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Japan Controls Rocket Launch With Just 8 People and 2 Laptops

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the can't-even-make-a-baseball-team-out-of-that dept.

Japan 94

SpaceGhost writes "Sky News reports that the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has launched an orbital telescope on a new generation rocket from the Uchinoura Space Centre in Kagoshima, in southwestern Japan. The Epsilon rocket uses an onboard AI for autonomous launch checks by the rocket itself (launch video). A product of renewed focus on reducing costs, the new vehicle required two laptops and a launch team of eight, compared to the 150 people needed to launch the previous platform, the M-5. Because of the reduced launch team and ease of construction, production and launch costs of the Epsilon are roughly half that of the M-5. The payload, a SPRINT-A telescope, is designed for planetary observation."

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They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849603)

...to control Fukushima.

Japanese efficiency wins again.

Re:They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44849669)

Japan have a company called Cyberdyne.
Japanese rocket launches are AI controlled.

I see where this is going.

Re:They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44850093)

The British military use a satellite communications system called Skynet. Nothing could possibly go worng...

Re:They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854313)

The second to largest ISP in Belgium is also called skynet..

Re:They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849957)

In Soviet Russia, 8 people and 2 laptops control YOU!

Re:They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850283)

In Soviet Russia, 8 people and 2 laptops control YOU!

On Slashdot, that joke is older than YOU!

Re: They are using only 5 people and a PS4... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850081)

Next headline: Rocket charges into Fukashima, improves situation.

And in 20 years.. (0)

Scot Seese (137975) | about a year ago | (#44849609)

..the launches will be controlled by a repurposed Senior Care Autonomous Robotic Employee (SCARE) built by Hitachi Heavy Industries, that simply requires a ROM to be reflashed with its launch program, taking only two minutes and a WiFi connection.

It will look glorious, hooked into the launch control board, with its vacuum nozzle attachment and pill dispenser hanging off the side, as it guides the majestic rocket through the night sky.

Re:And in 20 years.. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44849631)

There is a Hentai joke in here somewhere, but I'm too scared to try.

Re:And in 20 years.. (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year ago | (#44849647)

The pill dispenser made me think about the accompanying pet robot shaped like Pac Man.

Re:And in 20 years.. (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#44852365)

That'd be the Z-001 model, right [wikipedia.org] ?

Almost 94.7%! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849627)

Meanwhile in America... 45%? [slashdot.org] Please... Don't make me laugh!

From 150 people to 8! That's almost 94.7% gone. See that, America? That's how you do it...

Re:Almost 94.7%! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44856399)

Meanwhile in America... 45%? [slashdot.org] Please... Don't make me laugh!

From 150 people to 8! That's almost 94.7% gone. See that, America? That's how you do it...

More like an increase of 26,780%.

8! / 150 = 268.8

Re: Almost 94.7%! (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#44876095)

Oh, shriekingly funny!

Re:Almost 94.7%! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44857015)

That is indeed how you put 94.7% of people out of work. Just wait until they come for every job but engineering and CEOing.

So.... (5, Funny)

ZipXap (2773541) | about a year ago | (#44849655)

It now takes less people to launch a Japanese rocket than to maintain a Windows server in the data center....

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849847)

High five!

Re:So.... (2)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#44850281)

High five! There's your problem, you could do it with 2 sober or 3 just buzzed.

Re:So.... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44855099)

It vary per buzz: coke, pot, beer, they will generate different metrics.

Re:So.... (5, Funny)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44849861)

It now takes less people to launch a Japanese rocket than to maintain a Windows server in the data center....

That's because the rocket is less likely to careen off-course and explode.

Re:So.... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44854565)

That's odd, I'd long thought there was still a difference between career and careen.

Well, that's alright. As English contracts, a smaller vocabulary is easier to carry around; I've lost thousands of words since the 70's and I feel lighter.

Got a chuckle from your comment, thanks for that.

Re:So.... (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44855553)

That's odd, I'd long thought there was still a difference between career and careen.

Well, that's alright. As English contracts, a smaller vocabulary is easier to carry around; I've lost thousands of words since the 70's and I feel lighter.

Got a chuckle from your comment, thanks for that.

There is. To "careen" you tilt. To "career", you speed up. Since the rocket's already careering, what you're more concerned about is the careening.

