Author Topic: Billionaires space race......lame!  (Read 2510 times)

GodlessCommie

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2021, 10:15:51 AM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

A better analogy would be commercial air transport. Regulators managed to strike the right balance here, allowing business to grow and innovate, but not allowing it to be reckless with human lives.

A similar approach is perfectly applicable to space. Even the agencies are all in place.

GuitarStv

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2021, 10:18:43 AM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

A better analogy would be commercial air transport. Regulators managed to strike the right balance here, allowing business to grow and innovate, but not allowing it to be reckless with human lives.

A similar approach is perfectly applicable to space. Even the agencies are all in place.

It's not like air transport at all.  If two airplanes collide, we don't lose the ability to go up into the air forever.

PDXTabs

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2021, 11:16:44 AM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

A better analogy would be commercial air transport. Regulators managed to strike the right balance here, allowing business to grow and innovate, but not allowing it to be reckless with human lives.

A similar approach is perfectly applicable to space. Even the agencies are all in place.

It's not like air transport at all.  If two airplanes collide, we don't lose the ability to go up into the air forever.

OMG, tell that to the governments of the world that keep designing, constructing, and testing Anti-satellite Weapons.

GodlessCommie

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2021, 11:17:18 AM »
It's not like air transport at all.  If two airplanes collide, we don't lose the ability to go up into the air forever.

Not in terms of impact, in terms of demonstrated ability to regulate.

And if we are talking about negative consequences, there are plenty of state actors I trust even less than Western corporations.

GuitarStv

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2021, 12:01:49 PM »
It's not like air transport at all.  If two airplanes collide, we don't lose the ability to go up into the air forever.

Not in terms of impact, in terms of demonstrated ability to regulate.

And if we are talking about negative consequences, there are plenty of state actors I trust even less than Western corporations.

Oh yeah, for sure.  I found China's "a piece of our rocket is going to fall somewhere on Earth, but Earth is mostly water so it's probably not going to kill anyone" approach to rocketry pretty disturbing.

But on the private front - SpaceX has already shown itself unwilling to be bound by FAA regulations which is a little worrying - https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/29/22256657/spacex-launch-violation-explosive-starship-faa-investigation-elon-musk.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2021, 04:35:07 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

GuitarStv

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2021, 05:01:28 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

It's the Kessler effect - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Basically we have no real way of getting rid of space junk at the moment.  We can track large objects (last I checked there were more than 27,000 pieces of junk being actively tracked by NASA - a number sure to increase over time) and try to route our flight paths around them, but little stuff (like screws and bolts and paint chips) stays up in space orbiting for thousands of years and moving at crazy fast speeds.  They may be small, but because of the velocities involved if they hit the space station, or a satellite, or a space ship leaving the planet they can be a huge problem.  The more junk that there is up in orbit, the more likely that the junk will cause additional damage to the thousands of existing satellites, which then results in more junk.  And then we'll launch more satellites to replace the broken ones . . . which will then get damaged and add to the problem.  You get enough of this little stuff kicking around and we may not be able to get things up into orbit to correct the problem without having them smashed to bits - positive feedback loop.

Nobody is certain exactly how much junk would trigger this cascading effect, but a bad collision between two space ships releasing a huge cloud of small bits could well end kick it off.  The loss of satellite communications alone would be a significant problem, but it would also seal our tomb as we sit on our poisoned, slowly warming rock fighting off gangs of cannibal reavers and hordes of smug preppers.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2021, 05:10:16 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

It's the Kessler effect - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Basically we have no real way of getting rid of space junk at the moment.  We can track large objects (last I checked there were more than 27,000 pieces of junk being actively tracked by NASA - a number sure to increase over time) and try to route our flight paths around them, but little stuff (like screws and bolts and paint chips) stays up in space orbiting for thousands of years and moving at crazy fast speeds.  They may be small, but because of the velocities involved if they hit the space station, or a satellite, or a space ship leaving the planet they can be a huge problem.  The more junk that there is up in orbit, the more likely that the junk will cause additional damage to the thousands of existing satellites, which then results in more junk.  And then we'll launch more satellites to replace the broken ones . . . which will then get damaged and add to the problem.  You get enough of this little stuff kicking around and we may not be able to get things up into orbit to correct the problem without having them smashed to bits - positive feedback loop.

