CyberTech Rambler

September 30, 2010

Good job for not replacing

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 2:51 pm

IEEE Spectrum run a story on Russian finally have a fully digital Soyuz spacecraft. The point I want to emphasize here is not that they finally gone digital, but they were right in resisting the move to digital.

“If something ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” I am glad the Russian subscribed to this mantra to a fault. The reason for moving to a digital version? The increased frequency of flights due to US Space Shuttle retirement finally means a faster testing turnaround is needed, something their 30+ year old flight computer cannot support. That is a good reason to upgrade.

As spacecraft computer is definitely a mission critical one, and aside from  the potential lost of human lifes, most spacecraft malfunction is seen as an injury to national pride, therefore the Russian has been proceeding really carefully. That  cost money. Besides, being the only nation capable of launching human into space routinely for some foreseeable time to come do add to the pressure. I hope the cautious approach pay off.

On the boarder question of replacing Soyuz: Why do you want to do it? It ain’t broken. It is outlasting the US space shuttle fleet and we see derivative of Soyuz in the form of Chinese manned spacecraft.  Tried and tested technology. Keep it. Unless of  course, you need to hurl more people per launch into space or something equivalent to justify the replacement.

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