Python from Wise Guy's Viewpoint
joachim.durchholz at web.de
Mon Oct 20 20:28:04 CEST 2003
Pascal Bourguignon wrote:
> The post at that url writes about the culture of the Ariane team, but
> I would say that it's even a more fundamental problem of our culture
> in general: we build brittle stuff with very little margin for error.
> Granted, it would be costly to increase physical margin,
Which is exactly why the margin is kept as small as possible.
Occasionally, it will be /too/ small.
Anybody seen a car model series, every one working perfectly from the
From what I read, every new model has its small quirks and
"near-perfect" gotchas. The difference is just that you're not allowed
to do that in expensive things like rockets (which is, among many other
things, one of the reasons why space vehicles and aircraft are so d*mn
expensive: if something goes wrong, you can't just drive them on the
nearest parking lot and wait for maintenance and repair...)
> but in this
> case, adopting a point of view more like _robotics_ could help. Even
> in case of hardware failure, there's no reason to shut down the mind;
> just go on with what you have.
As Steve wrote, letting a rocket carry on regardless isn't a good idea
in the general case: it would be a major disaster if it made it to the
next coast and crashed into the next town. Heck, it would be enough if
the fuel tanks leaked, and the whole fuel rained down on a ship
somewhere in the Atlantic - most rocket fuels are toxic.
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