Re:So.... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44859691)

Ah, my lapse. Tnx.

Re:So.... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44855265)

But if I called just one of them on their cell phone, and asked him for directions to North Korea., will the new headline read '5 people launch missile to Pyongyang'?

Re:So.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849973)

It now takes less people to launch a Japanese rocket than to maintain a Windows server in the data center....

In America? Since we had a single admin for almost 20 Windows servers (big HP servers with 10 hard drives each).

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850039)

If you hire incompetent people, yes

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854669)

So thats why you need the Metro environment on your servers

Decades late to the party... (1, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44849761)

The USN boomer force was launching sixteen missiles with just twenty odd people as far back as 1960. (Yes, there were other people on the boat, but they were no more part of the launch crew than the crane operators at Uchinoura.) Today, it's twenty four missiles with the same crew.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44849879)

Sorry, but you failed to mention how many laptops they were using. Seeing as how one of the main points here was that, instead of using huge, stationary appliances, they were able to rely on only 2 laptops to do the job adequately, I feel like what you're saying doesn't really invalidate this launch.

Also, keep in mind that "20 something" is still over twice as many people as 8.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year ago | (#44849935)

Placing a satellite in an exact orbit requires more precision than 1960s SLBMs could muster, as well as more power.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44850299)

That's why I pointed out today's figures as well - because they have that kind of precision. Not that precision or power are in any way related to the number of launch control crew required in the first place.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#44849971)

This is the first time hipsters did it with laptops though

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44851851)

The USN boomer force was launching sixteen missiles with just twenty odd people as far back as 1960. (Yes, there were other people on the boat, but they were no more part of the launch crew than the crane operators at Uchinoura.) Today, it's twenty four missiles with the same crew.

Missiles are expendable. A certain percentage (30% or so?) of malfunctions (or simply non-hits) is expected. In space launches, you often have unique cargo, and even though there's insurance, you really don't want to cash it in.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44852069)

Missiles are expendable. A certain percentage (30% or so?) of malfunctions (or simply non-hits) is expected.

Actually, no. At least on the strategic side of the house, 98-99% plus were expected to hit their targets. (Which is about the same percentage of successes as space launches.) The D5, which has had over a hundred launches, had 100% success.

D5 success rate != 100% (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | about a year ago | (#44852247)

The first one failed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UGM-133_Trident_II [wikipedia.org]

Re:D5 success rate != 100% (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44852445)

Yeah, just pretend I typed in what I meant to type in "The D5, which has had over a hundred operational test launches, has had 100% success". (Operational test launches are production tactical missiles, the one that failed was a PEM bird - a non tactical development missile.)

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44854487)

To add to what DerekLyons has posted, the cep (circular error probable, used to be written as C.E.P.) for an RV on the Trident II D5 with a W88 is given as 300-400ft. If memory serves that's considered effective against hardened targets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UGM-133_Trident_II [wikipedia.org] gives 143 consecutive successful test flights
https://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/d-5.htm [fas.org]
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Weapons/W88.html [nuclearweaponarchive.org]

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44855273)

Don't call them 'odd'; you could hurt their sensitivities. Let's call them talented.

Re:Decades late to the party... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44856749)

Submariners don't have that kind of sensibility problems.

Uh-oh (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44849867)

M-5 got unplugged, again? Daystrom is really going to wig out this time...

Small solid rocket (4, Interesting)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year ago | (#44849949)

The epsilon rocket is a) tiny and b) entirely solid fueled. This kind of high level of automation might not translate well to more complex and larger rockets. Bear in mind also that this is just the launch crew. Manufacturing the rocket is likely still labour intensive.

Re:Small solid rocket (3, Informative)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about a year ago | (#44850559)

True, but note that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket doesn't need a gigantic ground crew at the launch site like you needed with the Space Shuttle. In fact, the crew needed to assemble, test and launch the United Launch Alliance Delta IV or Atlas V rockets are much smaller than they used to be, thanks to much more efficient rocket assembly buildings.

Re:Small solid rocket (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44850779)

NASA has never exactly been a cost-effective operation. Plus they can point to the massive teams used by the moon launches way back when and still say "See, we reduced our staff!"

Re:Small solid rocket (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#44850945)

while true. the thing is NASA is a government organization. it is ruled by bureaucracy and politicians , which means you need at least 3 managers, and one over sight person per 5 regular employees.

