back to article ISS to host space truck rally

The International Space Station will soon be abristle with docked space trucks, as a SpaceX Dragon resupply vehicle prepares to join its Russian Progress and Orbital ATK Cygnus counterparts mated with the orbiting outpost. The Falcon 9 and Dragon on the pad at Cape Canaveral. Pic: SpaceX The Falcon 9 and Dragon on the pad at …

  1. A K Stiles
    Pint

    fingers crossed

    Hopefully this time they've 'read the instructions' for the landing.

    Anticipatory beer for this evening (GMT)!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: fingers crossed

      Fingers crossed they found another camera to cover the crash, erm, landing.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Re: fingers crossed

      Is it me, or is the Reg once again neglecting to mention SpaceX's successful land, er, landing?

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: fingers crossed

        This article was published before the Falcon 9 launch. That'd explain it.

  2. Chozo

    Welcome to ISS Orbital Traffic Control and please dock at the nearest parking meteor.

  3. Jim McDonald
    Coat

    Someone will be along wearing a Hi-Vis to slap tickets over them "hey! you can't park there you know..."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please let the ISS Program manager hold the rank of Captain...

    Star Trucking across the universe,

    On the good ship ISS, under Captain Kirk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please let the ISS Program manager hold the rank of Captain...

      More like Stanislaw Lem's "Cadet Pirx", really.

      He glanced at the clock. He had been spaceborne for exactly seventeen minutes.

      It was time to pick up PAL’s radio signal, to start monitoring the radar screens as he passed through the satellite’s contact zone. Now, what were their names again? RO? No—JO. And let’s see, their numbers were… He glanced down at the flight plan, stuck it back into his pocket along with the navigation book, and turned up the intercom on his chest. At first there was just a lot of screeching and crackling - cosmic interference. What system was PAL using? Oh, yeah - Morse. He listened closely, his eyes glued to the video screens, and watched as Earth slowly revolved beneath him and stars scudded by - but no PAL. Then he heard a buzzing noise.

      Could that be it? he wondered, but immediately rejected the idea. You’re crazy. Satellites don’t buzz. But what else could it be? Nothing, that’s what. Or was it something else? A critical malfunction?

      Oddly enough, he was not the least bit alarmed. How could there be a critical malfunction when he was cruising with his engine off? Maybe the old crate was falling apart, breaking up. Or could it be a short circuit? Good Lord, a short circuit! Fire Prevention Code, section 3(a): “In Case of Fire in Orbit,” paragraph… Oh, to hell with it! The buzzing was now so loud that it was drowning out the bleeping sounds of distant signals.

      It sounds like… a fly trapped in a jar, he thought, somewhat perplexed, and began shifting his gaze from dial to dial.

      Then he spotted it.

      It was a giant of a fly, one of those ugly, greenish-black brutes specially designed to make life miserable - a pestering, pesky, idiotic, and by the same token shrewd and cunning fly, which had miraculously - and how else? - stowed away in the ship’s control cabin and was now zooming about in the space outside the blister, occasionally ricocheting off the illuminated instrument gauges like a buzzing pellet.

  5. Geoff May

    Deep Purple are probably warming up the instruments already.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    The only other time six ships were docked was STS-133 in 2011. That was the only time Shuttle, Soyuz, Progress, HTV & ATV were all together.

  7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Add another docking port...

    If these supply ships had another docking port on the other end, then they could stack-up.

    That would also allow them grow the station volume.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Add another docking port...

      Theoretically - how many would you need to complete the hula hoop ring all the way?

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Add another docking port...

        "...how many would you need to complete the hula hoop ring...?"

        If each such ship was ever-so-slightly canted (bent), by say 1°, and assuming that they're aligned in a common plane, then say about 360 of them.

      2. Seajay#

        Re: Add another docking port...

        Unless by all the way you mean *all* the way.

        Circumference of ISS's orbit is ~42,000km Cygnus is 6.3m long so you would need about 6,762,000

  8. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Megaphone

    from last minute

    Falcon 9 has landed on the drone ship

  9. imanidiot Silver badge
    Pint

    Succesful barge landing

    As of 9:54 PM the first stage has succesfully landed on the barge! I'm surprised it is still upright. Seems to be quite choppy out there atm.

    Dragon has succesfully separated from the second stage. Seems launch was succesful!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Way off the middle

    At least 3m out.

    And to think Elon Musk wants to sell us autonomous cars.

    1. IT Poser

      Re: Way off the middle

      Perhaps landing a rocket is like horseshoes and hand grenades. 3m off target isn't bad in that case.

  11. IT Poser

    Excellent video

    When did we get the capability to track the launch until first stage separation from the ground so clearly? I don't recall seeing a feed that provided so much detail. I await commentards that can explain how this is possible now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Excellent video

      I missed that, in addition to ignition and barge landing. Thank you Comcast for the video feed from Hell.

      Still, Massive Thumbs Up to SpaceX!

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Excellent video

      SpaceX launches have featured those shots before. It seems they invested in some good tracking optics when refurbishing the KSC launch facilities. For those shots to show anything interesting the weather has to be exceptionally clear however, which is not always the case.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Excellent video

      "...how this is possible now?"

      The radio link? No excuse for that not to work.

      The video? HD camera these days. Digital video, so crystal clear.

      Tracking? Newtonian physics. Likely ITAR-grade GPS (since it *is* a missile), probably Inertial and Kalman filtering to merge the solutions. Off the shelf boxes.

      If such a system didn't work the first time, then it certainly should work the 2nd time. Three failures and one should hire new 'Comms' staff.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Excellent video

      "When did we get the capability to track the launch until first stage separation from the ground so clearly?"

      I know! I know the landing is an incredible feat, but the fact we get HD video of the rocket from the ground up to such a high altitude is bloody amazing. Not to mention full HD video feeds from both outside and inside various parts of the rocket is pretty amazing achievement too. We've all been marvelling at the various launches over the years but no one ever seems to mention the vast leaps in comms tech that has come with it.

      We can probably thank the paparazzi for the big leaps in telephoto lense tech :-)

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Just amazing.... watching that barge bounce about a bit had to have added a "pucker moment" to things.

  13. Elmer Phud

    One expects . . .

    . . . that any normal truck stop will have the regulation copies of the Scum, the Star and for those who can count up to 14 using both hands, the Maul.

    Oh, and a shop that sells Union Jacks and Confederate flags ( both made in China, of course).

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: One expects . . .

      I have recollections of several novels and a film that used the Space Trucker meme, and Han Solo isn't so far from that. Before that it was the tramp freighter, a small ship going from port to port (Han Solo again).

      There's a huge distance between fiction and reality. It's mostly down to finding ways to tell a story that people can understand. It's arguable that Space isn't really a place that humans and other organic life can cope with. and Charles Stross has managed to tell stories that go in a different direction, starting with "Saturn's Children".

      There are few who go to such lengths, and get such entertaining results. Jo Walton coined the term "in-clueing" for what an SF writer has to do to get something that is more than a western with the names changed.

  14. DaveB

    Request fly by

    ISS this is ghost rider request flyby........

    Negative Maverick the pattern is full....

  15. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Joke

    Is there....

    ...a legally mandated disabled/handicapped parking bay?

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