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a few observations



I've been monitoring/lurking on the mailing list for a while, and some of
what I've seen on the list in the last couple of days has drawn me
out for a few observations/comments:

To the folks trashing Windows as an OS for a satellite: if the thought
of Windows in anything vital worries you, consider the fact that
Microsoft has been selected by the government to do the work to
upgrade the computer systems at NORAD.....
*Be afraid, be very afraid..!*
Regarding Mir and it's continued existence:
  Don't hold your breath on seeing any more missions to Mir. The
Russian government has basically called Mircorp's bluff and told
them that they want to see the money. Mircorp has been talking
up how it would make the old space station commercially viable,
and bring in enough money to cover operational costs. So far, they've
managed to not get very close at all. Russia is saying that it takes
something like $100-200 million to keep Mir in operation per year,
and so far, Mircorp has come up with something like $40 million
(maybe) in commercial money. The most recent Progress launch
was supposed to have been funded by them, but the Russian
government ended up footing the bill. So, according the sources
such as Space.com and "Space News", Russian government
officials have told Mircorp to get the money they've been promising
together, or they pull the plug. Mircorp, for it's part, has moved forward
an IPO that they were planning for next year ('just a coincidence'
that it's happening now) and published an open letter in one of
Russia's biggest newspapers asking President Putin to continue
funding the operations of Mir.
  Space launches (i.e. orbiting payloads) by amateurs is something
that has been going to happen Real Soon Now for at least a decade
that I can remember. As far as I know, it's about as close now as it
was back then.....
Salvaged satellites: A lot of folks have put a lot of thought into this
idea, and so far, nobody can figure out how to make it pay. The
bulk of the junk in orbit is in LEO, while most of the really valuable
satellites are in GEO, a few thousand miles further up. Now, if you
want to really make some money, you might think of how to get out
to GEO and revive some of the satellites that failed over the last
couple of years due to hardware faults. There are at least two, maybe
three fairly new satellites that died due to faults in their CPU/power
supplies that rendered them unable to point towards the Sun and
keep power flowing in. Alternatively, if you give your scavenger
satellite enough brains and (rocket) brawn, you might consider the
satellite that is currently in an elliptical orbit after it's launcher
suffered a failure in the upper stage. It's currently owned by the
insurers, if I remember rightly, so you might have to cut some sort
of deal with them, but as they took possession after the original
owners filed a claim for the loss, they'd probably be glad to be shut
of it for some nominal sum.....

All for now.
Later,
Andy
WD9IYT


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