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Submission + - Construction at SpaceXâ(TM)s new spaceport about to begin

schwit1 writes: SpaceX has begun prepping the construction sites at its private spaceport in Brownsville, Texas.

The county has begun work on a road to where the spaceport command center will be, and SpaceX has established its construction headquarters in a double-wide trailer there. It is expected that actual construction of the command center will begin in August, with the launchpad construction to follow.

The expected cost for building the entire spaceport: $100 million. Compare that to the billions the Russians are spending for Vostochny, or the billions that NASA spends on comparable facilities.

Submission + - Hanging out with Someone who Walked on the Moon->

szczys writes: Greg Charvat recently sat in on an MIT course called "Engineering Apollo". For this set of sessions, David Scott recounted his experience as an astronaut. David was the commander of the Apollo 15 mission, flew several others, and took part in the development of much of the equipment used in the moon missions. This class is him hanging around with a bunch of engineers talking in a level of detail rarely heard.
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Comment Re:communications (Score 1) 141

There are indeed satellite phones in Nepal, but they are extremely rare given the number of people that have them vs. the number that don't.

Also, if you think the cell network can get overloaded in a hurry, you should look at the bandwidth budgets for those type of satellites. In disaster areas, sat phones have the same issue of 'network unavailable' when the birds are trying to pass more calls when they have bandwidth for. All commercial systems are allotted frequencies in one particular band or another and when they're full, they're full. Amateurs have at least a dozen bands, all with different propagation profiles. Not to mention, we have our own both voice and digital satellites that are exclusively for amateur communications.

Finally, in a supplement from Inmarsat's own 2013 shareholder report... 'The capacity of our satellites is limited and our network can be subject to congestion due to concentrated usage in a specific geography. Continuing congestion could damage our reputation for service availability and harm our results of operations.'


Comment Re:what happend to packet radio? (Score 1) 141

Packet is still alive and well, but everyone I know has switched to APRS (a protocol that sits on top of AX.25). HF packet is slow, but it's there. 300 Baud doesn't pass a lot of data. I'd rather rely on packet via satellite than packet over HF. The successful HF modes (AMTOR, SITOR, etc) have forward error correction to cut down on bad data... the packet network just has to repeat everything until it's understood.


Comment Re:Once again (Score 2) 141

Actually, the FCC is now proposing that amateurs share those LF spectrums that BPL uses as experiments BY HAMS have determined they can co-exist just fine. In fact, Hams are getting more frequencies now than they have ever lost. is just one of several similar articles the ARRL has reported on recently. Please don't keep up the BS argument that we're losing our bands and privileges when the opposite is true. Aside from a portion of the 220MHz band that we might actually be getting back, where else have we lost spectrum and rights? There are more licensed hams than ever now and the reduced license restrictions offer more privileges for less work.


Comment Re:The cat's out of the bag (Score 2) 299

Before you can perfect editing the genome without side effects you are going to mess things up. That is the ethical dilemma that needs to be answered who do you practice on.

Certainly! But our* corporations have a pretty crappy record of balancing ethics and profits.

* Humankind's. No country or race has any claim to superior ethical behavior.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (4) How many times do we have to tell you, "No prior art!"