Nobody is certain exactly how much junk would trigger this cascading effect, but a bad collision between two space ships releasing a huge cloud of small bits could well end kick it off.  The loss of satellite communications alone would be a significant problem, but it would also seal our tomb as we sit on our poisoned, slowly warming rock fighting off gangs of cannibal reavers and hordes of smug preppers.

Well dang.....way to ruin my Friday GuitarStv ;-)

GuitarStv

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2021, 05:15:07 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

It's the Kessler effect - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Basically we have no real way of getting rid of space junk at the moment.  We can track large objects (last I checked there were more than 27,000 pieces of junk being actively tracked by NASA - a number sure to increase over time) and try to route our flight paths around them, but little stuff (like screws and bolts and paint chips) stays up in space orbiting for thousands of years and moving at crazy fast speeds.  They may be small, but because of the velocities involved if they hit the space station, or a satellite, or a space ship leaving the planet they can be a huge problem.  The more junk that there is up in orbit, the more likely that the junk will cause additional damage to the thousands of existing satellites, which then results in more junk.  And then we'll launch more satellites to replace the broken ones . . . which will then get damaged and add to the problem.  You get enough of this little stuff kicking around and we may not be able to get things up into orbit to correct the problem without having them smashed to bits - positive feedback loop.

Nobody is certain exactly how much junk would trigger this cascading effect, but a bad collision between two space ships releasing a huge cloud of small bits could well end kick it off.  The loss of satellite communications alone would be a significant problem, but it would also seal our tomb as we sit on our poisoned, slowly warming rock fighting off gangs of cannibal reavers and hordes of smug preppers.

Well dang.....way to ruin my Friday GuitarStv ;-)

It would likely cause an increase in shooting stars too.  So, y'know.  Silver lining!

PDXTabs

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2021, 05:32:14 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

It's the Kessler effect - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Indeed. Here's a paper published in Nature on the Kessler effect talking about how SpaceX is the only responsible launch operator at the moment:

Although failures do occur, first stages of SpaceX rockets are usually landed and re-used, while second stages are usually controlled through re-entry and deposited in remote areas of ocean. This best practice might not be followed by others. For example, the first stages of the Soyuz rockets employed by OneWeb are not reusable, nor are the second stage re-entries controllable. The Long March rockets that will likely be employed by GW are similar. Uncontrolled re-entries do not always meet safety standards, a situation that may be exacerbated by mega-constellations. Moreover, the cumulative impact of thousands of rocket stages on the ocean environment could be significant should those stages contain hazardous materials, such as unspent hydrazine fuels. In the 1990s, Pacific island countries opposed the Sea Launch project because of environmental concerns, including from discarded rocket stages. In 2016, Inuit in the Canadian Arctic protested the Russian practice of disposing rocket stages in the North Water Polynya, a biologically rich area of year-round open water.

Satellite mega-constellations create risks in Low Earth Orbit, the atmosphere and on Earth

The irony being that they're also worried about the mega-constellations that SpaceX is putting up. But those were indeed approved by a governmental organization.

GuitarStv

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2021, 05:41:04 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

This may seem like a dumb question, but could you please expound on what would need to happen for this to occur? Would it simply take something exploding at the right altitude?

It's the Kessler effect - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome

Indeed. Here's a paper published in Nature on the Kessler effect talking about how SpaceX is the only responsible launch operator at the moment:

Although failures do occur, first stages of SpaceX rockets are usually landed and re-used, while second stages are usually controlled through re-entry and deposited in remote areas of ocean. This best practice might not be followed by others. For example, the first stages of the Soyuz rockets employed by OneWeb are not reusable, nor are the second stage re-entries controllable. The Long March rockets that will likely be employed by GW are similar. Uncontrolled re-entries do not always meet safety standards, a situation that may be exacerbated by mega-constellations. Moreover, the cumulative impact of thousands of rocket stages on the ocean environment could be significant should those stages contain hazardous materials, such as unspent hydrazine fuels. In the 1990s, Pacific island countries opposed the Sea Launch project because of environmental concerns, including from discarded rocket stages. In 2016, Inuit in the Canadian Arctic protested the Russian practice of disposing rocket stages in the North Water Polynya, a biologically rich area of year-round open water.

Satellite mega-constellations create risks in Low Earth Orbit, the atmosphere and on Earth

The irony being that they're also worried about the mega-constellations that SpaceX is putting up. But those were indeed approved by a governmental organization.

My understanding is that SpaceX lowered the altitude they would be putting the mega constellations so that if something goes wrong they'll fall out of the sky in a relatively short period of time.

