March 29, 2019: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

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See! China knows how to launch rockets. Just not this week. 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 Bing image search.

Chinese startup OneSpace fails in first orbital launch attempt

This company’s CEO likened his company to being China’s SpaceX. Which is certainly hopping on the “SpaceX of (insert nation’s name here)” bandwagon. But it seems after hopping on OneSpace has become the tambourine player in the back of the bandwagon. Not a great start. However, SpaceX didn’t have great success either, initially.

But at least OneSpace launched something this year, which is more than can be said for more established companies, like Northrop Grumman with its Antares launch vehicle. And if OneSpace’s business operates closer to SpaceX iteration than NG foot-dragging, the company will likely try again sometime this year–probably soon.

GAO: DoD Should Adopt Best Practices to Meet Space Tech Procurement Goals

I really admire the Government Accountability Office. They keep putting out these “you really should adopt best practices” reports every few years, in spite of being ignored by the Department of Defense over and over. I mean, think of the drive, the confidence, and the sheer stubbornness of the GAO’s team. The GAO is the equivalent of those disclaimers one sees for investment companies–legally they should be there and seen by the public–but no one pays attention to them.

Union of Concerned Scientists, “Right Now We are Not Up to the Challenge” … as India Destroys Satellite

Well, if a scientist…no wait…a group of scientists says so, and they are ever so concerned, then maybe the statement in the press release’s headline is true. After all, who knows better about military and political matters than that erstwhile group of well-meaning scientists? jk

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It’s always very easy to say these types of statements, especially if the person/organization is trying to get “hits.” It would be really, really, really nice if this group actually showed data about exactly why no one is up to the challenge. Do they know about all the world’s space programs? Do they take classified programs into account?

If they do, how, with 100% certainty? Because they shouldn’t be able to, and “knowing a guy” who’s breaking laws to let them know about classified programs should raise all sorts of doubts about that person’s integrity–and therefore, the information provided by that person should be skeptically viewed.

I have nothing against science–it’s how Hostess Twinkies became the 8th wonder of the world (plus, space, of course!!!)–but I do wonder about these sorts of statements when they appear to latch on to emotion and not reason.

Modi declares India ‘space superpower’ as satellite downed by missile

This is called an “aspirational statement.” India’s launch rate was maybe 1/8th that of China’s in 2018. The nation didn’t launch very many satellites, either. So, for India to call itself a space superpower just because they can hit a satellite with a missile (already successfully done a few times by other nations–including a missile launched from a fighter nearly 34 years ago), just means….well, what does it mean?

Look, while India has been very successful with its space program, it’s not near as active as China, the United States, or even Russia during it’s down days. I believe the reason India shot down a satellite is because China appears so successful right now, and China and India have historically had antagonistic relations. But China has the ability to reconstitute satellites shot down with a fairly large inventory of launch vehicles, quickly. India can’t do that. China has at least four orbital spaceports. India has one. China shot down one of its satellites over a decade ago, which may mean that nation has an inventory of anti-satellite platforms ready. For India, this was obviously a special, one-off, test.

There are more aspects of this to consider, but this intercept may be a case of India biting off more than it can chew.

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