Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

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MarkBour
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Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by MarkBour » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:44 pm

An article in the Orlando Sentinel regards Musk's and other's plans to provide broadband Internet using satellites.
Boeing is seeking approval for 60 satellites, and the FCC last year granted OneWeb permission to serve the U.S. market using 720 satellites authorized by the U.K.

SpaceX’s plan calls for 4,425 satellites, but it also has applied for an additional 7,518. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has given his backing to the proposal, making it likely to win the agency’s clearance to provide broadband via low-earth orbit.

The planned constellations would far exceed the current number of satellites being operated by all countries, which stood at 1,738 through August of last year, according to a tally kept by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Personally, I find this obscene. How does an FCC chairman and an entrepreneur have the right to put that level of pollution into our skies without there first being a serious broadly-based public debate? And when I say broadly-based, I'm not talking about just the U.S. of A.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by MarkBour » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:32 pm

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I note that quite a few people have viewed it, with nary a response yet. Of course I put the note here in hopes of seeing what others had to say about it. So, I'm explicitly soliciting comments or opinions. What do you think of this idea? Do you find it shocking, or of no concern? Do you like the idea, or not? Thanks for sharing your perspective.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by geckzilla » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:14 pm

I don't really know what to think. It would depend on how they were used, and what the effects on ground-based observatories would be. Satellites aren't really my thing unless they happen to be space telescopes.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:12 am

MarkBour wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:32 pm
Sorry to reply to my own post, but I note that quite a few people have viewed it, with nary a response yet. Of course I put the note here in hopes of seeing what others had to say about it. So, I'm explicitly soliciting comments or opinions. What do you think of this idea? Do you find it shocking, or of no concern? Do you like the idea, or not? Thanks for sharing your perspective.
What kind of satellites are proposed? My thinking is that a great many are microsatellites in LEO, which I don't see as a problem. They would be largely invisible, and they have short orbital lifetimes.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by geckzilla » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:45 am

Coincidentally, I read about this today, and find it totally unacceptable.
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aer ... satellites
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by geckzilla » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:48 am

And, tangentially, if you are interested in professional, expert commentary regarding many satellites and rocket launches, you might follow Jonathan McDowell: https://twitter.com/planet4589
(Note I really mean just follow; I'm not suggesting he's available for questioning.)
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by MarkBour » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:41 am

Chris and Geck, thanks for the replies. Just watching the worldwide news, I feel like we are seeing an explosion in the number of man-made objects in space. I will follow Johnathon McDowell. I'm sure that will help me get a much clearer perspective on this issue.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by neufer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:40 pm

MarkBour wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:41 am
I feel like we are seeing an explosion in the number of man-made objects in space.
  • If the "Ton of Satellites" were interlinked like a "Barrel of Monkeys,"
    at least it might prove less dangerous for the ISS and other satellites.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel_of_Monkeys wrote:

<<In 1961, a greeting cards salesman, Leonard Marks, was in a small mom-and-pop shop to sell his line of cards. As he waited for Robert Gilbert, the shop owner, he fiddled with an open box of snow tire replacement chain links. When he told Gilbert that the links would make a great toy, Gilbert referred Marks to a successful local toy inventor, Milton Dinhofer. Prior to meeting with Marks, Dinhofer already had two major toy achievements to his credit: the first full-size wearable toy space helmet and Sip-n-See straws. The straws had different characters on them, and it was the cowboy character’s s-shaped arms that would inspire the shape of the monkeys. Dinhofer immediately imagined monkeys and envisioned them with arms like those on his cowboy straw. The current Hasbro "Barrel of Monkeys" version is sold with ten monkeys in the barrel.

These Monkeys have been used for modeling of polyhedral structures, including virus particles and other protein structures. A pair of monkeys can hook around each other in more than eighty different ways, forming quite stable links. The links may be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. Repetition of an asymmetric link generates a helix.

In May 2012, Dartmouth College student Parker Phinney led a fundraising group that built a chain of 5,990 monkeys, the longest ever.

In the film Iron Man 3, Tony Stark likens a mid-air rescue to playing Barrel of Monkeys.

