Because India depends on the American Deep Space communications network — mostly unavailable due to the government shutdown — the launch of its first Mars probe, set for October 28, might have to be delayed for two years.


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Because India depends on the American Deep Space communications network — mostly unavailable due to the government shutdown — the launch of its first Mars probe, set for October 28, might have to be delayed for two years.

This is unfortunate news indeed. However, if I was India (as well as other countries) I would consider this a call to develop their own deep space network.

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  • Edward

    “However, if I was India (as well as other countries) I would consider this a call to develop their own deep space network.”

    This is how the US went from 80% of the world’s commercial communications satellite business to 25% in 15 years. The federal ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) regulations were so onerous on foreign customers that Europe now makes totally non-US satellites. Even our satellite part manufacturers have been replaced by overseas manufacturers. And all because they wanted to keep the Chinese, Koreans, and Iranians from developing their own reliable rockets.

    The hypothesis was that with such draconian restrictions, we would be able to control what information our space partners would give to these countries. Instead, the restrictions made doing business with the US so difficult or impossible, they drove our former partners away from the US markets and to make their own satellites and parts. There is no longer any control over what they tell these three restricted countries about making reliable launch rockets.

    Now we don’t have the satellite market, and all three of those countries can launch their own rockets. Of course, now that the horse is out of the barn, the government has relaxed these restrictions. With a government like this one, who needs enemies?

    Each time we prove ourselves to be an unreliable space partner we drive our friends right into the hands of our enemies. Who knows who they may partner with, should they choose to create their own deep space network, but it is clear that the US government — including NASA — is an unreliable partner.

    Government can sure do some stupid things. I have a visual joke: “how does the federal government shoot itself in the foot?” Then I stick out my foot, make a gun out of my hand, and point my hand at my foot – via the back of my neck. (Note to zero-tolerance police: disregard the previous two sentences.)

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