Now considering NASA was doing all of Apollo by hand on a computer that was less advanced than a TI-83 (and that was ground side) then it makes sense.

The trick is even with the shuttles NASA wasn't given the funding to cut employees by using automation. the Politicians refused it as it was pork for their districts.

Re:Small solid rocket (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44852093)

Now considering NASA was doing all of Apollo by hand on a computer that was less advanced than a TI-83 (and that was ground side) then it makes sense.

Actually, NASA had initially several (five?) IBM 7094-II computers and later five IBM System/360 Model 75Js for the Apollo project. I also believe that both sets of machines had some nifty RT extensions both in HW and in the OS. The former ones had about 0.35 MFLOPS, and I think 32 Kwords of 36-bit memory; the latter ones had something like 1 MiB of 32-bit memory and something over 1 MFLOPS each. Your TI-83, on the other hand, has 32 KB of memory - a quarter the core memory of a 7094-II - and I can't imagine its 6 MHz Z-80 doing a double-precision floating point operation in under 20 cycles, which you'd need to match the 7094-II's performance. Don't even think about comparing your TI-83 to the Model 75 (and even *that* was outdated when NASA started receiving model 91 (that packed whopping 16 MFLOPS) tops when the first missions were going to Moon - obviously, they didn't upgrade mid-project).

Re:Small solid rocket (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44854005)

Now considering NASA was doing all of Apollo by hand on a computer that was less advanced

You've got X years to get to the moon with no launcher, lander or capsule is the sort of project that requires shitloads of people. Once you've built on the shoulders of giants things get easier.

Later NASA was a victim of it's success as it became a parking lot for people like the Bush appointee aged in his mid 20s that started telling the scientists what to write. Large budgets attract people like flies, and people in power know a lot of folks that resemble flies :)

Re:Small solid rocket (1)

dindi (78034) | about a year ago | (#44856571)

The Millennium Falcon needed no ground crew at all, just a wookie and a pistol slinging smuggler.. Who by the way shot first.

Re:Small solid rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44851175)

Small, solid fueled? Hell, I launched things like that by myself 40 years ago. No laptops in those days - just a car battery to heat up the ignition wire. Man, those Estes were fun...

Re:Small solid rocket (2)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44851263)

The epsilon rocket is a) tiny ..

If it launched a payload to orbit, it can't be tiny... No rocket able to do that is tiny.

Re:Small solid rocket (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44855109)

Americans are fat, Asians are slim? (Aiming for funny, I am fat)

Re:Small solid rocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44855977)

So? NASA could've gone all solid to reduce people. But they didn't do that. The space shuttle was designed to be re-usable, but it was more expensive than non-reusable launches, per launch and even moreso overall. The point? They didn't even try. And in that way, held back space exploration for 30 years.

Now the Japanese, the Chinese, even a bunch of hobbyists from Denmark are passing NASA left and right. All it really means is that most of the money going into NASA was spent to not go forward in any field. Not a good use of tax dollars.

It's a solid rocket booster stack (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44849987)

The Epsilon rocket is three stages of solid rocket booster, like an ICBM. So there's no fueling on the pad, no plumbing, no cryogenics, and no turbopumps. The launch team has a lot less to do than with liquid-fueled rockets.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year ago | (#44850103)

If it saves money, why not? I think one of Elon Musk's big money savers was not going for maximum efficiency with liquid hydrogen fuel - kerosene is obviously a lot easier to handle.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850471)

I'm not sure charging $133million to put a pathetic 1000LB payload into the ISS is saving the American ratepayers any money whatsoever.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

sahonen (680948) | about a year ago | (#44852747)

The big win with kerosene over LH2 is that kerosene is much denser, so a) your tanks can be smaller and b) it's much easier to generate high levels of thrust since you don't have to move as much liquid through your engine.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850619)

The Epsilon rocket is three stages of solid rocket booster, like an ICBM. So there's no fueling on the pad, no plumbing, no cryogenics, and no turbopumps. The launch team has a lot less to do than with liquid-fueled rockets.

