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Guest: David Witkowski re IEEE; Topics: Space communications, LEO communications, space to Earth, to the Moon, to Mars, to other space assets and more.
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We welcomed David Witkowski, IEEE Sr. Member, to the program to discuss the multiple issues associated with space-based networking infrastructure and more. Since many space communication scenarios and players were discussed, as I have done with other Space Show programs, I suggest you follow the Tags for the topics discussed and for the most part the order we discussed them. For your convenience I've repeated the program tags here:
Tags: David Witkowski, LEO Sats, IEEE, , space-based network infrastructure, LEO connectivity to ground based communities, best practices for space-based infrastructure, increasing number of LEO sats and debris, LEO infrastructure challenges, reusable platforms, wireless ISP, over subscription jams, Starlink, LEO to Leo coms, LEO to Earth communications, fiber bias, Starlink infrastructure, long term network viability, investor payback timelines, debris issues, FCC regulations, Leo to Moon and Mars communications, Cislunar communications, routing software, satellite to satellite compatibility, LEO infrastructure development on ten year timeline, Russia LEO status, China's LEO status, Satellite costs, GEO sats and communications, LEO ground station issues and challenges, cubesat to cellphone coms, LEO issues for astronomers, new Earth based telescopes, Vera Rubin in South America, litigation challenges, new challenges for the FCC, Big Question exists on value for communications from space, cost benefit analysis, need to predict the future accurately, orbital servicing, space tugs, satellite servicing of other satellites, robotics, AI, commercial space now still has a ways to go.
I would like to highlight a few of the issues that surprised me during this interview. First, on TSS, we talk quite a bit about orbital servicing, satellite servicing, space tugs, changes in orbits to go here, there, everywhere, even refueling in orbit. We often talk as if all of this is at hand and companies touting tugs or servicing do so as if they have an operational fleet of tugs and servicing is underway. Our guest pulled no punches in saying these areas were far from "being here yet." Most of this commentary came toward the end of the show. While David's context was mostly from the perspective of communications, both space to space and space to Earth, he commented on the status of servicing tech and space hardware. A little realism is always helpful.
Another part of the discussion that got my attention was how little was said about LEO communications to the Moon or to Mars. While I know we are not commercially on the Moon yet and certainly not on Mars with anything, today we don't have the systems to do this type of communication routinely or efficiently. I wonder if these essential communications capabilities will parallel in development the ability to someday go to the Moon, even back and forth to the Moon or will communication capabilities lag our space transportation capabilities. Let us know what you think by posting on our blog.
Yet another discussion point that got my attention was the need for best practices in building and maintaining space infrastructure of all kinds, not just networking infrastructure. While there is much talk about the need for best practices or something similar to space construction, it is not there yet. Certainly for developing space situational awareness, for hotels in space, even the private space stations, we will need a best practices guide short of a terrestrial building code book or something like that. I strongly urge you to listen to this 84-minute program as within it you will find lots of important information for developing commercial space communications and infrastructure.
Please post your comments/questions for David Witkowski on our blog page for this show. You can reach our guest through me here at The Space Show or through our blog page.