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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: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @01:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, @01:27PM (#1255574)

    And it is very telling that you skipped the minutes in a hour.

    Telling of what? I skipped it because it was redundant, it's the same reason as seconds per minute.

    Imperial measures are meant to be used, metric measures are meant to be theorized about.

    The yard is the odd one out. There is no corresponding metric unit (the yard is closer in length to the meter, but the "unit of length for everyday use" is the foot).

    No one has ever actually made use of the fact that metric units are powers of ten, and you can tell because nobody ever measures anything in megameters or gigameters, and if you ask someone how far it is to the train station they'll say "half a kilometer." Kilometers and miles are the unit of "traveling distance" and meters and feet are the unit of "measuring distance." They are conceptually different so they aren't made to be converted to each other.

    As for where the definition of the kilometer and mile actually come from, the kilometer is 1/10000 the distance from the equator to the poles, which is a distance that totally comes up all the time. Yeah, today it is defined in terms of the speed of light, but the length was determined by that distance. The mile, on the other hand, is 1000 paces. Certainly no one ever has needed to estimate how far they have walked.

    Inches and feet are made for easy conversion because that comes up all the time when making things by hand. Just like the many units of volume are related by powers of 2, because that comes up all the time in cooking and humans are only good at dividing things in half.

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