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Space Science

ISS Gyro Fixed Via Spacewalk 143

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the better-late-than-never dept.
Teahouse writes "After a failed attempt last week, the ISS Astronauts finally got to fix the external gyroscope circut breaker in the station. Tests are being run today, but it looks like the ISS is back to having attitude stability with redundancy. This is particularly significant with the Shuttle being grounded for an extended period because the ISS would have had to use thruster fuel to keep the Station's solar panels pointed in the right direction without the gyroscopes, and no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving."
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ISS Gyro Fixed Via Spacewalk

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  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @09:56PM (#9588809)
    but it looks like the ISS is back to having attitude stability

    Did they put it on Prozac?
  • by coupland (160334) * <dchase&hotmail,com> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:03PM (#9588843) Journal
    So... Mir died of Russian neglect, and so early into its mission the ISS seems to be dying of US neglect. Even if shuttle missions resume the importance of the ISS in US plans has been eclipsed by a moon base and a Mars mission. Lots of people criticize the ISS because it was largely conceived with politics in mind moreso than economics or science. Surely they hate the new US direction even more -- billions more will be blown, over the course of far more administrations who will always be gunning to kill it for more cash -- just to give the impression of superiority over the Chinese. I say either fund and finish the ISS or start a new economical, science-based space project from scratch. But moon bases? Please, ISS doesn't deserve to fall apart for this...
    • We're going to Mars! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Scoria (264473) <slashmail.initialized@org> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:13PM (#9588902) Homepage
      Unfortunately, nobody appears to understand that with the shuttles grounded indefinitely, the International Space Station provides one of the few opportunities for the United States to safely (relatively speaking) evaluate new technology in the precise environment that it must function properly in. Hypotheses and simulation, after all, often differ from reality. And with their newly aggrandized objective to ensure "complete astronaut safety," shouldn't NASA be utilizing every resource in its arsenal?
      • by dj42 (765300) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @11:05PM (#9589181) Journal
        It's supposed to comback online in 2005. Aside from that, safety concerns are a joke. These astronauts want to go to the space and the government, for political reasons is preventing them. What do you think test pilots, and the true explorers have been doing for ages? Sure, we don't want to needlessly die, but we're a bunch of water-meat-bags attached to a ball of rock -- if we're interested in the giant cosmos that supports us, and are willing to risk our lives to do so, isn't that a noble cause? My god. The USA will send thousands to their death to a country rich in oil, and yet, they won't even risk 5 or 10 people to explore the vast universe they live. What a short-sided pitiful view of the world. Right now, if I could fly in the shuttle, and they'd take me into space for some dangerous mission, I would go. No shit.
        • The real issue here isn't astronaut safety, but asset safety. We have hundreds of astronauts, but only three shuttles. As such, we should be concentrating solely on how to maximize their survivability and not expending so many resources on crew survivability in the event of a catastrophic failure.
          • by dj42 (765300)
            "The real issue here isn't astronaut safety, but asset safety. We have hundreds of astronauts, but only three shuttles. As such, we should be concentrating solely on how to maximize their survivability and not expending so many resources on crew survivability in the event of a catastrophic failure." When we start supporting materialism over life, we've gone the wrong direction. I believe in searching for answers to our questions, but if we start caring more about our means instead of those that may risk t
            • by Einer2 (665985)
              The issue isn't about materialism at all. The space shuttle is a national asset. As such, the government has to weigh its value to the nation as a whole. It sucks for the astronauts, but after a point, you simply have to decide that the interests of 280 million people outweigh those of seven.

              This is the same reason we don't leave Iraq in order to save hostages and the same reason we don't spend ten billion trillion dollars installing tons of high-tech armor on every humvee. Government is about assessing c

            • by cameldrv (53081) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:29AM (#9589815)
              The Shuttle costs around $1 bil each launch. If you figure that the average NASA or NASA contractor employee makes about $50k a year and has a working lifetime of about 40 years, that's about $2 mil per working lifetime in salary. Thus the equivalent of 500 people put their life's work into each launch. A person's life's work is not the same as his life, but it's in the ballpark. The shuttle's construction is far more complicated than just launching it once, so to say that the shuttle is more valuable than its crew is true. It is the life's work of thousands upon thousands of people. Something like the shuttle is one of the only artifacts we have that is comparable to, for instance, the cathedrals of Europe in its scale.
              • 1 bil per launch? I believe I've read elsewhere that the number is much, much lower. Like something around $200 mil. Do you have support for that quoted number? It strikes me as being very high. Of course, maybe that's the point you're making. ;) Just the same, can you point me to something which supports the 1 bil per launch?

