Sunday, September 28, 2008

Software engineering students please read :)

Elon Musk's (of PayPal and Tesla Motors fame) SpaceX successfully launched today. SpaceX is very open about what goes right and wrong with their launches. Video was live from the booster, including first stage separation, which was really cool. Musk was overwhelmed and couldn't get many words out during a post-launch interview.

August's launch worked, but the spacecraft was unusable because after first and second stages collided during separation -- caused by a single line of code:
“The fix was also very simple, requiring one line of code to be changed,” SpaceX officials said in a weekend update.
Read more here. You can see the first and second stage collision (and the resulting tumble) by skipping to about the 2:40 point of this video.

Earlier in September the space station astronauts had to update antivirus software. What?? (emphasis added)
The updates are aimed at ensuring the space station’s computers continue to quarantine viruses like W32.Gammima.AG, a Windows-based worm detected and properly quarantined in the outpost’s computers in late July. The low-risk virus, which is designed to steal passwords for online computer games, was first reported on July 25 after being detected by the station’s protection software. It did not infect the station’s command and control computers and posed no threat to the orbiting lab, though NASA engineers were hoping to find out exactly how the virus reached the station.
Should have got a Mac :)