Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Friday, August 03, 2012

ORBITAL SLOTS BECOMING SCARCE


  • There are more than 2,500 satellites currently in orbit (including both active and defunct satellites which continue to orbit the Earth).  A large number of them are "owned" by the Pentagon.  The parking lot is starting to run out of available space.  Conflict is growing over who controls the designation of remaining orbital slots.
  • Satellites have an operating lifespan between five and 20 years. As of 2008, the former Soviet Union and Russia had nearly 1,300 satellites in orbit, the US about 1,000, Japan more than 100, China about 80, France over 40, India more than 30, Germany almost 30, the UK and Canada 25, and at least ten each from Italy, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, Sweden, Luxembourg, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. 
  •  Low Earth Orbit (LEO) - Geocentric orbits ranging in altitude from 160 kilometers to 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) above Earth. Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) - Geocentric orbits with altitudes ranging between 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) and that of the geosynchronous orbit at 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi). Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) - Geocentric circular orbit with an altitude of 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi). The period of the orbit equals one sidereal day, coinciding with the rotation period of the Earth. High Earth Orbit (HEO) - Geocentric orbits with altitudes at apogee higher than that of the geosynchronous orbit. A special case of high Earth orbit is the highly elliptical orbit, where altitude at perigee is less than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi).
  • Different types of satellite orbits have different uses. The space shuttle avoided polar orbits, because flying through the aurora exposes astronauts to radiation and creates other problems. 
  • Space is an integral component of U.S. military planning. A sure sign of its essential nature can be found in the dozens of satellites from the U.S. and NATO partners that supported wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia.
  • Satellites don't attack directly, but rather they offer what the Pentagon calls "force enhancement" — surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, navigation, missile warning.  Essentially the satellites are the eyes, ears, and triggers for virtually all Pentagon combat operations whether they are on the land, sea or in the sky.
  • The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) operates satellites for the U.S. intelligence community. American reconnaissance spacecraft, including the NRO's major equipment, are launched to Earth orbit by the Air Force and are known by a variety of code names. 
  • My question?  Why do we earthlings need every country with a space program?  Every country with their own satellites?  Every country (and state) really need their own space launch complex?  Can we get over this nationalism bullshit and recognize that we all live on this tiny spinning beautiful orb called Earth?  Let's develop our Earth consciousness rather than around flags and boundary lines.

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