                Thanks.
        • This is the first time I have seen the Iraq-Space analogy drawn. It all seems so simple now. We definitely need to beat Shrub over the head with this.
      • And with their newly aggrandized objective to ensure "complete astronaut safety,"

        You've got to understand that when Bush says something like that, he doesn't really mean "completely." If you take the words "complete astronaut safety" literally, it's obviously a ridiculous concept. We're talking about going to Mars for heaven's sake! I can't drive to work in "complete" safety. How the heck are we going to propel several people several dozen miles per second to land for the first time in history on a planet
    • by character_assassin (773327) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:20PM (#9588938)
      It's kind of arbitrary speculation to claim that the Bush "Mission to Mars" initiative is "just to give the impression of superiority over the Chinese." The US doesn't define itself relative to China, and only recently quit defining itself relative to Russia. Now, this may be more arbitrary speculation, but I think Bush's Mars initiative has more to do with Reaganesque feel-good-about-America vaporware. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing started on one of Karl Rove's cocktail napkins, which is probably as far as it will ever get.
      • by coupland (160334) * <dchase&hotmail,com> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:30PM (#9589002) Journal

        character_assassin, you may be right, but personally I think the Bush administration is scared poopless of the Chinese. It's the most populous nation on earth. It can do basic, medium and even some high-tech manufacturing for a fraction of the price to do so in the US. And here's the kicker -- last year foreign investment in China exceeded foreign investment in the US. THAT IS HUGE.

        If that doesn't hit you like a slap in the face, think about it this way... When people or companies make it rich around the world, what do they do? They invest their money. And for decades they have put that investment into US companies, knowing their investment was safe. Last year, more people chose to safely tuck their money away in China than in America. I think China/US relations will continue to become a major issue on the world scene, and I think China has only begun its 21st-century ascendency.

        Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe the US is in an overt economic and political struggle with the People's Republic.

        • Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe the US is in an overt economic and political struggle with the People's Republic.

          We ain't seen nothing yet. Multinational corporations (with no allegiance to the U.S.) outsourcing to cheap-China to sell back to the once-rich U.S. is only the beginning [blogspot.com].

          The bigger threat is from the fruits of increasing robotic automation being hoarded by the same multinational few who own the means of human-less production and fuck over everyone else who is now an unemployed "useless eater" [blogspot.com]

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Having a job is not important. Survival and living a happy life is. If you have enough money to survive and live a happy life, you don't need a job. If you can survive and live a happy life without money, then you don't need money.

            Do you think a person's life is defined by the work he or she does? Does work equal life?

            Let the robots do the boring jobs. Let humans come up with things the robots can't do.

        • They have more people. Are you really that suprised that 4x as many people can accomplish more, when organized just as well? The primary tension in the world these days is the coalescing of major governments into a single entity because it threatens the ways of those who many not concus with the bulk. It is the struggle between the few and the many that drives us as a people. There is, however, a big difference between the USA and China, and it is this: While China has people working just to barely surv
          • human society just needs Star Trek replicators. All problems solved.

            Well, it wouldn't solve all problems, but it would be the biggest and most disruptive equalizer we've ever seen.

            Besides just making possible the cheap reconfiguration of a pile of molecules in your garbage into any desired object (including food & shelter & diamond), democratized molecular manufacturing [foresight.org] "printers" would mean the end of conflict [mccarthy.cx] based on trade of once-scarce resources. "Resources" could now be recycled at the mol

            • democratized molecular manufacturing "printers" would mean the end of conflict based on trade of once-scarce resources.

