Friday, May 31, 2024

Just Sittin' Around, Waitin' Around, For the Big Story

You know. Starliner's test tomorrow afternoon. There are some other stories around, but not much. 

Surprisingly, at least to me, the Federal Communications Commission, the agency that regulates and licenses radio, TV, and thousands of services that use them, is proposing new rules to cover the risk of debris-generating accidental explosions in space. To the best of my knowledge, radio isn't involved in any of that, so why is it their field to regulate? Sure satellites in space use radios, but so do taxis and I don't know of them regulating ways that keep taxis from getting into collisions.

The new rules would require applicants to assess and limit the probability of accidental explosions to less than one in a thousand for each satellite they submit for approval.

The probability metric is derived from NASA’s standard and would apply during and after the completion of mission operations.

Less than a 1 in 1000 probability of explosion? When we're looking at constellations with tens of thousands of satellites in them, doesn't that seem like too many explosions?

Oh, well. It doesn't have to make sense. Power grabbing expands exponentially. 

I read that JAXA was unable to contact SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) as nightfall was approaching the lander, which has had a remarkable record of success in surviving the brutally cold lunar nights. Nobody really expected the lander to survive its first night on the moon after its January landing.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) attempted to send signals to SLIM on Friday and Saturday (May 24 and May 25), but was met with no response. A final attempt to reestablish contact was made on Monday evening (May 27) to no avail, marking a close to this month’s operations, the space agency announced on SLIM’s official X account.

SLIM, designed to demonstrate accurate lunar landing techniques, touched down on the moon’s surface on Jan. 20. Until now, JAXA has had successful monthly check-ins with the lander in February, March, and April — the probe managed to survive a shocking three frigid lunar nights. Usually, spacecraft can't even survive one of these two-week periods of cold isolation. Still, the space agency plans to try contacting SLIM again next month when the sun returns to the landing site, in hopes that the lander will reboot with sufficient solar power, the Japan Times reported.

Has the moon finally dealt the deathblow to SLIM? We'll have to wait about another two weeks until the sun rises again. 

An image JAXA released the first time SLIM woke up after a night on the moon back in January. For reasons known only to the mission planners, they've chosen to name the labeled rocks after dog breeds they estimate as being similar in size to that rock. 


  1. It is the nature of ALL federal agencies to seek expansion of their power, authority and control over anything they can succeed in gaining control over. The FCC is no exception to that reality.

  2. Yeah, you go, FCC. I would have thought that the FAA would be the leader in this. Well, at least it's not the EPA or the Bureau of Land Management.

    And, Starliner, fully expect to hear really bad news tomorrow. If not really bad news, then yet another 4 day hold...

  3. As to SLIM, it's survived past it's expiration date and not landing properly. So good on JAXA.

  4. I hear the FCC is now into regulating Sunspots because they interfere with terrestrial radio comms