The 12 Monkeys (movie)'s time travel story borrows Barrel of Monkey's imagery & name. Thematically, the challenge of linking a chain of toy monkeys echoes the chains of causality driving the storylines.>>
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by BDanielMayfield » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:18 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:12 am
MarkBour wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:32 pm
Sorry to reply to my own post, but I note that quite a few people have viewed it, with nary a response yet. Of course I put the note here in hopes of seeing what others had to say about it. So, I'm explicitly soliciting comments or opinions. What do you think of this idea? Do you find it shocking, or of no concern? Do you like the idea, or not? Thanks for sharing your perspective.
What kind of satellites are proposed? My thinking is that a great many are microsatellites in LEO, which I don't see as a problem. They would be largely invisible, and they have short orbital lifetimes.
Mark, apparently like others, I didn't have enough info to have a strong opinion on this issue, but I can see both pros and cons. Better internet access everywhere is a big pro, but NOT if it must come at a much greater risk to primarily people (ISS) and also the existing very costly hardware already in LEO.

Is the ISS safe from this coming wave of new satellites? Do these proposals increase the risk of the kind of chain reaction collisions depicted in the movie Gravity?

Bruce
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by MarkBour » Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:35 am

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:18 am
...
Mark, apparently like others, I didn't have enough info to have a strong opinion on this issue, but I can see both pros and cons. Better internet access everywhere is a big pro, but NOT if it must come at a much greater risk to primarily people (ISS) and also the existing very costly hardware already in LEO.

Is the ISS safe from this coming wave of new satellites? Do these proposals increase the risk of the kind of chain reaction collisions depicted in the movie Gravity?

Bruce
Thanks, Bruce.

I think most who responded here are thinking about the Kessler Syndrome. And it seems a possible inference that they're not too worried about this plan as long as it does not spark such an incident. Which is fine. I guess I'm more conservative. I think that wherever people have gone, we've shown an unwavering penchant to pollute the place. I'm thinking about Chris' statement, though, which may mean that this particular type of pollution (junk in low Earth orbit) is self-clearing. That would be good to learn, if it is true. But so we used to think about dumping waste into streams, and into the ocean. Until a vast trash vortex formed in the Pacific Ocean. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/ency ... age-patch/.

I want to clearly point out that my main concern is not about this one project that SpaceX is proposing. Only that the project is a sort of bellwether. Rather, my main concern and feeling of surprise or shock, was to realize how easy it has suddenly become for someone like SpaceX to embark on an ill-considered project, without there being any consensus, or even any knowledge by those affected. And it seems like there are quite a few new players that are entering the space business around the globe.

I may have specific concerns about this particular plan of launching 5000-10,000 satellites to provide a blanket of Internet access to the world's population, but I am not at all clear on that. Again, I guess that is part of my point, though -- this plan could easily go forward before nearly enough intelligent people have had a look at it. I'd want it to be debated first by people who (unlike me) have relevant engineering skills and experience in the communications industry, in atmospheric study, and, as already pointed out by others, in the area of space debris management. Probably the last group I mentioned has looked this over, at least partially, since the FCC is involved in that management. And maybe I've missed a huge discussion of all of this -- perhaps I don't read the right sources.
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Re: Some Folks Want to Launch a Ton of Satellites

Post by MarkBour » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:26 am

Incidentally, in regards to space debris, I just came across the following document from the FCC
"Mitigation of Orbital Debris" which is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/document/mitigration-orbital-debris.
(Note: the typo in the page URL, title, and heading is humorous -- or maybe they're trying to coin a new word "mitigration".)

I learned a lot from this document, including that another body, the IADC, which I was not familiar with, is also concerned about the space debris question. And that international body is very much the kind of thing I was wishing for. I wonder how wide their scope is.

ADDENDUM: Well there are lots of organizations labeled IADC. Here, I'm referring to the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (website: https://www.iadc-online.org/).
It's good to see that space agencies in the main space-faring countries are here:
Capture3.jpg
The agencies themselves are listed in another nice graphic.
Capture4.jpg
And ultimately, I see that the United Nations has a Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, established way back in 1959.
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