PDXTabs

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2021, 05:54:07 PM »
My understanding is that SpaceX lowered the altitude they would be putting the mega constellations so that if something goes wrong they'll fall out of the sky in a relatively short period of time.

Yes, which I strongly agree with. But also, they're putting up a lot of them, and if something big hits one on its way down that could still be bad. From the above:

Fragmentation events are not confined to their local orbits, either. The India 2019 ASAT test was conducted at an altitude below 300 km in an effort to minimize long-lived debris. Nevertheless, debris was placed on orbits with apogees in excess of 1000 km. As of 30 March 2021, three tracked debris pieces remain in orbit. Such long-lived debris has high eccentricities, and thus can cross multiple orbital shells twice per orbit. A major fragmentation event from a single satellite could affect all operators in LEO.

Even if debris collisions were avoidable, meteoroids are always a threat. The cumulative meteoroid flux for masses m > 10–2 g is about 1.2 × 10–4 meteoroids m−2 year−1 (see “Methods”). Such masses could cause non-negligible damage to satellites. Assuming a Starlink constellation of 12,000 satellites (i.e. the initial phase), there is about a 50% chance of 15 or more meteoroid impacts per year at m > 10–2 g. Satellites will have shielding, but events that might be rare to a single satellite could become common across the constellation.

nereo

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2021, 06:31:48 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

Meh - “permanently” is probably a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s virtually impossible to establish a ‘perfect’ (non degrading) orbit.  Our satellites all have to be nudged from time to time to maintain a predictable path.  Maybe someone with better math skills than my own will chime in, but i’m guessing a explosion in LEO would make it hazardous AF to go into space for several years, but within a generation (or two?) it wouldn’t be much different than it is now. 

BDWW

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2021, 11:13:09 PM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

Meh - “permanently” is probably a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s virtually impossible to establish a ‘perfect’ (non degrading) orbit.  Our satellites all have to be nudged from time to time to maintain a predictable path.  Maybe someone with better math skills than my own will chime in, but i’m guessing a explosion in LEO would make it hazardous AF to go into space for several years, but within a generation (or two?) it wouldn’t be much different than it is now.

At altitudes greater than LEO (~2000km), natural decay and de-orbit can take on the order of 1000s of years, hundreds in high LEO, and progressive less until you get to orbits like SpaceX (500km) where things de-orbit in ~5 years or less.  In fact when you get above LEO, there's more natural debris (space dust, rocks - eventual meteorites) than man made. It just takes a very long time to get here.

nereo

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #64 on: July 31, 2021, 05:24:34 AM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.

Meh - “permanently” is probably a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s virtually impossible to establish a ‘perfect’ (non degrading) orbit.  Our satellites all have to be nudged from time to time to maintain a predictable path.  Maybe someone with better math skills than my own will chime in, but i’m guessing a explosion in LEO would make it hazardous AF to go into space for several years, but within a generation (or two?) it wouldn’t be much different than it is now.

At altitudes greater than LEO (~2000km), natural decay and de-orbit can take on the order of 1000s of years, hundreds in high LEO, and progressive less until you get to orbits like SpaceX (500km) where things de-orbit in ~5 years or less.  In fact when you get above LEO, there's more natural debris (space dust, rocks - eventual meteorites) than man made. It just takes a very long time to get here.

Thanks!  so we can agree that exploding things - particularly above LEO - is a really bad idea.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #65 on: July 31, 2021, 06:55:56 AM »
It just takes one disaster scattering billions of little chunks of fast moving metal around the Earth to permentantly close off space to the human race.  I'm not entirely sure that I trust any private corporation to be careful enough, given the environmental history of our world.
Meh - “permanently” is probably a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s virtually impossible to establish a ‘perfect’ (non degrading)
I'd go further and say it's a major exaggeration because it it ignores developing laser broom technology.

That being said, it would still suck to have no satellites or space travel for a few years.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2021, 06:59:21 AM by YttriumNitrate »

GodlessCommie

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Re: Billionaires space race......lame!
« Reply #66 on: July 31, 2021, 10:29:41 AM »
For those with WaPo subscription, another reminder that the race isn't between Musk and Bezos, or Musk and NASA - it is between SpaceX and legacy aerospace companies, at home and abroad.

And in an ironic turn of events, Boeing is now poaching engineers from SpaceX.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/07/29/boeing-starliner-iss-second-try/