              Err, no... molecular manufacturing "printers" would mean the introduction of artificial scarcity by means of insane lawmaking - DMCA, anyone?
              Oh, sorry. You said "democratized"... Well in this case, I guess, putting an end to that "Democracy" thing would be rather high on the corporate agenda. Conflict based on trade of scarce resources is the holy, all curing capitalism, after all... So yo

          • Unfortunately for the chinese people, their system of government seems to have accepted corruption as a way of life. Corruption just doesn't work very well. It insures that the person or organisation best qualified to do the job probably won't be the one to get it. It prevents workers from organising to get a share of the profits, which leads to more spending power and more motivation to work. It prevents fundamental social and economic problems from being fixed my laws. It holds back almost all collective
        • And for decades they have put that investment into US companies, knowing their investment was safe. Last year, more people chose to safely tuck their money away in China than in America.

          You're confusing 'risk' and 'return'. People haven't put their investments into US companies because they knew their investment was safe, they did it because they felt they could get a high rate of return on their money. If they wanted a safe investment, they would buy US treasury securities, currently the safest investm
          • The reason for this is not some magic, but because China has vastly lower labor costs. To some extent, this is because China uses a huge amount of slave labor.

            Finally, someone realizes that China is adavancing economically not because of something that they've figured out, but because of something that the rest of the world dropped hundreds of years ago. The secret to the Chinese economy is not brilliant leaders or new techniques, but simply abominable human rights abuses. Once we're done clearing out the
      • No, the Bush mars program is about getting him votes.
        • Not with half the country not supporting it. It's more about giving the flailing NASA a mission and closing the Columbia book.
    • by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-iaur.yahoo@com> on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:25PM (#9588976)
      Personally (and as an American) I think we shouldn't have made the shuttle into what it was. Most engineers without a stake in the profits were very concerned with the design, since it was rather fragile. It was also expensive.

      The problem was that the ISS was concieved and built with a dependency on technology, two decades old, with a somewhat troubling penchant for failure.

      As for the "moon base", unless Google is going to chip in and fund it, I doubt America will go through with it. The US space program has lost a lot of the "I did it first" impetus it had when it was competing with the Soviet Union, and that could be a good thing. The NASA of today should focus on the practical, useful aspects of space, instead of being used as a political tool by whatever president is in office. I would rather have my tax dollars spent on putting communications/navigation satellites into orbit than have it spent on a moon base with little practical value to me or America.
      • "The NASA of today should focus on the practical, useful aspects of space, instead of being used as a political tool by whatever president is in office." pratical? spiritual? I agree it shouldn't be used as a tool, but no matter what we do in space, with humans there, as of 2004, we will learn remarkably more than we know now about how we live, who we are, and where we can go.
      • They already have plans ready [google.com], why NOT Google? :)

        Mal-2
    • by brianvan (42539) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:28PM (#9588992)
      Gah! I'll bite on this one:

      The ISS is not dying of neglect. Far from it. If your computer loses a secondary hard drive to old age and you replace it with a new one, is your computer dying of neglect? No. If a car's tire goes flat and you put on a new one, are you neglecting it? No.

      That said, the ISS is the biggest white elephant program going on in space travel at the moment relative to everything else. Actually, they're all pretty undefendable except Hubble. (And, of course, except any other additions to the list that I'm sure people more familiar with NASA will spank me with in the replies) Nothing makes money, and the science-to-spending ratio is obscene compared to most programs. If we had to transfer funding away from these projects specifically for... oh, let's say, education, cancer research, or domestic security (this is HYPOTHETICAL! No flame here, I know what our war budgets and football stadium budgets are, I'd NEVER advocate cutting NASA before those things)... then most people would never argue the loss of the projects. They wouldn't like it, but they wouldn't think twice either.

      Besides, the entire point of these risky, socially purposeless, complicated, budget-eating manned space missions is basically to do more things big and showy to pat ourselves on the back as a species. In that sense, Mars would be a greater success than the ISS. We've never been to another planet, but we've already done the orbital-sardine-can trick.

