November 2, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

PSLV
PSLV launch from Sri Harikota–because India does have orbital rockets it can launch. Image from ISRO. 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!

There’s a new space race: India vs Pakistan

Not sure it’s a race. It’s more lop-sided than a race. Pakistan can’t really compete, yet. One day it might, but probably not in the next five years or so. India, on the other hand, has been building up its launch capability for a while–even if it hasn’t launched that many rockets this year. The comparison is click-baity, then. However…

…notice the 2017 number of satellites deployed by Indian rockets in the article? Most of that was due to a single launch.

But here’s a question to consider based on that chart: what nation had the most satellites launched using India’s launch services? The chart makes it pretty obvious and isn’t too far off from other data I’ve seen. Followed by another question: if one of India’s major foreign customers is from a nation known for space prowess and lots of launches, why is it that India’s getting more satellite operators from that country? Especially if that other country has rocket launch providers purportedly becoming cheaper to launch?

Just askin’.

Ethereum-based startup ConsenSys acquires leading space company Planetary Resources

From imaginary asteroid mining to virtual Ethereum mining?

There’s been a lot written about the possibilities of blockchain with space. Many seem to think they go together. The thing is, it’s hard to tell if these previous stories were meant to drum up enthusiasm for this acquisition or are just publication coincidence.

Americans’ broadband access is so screwed up that the answer may lie in tiny space satellites

True, dat!

This is a decent article, except it does somehow seem to mix Galileo and GPS with communications connectivity. I don’t think those work that way.

The thing is, there is such a thing as internet over satellite and quite a few folks willing to sell that service. But not as many people are subscribing to that service as these companies expected. The problem, as I see it here, those companies bundle other things with that service (crappy VOIP, TV bundles–things most of us don’t need), like their terrestrial broadband competition. Which makes them expensive.

They are slow, too, when compared with cable and fiber. This forces customers into a choice of choosing bad (bundled terrestrial broadband) because worse (satellite broadband) costs more for essentially the same of everything else. And I don’t mean those “special” prices you have to call a customer service rep to get, but the prices these companies gradually increase to, hoping we just hang in there and not complain.

Seems like a terrible business model to me, with no winners. Maybe the thousands of broadband satellites businesses are projecting will help?

We crashed a science-fiction writers convention to ask about Trump’s ‘Space Force’

The reporter does just what the article’s title says. I have read the books of some of the authors interviewed. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the writers typically show that while the technology humans use changes, and the settings are on scales hard to grasp, the humans themselves don’t change too much (as far as how humans act).

The SpaceX Big Texas Spaceport Is Coming. But Will It Have Anything To Launch?

A Popular Mechanics article about SpaceX’s progress over in Boca Chica, Texas. To answer the headline’s question: yes. Otherwise, why build it? Unless someone thinks there’s opportunity for another Spaceport America?

At least most of the money sunk into the site seems to be from SpaceX. And it could be that SpaceX will launch other launch vehicles than BFR from the site. A Falcon Heavy launching from the site might gain a few benefits.

Landspace releases preliminary report on Chinese private rocket launch failure

In case you wondered what happened with the Zhuque-1 launch. It’s not surprising this happened on a test rocket. It’s kind of a wonder that it doesn’t happen more often with test rockets nowadays. Maybe that’s a tribute to the engineering and simulations of these rockets before they get on the pad.

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