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India to build a smallsat rocket

Capitalism in space: India’s space agency ISRO has announced that it developing a smallsat rocket expressly designed to launch cubesats and thus compete with the new smallsat rocket companies now about to become operational.

ISRO has been very successful in providing a launch platform for smallsats on its PSLV rocket, but in this case the smallsats fly as secondary payloads, dependent on the needs of the larger primary satellite. It appears that the space agency has realized that their market share in this area is now threatened by the small rockets being developed by Rocket Lab and Vector, and is therefore moving to compete.

This announcement also provides more evidence that the space industry is splitting between smaller unmanned payloads and larger manned payloads. I predict that in ten years most unmanned satellites launched to circle the Earth will be tiny and launched on tiny rockets, while simultaneously we will see a new generation of giant rockets putting manned spacecraft into orbit and beyond.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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3 comments

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “I predict that in ten years most unmanned satellites launched to circle the Earth will be tiny and launched on tiny rockets, while simultaneously we will see a new generation of giant rockets putting manned spacecraft into orbit and beyond.

    I would not bet against that. Even the US Air Force is realizing that a small number of large satellites are more vulnerable than a large number of small satellites, so they are seriously considering moving much of their current capability to future small satellite constellations.

    Considering the very large number of cubesats placed in orbit over the past three years, the first part of the prediction is close to being realized already.

  • Localfluff

    I like bigger rockets more than small rockets. Small sats replacing big sats with constellations should be able to launch en masse at once on the same big launcher. A dedicated launcher requires either a pretty valuable small sat or really low reusability costs. It better work as regularly as a space elevator using a refueled rocket engine instead of a string. Btw, last weeks FISO was about space debris. It seems a single incident today could turn this threat into a real problem.

  • Edward

    Localfluff wrote: “I like bigger rockets more than small rockets. Small sats replacing big sats with constellations should be able to launch en masse at once on the same big launcher.

    Agreed.

    Bigger rockets just have more excitement to them.

    Initial placement of constellations and replacement constellations would likely best be done on bigger rockets, one for each orbital plane. Replacement of individual satellites in the constellation would likely best be done on smaller rockets. Theoretically, a smaller rocket can be made ready for launch faster than a big rocket, thus have a faster turnaround time from order to launch. Smaller rockets should also be less expensive per launch, so launching a single satellite on a small racket should also be the less expensive choice.

    I do not see larger rockets going out of style, but I see smaller rockets coming into style.

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