This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.
Official LL Viewers
Current release viewer version 188.8.131.521711, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12th – No Change.
Release channel cohorts:
Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 184.108.40.2063511, issued on January 7th, 2021.
It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.
Monday, January 18th, 19:00: The Dark Bright Water
Gyro Muggins reads Patricia Wrightson’s second novel charting the life of Wirrun of the Inlanders.
First encountered in The Ice Is Coming, when Wirrun set out on a quest to overcome the rise of the ancient enemy of Australia, the ice-bearded Ninya, the young janitor now has a reputation as a Hero among the Inlanders (Wrightson’s fantasy view of the Australian Aboriginals). It’s not a title he appreciates; he would much rather just get back to his janitorial work.
But the spirits of the land are restless: Yunggamurra, a river spirit is lost, so uses her siren-like powers of song to draw to herself those who might might take her home. Her singing come to Wirrun’s ears, and those of an elderly aboriginal emissary, and he realises he must journey to the very heartlands of Australia to better understand what he is feeling.
This he does, with the old emissary and his friend Ularra. Once there, he discovers that a storm is indeed rising within the domain of the spirits, and he is uniquely placed to both find Yunggamurra and prevent the coming storm. And so his new adventure begins.
Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability—with a glance, a gesture, a word—to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness.
The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill.
In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world’s darkness, gifts of light.
With Willow Moonfire.
Wednesday, January 20th 19:00: In Walt We Trust
More from Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Longmire Series with Kayden Oconnell and Caledonia Skytower.
Saturday, January 16th saw NASA attempt the Green Run Hot Fire Test of the first Space Launch System (SLS) core stage.
For those who might be unaware of it, the SLS is NASA’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket designed to undertake a range of missions, with the primary focus being the US Artemis programme to return humans to the Moon. Once operational it will be the most powerful launch vehicle commissioned by NASA.
The Hot Fire test formed the final phase of the Green Run test programme, a series of tests vital to clearing the core stage of the rocket ready for it maiden – and only – flight, planned for the end of 2021. The “Green Run” title refers to the fact the test would be the first time all of the components and systems of a core stage would be operated in unison, just as they would in the lead-up to and launch of an SLS rocket.
As such, the Green Run actually comprises a sequence of tests numbered 1 through 8 – each designed to test different aspects of the core stage, gradually bringing everything together as a unified whole and culminating in the hot fire test.
All of the test sequences have been carried out at the historic B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Centre, Mississippi, and while some issues were encountered along the way, both technical and due to the weather, so eating into the “reserve time” available for getting the first SLS vehicle assembled and onto the launch pad, by Saturday January 16th, all of them – including critical fuel loading and unloading (700,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) test – have been completed and signed-off, allowing the hot fire test to go ahead.
Planned for a 8-minute duration – this being the total time the core stage would be expected to operate its engines during a launch – the test commenced at 22:27 GMT, after some last minute minor technical delays put the count-down on a lengthy hold. Ignition saw the four RS-25D engines ignite milliseconds apart from one another in the sequence 1,3,4 and 2, quickly building up to a combined thrust of just under 726,000 kg – somewhat less than the maximum thrust of 900,000 kg they will reach in an actual launch, but sufficient for the purposes of the test.
The long duration of the test had been intended to allow a comprehensive test of things like engine throttling down / up and gimballing (swinging) the motors in a manner that would provide steering in a flight. However, 67.7 seconds into the test something – at the time of writing, NASA has yet to specify what – triggered the core stage’s automated safety systems, initiating a rapid and safe shut-down of the engines.
The RS-25 is one of the most powerful and advanced rocket engines in the world. Originally built for the shuttle, it is finding new life with SLS – a total of 16 former shuttle variants of the motor will be used to power the first four SLS launches. The four motors for this first core stage already have a distinguished flight career between them, having previously be used on a Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, the mission that saw John Glenn return to space (STS-95 in 1998), and on the final space shuttle flight, STS-135 featuring the shuttle orbiter vehicle Atlantis (thus offering a direct link between the last flight of the Space Transportation System and the first launch of the Space Launch System). In addition, between them the four engines made six flights to the International Space Station prior to the end of the shuttle programme in 2011.
Once those first 16 motors have been used, SLS will be powered by a new generation of RS-25 motor, built using the very latest technologies including components created using 3D printing which we decrease the complexity of the engines.
Despite the hot fire test lasting less than 68 seconds, managers and engineers monitoring the test were confident that they had gathered sufficient data to classify the run as a success, although it is not yet clear if a further test will be required, or whether the core stage can be dismounted from the test stand – originally built to test the core stage of NASA’s Saturn V rocket – and shipped to Kennedy Space Centre for integration with the rest of the vehicle.
All four RS-25 engines ignited successfully, but the test was stopped early after about a minute. At this point, the test was fully automated. During the firing, the onboard software acted appropriately and initiated a safe shut-down of the engines. During the test, the propellant tanks were pressurised, and this data will be valuable as the team plans the path forward.
In [the] coming days, engineers will continue to analyse data and will inspect the core stage and its four RS-25 engines to determine the next steps.
– NASA statement following the test
Future core stages won’t go through a similar Green Run; these tests were only required for the first core stage to confirm its design and gather vital data on its behaviour during its required operations. Instead, they will generally be fabricated at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans and then shipped directly to Kennedy Space Centre for vehicle integration with the rest of their launch elements in the famous cube-like Vehicle Assembly Building, used for the “stacking” of every Saturn rocket (both the 1B and V) and every shuttle system.
Once integrated with its upper stage, solid rocket boosters and payload, the stage will participate in the Artemis 1 mission to send an uncrewed Orion vehicle to, around, and back from, the Moon at the end of 2021.