Figuring out new ways to train an astronaut

[Crossposted at the Space Trade Association]


How to train your astronauts [Via EurekAlert! – Space and Planetary Science]

NASA/Johnson Space Center) As NASA develops deep space exploration missions on its journey to Mars, the agency is investigating current training methods in order to adapt to the longer and longer missions.


As we move further into the 21st century we will have to spend a lot of time on training those going into space. As this article states, “During the Shuttle Program, astronauts trained about 5 to 8 years for a 10 to 14 day mission, with a work-timeline scripted down to the minute.”

That cannot be done for a mission potentially lasting years. Nor does it scale well if thousands of people eventually work in space.

Figuring out how to train people to live and work in space will take some time, I fear. But we need to get to the point where it  can be done in a much more scalable fashion.

Maybe a business opportunity.

Image: NASA

Fastest launch ever is a failure to some

Apple Watch Edition 

How to Pretend Apple Watch Is a Failure No Matter What 
[Via – The Mac Observer]

Apple Watch. Seems like Apple has a hit on its corporate hands. Or a preorder hit. The company sold a million Apple Watches in the first 24 hours—just in the U.S.—according to one piece of analysis. That would make it the most successful new product category launch in Apple’s history—so what do you do if you’ve been talking smack about it for months?


This might well be the biggest and most successful launch ever for an Apple product. 

It appears from several estimates that over a 1 million Apple watches were sold the first day of pre-orders. One recent report said 2.3 million have been preordered worldwide. It took the runaway hit iPhone 74 days to reach a million sold. And the iPad took 28 days.

In one day Apple may have sold more smartwatches than an entire year of Android ones.

This is unprecedented for a new product category, one that requires previous ownership of an iPhone.This huge demand is what is driving shipping dates back. 

So, to some idiots, this is a bad thing. They seem to have little ability to work with numbers.

Here is how Apple could make over 2 million watches between March and May, as they ramp up production production to 2-3 million watches after about 6 months.

Have about 300,000 produced in March ready on April 10, with 1 million more ready by the end of April and another 1 million ready by the end of May.

If the trend had followed that for the iPad, the fastest selling device ever, they would have been able to easily meet demand. Even more so if it followed the iPhone trend. With a device that comes in a much larger array of choices.

Remember, it is hard to stockpile a lot of these without knowing just how many of which type are actually going to be ordered. The actual mix (estimated to be 85% Apple Watch Sport, 15% Apple watch and a very small number of Apple Edition) may be different from what Apple originally thought.

This is how we get to June before the pre-orders finally get dealt with.

Looks to me like Apple itself was caught off guard with how popular the Watch is. This is a good thing. With an average cost over $500, we are talking about $1 billion of new revenue in a very small period of time.

Well done.

I am also becoming convinced that the Apple Watch changes things

Apple Watch 

The Watch
[Via asymco]

Before its launch, I said that the Apple Watch would be as much a watch as the iPhone is a phone. Recall that when the iPhone was launched it was anchored on three tentpoles, one of which was being a phone and that when the Apple Watch was launched it was also anchored on three tentpoles, one of which was being a watch.

Realizing that on the iPhone the “phone” is but an app — one which I find populated with FaceTime calls rather than cellular calls and whose messaging history is filled with iMessage threads rather than SMS — I consider it safe to say what the iPhone is today not as much a phone as a very personal computer. And so the question is whether the Watch will quickly leave behind its timekeeping anchor and move into being something completely different.

I had the chance to use the Watch for a few days and can say that timekeeping is probably as insignificant to its essence as it’s possible to be. It feels like a watch in the physical sense, looking good in the process (as the iPhone physically felt like a phone, also without being hard on the eyes)

However it does not feel like a watch conceptually. I find myself drawn into a conversation by its vocabulary of vibrations. I find myself talking to it. I find myself listening to it. I find myself glancing at information about faraway places. I find myself paying for things with it. I find myself checking into flights with it. I order transportation, listen to news, check live data streams and get myself nagged to exercise. It tells me where I am. It tells me where to go. It tells me when to leave.

Nothing ever worn on a wrist, or anywhere else for that matter, has done any of these things before. Not only are these things mesmerizing but they are done in a productive way on a wristwatch. In other words they are done in a mindful way.


I’ve written a few times about this – the iPhone is not a phone but a supercomputer in our pocket; the Apple Watch will be the device that interacts with the supercomputer in our pocket.

We can now use other devices to allow us to gain access to huge amounts of information while leaving the supercomputer in our pocket. And these devices can let that supercomputer service its computational needs while doing things that are easier for us.

I expect this to again change things.

Historic CRS-6 flight scrubbed. Maybe on Tuesday.

sacexSpace X

[crossposted at the Space Trade Association]

SpaceX Falcon 9 ready for CRS-6 Dragon launch and Stage return [Via]

SpaceX will begin its seventh Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, with the cargo craft lifting off from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40 atop a Falcon 9 rocket to begin the CRS-6 mission. Bound for a five-week visit to the ISS, Dragon will depart the Cape at 16:33 local time (20:33 UTC).


The sixth of fifteen Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) flights SpaceX has been contracted to perform on behalf of NASA, Monday’s launch will carry hardware, supplies and scientific equipment to the space station’s crew.

Fifteen small satellites have also been loaded aboard the Dragon, for deployment from the ISS’ Kibo laboratory module.


Unfortunately, weather prevented the launch today but there is real hope that tomorrow will be the date. 4:10 EDT.

Because not only is SpaceX trying to reland the first stage, an historic accomplishment.

But one of the small satellites on board is the Arkyd-3R from Planetary Resources, its first launched test bed that could signal the beginning of the era of asteroid mining.

Fun times.

How the next technological revolution starts


[Crossposted at the Space Trade Association]

There has been, and continues to be, a lot of discussion about what sort of technology will change everything – 3d printers, AI, space.

That is the wrong way to look at it. It is not technology that does the changing. Deep change comes from reorganizing ourselves around new principles in order to take the best advantage of the new technology.

Like Darwin’s finches on a new, uninhabited island of the Galapagos, we must change ourselves and our society in order to be successful in the new cultural environment.

Carlota Perez has written a lot about technological revolutions (the really impactful ones). For them to happen, there needs to be new, cheap access to resources, new infrastructure to move the resources around and then the organizations to take advantage of the first two.

The last one always requires social re-organization and discovery of operating principles needed to be successful in the cultural environment that is created.

The technology may be in use for a generation before someone figures out how to actually use it in ways to transform society.

Large construction projects had been around for 20 years until Carnegie opened up the first steel mill in Pittsburg to usher in an age of massive projects. Cheap steel available to a large market changed society, bringing us robber barons, unions, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Gilded Age.

The internal combustion engine using fossil fuels had been around for about 20 years until Ford produced the Model T and ushered in the age of mass production. Cheap transportation and mass markets changed society, bringing us international corporations, broadcast TV, pollution and men on the Moon.

Semiconductor technology had been around for over 20 years until Intel released the first microprocessor and ushered in the age of mass information. Cheap production of digital information and mass access changed society, bringing us supercomputers in our pockets, the Internet, streaming music and Facebook.

In each, it was more the organizing principles that were developed that made the new technology more productive. Not the technology itself.

So it won’t be the tech or resources  as much as the structure the human societies adopt to most take advantage of the new resources/infrastructure.

That is how everything changes.

Planetary Resource’s Arkyd-3R flies on Monday – with SpaceX

SpaceX CRS-1 Blastoff 

Really great news from Planetary Resources. Their Arkyd-3 test satellite (A3R) will be relaunched on Monday.

The first one – the A3 – was lost when the launch vehicle spectacularly blew up.

Now, six months later, they are ready again. And here is the cool thing – SpaceX is the launch vehicle this time. The A3R is hitching a ride to the International Space Station in order to get into orbit.

The cool thing is that this is another attempt by SpaceX to land the rocket booster after launch. If they succeed, it will be historic.

So, it is possible that a single rocket will usher in the age of reusable rockets as well as the era of asteroid mining. That is a story to look for. As NASA says, “Liftoff is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.”

Be there.

The Internet never forgets – clam chowder about the iPhone

 Clam Chowder at Max's Cafe

‘Apparently None of You Guys Realize How Bad of an Idea a Touchscreen Is on a Phone’
[Via Daring Fireball]

Abdel Ibrahim, cherry-picking from Engadget commenters pooh-poohing the original iPhone keynote in 2007:

Apparently none of you guys realize how bad of an idea a touch-screen is on a phone. I foresee some pretty obvious and pretty major problems here.

I’ll be keeping my Samsung A707, thanks. It’s smaller, it’s got a protected screen, and it’s got proper buttons. And it’s got all the same features otherwise. (Oh, but it doesn’t run a bloatware OS that was never designed for a phone.)

Color me massively disappointed.

The Samsung A707 was a real beauty.


Clam chowder is made with the remnants of stupid things said years earlier.But not just saying something is wrong but with an air of finality that is 180 degrees away from where things really went.

They are a contrary indicator. Now every phone advertized looks like an iPhone. None look like the A707.

Missing waves of innovation and failing to cross the gulf created by a paradigm shift is a hallmark of so many today. We have to fix that.


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