If you've ever worked on bikes or cars, you know how annoying it can be to work with both English/imperial and metric units at the same time; well, the same goes doubly with spacecraft, but NASA's theoretically modular and standards-adhering Constellation system is shaping up to be the odd one out in space, where the metric system rules.
Since Constellation's foundation--which includes the Ares rocket and the Orion crew capsure--is largely based on technology already used on the 30-year-old, imperial-measured Space Shuttle, NASA would have to spend an estimated $370 million to convert its engineering plans, software and hardware to the metric system. Which is a significant budgetary blow to a system already in jeopardy of being cut off.
The commercial spaceflight sector, who had hoped to use the Orion and Ares systems for a variety of missions, is not too happy. "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." Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace told New Scientist.
But in addressing the growing likelihood of the Constellation plan being significantly altered or axed altogether, Gold says it best "If the program is cancelled, 'zero' is the same in English and metric."
Area 51: Crap! we accidentally sent the picture of our UFO!
Crap we can't dock...our fitting isn't in metric. Talk about idiots. This is why NASA should be sold, it doesn't fuction anymore. Burtan proved it.
considering the U.S. has taken the most responsibility for the space station, we should be able to use whichever measurement system we please. we took the brunt of the work, the toher guys can design their stuff to match ours.
Sticking with the English system is such cultural stupidity. The Carter administration tried to get people to change, but that effort failed. The metric system is so much easier to use. The rest of the world made the change decades ago, why can't we? You buy sodas by the Liter, so what's the problem?
I thought computer's take precise measurements regardless.
Or, are you not using the full capability of Columbia [www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Projects/Columbia/columbia.html
] Figuring We can't mess up? Computer Engineering is a good language because it is short, and takes little time to speak.
U.S. space technology, including NASA, are S.A.E. because that is what all of the metalforming, machining, casting, and assembly contractors and subcontractors are using in their American made tooling and equipment. Now while I can see the obvious benefit from universal standardization, the plain fact is, we can't fault continuing doing things with what we have. A guy shouldn't think that the U.S. is prepared to do an instant changeover if he could read a financial section in his morning paper, right? It will happen, slowly and incrementally across the country as it is now. There is no problem that I can see here, as so much of what is out there is ours to maintain.
no other way to descibe it in words other than FOOLISH in capital letter Culture my a**. US just wants to be different so the do something stupid to stand part, a new measurement system!!
david_forbus07/06/09 at 1:01 am
Sticking with the English system is such cultural stupidity. The Carter administration tried to get people to change, but that effort failed. The metric system is so much easier to use. The rest of the world made the change decades ago, why can't we? You buy sodas by the Liter,
so what's the problem?
To start, a spacecraft is far more complex than a bottle of soda - even if one considers the machinery needed to create
both the bottles and their contents.
The article clearly stated that an estimated $370,000,000
would be spent just to change the engineering specs. That doesn't include the cost of the new metric fasteners and the labor to make the conversion.
Docking rings have two sides, making it possible to dock an SAE engineered spacecraft to dock with a metric engeneered spacecraft. It's not that big of a deal. Adapter rings
are used to allow wheels with a different bolt pattern to be used on a vehicle from a different manufacturer.
To say that the only reason the US has not converted to metric system is the desire to be different makes no sense at all. If the conversion from SAE to metric was mandated for the entire US - that includes manufacturing machinery and road signage, do you have even the slightest idea of the cost to do so? "Expensive' doesn't come close. last estimates I've heard put the price tag at an estimated $150,000,000,000 dollars.
Only 30 years old, ay? That is funny because it was 35 years ago when Congress finally passed the law that America was to go Metric and that all Federal agencies were to use Metric only, that includes NASA and the Federal Department of Transportation. They were supposed to not to have an option of volunteer as Congress gave all corporations, and we can see thirty-five years later how American corporations volunteered to do anything.
So, how much solar energy have you collected and used today?
Metric or British Imperial which is better? I think the metric system is easier to deal with and should be adopted as Beholders eye has stated in a roundabout way it is hard to get people to adopt solar and metric conversion that make more sense.