January 25, 2019: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

johnny5
Zuckerberg the next Elon? Does not compute! 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! Image from Quickmeme.com.

Is Mark Zuckerberg The Next Elon Musk? Facebook Reveals Space Plans

Is the writer of this article even familiar with Musk’s activities? The evidence, based on the article’s title, points to “no.” Or perhaps the editor is to blame?

Let’s clear up something within the article–this quote: “History and current trends suggest that tech companies looking into satellite technology are also most likely interested in space.”

This deserves a “Well, actually…”

I’ve heard many of the newer companies operating satellites say they aren’t interested in the satellites they operate, but the data they bring in. While I don’t buy this line for a minute (they have to be interested in the technology allowing them to get good data, and that technology sits on a satellite or two), that reasoning does seem to indicate a disinterest in space.

Plus, no one has accused SpaceX of being a primary enabler in destabilizing the democratic process.

Toppled hopper: Winds knock over upper portion of Starship prototype

Probably not the best day for SpaceX, but the company has faced much worse. The picture shows the faring of the company’s Starship Hopper prototype lying on its side on the ground.

The problem is, the faring was supposed be on top of the part with the engines and legs. But Texas winds just didn’t let it stay there.

I agree with the assessment the launch/land tests of the Hopper will be delayed.

SpaceX, other companies gaming Glassdoor reviews to look better, WSJ finds

I always got the impression SpaceX paid its employees pretty well. But then the article notes some employees were rewarded with a coffee mug.

It better be the coolest mug in the world. It better be one of those mugs that, no matter where you are, it will be full of the freshest, best-tasting coffee the employee ever had. Every. Single. Time. Even a mug like the one below wouldn’t cut it.

It also sounds like sites like Glassdoor are prime for a Fakespot.com – type site. If you don’t know what Fakespot is, and you use Amazon all the time, you should probably check it out. Based on what we’ve seen from Amazon, it’s only going to get worse, as companies with no scruples game these sites more and more.

cute bunny GIF
Err…umm…Houston, we have a problem. Image from Giphy.

Europe must get its act together on space technology, Airbus warns

Both U.S. and European launch providers and satellite manufacturers were in a “good place” for the longest time. By which I mean that everything cost a lot and companies and people made lots of money. The mainstays, particularly the bits of space industry Airbus is in, were used to building large satellites in a leisurely fashion. And innovation was also leisurely–especially for communications satellites. Both leisure and large meant lots of costs.

Everything still does cost a lot of money, but other circumstances are forcing companies such as Airbus to wake up from their rich dreams. Now, these mainstays, particularly large satellite manufacturing, aren’t growing. They are shrinking so quickly that large companies like Airbus are finding the circumstances challenging to respond to. So, yes, there’s some panic in the statements from an Airbus executive. And, yes, there should be some concern about China’s activities in the space industry.

But why didn’t this concern materialize while China manufactured geosynchronous communications satellites for at least the past decade? Why is there no concern about the nation’s testing of quantum communications with satellites? What is causing the current concern?

Lunar Lander Chang’e 4, moon rover Yutu-2, and it’s relay satellite, Queqiao, might be concerning to other nations, if only because it’s difficult to “hear” the communications of these systems as they talk to each other. They are essentially in the Moon’s shadow. A big hunk of rock, the Moon, sits between them and Earth–all the time.

In other words, maybe people are concerned because for the first time in a long time, China can communicate without worry to equipment that other nations can’t see, that’s on a location that is very much “the high ground.” Systems from other countries were intended to be aimed either at Earth, or at satellites in the geosynchronous belt. But not at the Moon. Certainly not through the Moon. So these systems, some costing billions, are useless.

Or, maybe, Airbus just wants its communications satellite market back.

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