[Cerowrt-devel] spacebee

Dave Taht dave.taht at gmail.com
Tue Mar 13 12:52:53 EDT 2018

A couple things on the spacebee.

0) I LOVE the concept. Of late (due to my boat) I'd been digging into
the evolution of AIS repeaters, and that insanely primitive protocol,
and the hacks to make that scale over two channels of VHF up into

1) The costs of launching cubesats has dropped dramatically. I believe
this particular launch cost about $.5m per 1u device. (I was paying
attention due to my interest in Planetary Resources' work. Their 6u
arkyd-3 spacecraft was in this payload and is functioning nominally.)

Spacebee - Having a payload 1/4th the size of a cubesat *work* and be
useable! is a major advance. And is 1/4th the space junk. Worrying
about something smaller than baseball hitting anything strikes me as
control freakery at the FCC.

2) Although the FCC denied the application based on having inadaquate
radar reflectivity, according to their standards, the article states:

"Websites dedicated to tracking operational satellites show the
SpaceBees in orbits virtually identical to those specified in Swarm’s
application." Ground stations can only get better.

3) most (all?) 1u spacecraft have no maneuvering capability and half
of cubesats tend to fail quickly, so there will be an increasing
amount of space junk in low orbits regardless. But there's nothing to
explode on board ('cept maybe a battery?), and probably the biggest
source of space junk has been explosions. Yes, there have been
collisions, but the smaller the device, the smaller the chance of

4) Flat out bypassing a staid and boring agency, getting the thing
launched, and proving the concept is just so american! but unless the
regulations are reformed I could certainly see more and more sats
created outside the USA. ITAR is a real PITA, and now testing,
development, and regulation now dominate over launch costs.

5) I'd misread the article, and interpreted part of the denial based
on some longstanding issues they've had with not allowing spread
spectrum radio in orbit.

I'd love to see an independent, fast-moving, external and
international group just start ignoring the FCC on certain matters, or
acting in concert to help push small sats forward, faster.

On Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 9:12 AM, Jim Gettys <jg at freedesktop.org> wrote:
> The issue is that they can't track satellites that small using current radar
> technology.  They literally move satellites out of the way
> if there is some possibility of collision.  If there is a collision, then
> you get lots of debris, that just makes the debris
> problem worse.
> See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_satellite_collision
> Certain orbits are much more of an issue than others; for example, low earth
> orbits decay quickly enough that there is little issue, as the satellites
> will
> reenter quickly enough that there is unlikely to be a problem.  Other orbits
> are seldom used, so there isn't much to run into.
> The satellite's vendor proposed using on-board GPS to send its location.
> The problem is that if the satellite fails, they would get no information.
> The FCC was unhappy with that.  Launching without solving that
> objection is a real "no-no".a
> Jim
> On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 4:29 PM, Christopher Robin <pheoni at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Now I'm not defending the FCC thinking it has global launch control, but
>> I've actually done some academic reading on space debris and usable orbits.
>> The experts in the field have shown concern for how to handle the growth of
>> space traffic for decades, and not just in GEO space. Someone "going rogue"
>> could have large scale impacts. This is different than flying planes or
>> setting up a new radio tower without following the "rules of the road".
>> Space also has the additional factors that:
>> 1) there is currently no way (realistic) to clean up after an event in
>> space
>> 2) any collision events in space tend to cascade into a much larger
>> problem
>> There are some awesome technologies on the horizon, and I want to see them
>> come about. But unlike terrestrial radio, fixing a mistake isn't currently
>> feasible for small scale companies. Until that changes, we really need an
>> independent, international organization that will verify that these small
>> startups didn't miss something in their planning. Personally I'd rather be
>> stuck with sub-par terrestrial signals than increasing risk to GPS & weather
>> imaging.
>> On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 3:10 PM, dpreed at deepplum.com <dpreed at deepplum.com>
>> wrote:
>>> To me that is analogous to the idea that since ancient TV sets would show
>>> weird ghosts when various kinds of radio transmitters were placed nearby (or
>>> even be disturbed by power-line noise) that the entire effort and rulemaking
>>> of the FCC should be forever aimed at protecting those TV sets, because
>>> someone's grandmother somewhere might still own one.
>>> It's a technologically backwards idea. It's the kind of idea that made it
>>> next to impossible to legalize WiFi [I know, I was there]. Only a very key
>>> person (named M. Marcus, now retired from FCC OET, and a friend) was able to
>>> enable the use of WiFi technologies in the ISM bands. Otherwise, the idea
>>> that all current poorly scalable systems ought to be allowed to "block" new
>>> technologies takes over.
>>> All I can say is that if you really think about sharing orbital space in
>>> a scalable way, there is a lot more "space" available. Which is why I
>>> suggested "rules of the road" that operate in everyone's interest and
>>> privilege no one use over another are almost certainly feasible. As
>>> satellites get more capable (smaller, lighter, more maneuverable, as they
>>> follow the equivalent of Moore's Law for space) avoidance becomes feasible,
>>> *especially if all satellites can coordinate via low energy networking
>>> protocols*.
>>> I know all the scare stories. Planes will fall out of the sky if someone
>>> accidentally uses a WiFi device or cellphone on airplanes. The Internet will
>>> be inhabited only by criminals. Encryption is something no one with "nothing
>>> to hide" needs to use.
>>> Please. Think harder. Become an expert on space technology, etc. Not just
>>> someone who "knowledgably repeats lines from news media articles" as so many
>>> do.
>>> My point is that while it may be that *geosynchronous equatorial orbit*
>>> is very tightly occupied, most MEO and LEO space is not densely occupied at
>>> all.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: "Christopher Robin" <pheoni at gmail.com>
>>> Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 1:34pm
>>> To: "dpreed at deepplum.com" <dpreed at deepplum.com>
>>> Cc: cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>> Subject: Re: [Cerowrt-devel] spacebee
>>> The portion of space with usable orbital paths is much, much smaller. One
>>> rogue rocket with a poor/flawed understanding of that could endanger several
>>> other satellites. Many systems already in orbit lack the redundancy to
>>> handle a major collision. And any collision in orbit could ruin the
>>> usability of a much larger section of space.
>>> On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 1:18 PM, dpreed at deepplum.com
>>> <dpreed at deepplum.com> wrote:
>>>> Well, that may be the case, but it's a non-scalable and highly
>>>> corruptible system. IMO it's probably unnecesary, too. Space is actually
>>>> quite big.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: "Jim Gettys" <jg at freedesktop.org>
>>>> Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 12:26pm
>>>> To: "Dave Taht" <dave.taht at gmail.com>
>>>> Cc: cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>>> Subject: Re: [Cerowrt-devel] spacebee
>>>> I do believe that the international space treaties require our
>>>> government to control all launches.
>>>> Launching satellites without permission is a big no-no.
>>>> Note that according to the article, it is collision risk, rather than
>>>> radio radiation, that is the issue here.
>>>> Jim
>>>> On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 12:13 AM, Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> This is awesome. The FCC (whic still doesn't "get" spread spectrum
>>>>> radio) just discovered it doesn't have authority over the airwaves of
>>>>> the whole planet.
>>>>> https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/fcc-accuses-stealthy-startup-of-launching-rogue-satellites
>>>>> --
>>>>> Dave Täht
>>>>> CEO, TekLibre, LLC
>>>>> http://www.teklibre.com
>>>>> Tel: 1-669-226-2619
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Cerowrt-devel mailing list
>>>>> Cerowrt-devel at lists.bufferbloat.net
>>>>> https://lists.bufferbloat.net/listinfo/cerowrt-devel
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Dave Täht
CEO, TekLibre, LLC
Tel: 1-669-226-2619

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