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It's not rocket science...

VileReynard
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Registered: 01-09-2007

It's not rocket science...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17350-nasa-criticised-for-sticking-to-imperial-units.html?DCMP...
NASA criticised for sticking to imperial units
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NASA's decision to engineer its replacement for the space shuttle using imperial measurement units rather than metric could derail efforts to develop a globalised civilian space industry, says a leading light in the nascent commercial spaceflight sector.

Quote
Indeed, NASA lost an unmanned mission owing to a mix-up between metric and imperial units. In September 1999, its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter probe was destroyed because its attitude-control system used imperial units but its navigation software used metric units. As a result, it was 100 kilometres too close to Mars when it tried to enter orbit around the planet.
Units have also played a role in other spacecraft problems. In 2006, the guidance system on NASA's DART spacecraft went awry and caused it to ram into a military satellite it was merely meant to dock with.
Before DART's launch, NASA found that GPS data on its position was mistakenly being read by its computer in feet. Ironically, correcting this to metres in a simulator resulted in an incorrect change to another parameter that was programmed into the spacecraft – a problem that led to the collision.

4 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,244
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: It's not rocket science...

I used to work with Austrians, French and Poles on a project with Bethlehem Steel in the USA and I was the unofficial units translator as I could work in both sets.
I got quite good at it but some of the units used to throw me.
Zinc coating weight on galvanised steel strip G90 = 0.9 oz per sq ft total on both sides
Oil film thickness mg per sq ft (yes  that is right totally mixed units) which actually wasn't too bad as long as I remembered that when they gave a figure of 100mg without the area it was per sq ft not per sq metre
Tinplate strip weight 90 pound - comes from the weight of 112 sheets of 14" x 20" which was a standard box (or basis box) back in the days when tinplate was hand rolled in South Wales and was sold in sheets 14" x 20" - and they were still using it.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
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Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: It's not rocket science...

This can be a major objection when selling in the US. If you are selling a European (metric) product in the US you get " well we won't buy that because we will have to buy all new tools". Having said that I have come across machiney manfactured in the US that uses imperial and metric parts, Ford vehicles for example.
I am not surprised by any of this  in a country that sells Chinese food by pints and quarts. Huh
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: It's not rocket science...

Sorry, but when I saw the title of this thread I just couldn't help but think of this. Grin
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: It's not rocket science...

ha ha.  that was funny, thanks. Cheesy