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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:

 

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Viasat once again demands government block its competitor Starlink

In a letter to the FCC submitted on May 2, 2022, Viasat once again demanded the government block the deployment of SpaceX’s full 30,000 Starlink satellite constellation.

SpaceX shouldn’t be allowed to greatly expand its Starlink network while light pollution issues surrounding its deployed satellites remain unresolved, Jarrett Taubman, Viasat vice president and deputy chief of government affairs, said in a letter to the regulator.

While calls for a thorough environmental review that Viasat made for Starlink’s current generation of satellites in December 2020 were largely rejected, Taubman said SpaceX’s plan to grow the constellation by seven times “would have significant aesthetic, scientific, social and cultural, and health effects on the human environment on Earth.”

In other words, rather than try to compete with SpaceX, Viasat wants the government to squelch that competition. Though Viasat’s previous complaints have been rejected entirely, there is no guarantee that the Biden administration will continue to reject them. Recent evidence suggests instead that it will instead use this complaint as another opportunity to limit SpaceX’s operations, for political reasons.

Meanwhile, the only possible harm to Earth the full Starlink constellation might do is cause a limited interference in ground-based astronomy. Since astronomers have made so little effort to get their telescopes into orbit, above such interference, few should sympathize with them. If anything, Starlink should be the spur to get all of its telescopes off the ground and into space. Astronomers will not only avoid light interference from Starlink, they will get far better data without the atmosphere smearing their vision.

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.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

5 comments

  • Jay

    Just a bit of info, ViaSat owns WildBlue, a satellite internet service just like HughesNet. Believe it or not WildBlue was slower than HughesNet in my opinion. This protest was probably brought up since Starlink is being used by JSX and Hawaiian Air. For record, ViaSat is the internet connection for United Airlines. A side-note: I know that Alaska Airlines already has a lot of business deals with Amazon, so they will probably go with Kuiper.
    HughesNet has made it’s deal with OneWeb and Amazon has it’s Kuiper. ViaSat is out in the cold unless it can come up with it’s own LEO constellation of satellites.

  • Ryan Lawson

    They can also hire SpaceX to launch their orbital satellites at a greatly reduced price!

  • Jeff Wright

    …wah…..
    ..nobody wookin….. .WAH!!!

  • GaryMike

    Those who can do, do.

    Those who can’t do, don’t.

  • Speaking of astronomers’ public antipathy toward Starlink, I notice that the latest (April 2022, published Apr. 22) issue of the journal Nature Astronomy includes several pieces devoted to astronomers’ flag-waving lobbying for “woke” agendas such as ensuring that astronomy is “sustainable” and doesn’t contribute 1 whit to climate change (even if research and the advancement of knowledge must be slowed). First of all, there’s the main editorial “Save the Earth… and space” in that issue.

    The editorial then references several other papers: first of all, a “Perspective” article in that issue, titled “The case for space environmentalism,” makes, as it says, “the case for considering the orbital space around the Earth as an additional ecosystem, subject to the same care and concerns, and the same broad regulations as the oceans and the atmosphere, for example.” Additionally: “We should consider damage to professional astronomy, public stargazing, and the cultural importance of the sky….”

    Furthermore, as the article notes in its “Main” section:

    “This Perspective has its origin in an Amicus Brief submitted to the US Court of Appeal in August 2021, in support of an appeal made by several organizations against a specific order made by the US Federal Communications Commission. That order granted licence amendments for SpaceX Starlink satellites.”

    That editorial in Nature Astronomy also indicates a recent (Mar. 21) article attempting to produce an “Estimate of the carbon footprint of astronomical research infrastructures” — concluding that the astronomers of the world exhibit an average carbon footprint per researcher of 36.6 +- 14.0 tons of CO2e per year! (powering supercomputers providing much of that carbon burden) — beyond that, they point to a “Focus” collection of articles (also from the previous month: Mar. 08) considering “The impact of astronomy on climate change.” OMG!

    All in all, sounds like quite a campaign that’s now ramping up and underway.

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