Weekly Takeaways-July 6, 2023
Theme of the Week
While America celebrated Independence Day, the rest of the world was declaring its own form of independence. Not long ago space was the domain of a few countries and international consortiums. But there is a new Space Race brewing that is reshaping the landscape. The new space era has reduced access to space by two orders of magnitude and has spawned demand for sovereign space systems. To wit:
China, Europe, and the US are now rushing to establish manned colonies on the moon.
The US, Europe, China, India, Japan, and Russia have their own large launch vehicles, even as Europe retires their venerable Ariane 5 rocket.
China has their own space station Tiangong that recently started hosting global experiments.
Numerous countries are developing a global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to replace GPS (see below).
But the real shift is the break from dependence on governments, as commercial space companies have taken over activities traditionally done by government agencies. We hold these truths to be self-evident: space belongs to everyone. Last Week's Theme: Time-of-Flight
The sun has broken out into the largest number of sunspots in two decades, sparking concerns about solar storms. The last time it was this bad, “satellite operators lost track of hundreds of spacecraft for several days,” and there are now nearly ten times as many satellites in orbit.
With the increase of solar activity, you can prepare with a Space Weather Impact on GNSS webinar and subscribe to the NOAA Space Weather alerts so you will get some advance warning of the next Carrington Event.
Estonia has joined the list of European countries in reporting GPS interference likely coming from Russian jamming.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force announced it “is expanding its operations in space” to protect their satellites “from “junk,” “killers” and “stalkers.””
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced their own plans to launch a quantum satellite that will demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), joining China, UK, Europe, and Singapore in that exclusive club.
Small Satellite, August 5 – 10, Logan, Utah
Euroconsult, September 11 – 15, Paris, France
APSCC, October 10 – 12, KL, Malaysia
ITSF, Oct 30 – Nov 2, Antwerp, Belgium
UK National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2023, Nov 2, London, UK
SLUSH, Nov 30 – Dec 1, Helsinki, Finland
The More You Know...
GPS remains the dominant GNSS, with nearly 8 billion receivers worldwide (one for every human on Earth), and a foundational role in all modern travel, communications, and network infrastructure. But that ubiquity has a downside. A large-scale outage would wreak havoc with transportation, financial markets, communication networks and power grids across the globe, which has spurred other countries to declare independence from GPS. China recalled their “Unforgettable Humiliation” as an incentive to build BeiDou. India’s break was triggered by “US denial of GPS during the Kargil Conflict in 1999.” Europe is concerned that 10% of their GDP relies on a system with “inherent shortcomings which could be compromised by a malicious actor.” A new European report is tracking new development efforts in Europe (Galileo), China (BeiDou), Russia (GLONASS), Japan (QZSS), India (IRNSS), UK, Korea (KASS), and Africa (ANGA). And even in the US there is a push is to develop a commercial GNSS solution to “take the bullseye off of GPS.”