Feeds

Year-end computer bug could ground Shuttle

Must take off on time

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The pressure is on at NASA to launch the next Shuttle mission on time, because if the launch date slips past December 18, a computer bug could keep the twelve-day mission grounded until January next year.

The Shuttle was never expected to be in orbit as one year gives way to another, so the computers aren't set up to switch to a new "Day One". To the Shuttle, January 1 is just day 366.

"The shuttle computers were never envisioned to fly through a year-end changeover," space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale explained.

In itself, this wouldn't be a problem, but the computers on the ground work differently, and losing synch with mission control would probably be a Bad Thing.

The onboard computer could be reset, but this would mean that the Shuttle would be flying blind, without navigation updates or vehicle control. Although simulations of the date switch have gone well, understandably, NASA would prefer to avoid this scenario in the real world.

Hale says he thinks a launch in December is likely, though, because the weather in Florida tends to be "more benign" in December, lessening the chances of lightning or hurricane induced delays.

Currently the Shuttle is set to launch on December 7, but NASA says it might move the launch date up to December 6. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.