      Pretty soon, robotics and remotely-operated mechanical systems will eliminate the need for a human presence on many science missions, so the cost of science should decline rapidly. This will be excellent. As for the manned missions... well, if we get into the space tourism game or we privatize some elements of the various programs, things may improve. For now, we do what we can, and we're in a tough spot. We've always recovered from disaster and tragedy in space travel, and we shall do so again.
      • by toddhunter (659837) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:46PM (#9589087)

        Besides, the entire point of these risky, socially purposeless, complicated, budget-eating manned space missions is basically to do more things big and showy to pat ourselves on the back as a species


        Just keep in mind that our planet is doomed to be sucked into the sun one day. Sure we have a fair while to get off this planet, but the sooner we start the better right?
        • by RickHunter (103108) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @11:06PM (#9589190)

          Never mind the collossal risk posed by an asteroid strike. Sure, the chances of a species-killer are pretty low, but the downsides are enourmous. Better to start on contingency plans as soon as we can.

          • The sun will be in its current stage for much longer than we can comfortably imagine. A few billion years or so. If we haven't got a nice Star Trek future (go on, admit you want it) within the next million years, we're probably all doomed anyway.

            As for asteroids. What good is a manned space program going to do? I would imagine solutions involving long-range detection and nuclear explosions. Possibly a big frikin' "laser"... but do you really thing it'll be like the film "Armageddon"?

          • Never mind the collossal risk posed by an asteroid strike. Sure, the chances of a species-killer are pretty low, but the downsides are enourmous. Better to start on contingency plans as soon as we can.

            How about the collossal risk and far greater likelihood of a large nuclear war? Extinction or merely a complete collapse of global civilization can be man-made. I never understood why people worry about the infinitesmal chances of a large asteroid strike, but ignore lesser events that are sufficiently catas

      • the ISS is the biggest white elephant

        Yeah, let's give them all names

        Cassini/Huygens probes: a horse with a tick

        ISS: a white elephant

        Spirit/Opportunity: beetles

        ...

    • Do you even remotely have any idea of the spin-off products created by NASA in these adventures to space? We're not just learning how to go to space. NASA is DIRECTLY responsible for many of the household conveniences you no doubt ignorantly use, as well as THOUSANDS of other spin-off products that make BILLIONS for the US Economy. People really need to lay off NASA that believe these missions are only about their surface purpose. The technology in doing what these people do to get into space is literall
      • And yet at the same time, the military is responsible for even more those same things. Yet, should we go around starting wars just to get more cool toys?
      • What's that old anecdote? An American tycoon visited China to act as an advisor on a dam they were building. Seeing thousands of people toiling with shovels, he told the Chinese politicians that they should buy back-hoes and they could complete the dam in a fraction of the time and cost. "But," they said, "think of all the people we're employing." 'If it's employment you're looking for,' he said, 'take away their shovels and give them spoons.'

        The moral of the story is, you don't undertake a fantastical

    • Just because we all live here on Earth doesn't mean we can't sustain ourselves elsewhere, and furthermore, that the journey won't net us valuable knowledge and intelligence that can greatly benefit those of us here on Earth.
    • http://www.nasatechnology.com/ NASA's byproducts make the missions thus far almost pale in compairson, if you're actually so spiritually devoid that you consider exploring your own universe, that which sustains you, a waste of money. Hell, if the USA hadn't invaded IRAQ we could have given NASA 10x its budget, and learned about us, as a species, a people, a planet, a consciousness. And yet, here we are, grounding our efforts because a few people died tragically. It's sad, yes, but so it sending thousands
    • Mir died of Russian neglect

      What are you talking about? It had a planned life of 5 years, and they finally (purposefully) deorbited it at the ripe old age of 13 years. How is this neglect? You think they should have kept the old clunker going forever?

