Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


China creates company to build mega-satellite constellation

The new colonial movement: Late last month China officially created a company to build its own mega-satellite constellation, consisting of 13,000 satellites to provide internet access globally, to compete with the commercial constellations being built by SpaceX, OneWeb, and (someday) Amazon.

Spectrum allocation filings submitted to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) by China in September last year revealed plans to construct two similarly named “GW” [Guowang] low Earth orbit constellations totaling 12,992 satellites. The filings indicate plans for GW to consist of sub-constellations ranging from 500-1,145 kilometers in altitude with inclinations between 30-85 degrees. The satellites would operate across a range of frequency bands.

Currently no details have been released on the contractors to be involved in the constellation. Notably the China Satellite Network Group will exist independent from and parallel to China’s main space contractors, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

The apparent independence of China Satellite Network Group from CASC and CASIC indicates that other actors, such as other state-owned enterprises and commercial sector space companies could be involved in the construction of the constellation.

Not only does the creation of this company suggest a power-struggle within China’s government, it illustrates the intensifying competition internationally over space. While commercial satellite constellations like SpaceX and OneWeb will be able to provide their services to China, they will also be outside the control of that nation’s dictatorship. If their citizens use them they will have free access to information, something that China’s leaders refuse to allow.

Thus, the political decision in China to build their own constellation. It will also give China the ability to exert its influence worldwide by offering an alternative to the commercial western constellations, one that other dictators can control as well.

Expect more whining from astronomers about how this constellation of satellites will add to their woes. Instead of whining, might they finally decide to at last consider building in-space telescopes, where there is no atmosphere to fog their view and no satellites blocking their vision?

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • “Expect more whining from astronomers about how this constellation of satellites will add to their woes. Instead of whining, might they finally decide to at last consider building in-space telescopes, where there is no atmosphere to fog their view and no satellites blocking their vision?”

    I think the astronomical community will be forced into space-based observations. It doesn’t look like thousands of satellites are just going to drop out of the sky. Launch rates and boosted mass are only going to increase, and I’d say that the astronomers have already lost; they just don’t know it, yet.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *