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Safety panel has “great concern” about NASA plans to test Moon mission software - Ars Technica
“Flight systems should be developed for success with a goal to test like you fly.”
Enlarge/ Teams at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility move the Core Stage toward a barge in January that will carry it to a test stand in Mississippi. 9 with 8 posters participating An independent panel that assesses the safety of NASA activities has raised serious questions about the space agency's plan to test flight software for its Moon missions. During a Thursday meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, one of its members, former NASA Flight Director Paul Hill, outlined the panel's concerns after speaking with managers for NASA's first three Artemis missions. This includes a test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I, and then human flights on the Artemis II and III missions. Hill said the safety panel was apprehensive about the lack of "end-to-end" testing of the software and hardware used during these missions, from launch through landing. Such comprehensive testing ensures that the flight software is compatible across different vehicles and in a number of different environments, including the turbulence of launch and maneuvers in space. "The panel has great concern about the end-to-end integrated test capability plans, especially for flight software," Hill said. "There is no end-to-end integrated avionics and software test capability. Instead, multiple and separate labs, emulators, and simulations are being used to test subsets of the software." The safety panel also was struggling to understand why, apparently, NASA had not learned its lessons from the recent failed test flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, Hill said. (Boeing is also the primary contractor for the Space Launch System rocket's core stage). Prior to a test flight of the Starliner crew capsule in December 2019, Boeing did not run integrated, end-to-end tests for the mission that was supposed to dock with the International Space Station. Instead of running a software test that encompassed the roughly 48-hour period from launch through docking to the station, Boeing broke the test into chunks. As a result, the spacecraft was nearly lost on two occasions and did not complete its primary objective of reaching the orbiting laboratory. Hill referred to a proprietary report by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), published on September 8, which raised similar concerns about trying to run software tests across multiple centers and labs. "It is not evident to the panelists their current plan and processes take advantage of their lessons learned," Hill said. "The NESC report makes the excellent point that as much as possible flight systems should be developed for success with a goal to test like you fly in the same way that NASA's operations teams train the way you fly, and fly the way you train." In response to these concerns, a NASA spokeswoman said the agency would, in fact, be conducting end-to-end testingalthough she acknowledged it would be done across multiple facilities. "NASA is conducting integrated end-to-end testing for the software, hardware, avionics, and integrated systems needed to fly Artemis missions," said Kathryn Hambleton. "Using the agencys sophisticated software development laboratories, teams from SLS, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems use actual flight hardware and software, as well as emulatorsversions of the software that each team employs to test their code and how it works with the whole integrated systemto support both system-level interface testing and integrated mission testing to ensure the software and avionics systems work together." After the Starliner mishap, she said, the NASA chief engineer established an independent review team to assess all Artemis I critical flight and ground software activities. Those recommendations have been folded into preparing for the upcoming Artemis missions, which may begin flying in late 2021, or 2022.
The final launch to Mars for the next two years looked pretty epic - Ars Technica
An Atlas V brought the Florida skies alive.
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- Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is on its way.
- The mighty "Dominator" Atlas V 541 goes supersonic with our newest Mars rover.
- The stunning backdrop is courtesy of the launch taking place just a couple hours after sunrise.
- Four solid-rocket motors and a single RD-180 engine produce a lot of smoke and fire.
- Here's a view of the launch in infrared.
- The Atlas V rocket has launched NASA's previous four missions to Mars.
- This image provides a gorgeous view of the rocket launching from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
- Love the pillar of smoke.
- Four solids give the Atlas V rocket a kick off the pad.
- A good vantage point shows the rocket lifting off over the Atlantic Ocean.
Qualcomm’s 100W charging scheme will go from 0-50 in 5 minutes - Ars Technica
Qualcomm is calling it the “World’s fastest commercial charging solution.”
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- Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 is out. Here are the slides.
- It has been a while since we've seen a new Qualcomm charging solution, but this one is a lot faster.
- "Dual Charge" pumps 50W each into two battery cells.
- A mockup of what a power brick will look like.
- Quick Charge 5 compared to Quick Charge 4.
- You'll get a full charge in 15 minutes on a 4500mAh battery.
- And you'll go from 0-50 in just 5 minutes.
OnePlus Nord review: Android’s best bang for your buck - Ars Technica
90Hz, modern design, and a $450 price? Awesome.
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- The front, featuring a beautiful 90Hz display.
- The extremely vibrant blue back.
- Here you can better make out the shape of the display, along with the camera cutout in the top-left corner.
- A closer look at the camera cutout.
- Even though it's a mid-range smartphone, you still get lots of camera lenses.
- Note the total lack of curve in the display. It's flat!
- The bottom has a USB-C port and no headphone jack.
|SPECS AT A GLANCE: ONEPLUS NORD|
|SCREEN||6.44-inch, 2400×1080, 90Hz AMOLED(408ppi, 20:9 aspect ratio)|
|OS||Android 10 with Oxygen OS skin|
|CPU||Eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765GTwo Cortex A76 cores and six Cortex A55 cores, up to 2.4GHz, 7nm|
|RAM||8GB, or 12GB|
|STORAGE||128GB or 256GB, UFS 2.1|
|NETWORKING||802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, NFC|
|PORTS||USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C|
|CAMERA||Rear: 48MP main camera, 8MP wide-angle, 2MP Macro, 5MP depth sensorFront: 32MP main, 8MP wide-angle|
|OTHER PERKS||30w quick charging, optical in-display fingerprint sensor|
- The OnePlus Nord versus the iPhone SE. There is a bit of a size difference.
- You get a lot more webpage on the 6.44-inch display than on the 4.7-inch one.
The Apple TV is getting 4K YouTube, and Macs are getting 4K HDR Netflix - Ars Technica
Is your Mac supported, though?
8 with 7 posters participating An update to Safari in the macOS Big Sur developer release brings a long-absent, much-requested feature: support for 4K HDR streams from Netflix. Further, Apple TV is getting support for the VP9 video codec, meaning Apple TV 4K owners will finally be able to watch 4K YouTube videos in that device's YouTube app. Both changes address frustrations users have had in the Apple ecosystem when consuming video content. The Apple TV 4K is positioned as the world's most capable consumer streaming box, but it didn't support higher resolutions on one of the world's most popular apps. And while there has been less demand for 4K HDR on Macs given that most Macs don't have 4K or fully HDR screens, this is a welcome change for those who use external displays that do support those things.There is one important caveat, though. 4K HDR Netflix streams are only supported on a few Macs. Only the 2018 or 2019 MacBook Pro models and the iMac Pro support HDR on the device's own display (though again, the specs don't meet the same HDR brightness standards that high-end TVs do). Those machines plus the 2018 Mac mini and the 2019 Mac Pro can do HDR on external displays. Also, while the Apple TV YouTube app did get 4K capability, Big Sur's Safari doesn't appear to have been updated to get the same functionality on YouTube. That could change between now and Big Sur's final release, though. In theory, the addition of HDR support to Safari on Macs applies to more than just Netflix, but this is the first publicly known example. Twitter user Ishan Agarwal shared a screenshot proving the functionality is there. He made this discovery when he noticed the video he was watching on Netflix was playing in 4K and Dolby Vision, a popular HDR standard. 9to5Mac reported on the tweet, breaking the story to more people.It's worth noting that AirPlay 2 newly supports 4K in iOS 14 and Big Sur, so this appears to be part of a concerted 4K push by Apple across its platforms. Also, in a development that is only tangentially related, the Apple TV app on LG TVs now supports Dolby Atmos. iOS 14, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur are still in a testing phase with developers, so some things could change before release, but this is where things stand now.