News reports coming out of Australia say that Virgin Blue estimates that the reservation system meltdown and resulting consequences has cost it up to $A20 million dollars.

The Australianreports Virgin Blue as saying:

"An initial assessment of this interruption shows an estimated pretax profit impact of $15 million - $20 million."

The story goes on to say that the company will be "actively pursuing all avenues to recover this cost."

A major avenue of pursuit will be Accenture-owned Navitaire which supplies Virgin Blue its reservation and check-in system.

While Virgin Blue has been very vocal in its intention to pursue compensation, in Virginia, things have gone very quiet. As you may recall, in late August into early September, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) suffered a server failure that knocked some 26 state agencies off-line for nearly a week. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor responsible for providing IT services to the state.

At the time, there was much talk about sending a bill to Northrop Grumman for the cost of the outage. Samuel A. Nixon Jr., head of VITA, indicated that Northrop Grumman would face a fine of at least $100,000 for lost work and productivity, and Northrop Grumman did agree in mid-September to pay $250,000 towards a study of what went wrong and why.

But in late September, after an estimate of the outage cost to Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) alone came to some $1.2 million, talk of seeking compensation from Northrop Grumman has disappeared.

I wonder why.

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.

NASA

For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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