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posted by hubie on Wednesday June 22, @10:06PM   Printer-friendly

A five-minute test only lasted for five seconds:

The International Space Station sometimes has to shift its path to stay in the right orbit or to avoid debris (like it did last week). Usually, the ISS crew calls on Russian equipment to provide the thrust for the adjustments, but NASA tried to use a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft in a "reboost" test on Monday. It didn't go as planned.

Cygnus-17 was supposed to fire its engine for a little over 5 minutes, but the firing aborted after just 5 seconds. In a statement on Monday, NASA said the "the cause for the abort is understood and under review," but didn't elaborate on what happened.

The ISS flies in a low Earth orbit, and the planet's atmosphere is constantly dragging on it. Regular reboosts help the station stay in orbit. "The reboost is designed to provide Cygnus with an enhanced capability for station operations as a standard service for NASA," the space agency said.

[...] SpaceX founder Elon Musk suggested in February that SpaceX's Dragon capsules could also handle reboost duties if needed.


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  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday June 23, @11:39AM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday June 23, @11:39AM (#1255559)

    Having spent a bunch of time in the last few weeks experiencing more pain with date-and-time calculations than any sane person should, I can assure you that I sincerely wish I'd had decimal-based time rather than the Sumerian nonsense we're currently stuck with.

    Some of that is inherent to the problem: All the convenient human measurements of time are inconsistent with each other. Days, lunar cycles, and years don't add up, at all, which is why the complex system of extra months in some calendars, leap days and leap seconds exists. But the effect of this is that you can't, for instance, take a time, add 1 second, and be guaranteed that the new seconds value will be old-seconds + 1 mod 60.

    Some of that is of course human-induced as well: Time zones and daylight savings time add a whole other level of pain. Look at the IANA timezone data sometime if you want to see the level of confusion involved there.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @02:32PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @02:32PM (#1255586)

    once we get offthisrock i could see decimal time catching on commuicating and measuring stellar or even solar distance/time need not be linked to any given planets turn or seasons etc.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday June 24, @04:22PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday June 24, @04:22PM (#1255842)

      You think time measurement is bad on Earth? Now throw in relativity, that will make things much simpler!

      One of the more miraculous technologies on Star Trek was the very background concept of "stardate", which somehow wasn't screwed up by either zipping around the galaxy at either near-or-beyond light speed nor losing communications with Earth. The hardware and software needed to make such a thing work would be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and not perfect or consistent, especially with starships and/or their personnel sometimes engaged in time travel.

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