Feeds

US space programme in shock metric conversion

Falcon 9 launch proves a 'small, one-metre step for man'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

We are sure our readers have been enjoying NASA's footage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch to the ISS earlier today, but amid the excitement, you may have missed another historic moment for the US space programme. Listen carefully...

That's right, at around 1:10, a mission control operative explains: "Altitude 5.3 kilometres, velocity 225 metres per second, and downrange distance of six-tenths of a kilometre."

Let's take a moment to consider just how monumentous this shock injection of metric is. A couple of years back, NASA blamed legacy hardware for its inability to switch from inches to centimetres, despite warnings that its faffing "could derail efforts to develop a globalised civilian space industry".

Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace said: "We in the private sector are doing everything possible to create a global market with as much commonality and interoperability as possible. But NASA still can't make the jump to metric."

Well, it appears that fellow privateer Elon Musk is doing his best to kick NASA's sorry ass into the metric system, even if "six-tenths of a kilometre" still has a ring of old school about it.

We look forward to seeing if the agency, and indeed Britain, will finally succumb to pressure fall in line with the civilised world of SI units. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.