or building anything useful so the US gets this boondoggle.

A very, very expensive rocket, paid for out of NASA's budget and so severely cutting the actual science that NASA could do, which will fly infrequently - once per year is the current plan - with no program that it can serve, no purpose that it can efficiently fulfill.

While the private sector (yes, SpaceX, who didn't see that coming?) is due to introduce a rocket that will carry roughly 75% of SLS's initial payload for less than 150 million dollars, just over 10 times cheaper than the 1.6 BILLION dollars a pop SLS.

And the new President in 2016 (or more likely his/her staff) will look at the costs (high), the flight rate (infrequent) and the benefits (few) and will probably cancel the whole thing. But those jobs building something not-very-useful-and-horribly-expensive have to be saved so...

Design something else, start to build something else, cancel it later. All money down the toilet but hey, the politicians will still have their jobs so that's a good thing, right?

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NASA pulls FLYING SAUCER out of Pacific ocean

Kharkov
Headmaster

Er, El Reg?

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/06/ldsd-rocket-powered-saucer-landing-technology/

The test was succesful, yes, demonstrating the desired deceleration, but after the test, the LDSD was supposed to deploy a parachute so that the LDSD could be recovered but the chute got tangled and the LDSD landed a bit faster than intended.

All that said, it's a very good sign. If we're going to put big stuff down on Mars, we'll need LDSD technology.

Anyone want to start a bet (or poll)? Will we see an LDSD used on Mars, launched by a FH, an Atlas V, or SLS?

My money's on FH...

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US Supreme Court: Duh, obviously cops need a warrant to search mobes

Kharkov
Big Brother

Technology needs to catch up to the law...

If the State is going to treat its citizens as criminals (or potential criminals) then people will eventually get around to protecting themselves by...

Installing a 'panic button' on their electronic devices (I'm thinking mostly smartphones). The moment you get nabbed, or have to pass through a checkpoint where your device can be taken, copied & read, you press the button & your phone deletes (after backing up to a secure cloud location) leaving the State with... nothing.

Will this be used by criminals? Yes. Will it be used by vastly larger numbers of citizens who do not want the State to have access to their private data? Yes.

Yes, the State will adapt to this, and the citizens, through technology, will adapt to that and so on...

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