June 15, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

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!

Frickin’ Lasers!! In Space!

Anatoly Zak is normally the feller I associate with Russianspaceweb.com. It’s a really great site that goes into extreme detail about Russia’s rockets, satellites, and space programs. But he goes to the eleven with this latest article he manged to get on Popular Mechanics.

The Soviets designed a laser gun for their cosmonauts. Not for self-defense, but for blinding sensors on spacecraft that moved too close to Soviet space stations. The use case sounds a bit improbable, considering the range of the gun. But still…it just is a cool piece of tech. Even the aesthetics match what I consider an old-school blaster to be.

China’s Private Space Race

China and its entrepreneurs are very interested in space. This article provides a decent run-down of some of the more prominent “private” Chinese rocket manufacturers/launchers. While these all look like companies with humble plans, well, they need to start somewhere. If they contribute to the industry by making space launch more affordable, then fantastic! I don’t know if India’s inroads into the small satellite launch industry is driving this, but maybe? India is known for providing cheap satellite rides to space, too.

Speaking of which…

No space for war with India, says Pakistan Army

That’s a relief. But did anyone really ask that question?

Here is why a “space war” between Pakistan and India is unlikely: Pakistan has not been that busy in space. The country has a few satellites, but unlike India, Pakistan has not been actively developing a rocket program–at least not recently, successfully, or publicly. India on the other hand, has two fairly solid performers in its rocket launch inventory. It launches those two rockets regularly. It has been actively putting up Indian GPS-type satellites, part of what the country calls NavIC, over the region. It’s been putting up a lot of Earth observation satellites, too. All of these have been developed and manufactured in India.

Pakistan does have a few Earth observation satellites, two of which were launched this year by a Chinese rocket.

Prepare for liftoff: Here’s a list of upcoming important SpaceX rocket launches

Drat! I was looking for the list of upcoming unimportant SpaceX rocket launches.

I doubt this list will be updated. Launches just tend to move to the right on launch manifests. There are others who will update their lists. I find that SpaceFlightNow.com updates its upcoming launch manifest pretty well.

Why Peacetime Generals Generally become Generals

For those who wonder about the meaning of the American idiom “talking out of both sides of your mouth,” the general is doing exactly that. There are several quotes that are just full of buzzwords but creates contradictory messaging at the same time(which may be why he’s a general). The bit about the USAF being the best in space because there are great acquisitions processes is hilarious and bunk. It’s more accurate to say the USAF space force is that way in spite of the service’s acquisitions processes. But since I don’t see a space operations bullet in any of his history, that sort of “un-logic” chain is to be expected from someone like him.

I also wonder about his relevancy. He brings up the old Soviet tractor factory as the way not to run acquisitions, but that tragic experiment ended nearly thirty years ago. Really, he could just as easily have used the current Roscosmos as the model of “how not to be” and the point would have been valid. The Russian federal space conglomerate isn’t doing very well at all.

Addressing another of his comments near the end: I hope the next generation overhead persistent infrared constellation is nothing like the current space based infrared system. At least not acquisitions-wise, since SBIRS was over-budget several times over, and is still not finished.

Orbital ATK’s giant leap into satellite servicing begins with baby steps

So, not a giant leap at all then.

It’s a cool idea–sending up a very basic, automated, satellite bus to ensconce the target satellite’s bus and maybe get things working again. But something tells me it’s not going to be that easy. Hence, baby steps.

No launch from Australia—something missing from our plans for the new space race

Australia has a bad case of “space envy.” It doesn’t sound like the nation knows exactly what it wants to do with space, which is a problem if it is trying to spend money on space. It almost sounds like the country is trying to get something, anything, through to show the world the nation is super-serious about space. It may benefit the nation to figure things out a bit more before it does something silly.

I didn’t even think of the space weather aspect to this, but the undersea data center basically being protected from that by water makes sense. Microsoft has some very interesting projects going on, but this one almost seems like it should be a government project. Maybe it is funded by a government. But I would imagine have these data centers submerged might provide some desirable protections for government and military information centers, so maybe government-funded in a different way.

Turning it off and on again might be problematic.

Here’s how we’re trying to get to space without rockets

Are they using drugs? No? Okay.

The typical ideas are in the post linked above. Big guns. Fast tracks. Spinning things. Space elevators. I am surprised no one mentioned the method in Neal Stephenson’s “SevenEves” novel (much, much later in the novel). The use of robots in that book was more interesting than most ideas, with a hint of feasibility.

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