Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By August 10, 2005 Read More →

Time to patch Windows (Again!)

Microsoft is urging Windows users to update their systems with the latest security patches it has released to fix three critical flaws in its software.
The flaws mostly affect Windows 2000 and Internet Explorer. Users with updated Windows Server 2003 and XP systems are not as much at risk.

If left unplugged, they could allow hackers and virus writers to take control of personal computers remotely

Everyone should go to Windows Update and make sure that their computer is fully updated!

Matt

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Posted in: Apps & Games
By August 10, 2005 Read More →

Mars probe launch delayed

Todays launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has had to be postponed after the discovery of problems with the Atlas V launch rocket.

The launch is now scheduled for tomorrow morning at 1135 GMT from Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is the first government launch of Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V launch vehicle. The orbiter will study Mars to understand the planet’s water riddles and to advance the exploration of the mysterious red planet.

The probe will investigate the history of water on Mars and hunt for landing sites for future manned missions.

The delay comes one day after Nasa celebrated the successful return to Earth of the space shuttle Discovery.

The new Mars orbiter cost over $500m (£280m) to build and is due to arrive in Mars’ orbit in March 2006, for a 25-month mission.

Matt

(Image Credit: Nasa/KSC)

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By August 9, 2005 Read More →

Discovery and crew home safely!

Shuttle lands safely.

Despite the problems experienced with the launch, heat shield damage, thermal blanket damage and delays due to bad weather, the American Space Shuttle Discovery has landed safely at Edwards Airforce Base in California.

The re-entry and landing was televised live by most of the world’s media channels. It has been a long time since a shuttle landing has attracted so much attention.

I hope that the problems with the foam lagging on the External Tank can be quickly resolved so that Nasa’s shuttle programme can resume normal service.

I would like to congratulate the crew of Discovery, STS-114 astronauts Steve Robinson, Jim Kelly, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Charlie Camarda, Eileen Collins and Soichi Noguchi as well as the vast numbers of people behind the scenes that make manned space flight possible.

Matt

(Images: Nasa)

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By August 9, 2005 Read More →

Nasa hopes for good weather

The crew of the shuttle Discovery are preparing to return to Earth after bad visibility in Florida forced a delay on Monday.

Nasa hopes to bring the shuttle down at 1007 BST (0507 EST; 0907 GMT) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If the weather remains a problem in Florida, the shuttle could land at air bases in California or New Mexico.

UPDATE: Nasa has been forced to delay the return of the shuttle due to bad weather in Florida. The new estimated return time is 11:43 BST.

UPDATE: The landing site has now been moved to Edwards Airforce Base in California at an expected time of 13:12 BST.

UPDATE: Discovery has fired her engines for a de-orbital burn that slows the Shuttle down enough to begin re-entry. There is no going back now!

Watch for updates throughout the morning.

Matt

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By August 8, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle not coming home today

Due to bad weather and low lying cloud cover at Kenedy Space Center the Space Shuttle Discovery’s return to earth has been delayed by 24 hours.

Other landing opportunities are scheduled for Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center and the back-up strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Matt

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By August 8, 2005 Read More →

Discovery ready to come home

Despite having to delay the re-entry due to bad weather, Nasa say they are extremely confident that there are will be no problems with Discovery’s return to earth.

The seven crew members aboard Discovery have been preparing for their re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Low-lying cloud which could obscure the landing strip forced flight controllers to scrub the shuttle’s scheduled landing at around 0946 BST (0446 EDT).

Discovery will now attempt to land at 1121 BST (0621 EDT) at Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral.

Nasa has declared the shuttle safe to withstand the burning descent that shattered Columbia in February 2003.

Check out Brandan’s LIVEBLOG

(Source: BBC News)

Matt

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By August 6, 2005 Read More →

Shuttle bids farewell to ISS

The crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery have packed their bags and left the ISS to begin the long journey back home. After saying goodbye to the station’s two residents, the crew closed the hatches and sealed the shuttle before slowly separating early on Saturday.

Having undocked with the ISS, the shuttle will fly around the space station, taking photographs from every angle.

“We are doing it to take pictures of the space station, snap some pictures from some angles we haven’t seen since the last orbiter was there in 2002,” Paul Hill, lead shuttle flight director, told journalists.

(Souces: BBC, Nasa)

Matt

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By August 5, 2005 Read More →

Is broadcasting terrorist video a good idea?

I blogged about the latest al-Qaeda video earlier this week on our blog where Osama Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri was ranting about the reasons for the recent London Bombings being entirely Tony Blair’s fault, blaming his foreign policy.

I understand and accept that these sorts of video announcements are news worthy and that we should all be told about them, however, is broadcasting the actual video footage on television a good idea?

My point is that the video could well contain hidden meanings or codes that may give instructions to terrorist cells based here in the UK or the USA.

Has anyone else notice that whenever you see these broadcasts there is always a rifle in the back of the shot? Could this also be something of relevance?

Surely it would be sufficient to show a library image of the person, in this case Ayman al-Zawahri, and read out a summary of what has been said?

I’m not really one to go for the whole conspiracy thing but is it that hard to believe that things like this can and do happen?

Matt

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Posted in: Editorial
By August 5, 2005 Read More →

No more Space Shuttle Discovery repairs

Following a series of wind tunnel tests and engineers reviews, Nasa has decided a further spacewalk to repair a torn thermal blanket on the shuttle Discovery is not necessary.
The US space agency told the seven crew members the shuttle would be safe for re-entry, due on Monday, despite the torn blanket below the cockpit window.

A Nasa representative told journalists that “I think in the old days we would not have worried about this so much”. Presumably the fact that all eyes are on Nasa at the moment is forcing them to be rather more cautious that they may normally have been.

On Wednesday, astronauts removed protruding material from the orbiter’s underside which was threatening the heatshield’s integrity.

If Nasa had decided upon a further spacewalk, it would have been the fourth carried out by the Discovery crew.

(Image: Nasa)

Matt

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By August 3, 2005 Read More →

More shuttle fears?

There are fresh fears that there could be further problems with the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Apparantly there is some concern about a thermal blanket below the cockpit. Experts believe that this may have been damaged during lift off when the orbiter stuck a bird. It is feared that the thermal blanket could tear off during re-entry.

Flight director, Paul Hill, said a decision would be taken once engineers had finished studying images of the blanket.

What does that mean? If they don’t like the look of the blanket images they leave the orbiter up there and parachute home?! Could they possibly send another unmanned orbiter up to return the crew and return Discovery at a later date?

The shuttle has to be manned for re-entry doesn’t it?

Matt

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