SpaceX CEO Elon Musk explains why we need a 'whole new architecture' for space travel

Oct 21, 2019
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While I applaud Elon for SpaceX and his visions are exciting in to themselves, I do think that adding so many satellites for internet connectivity will cause problems with night time access to the beauty of our universe. Hubris can cause tunnel vision as to what one hopes to achieve.
 
Jan 4, 2020
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While I applaud Elon for SpaceX and his visions are exciting in to themselves, I do think that adding so many satellites for internet connectivity will cause problems with night time access to the beauty of our universe. Hubris can cause tunnel vision as to what one hopes to achieve.
It will be hardly noticeable even at current technology. ESO released a study a week ago, and most optical astronomy will see a 0.5 % loss of observation time, which is double the current loss to satellites [ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200305132049.htm ]. The reason is that they go so low and most will be Earth shaded at any given time. "The effect is more pronounced for long exposures (of about 1000 s), up to 3% of which could be ruined during twilight, the time between dawn and sunrise and between sunset and dusk. Shorter exposures would be less impacted, with fewer than 0.5% of observations of this type affected. " "Overall, these new satellite constellations would about double the number of satellites visible in the night sky to the naked eye above 30 degrees [3]."

That estimate do not seem to include the initial tumbling and orbit raising of, say, Starlink satellites. It will also cost in developing software technology to dodge and filter out the satellite tracks, but the technology was moderately complex I think. What will be hit is certain long exposure observatories. "For example, up to 30% to 50% of exposures with the US National Science Foundation's Vera C. Rubin Observatory (not an ESO facility) would be "severely affected," depending on the time of year, the time of night, and the simplifying assumptions of the study." We still don't know about radio astronomy, the satellites will leak some into frequency bands nearby their allowed slots.

I have to ask, why is "hubris" mentioned whenever scientists or technologists tackle hard problems? Statistics AFAIK say that no matter the level of difficulty, some 90 % of projects will never succeed. (Ask your teenager when he or she last cleaned their rooms.) But conversely 10 % of projects will succeed, no matter how complex. Oh, the complex will be late and/or costly, building is mostly one off projects and large building projects average 60 % over projected budget. But that is generic, not hubris. Similarly, society do succeed in complex projects, that is generic and not hubris. Wouldn't it be hubris to claim that complex projects cannot possibly succeed?
 
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