The oxidant is still either oxygen or nitrous oxide - that means, pumps and cryogenics are still needed, to a certain extent.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#44851641)

Depends on the fuel being used, the shuttles SRBs were just lumps of ammonium perchlorate, Aluminum & iron oxide. In this case the ammonium perchlorate, a white powder, was the oxidizer.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44854693)

if you're pumping an oxidizer and control pumping of that then it's not really solid rocket... instead the oxidizer is mixed in.

now this of course has it's drawbacks as you can't just turn the rocket off if you want to or control the speed by controlling flow . and then there's accidents like this http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/27/local/me-explode27 [latimes.com] since the stuff is .. well, explosive to say the least.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (4, Interesting)

LourensV (856614) | about a year ago | (#44851345)

The Epsilon rocket is three stages of solid rocket booster, like an ICBM. So there's no fueling on the pad, no plumbing, no cryogenics, and no turbopumps. The launch team has a lot less to do than with liquid-fueled rockets.

They're also proudly proclaiming how quickly they can prepare the rocket for launch. I don't think that these features are coincidental, and I don't think that cost savings are the only driver behind developing this thing. North Korea's leadership is a bit unstable at times, it may have nuclear weapons, and Japan has had North Korean rockets fly over its territory before. It's a serious potential threat to them.

Since they lost in WWII, Japan has been very pacifist, but in recent years it has begun to expand its military activities a bit, taking part in a UN peace keeping mission for instance. Outright developing an ICBM would probably go a bit too far at this point, but making a civilian rocket that can be launched at short notice with a small crew and has the range to hit North Korea could just be an acceptable compromise between mitigating the NK threat and not rocking the domestic political boat too much with overly aggressive military moves.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44852345)

They recently unveiled a new "helicopter destroyer" (Izumo class) that just happens to be large enough to probably be convertible to a traditional fixed-wing-aircraft carrier.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

TCPhotography (1245814) | about a year ago | (#44860571)

It's convertible to a STOVL carrier, so it could operate things like Harriers and F-35Bs, which are marginally less capable than the STOBAR (Short Take Off, BArrier Recovery) ship the PLAN has and dramatically less than the conventional CATOBAR (CAtapult Take Off, BArrier Recovery) ships the USN, Marine Nationale, and the Brazilian Navy has.

Re:It's a solid rocket booster stack (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44851965)

Just light it and run!
We don't need no stinkin' computers.

4 persons per keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850005)

Not very optimal.

Re:4 persons per keyboard (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44855123)

1 on the keyboard, 1 on the mouse, both share a screen? OR 1 is blind bu type very fast, the other have excellent eyes but no hands? OR You still need bags of water to setup the physical equipment... count from 10, etc.

What about Dai-Ichi ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850049)

Great. How many people does it take them to (try to) control a crippled nuclear plant ? :)

Yes I can too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850293)

I can fart without loose control of my missiles too. Its not science rocket

Any time... (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about a year ago | (#44850351)

...you see a huge hoard of people launching a spacecraft, or massive ground support infrastructure, you are looking at obsolete technology.

A step in the right direction.

Re:Any time... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#44850541)

"...you see a huge hoard of people launching a spacecraft, or massive ground support infrastructure, you are looking at obsolete technology."

I'm not so sure. I think what you're seeing is a public relations and media event. Really, how exciting would it have been to see any NASA launch with just a few engineers sitting around a table? People want to see the big board and lots of people wearing headsets sitting at workstations labeled with the subsystem name.

Horde, not hoard, (unless you're hiding the staff) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44852845)

Take a look at the number of people in the MSL control room during the Mars Landing. It's about 20 actual workers, and probably the same number of "observers & managers".
You typically have 2 people for each major subsystem/function (e.g. a couple to handle Telecom, a couple to worry about the flight computer, a couple to do guidance/navigation, etc.)

In the case of the Mars landing, it's all automated (after all, you're watching it 20 minutes after it happened), but you still have the people there. So why?
1) If something does go wrong, you've got a subject matter expert there who might notice something unusual early enough to do something about it: they do lots of rehearsals; and even if you can't do something about it, in the event of a "bad day", you want someone there to answer questions quickly. Sure, you could wake the person up and they could VPN and look at the logs and maybe figure something out. For a launch, there's a LOT of things that can go wrong, and everyone there is looking for one and ready to push the "abort" button to avert a disaster.

