Not so long ago, we commented on the difficulties encountered with the start up of the Columbus module. Commands that weren't being listened to, telemetry that toggled, stuff that should have been sorted out on the ground before launch if the current ISS configuration was well understood. We also pointed out the risk that was building as a result of this situation.
Now a friendly multi-handed robot, Dextre, has been delivered to the space station and he won't wake up. Once again software interfaces seem to be at fault. Why, you ask, should it be so hard to test on the ground before sending a $210M piece of equipment to a $56B outpost? Why indeed?
The answer, of course, is that when you skimp on testing, fail to build even a cheap interface simulator with which to test, and fail to accurately track the configuration of software on the station, you get a limp Dextre. Next up, Kibo.
Dark clouds are forming and the sky is starting to turn green. We fear for our trailer park in the sky.