      --

  • Dyslexic (Score:4, Funny)

    by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:04PM (#9588850)
    I thought for a moment that a gyro in IIS got fixed via a spacewalk. I never knew that there was a gyro in IIS requiring a spacewalk to fix, but it might explain the bugs.
  • by bigattichouse (527527) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:04PM (#9588856) Homepage
    Specifically, the line "Why is this room here" when they're in thec hompers room. Note to self, when designing something where it is incredibly dangerous to go outside and fix, spring for the extra twenty feet of cable and put the circuit breaker INSIDE THE DAMN SHIP.
    • Seriously, why can't they just put all vital electronic arteries inside the ship? Unless that part of the station was put on after the main section was sent into orbit, I don't see any reason for it to be outside. Isn't it also more vulnerable to damage from debris out there too?
      • by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:31PM (#9589009)
        maybe they're worried about it shorting out and catching on fire, like Apollo 1?
      • I'm going to go ahead and admit that I've never designed a space faring vessel. That said, I'm going to go ahead and give these people the benefit of the doubt and assume that in piecing this thing together, they worked as well as they could under the money and time constraints they exist in that they could. These people all know lives are at stake and most probably have a passion for it. The point is, it may be obvious. Some fool would say hindsight 20/20, but seriously, in something THAT SOPHISTICATED
    • by rosbif73 (673259) on Friday July 02, 2004 @03:00AM (#9590070)
      The reasons were explained recently by a NASA insider on sci.space.station:
      To minimize the number of penetrations through the pressure hull (both the power source and the load are outside, in this case), minimize the number of connections through hatches (lesson learned from Mir), and minimize potential crew exposure to ammonia (used to cool external power components).
      • that the Gyroscopes (and their circuit breakers) are part of a Self-Contained unit of the Space Station, the Z1 Integrated Truss Structure, which wasn't added to the station until it had been up there for almost 2 years.

        Zarya was launced in November 1998.
        Unity was attached by Shuttle Endeavour in December 1998.
        Zvezda docked to the station on July 25th, 2000.
        The Z1 Truss was installed by Shuttle Discovery in October 2000.
        The Gyroscopes which are an integral part of the Z1 Truss weren't activated until a

      • If that's the case, why didn't they put the gyroscopes and the power source inside the station. If it's maintenance critical, then it seems worth the extra space. After all, it's difficult to just step outside an orbiting station to flip the circuit breaker back on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:05PM (#9588860)
    Anybody can fix a bad gyro, so the question is: How does one fix a good gyro in orbit? There's no gravity! Extremes of temperature! I for one wouldn't want to eat an ISS gyro. Space tourism will never take off without good space resort chefs dammit!

    Now *THIS* is a gyro [fromto.cc]!

    (on second thought, this joke isn't very funny. posting anonymously anyway.)

  • I'm sure a lot of people are going to use this malfunction and (necessarily) hazardous repair as an indictment of the current investment in manned, shuttle-based spaceflight.

    However, until NASA has a better platform, they will probably continue to use the shuttle.

    Perhaps if the open source movement were to desing and implement a shuttle replacement, we might have a working replacement faster than if NASA were told they have to come up with a cheaper faster replacement.

    For those thinking of suggesting that Soyuz would work, might I remind you that every Soyuz capsule is a one time use vehicle. Even when everything goes right, it doesn't get re-used. It has no airlock, so either everyone gets suited up, or no-one does a space walk. It has no payload capability, so no sattelite recovery. It has no manipulator arm, so you can't rely upon it for doing sattelite maintenance as the shuttle crew has.

    The shuttle may not be perfect. It was designed for a set of missions that have very little to do with what it is doing now. (The military provided some of the specs to support black projects, few of which have ever been attempted.)

    The Civilian side of the project was to haul people and material to and from the space station that was being desinged by NASA, which was not the international space station. It was also decided to use it to deploy sattelites as well once the capacity of the payload bay was defined.

    As a jeep, the shuttle has done an ok job. If you think we need a better design, I am all for it. Start working on that better desing, and give us status reports as you find the time.
    • ... few of which have ever been attempted

      And how the hell do you know? The whole point of black op's is ... wait for it ... they're black. Though I can see the point that it's hard to hide a shuttle launch, we won't know for 50 years if the shuttles have actually been used as they were designed.

