Monday, October 3, 2022

The 2022 Global Satellite Servicing Forum is fast approaching! Register to hear CONFERS members share lessons learned from launching their own on-orbit servicing missions and find out what’s in store for #satelliteservicing now and in the future. You don’t need to be a member to attend; reserve your seat now. #inspacesatelliteservicing #GSSF22

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

There are a couple of options in consideration for close proximity spacecraft-spacecraft communications. WiFi or 5g.

Here's a demo of the WiFi capability

Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

At the Global Satellite Servicing Forum (GSSF) 2021 meeting this morning there was a question to panelists for SpaceLogistics, Astroscale, Starfish and Gitai on the role of debris removal, servicing and assembly companies in ISS life extension or removal. In the Q&A someone from Goddard posted this link

In the discussion it became clear that industry's expectation is this transition will be completed before the decade is out. Our space infrastructure on-orbit will transition from servicing of legacy systems to servicing of cooperative client spacecraft.

I believe this is the first time anyone has put a calendar on this formative transition.

Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Food for thought:
The path ahead for on-orbit data processing is going to be interesting.  AI and cloud are coming. So is more processing capability. The delay tolerant question is starting to look to have more impact on near real time demands, coupled with bandwidth access.

Exo-Space Prepares For High Demand For On-Orbit Data Processing

Space News (9/22, Subscription Publication) reports that Exo-Space “has pivoted in response to growing demand for on-orbit data processing.” Exo-Space’s FeatherEdge image-analysis device for satellites and balloon payloads, “will rely on machine vision algorithms to detect objects within its field of view.” Exo-Space is offering monitoring of a specific area of interest for “a monthly subscription fee,” providing frequent updates to customers.

Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Does Defense or Industry lead the Military Industrial Complex?

For many years there has been a question as to whether corruption is due to poverty, or is poverty due to corruption? The ballot came in several years ago establishing that corruption causes poverty.
A similar question might be posed today regarding industry and defense. Perhaps the most contested microcosm of general industry is that of space. Historically my experience is that Defense has lead the Space Military Industrial Complex. Today, in a conversation regarding the need for MBA programs in space, the challenge was made to justify that the old mantra is passed, and that the future will have Industry lead?
This is not a trivial question.
To elaborate a little bit, one might suggest that an MBA where Defense, not Industry, leads, the need for an MBA is formulaic. Where Industry leads, innovation is essential
The answer will determine the future of humanity in space.
There was a time in my life where to write the letters "NRO" in my OPR would have resulted in someone going to jail. Pseudonyms were used. Later in my career, out from under the umbrella, charged with developing new technology for the Space Defense Industrial Complex, efforts were inexplicably stymied; I could not see why.  As a student of physics and engineering I could see textbook answers which appeared obvious, but defense funded research seemed blind to. Still later, I had the opportunity to work with "Colonel Bob" on a cross-agency initiative (There were a couple on interoperability or cost and schedule savings; I cannot remember which one). I mentioned my earlier frustration, and "Colonel Bob" responded, "Isn't it great?!"

My intent on posing this question is not to challenge the need for the Defense component of the Space Military Industrial Complex. The question is, "Who is to lead?" Or to relate to the conversation of earlier today, do individuals looking for future education opportunities need to consider Business or an MBA?

Fortunately we have reached the stage where markets, not the Military Industrial Complex, will answer the question.

Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Is Space a Zero Sum Game?

{This note was prompted by a discussion on how the space Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) can and should work together. A position from one or more SDOs is reported to be there is opposition to cooperation due to concerns about competition in standards development and loss of potential revenue/market share.}

In a zero sum game for each transaction,  each party either gains or loses, with the net value of transactions equaling zero. This implies the market value is fixed. Commonly this kind of transaction is called a “win-lose”.

In a non-zero sum game the market value is not fixed. It is possible for the net value of transactions to be greater in value than the simple summation of transactions. Commonly this kind of transaction is called a “win-win”.

Is Space a zero sum game? No.

While funding may have been fixed in the past, relying primarily on government budgets, today and in the foreseeable future, Space will be a growing market.

What does this mean for Standards Development Organizations (SDOs)?

The expansion of the space marketplace is based on growth in small satellite markets, growth in space tourism, growth in all possible permutations and variations of space access, space capabilities, space command and control and space product delivery. The US Department of Commerce has estimated growth from about $300B/yr to $1T/yr in the next ten years.

SDOs serve markets, so as the market grows the need for standards will increase.  For the space industry, the lack of a large industry wide standards library means there will be a need to fill the vacuum and expand to meet future needs. There is a lot of work to do.

What is the impact if the US treats space standards development as a zero sum game? As the standards market expands in the global space market, non-US SDOs will provide the new international library. US companies, striving to succeed in the in the global market, will use any applicable standards that help them compete and grow. Therefore, if US SDOs follow a zero sum philosophy, only US SDOs will lose market share. That is not quite true: if one follows W. Edwards Deming’s teaching that “he who owns the standard owns the industry”, then the US will lose its leadership position in the global space market.

There is no mystery here. US space standards development, where there are multiple SDOs, must be done cooperatively. This can be at the national level, the international level, or both. Who leads is almost immaterial, as long as the leadership is done well.

Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On a Space "Code of Conduct"

There has been a good bit of discussion in the past few weeks about a "Code of Conduct" for space. Leonard David's article in Space News ( spoke to the need for such a code and what it might entail.  My feeling is we are already working on this.  The bits and pieces that might make up a future code are included in the technical standards we have been working on for the past several decades.  A specific example of current activity is the publication of new standards on orbital debris mitigation.  ISO 24113: Space Debris Mitigation Requirements is the top level document of this set. In the standards community, misconduct for space can be, and is, considered as non-compliance with the current, published, open requirements that make up standards.
David includes an interview with Laura Grego, a scientist for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Mass and she suggests a Code of Conduct compliant "space actor should

•Give notice of an impending launch
•Construct the satellite to encompass relevant safety and reliability standards
•Coordinate the satellite's orbit and communications frequencies with other users to prevent physical and electromagnetic interference
•Be as clear as possible about what the satellite’s purpose is intended to accomplish
•Make sure that close approaches and collisions are avoided"

almost all of which is accomplished by complying with rules, regulations and standards that exist today.

We can and should do a better job, and it is simply too easy today to find examples of misconduct in space.  We do need to do a better job.  We do not need another body of rule makers, but a little help on making the bodies that exist today more effective would be a welcome step.
Unless otherwise noted, the blog posts are written by Frederick A. Slane, Executive Director of the Space Infrastructure Foundation.