Henry Spencer Quotes


The Apollo programme of the 1960s had some weight problems too; in particular the lunar lander needed some fairly drastic weight-reduction work.

It's true that Apollo 10's lander was overweight. Late in the craft's development it became clear that its ballooning weight was endangering the whole mission.

The original specifications for Apollo navigation called for the ability to fly a complete mission including a lunar landing with no help from Earth - none not even voice communications.

The Moon may not be quite as appealing as Mars but it's still a complex and poorly understood world with many questions still unanswered.

One of the headaches of high-tech test programmes is having to debug the test arrangements before you can start debugging the things you're trying to test.

Belief is no substitute for arithmetic.

In the long run it's impossible to make progress without sometimes having setbacks although people who get lucky on their first attempt sometimes forget this.

Progress requires setbacks; the only sure way to avoid failure is not to try.

Not until the space shuttle started flying did NASA concede that some astronauts didn't have to be fast-jet pilots. And at that point sure enough women started becoming astronauts.

The key virtue of orbital assembly is that it eliminates the tight connection between the size of the expedition and the size of the rockets used to launch it.

The communications delays between Earth and Mars can be half an hour or more so the people on the ground can't participate minute by minute in Mars surface activities.

Altruism is a fine motive but if you want results greed works much better.

Spaceflight especially in the Mercury spacecraft clearly wasn't going to be much like flying an airplane.

A bit of tolerance is worth a megabyte of flamming.

If your goal is to change the world you can't start by doing things the same old way because it sells better.

To err is human but to really screw things up requires a design committee of bureaucrats.

C++ is the best example of second-system effect since OS/360.

SpaceX does seem to have had a run of bad luck with its first three launches all failing.

Foul-ups in testing are not uncommon especially when the test setup is being tried for the first time.

Liquid oxygen is one of the cheapest manufactured substances on Earth. In large quantities it costs pennies per kilogram - cheaper than milk or beer.

Past experience on the shuttle and the Titan rockets suggests that large multi-segment solid rockets have a probability of failure of 0.5 to 1 per cent.

Claiming that solid rockets are necessary for a heavy-lift launcher is obvious nonsense.

Solid-fuel rockets can't easily be shut down on command.

If you lie to the compiler it will get its revenge.

Rocket engines generally are simpler than jet engines not more complicated.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it poorly.

Large solid rockets have never been a very good way to build launchers that might have crews on top especially because of the problems in getting the crew away from a failing launcher.

MS-DOS isn't dead it just smells that way.

In a small spacecraft it was hard for the other two guys to sleep when the on-duty man was talking to Mission Control regularly.

Whether solid rockets are more or less likely to fail than liquid-fuel rockets is debatable. More serious though is that when they do fail it's usually violent and spectacular.

Is manned space exploration important? Yes - not least because it simply works much better than sending robots.

Programming graphics in X is like finding the square root of PI using Roman numerals.

Technically and financially it might still make sense to give up on Ares I and simply write off the money spent on it but politically that's probably impossible.

Politics /n/: from 'poly ticks' short for 'many small bloodsucking insects'.

In 1960-61 a small group of female pilots went through many of the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts and scored very well on them - in fact better than some of the astronauts did.