      • It's not hard, it's impossible. You can see the launch for hundreds of miles around, and the reentry is visible for hundreds of miles to either side of a path that's thousands of miles long. If you think the military has the ability to hide such an event, you may as well go all out and start believing in alien technology recovered from Roswell or whatever.
        • <devils advocate>
          Yes, launch and re-entry is hard to hide, but how hard would it be to run a black op, or launch a black payload when it's up there?
          </devils advocate>
          I don't personally "believe" that anything untoward has been done with the shuttle's, but I can't discount the possibility.
          • There have been some secret missions carried out on the shuttle. The fact that these missions have been carried out is public knowledge, although the details are not.

            Given the amount of preparation required for a mission and the number of people involved, I don't think it would be possible to carry a secret payload or carry out a black operation during an otherwise normal mission without at least the existence of such a thing being known to the public. I'm not a big believer in conspiracies, and something
    • by stevesliva (648202) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @11:13PM (#9589232) Journal
      Could Titan provide heavy lift to LEO? Could the Proton? Could Ariane V? Do the astronauts need to ride the freighter?

      The Shuttle was the wrong paradigm. It's the Concorde of space. Columbia couldn't even make it to the ISS orbit, IIRC

      Could the money being spent to keep Discovery, Endeavor and Atlantis going be better spent figuring out how to get US ISS components launched autonomously using existing lauch vehicles and purchasing additional Progress and Soyuz maintenence and crew transfer launches?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just replying to inform this parent poster.

        Many of rocket boosters can be used to launch something into LEO. No problem there. But they are NOT designed to carry human inside the loading cargo on its tip of a rocket. One consideration, which is often ignored, is a supersonic vibration within the closed cavity. [The downside of it is your gut may explode under the supersonic vibration.]

        In any manned rocket design, the vibration is suppressed and is safe for human to ride inside. But not so for many unmanne
    • The shuttle may not be perfect. It was designed for a set of missions that have very little to do with what it is doing now.

      Well, the shuttle was successful in repairing the gyros on the ISS, so that it could be pushed away from the Terrible Secret of Space. That's got to count for something.

    • It's clear that Russia designs things to be used once and replaced. It's a good strategy. Look at their spacesuits: Russia intends for them to be used up and then discarded, provided extras. Whereas the USA sends up very specific space suits which must be carted up and down from space for restoration. To suggest that a maintenance plan is better than a "brute force" approach is questionable at this point. Frankly, I like how Russia does space. They keep it simple, they send backups. Then again, the USA's
    • I'm sure a lot of people are going to use this malfunction and (necessarily) hazardous repair as an indictment of the current investment in manned, shuttle-based spaceflight.

      With good reason. Why weren't there 3+ people on that station so that even if something happened to the first two, another could help them? Because NASA wasn't operating the Shuttles. NASA wasn't operating the Shuttles because they didn't have a disaster recovery plan to handle the loss of a shuttle, hence the entire fleet has been g

    • For those thinking of suggesting that Soyuz would work, might I remind you that every Soyuz capsule is a one time use vehicle. Even when everything goes right, it doesn't get re-used.

      So? Who cares about that? It's still a lot cheaper than the reusable alternative. Why crave for reusability just for reusability's sake?

      The shuttle may not be perfect. It was designed for a set of missions that have very little to do with what it is doing now.

      Its biggest flaw is that when they thought it up, they envisione

    • We dont need 1 new vehicle. We need 2.

      We need a simple huge rocket for launching space station parts, sattelite and whatever else.

      It doesnt need to be reusable, just as cheap and high capacity as possible.

      Basicly, something similar to the titans and others currently used to launch sattelites and stuff but:
      A.even less complicated (the "big-dumb-booster" people talk about)
      B.as cheap as possible
      C.high-capacity (to carry big stuff like space station bits)
      and D.able to be launched often (as in, fast turn-arou
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:22PM (#9588954)
    The station's computer is still complaining of an ongoing fault in the AE-35 unit.
  • how do gyros work?? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    can someone explain how gyros work w/o talking about calculus and conservation of angular momentum?
    • by Lord Kano (13027)
      Inertia. Gyros work for the same reason that it's not easy to push a stopped car. It takes a lot of energy to make an object change its rate of motion.