2) Because it's frikkin' exciting to be there. You've spent the last 3 years or more, working 100 hour weeks, to make the launch date. You've been doing dry runs, standing up in reviews to explain to someone who's nervous, yeah, we thought of that, and this is what we'll do. This is a reward: you get to be the VERY FIRST person in the world to know what happened, and the rest of us get to see your goofy shouts and jumping up and down. You'd have to be pretty pathological to go "oh, yeah, another landing/launch.. pass me those budget requests for next year so I can work on them"

3) Because you're a senior manager, and you've spent the last 3 years of your life reading financial reports and schedules, and you really, really, really miss actually doing engineering, and this is as close as you can get. You also have been defending your mission or activities against whiners in government and Congress who are saying, "why can't you spend less" and "shouldn't we use this money to fund X, or Y, or Z instead of wasting it on space flight"

Re:Any time... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44854041)

Or a highly experimental one, like the saturn five was, which is why it required so much support.
The cutting edge requires more work which is why it requires more people. Established technology, like these solid rocket stages, is better understood so requires less people.

Thus I think you are getting it backwards although I'd substitute "ready for large scale production" for your "obsolete".

Re:Any time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854771)

Yeah, because employing people who make a living with their skill and knowledge is just so, you know, last century. Never mind that those people have, time and again, proven quite valuable. But no, let's just do it your way and make absolutely sure to make it a goal that people with science and engineering degrees can't be employed at anything because we only need a few of them.

I mean, look at NASA, which has been called all kinds of names in this thread. Going to the moon in 9 years, developing a reusable space vehicle with what by today's standards was inadequate materials AND being forced to spread both projects around to a bunch of pigs at the trough (for-profit contractors) AND being forced to build their shuttle to ridiculous Air Force specifications despite their engineers knowing it was a bad idea AND having their budget cut every time they were actually successful plus not being given funding to actually improve on and make next generation versions of the things they developed--well that's just bloat, waste, and inefficiency.

I suppose employing people, doing useful things, inventing new materials, computer systems, engineering techniques and boosting the economy with them because they were shared with everybody and not locked up by patents was just horrible. I mean, the private sector does so much better now reinventing 1950s technology and making everybody believe they're up to something innovative.

This kind of thing is why 1950s - 1970s = strong middle class while 1980s - now = declining standards of living, increasing debt, increasing hopelessness, and an upward redistribution of wealth.

Space X? (2)

quax (19371) | about a year ago | (#44850495)

Anybody knows how the new commercial space launchers do in comparison?

Commercial vs. government control rooms. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#44854299)

Anybody knows how the new commercial space launchers do in comparison?

Don't know about the current crop. But back in the late '80s AMROC controlled their launches without the classic room-full-of-custom-consoles. Instead they hacked up their "consoles" as a GUI on one instance of the state-of-the-art windowing interface computer of the time - a Macintosh (what they'd now call a "Macintosh Classic").

I hear that, when they showed up at Goddard for their test shot, the usual control room crew was standing around with their jaws dropped as the whole thing was run from the little screen on the little box on the single desk. B-)

If you never heard of AMROC: They were the ones that were working with the hybrid rocket: Solid fuel (synthetic tire rubber), liquid oxidizer (liquid oxygen). Controllability of a liquid fuel, complexity halfway between solid and liquid fuel (only ONE set of plumbing, not too that must be synchronized), safety better than either (turn off the LOX and the fuel just smolders and goes out.

They lost their mover-and-shaker founding-team member days before their first flight attempt. Then, though the engines had many successful tests, the actual flight attempt failed in about the worst possible failure modes for a hybrid: The LOX valve iced up (due to ambient moisture) and stuck at about 30% open: Not enough thrust to get off the pad, but enough slow burn energy to destroy much of the rocket and pad equipment, and they couldn't either launch or shut down. Then they went bankrupt, so there wasn't a second shot. (Their tech was sold and some of it is used in space ship one.)

my buddy's step-mother makes $83 an hour on the co (-1, Offtopic)

Carol_Stanfield3 (3084669) | about a year ago | (#44850643)

my buddy's step-mother makes $83 an hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for seven months but last month her pay was $21619 just working on the computer for a few hours. discover this.... http://www.cnn13.com/ [cnn13.com]

Only two laptops for eight people? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44850669)

I guess they are extreme programming fans.

