Obviously there is less need for communications satellites because each
new one has HUGE capacity compared to the one it replaces. And then
there are the DirecTV, DISH, Sirius, XM, etc. satellites. Are those
considered "communication" since they don't relay telephone calls?
I can agree with the pessimism of the article. That's one of the
reasons I came back to the hobby 2 years ago. The space program's no
longer an adventure to fire the imagination that adds some color to a
drab world, it's the bureaucracy that makes the world drab (Be a good
little citizen and walk lock step with the rest of the herd, there's
nothing better than the life we benign leaders provide you with so don't
even think it. There's Wrestling tonight and tomorrow you can watch
Survivor: Ad Nauseum....). If that's going to change ya got to step to
the line yerself, and to quote Buckwheat from so long ago in the one
Little Rascals episode, "He' I is!"
In truth, we've never been in the "space age"
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
... One nation under surveillance, divisive, with liberty and justice for none.
I don't know where the article got its data, as I haven't seen the
latest FAA report on Commercial launches (should be sometime this
month), but the ones for FY 2003 are out, and can be found here:
I know there are a few other reports that break down military,
commercial, civilian, etc., but I don't have the links for them right
now...Those reports will even tell you the covert satellites that have
been launched (as the launch vehicle has to be registered with the UN),
but won't tell you what is in those payloads.
Of course comunication satellite launches have gone down, we have
better technology and a lack of GEO orbit positions to thank for that.
There are only so many useful and safe slots available for GEO (comm or
otherwise) satellites. Constellation types (such as Iridium) didn't
pan out (i.e. went bankrupt). The reason there was such a spike in
launch activity in the 90's (which suprisingly doesn't show on the
author's graph) was because of Iridium. That makes me wonder about the
author's data even more...
Plus the fact that communication companies can fit more transponders
onto a single satellite, increasing bandwidth, users, or both. I can
understand comm companies only wanting to replace old/worn out
satellites, which has to be done anyway when a GEO satellite's
thrusters run out of hydrazine/propellant.
But another factor has been the advent of launching multiple payloads
on one rocket, a novel concept reducing the total number of launches.
Until we find a way to get rid of most of the junk that is up there,
pretty soon we may not be launching anything, for fear of it being hit
by a paint fleck or bolt travelling at 14,000 mph.
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