      LK
    • by eingram (633624) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @10:32PM (#9589011)
      Maybe this [howstuffworks.com] will help? I can't really think of a simple way to explain it. They're a lot of fun to play with, though. :)
    • I'll try.

      Gyro is short for gyroscope. Did you ever play with a top as a child? Hopefully, at least once. Conceptually, a gyro is like a top; it is spun up very fast (thousands of RPM, typically), gaining a lot of angular momentum (sorry). Part of the gyro is fixed in the housing in which it resides; the rest is free to move around, typically in two axes, just like a top leans to and fro a little as it moves across a surface. The housing is mounted to the spacecraft in an orientation that aligns the gyro in
    • can someone explain how gyros work w/o talking about calculus and conservation of angular momentum?

      Your post was so awful, I had to reply to it twice.

      You sir are an idiot. [userfriendly.org]

      LK
  • ... to put a giant laser on the moon developed by Alan Parsons and call it the death star? Minime! Stop humping the laser!
    • by grammar nazi (197303) on Thursday July 01, 2004 @11:15PM (#9589240) Journal
      This is significant with the Shuttle being grounded for an extended period because the ISS would have had to use thruster fuel to keep the Station's solar panels pointed in the right direction without the gyroscopes, and no guarantee when more fuel would be arriving.

      I'm not the type of person who usually points these types of things out, but after the first few sentences of atrocious grammar, the remainder of attrocious grammar is all packed into a run-on sentence, that, depending upon proper comma placement is incomplete.

      • Maybe it's way too early in the morning for me to post (too much blood in my caffeine system), but you brought up comma placement. Wouldn't your last sentence make more sense if the comma after "...run-on sentence" was moved to follow "...comma placement"?

        i.e. "I'm not the type of person who usually points these types of things out, but after the first few sentences of atrocious grammar, the remainder of attrocious grammar is all packed into a run-on sentence that, depending upon proper comma placement, i
  • "Why build a space station? Since the beginning of the Space Age the stations that have flown have fallen short of the ideals of space advocates and science fiction writers, who foresaw orbiting hubs of transportation and commerce--the giant spinning station from 2001: A Space Odyssey, complete with Pan Am shuttles and a Hilton hotel, being perhaps the best-known example. Instead, the space stations that have been built have been, at best, modest conglomerations of modules and solar arrays, serving as cramp

  • by geek (5680) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:10AM (#9589530) Homepage
    "attitude stability with redundancy"

    Wish my ex-gf had that =/
  • ...but a gyroscope with a circuit breaker placed OUTSIDE THE SPACE STATION strikes me as a typical American design decision.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:12AM (#9589760)
    to fix the external gyroscope circut breaker

    And just what idiot made it an external circuit breaker?

    • This is something I've wondered about. NASA knew going into the project that the Gyroscopes were not all that reliable, so made them replaceable and designed in redundancies. Given that forthought, why in the hell didn't they put this in an area the crew could reach without a space walk?
      • by AzrealAO (520019)
        Mostly because they're integrated in the Z1 Truss Structure on the outside of the station, where it's easier to swap them out with a space shuttle and the robot arm. They're big, they have a lot of mass, they're not the sort of thing you want astronauts to be shoving around inside (where you could smash something important with them) without the help of something like the robotic arms. Putting them somewhere the Crew could reach without a space walk, would mean that they've have to put them inside the sta
    • Re:What Idiot... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Urban Garlic (447282) on Friday July 02, 2004 @08:30AM (#9591196)
      An idiot who noticed that both the power source for the gyros and the gyros themselves were outside the pressure hull. An idiot who remembered the problems with Mir had with cables running through hatches. Possibly an idiot concerned that a failure of a power system might involve fire, so that, where possible, power systems should be outside the habitable area.

      Not that I'm saying the ISS doesn't have design flaws, I'm sure it does. But, from software to spaceware, design is compromise, and shit happens.
  • We seem to have this fear of someone dying in space, or re-entry, and keep grounding the Shuttle. But all things considered I'd rather die on a shuttle flight than in bed -- unless it's in bed with Raquel Welch, that is.
  • I know a few people who could use attitude stability with redundancy.

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