May 11, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Space Salmon.jpg
This site contains my opinions and ideas only, not the opinions or ideas of any organization I work for. It’s my idea playground, and I’m inviting you in. Welcome!

Word of the day: Bangabandhu

The satellite on SpaceX’s first Block 5 Falcon 9 launch seems to be named after Bangladesh’s founding father. It supposedly means “friend of Bengal.”

Budget 2018: space agency details still scant – but GPS and satellite imagery funded

Okay, the Australians are so serious about space, they’re spending millions to kick-start their space agency. Which means an Australian space agency is now a thing. But I guarantee you, this site’s take on Australian Research & Space Exploration is funnier.

Most Kiwis don’t know New Zealand has its own space agency – but they should

Maybe this is surprising? Rocket Lab, probably the prime mover for space activities in New Zealand, is a U.S. company launching rockets from New Zealand. It’s launched two test rockets so far, with a 50% success rate, and aims to launch a third, which would be the company’s first commercial launch. The original launch date of that Electron rocket, “It’s Business Time,” was supposed happen almost a month ago. The company has been very reticent to give a firm launch date on a rocket that has commercial payloads on it. Here’s hoping it doesn’t make a habit of that.

One could make the argument that New Zealand’s participation in launching Electrons might be why the Australians are now looking hard at grabbing a piece of the space industry.

How should NASA return to the Moon?

Probably with a rocket…likely not made by NASA.

Brexit Britain’s satellite threat falls flat with Brussels

Because ESA and the EU have handled the Galileo program so well…

The Galileo program, which was supposed to be Europe’s space-based navigation insurance in case the U.S. went “rogue” with GPS, hasn’t been on time or on budget. The British, in particular, seem to not appreciate all the drawbacks and costs Galileo has imposed on them. The British Transport Committee thought Galileo was a great example of how not to do things (Really!! You can read about it in this post). So, Brussels being a little slow on the uptake probably isn’t too surprising.

Would it really be that terrible if the UK tried to do this? It could succeed, and might be done before Europe launched the remaining Galileo satellites.

Will Uncle Sam Shower Some Love on Spaceports?

This title is nearly NSFW–especially when the sentence directly underneath this title has two words: popping up. I thought Popular Mechanics’ editors were paid better. Aside from that, it’s a just another article about the possibility of the U.S. government spending money on new spaceports. Because–Spaceport America?

A new Space Corps wouldn’t solve the old problems

Says the non-space operator. And this is a great example of a “Nothing to see here” story. The bottom-line from this editorial is that Air Force Space Command is doing so well, while the rest of the Air Force doesn’t appear to be, that it would be madness to make a Space Force out of the USAF’s space operators. Also, people are asking the wrong questions.

First, I always thought it was cute the USAF thought it was the big gorilla in the room for U.S. space operations.

And, to say that Weapons School, which not many Air Force space operators attend, is an example of the USAF focusing warfighting mastery on the space domain is funny. Sure, the folks coming out of that school might know a bit more about space war, but they come out in dribs and drabs. About 100 total. Not just space operators, but enlisted and officers from all parts of the service, every six months. That’s not focusing on space, but it might be just drinking USAF joint operations Kool-Aid.

Add on the fact the USAF hasn’t been able to decide, for a very long time, what a space operator was. Is it a guy who launches ICBMs? Or is it a gal buying rockets and satellites? Is it someone who babysits a satellite bus? Or someone who operates a payload? Is it someone who oversees rocket launches? Is it the contractor on the operations floor who has more experience than the Airman sitting nearby? Or is it the intelligence weenie who sifts through space acquired data? Why all the changes, and why the cuts to the crew forces? Is this focus?

The USAF has not been great in acquiring space assets. But that’s a long story, too. The upshot, though, is that it’s not a lack of funding for space assets in the USAF, but HOW the USAF has been fumbling the acquisition of said assets and blowing budgets, time, and compromising space power capability. We’re told that will change, though…again.

He’s right, however, near the end of the editorial. U.S. military space is splintered, with many fingers in this pie, which means the proposed space corps should not be just made up of USAF space operators. The only reason people are focusing on just moving Air Force space operators into their own silo is because they are the only visible part of military space operations. There are more out there, which means if we want a real, integrated Space Force, some work is gonna need to happen.

Indian pair arrested after using ‘space suits’ to con investor out of $200,000

I don’t know if people are generally aware of just how much India is involved with space. So much so, that apparently some of the nation’s citizens are hopeful enough to fall for scams like this: two serious looking guys, in two, what look like, fire suits. More evidence of India’s enthusiasm for space here (it’s an Indian space movie, said to be the first of its kind).

Trump’s Space Force should be more Coast Guard than Marines

Aaaand the confusion continues. The editorial isn’t clear on what’s going on, but let’s make two things clear: a space force is military; a space guard is civil (at least in the U.S.). It might make sense to have both. But the arguments within the editorial, which aren’t very clear, imply the decision for this should be either/or. Why do people feel compelled to Kobayashi Maru their arguments. Like Kirk, I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.

And why bring up space debris again? Seven tons of garbage–that’s about one large (ish) communications satellite’s worth–from decades of activity. We Earthlings launch quite a few of those type of satellites every year.

Canadian astronaut to enjoy 4 types of smoked salmon during space station visit

Okay…so…the really crucial question is: where’s the poutine? I mean, c’mon, there are, like, at least 50 varieties of poutine north of our border. That’s more variety than 4 types of smoked salmon. And the primary ingredient, potatoes, is totally growable anywhere. “The Martian” proved that :-).

Poutine should be the Canadian national dish. Salmon is so Pacific Northwest. Or, Pacific Southwest if you’re in Canada. My wife astutely pointed that out.

She’s one smart cookie, eh?

Watch this ‘blooper reel’ of astronauts falling on the Moon

Fun time! When an astronaut falls on the Moon, is it graceful? Does time slow down that much more for said astronaut during the fall? Watch the video on Boing-Boing to find out.

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