Shocking, Space Age Tech Still Using Windows XP : Russian Spacecraft Simulator Still Running Windows XP
It looks like Russia’s cosmonaut training center in Star City is still using Microsoft Windows XP, even though Windows XP no longer receives updates and security patches from Microsoft since April 2014.
This was recently discovered by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who noticed that the 15-year-old operating system was running Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft simulator when he encountered a simulated spaceflight alarm.
The video posted on Twitter shows the spacecraft beeping like crazy, which is an indication that something wrong with it. Even Pesquet acknowledges that “when your spacecraft does this, you know it’s not a good day.”
When your spacecraft does this, you know it's not a good day… pic.twitter.com/cYP0pDp6as
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) February 2, 2016
Later on, Pesquet notices that the wallpaper on the computer screen inside the Soyuz mockup is the signature look for Windows XP, which is the first sign that the simulator was working an operating system that was 15 years old.
“Now I understand! After a training session today, caught a glimpse of Microsoft Windows on the Soyuz display,” the astronaut tweeted.
While this doesn’t essentially mean that Windows is at fault for the experienced problems, but running unsupported software on such a device clearly increases the risks of facing major problems.
We need to be aware that there is a big budget constraint for many of these space agencies as most of them are operated by their respective countries on shoestring budgets. Also Microsoft has not allowed Windows XP users to update to Windows 10 for free like it has for Windows 7 and 8.1 users. So rather than upgrade to costlier systems, most such agencies remain on the unsupported Windows XPs.
However, this could be major problem if the agency faces a hack attack or a software lapse as was the case recently as at an Airport in France.