Re:Only two laptops for eight people? (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44851361)

No, that sounds like a normal programming project to me:
2 laptops, 2 programmers
1 Supervisor
1 Project Manager
1 Finance Manager
1 Product Manager
1 Personnel Manager
1 Quality Manager

Re:Only two laptops for eight people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854327)

But in a normal project, the supervisors and managers have Macbook Pros, while the programmers have to beg on their knees to be allowed to use a P4 desktop.

Re:Only two laptops for eight people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44856053)

The laptops are Osborne.

Re:Only two laptops for eight people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44863377)

And the managers are using one of them.

Omoshiroi desu, ne. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850717)

No biggie. I controlled both of Japan's rocket-launching laptops with my TRS-80 and Sinclair computers, and programs written in LogoLisp.

what the summary didn't mension (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44850857)

is that the rocket was designed using kerbal space progam

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44851397)

I've put a probe on every planet in the solar system (except Jool, eff you!) and built a space station for 15 with only me at the helm.

Good and bad (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#44851491)

I applaud them on bringing down the launch crew requirements. Space travel is never going to open up for the masses if you need thousands of personnel to launch 7 individuals every few months. But while this rocket is bringing down the requirements on one front its severely limiting the spacecraft capabilities on another. At least according to the info I can pull up the Epsilon rocket uses solid rocket fuel for pretty much every stage (except maybe the fourth optional stage). While I am sure that massively simplifies ground crew work it also limits payload size and orbital insertion options. Switching to/utilizing liquid fuel may be a bit more complicated, but it would significantly increase capabilities. The DC-X is a pretty good example, it was liquid hydrogen/oxygen fueled (one of the more difficult fuels to work with) but it only required a crew of 14. Going full LOX/LH2 wouldn't be necessary either, Methane or kerosene would provide much of the advantages and few of the difficulties of LH2.

Some marketing on "we are only 8" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44851861)

In a regular launch, most of the people "do" nothing. They are just there to say go or no go, by looking at values. Which can usually be simple to automatize, at least for the "go" part. But in the no go case, people like to have some feedback like "let me check that, call me back in 2 minutes" or "that's a real problem, we will not launch today, start the cancellation procedure."

Can the "AI" rocket do the same, or do these 8 people need to call someone in an office somewhere else to verify ? (I would say the latter)

Anyway, 8 people for 1 launcher, not very impressive. We are 5 here in the room and we flight (approximatively) 33 satellites, the ratio is better ;-)

How many Africans would it have taken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44851899)

500 million x IQ of 70 = 500 million people who are still too stupid to launch ANYTHING into space, or even design and build a car, let alone a space rocket...

Priorities ... (1)

dankasak (2393356) | about a year ago | (#44852921)

They need to quit launching things into space and concentrate on cleaning up their nuclear waste which is leaking into my ocean.

2 laptops, 8 people = 2 people working ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44852991)

6 watching.

150 to 8 (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44853021)

Team reduced from 150 to 8. The unlucky 142 remaining PhD will line up to become scientific journalists, producing rounds of papers about the latest molecule that will make us live longer, treat cancer, and/or obesity.

Re:150 to 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44853393)

The remaining 142 are doing *knock*knock*knock*

Just a second, someone knocking on my door... BRB

Cellphones Are More Powerful Then Apollo Computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44853687)

My PS2 is considered a supercomputer, because it's powerful enough to do the calculations to make atomic bombs. Nevermind my PS3. Nevermind the upcoming PS4.

Also, I rarely actually use it as a phone.

this must be slow day at /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854067)

Err... your country have capability to launch rockets with only 2 people for a long time:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeZYe_Fj-78

Right now, you don't even need to manned it through. Just send a command from that briefcase that you president aides carries around..

Which planet? (1)

quenda (644621) | about a year ago | (#44854389)

SPRINT-A telescope, is designed for planetary observation

Perhaps recent revelations have made me cynical, but would the planet happen to be earth?

One was a backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44854663)

Glad they used 2 laptops, you know for redundancy and all.

Kaizen the metaphors! (1)

sbjornda (199447) | about a year ago | (#44857181)

Now even the Rocket Scientists are being "kaizened" out of a job. Next it'll be Brain Surgeons, and then we'll be all out of metaphors for doing difficult stuff.

--
.nosig

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