As Satellites and Space Junk Proliferate, US to Revise Rules

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Appowner

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So the ability to steal documents/examples of a technology and to actually be able to design/manufacture/utilize tech are two related but different things. What I look at is whether China is able to deploy the technology, and - like absence of 'Made in PRC' high-tech and mid-tech chips in the market - absence of recoverable PRC rocket boosters seems to me like evidence that we have a few more years before we see China start landing boosters for reuse, and a few more to get it right. I have been wrong before!

Here's a fact folks. Some years back Communist China got their programming loaded into a great many NIC (Network Interface Cards) manufactured in Taiwan and S. Korea. These cards when used on normal PCs would Phone Home (to China) and report everything going on with that particular PC. In doing so they've gathered not only industrial intel but government as well. And even tough they've been found out, do you really think they've stopped their efforts? That is just ONE example.

Think about this. China has roughly 50% of the worlds population (India is 2nd with something around 13%). This gives China roughly 50% of the worlds work force. The main difference between China and the west is the education level of the average citizen and the level of industrialization of the country. China is working and making great strides on both. And like Japan in the 1950's and 60's, China's industry is brand new and several generations ahead of our old stuff. Think China is a bunch of ignorant peasants living in straw huts? Take a closer look.

In the meantime our schools are teaching revised history, environmentalism and Woke theory vice reading, writing and arithmetic. And our government is encouraging industry to move away to avoid high tax rates. A bill just signed by Biden increases corporate tax rates. Who do you think will really pay those taxes? Priced a new car lately?

So, what do we do? We have to start by letting our so called elected representatives know what's on our minds. They all have an e-mail contact, book mark it and use it. Then we have to vote the idiots out. Too many citizens believe there is no threat. That their American dream will go on forever. That our politicians are not in cahoots with China and Russia. That 9-11 is a fading memory and was a hoax anyway.

If you listen to the TV Pundits, they're advising you to invest in gold and silver. I prefer to invest in lead and brass. It's far cheaper and with it I can take your gold and silver. Or anything else for that matter.
 

Appowner

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That is the reason here. I don’t think that there is much motivation for that in the PRC.


BJC
I think there is. Maybe not as much as here but they are well aware of what our economy can do when riled. After all, that's how we defeated Soviet Russia. We spent them into the ground.
 

SpruceForest

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Here's a fact folks. Some years back Communist China got their programming loaded into a great many NIC (Network Interface Cards) manufactured in Taiwan and S. Korea. These cards when used on normal PCs would Phone Home (to China) and report everything going on with that particular PC. In doing so they've gathered not only industrial intel but government as well. And even tough they've been found out, do you really think they've stopped their efforts? That is just ONE example.

Think about this. China has roughly 50% of the worlds population (India is 2nd with something around 13%). This gives China roughly 50% of the worlds work force. The main difference between China and the west is the education level of the average citizen and the level of industrialization of the country. China is working and making great strides on both. And like Japan in the 1950's and 60's, China's industry is brand new and several generations ahead of our old stuff. Think China is a bunch of ignorant peasants living in straw huts? Take a closer look.

In the meantime our schools are teaching revised history, environmentalism and Woke theory vice reading, writing and arithmetic. And our government is encouraging industry to move away to avoid high tax rates. A bill just signed by Biden increases corporate tax rates. Who do you think will really pay those taxes? Priced a new car lately?

So, what do we do? We have to start by letting our so called elected representatives know what's on our minds. They all have an e-mail contact, book mark it and use it. Then we have to vote the idiots out. Too many citizens believe there is no threat. That their American dream will go on forever. That our politicians are not in cahoots with China and Russia. That 9-11 is a fading memory and was a hoax anyway.

If you listen to the TV Pundits, they're advising you to invest in gold and silver. I prefer to invest in lead and brass. It's far cheaper and with it I can take your gold and silver. Or anything else for that matter.
Another long discussion that few will be interested in.

Let's clear a few things up re: facts:

China has about 1.4 billion people (but see the discussion below); world population is about 7.85 billion, so China is about 18% of the world's population. Similarly, India has about 1.4 billion and another 18% of world pop. And that is before the 100M Chinese 2020 census 'mistake' is factored in. So between them, a bit over a third of the world's population. It's pretty likely that at this point, India is the most populous nation on the planet, and has been for a few years. I'll mention it later, but the CIA World Fact Book is your buddy/friend/pal/RA in these sorts of discussions, despite dependence on official census numbers from countries like China and Russia that cook their books or just don't publish any numbers anymore.

Summary of the Summary: The smart money is not headed towards investment in Chinese companies.

Summary: China is a problem that will take care of itself in a decade or so...we just have to manage the splatter and to continue to migrate our low-tech bodega (see YouTube for pronunciation) to South and Central America, and mid-tech to Mexico.

Discussion:

Yes - the CCP tends to find that stealing a thing is cheaper than building the knowledge base to create a thing. With a few exceptions in AI and other niche areas where the CCP has lavished educational and research funds, that country is dependent on either buying tech or acquisition via other means (e.g., CCP 'support staff' honeypots for the stupidly smart sitting in sensitive government positions). This has some major drawbacks, such as inability to develop extensions to the technology of interest because they do not actually fully understand what they did not develop in-house. The results are pretty apparent, with but one example that China designs and manufactures virtually nothing in the way of high end chips (they likely have a few small mil programs we don't have vis on), while the US is the place to go to have that stuff designed and in a lot of cases built for weapons, advanced sensors, server farms, and high-end computers. Want a blender that talks to you? China probably makes the chip. Want a guidance system for long-range precision strike munitions? Not China. And likely not China through the end of the current CCP-run version.

And that one example is a huge problem for the Chinese and CCP in particular, but not even close to their top-of-the-list biggest issues, which are the end of US guarantees to police the world's global trade (of which China is arguably the nation most benefited by that past policy), a population bomb that will see Chinese population at about 700,000 by mid century (half of what it is today), an economy that has to import 85% of its energy and nearly all of the inputs needed for what they make, a skyrocketing wage structure, and a political system that has seen every inch of dynamism choked out of it, so unable to respond to any change in state across diplomatic, information, military, or economic spaces (yes,,,the DIME model...still alive and well).

Workforce:

Population is not work force. The work force in advanced developing countries is adults between roughly the end of their secondary schooling and retirement age/ mortality (don't laugh...some countries have average age of mortality that fall short of retirement... looking at you, Vlad). China has the absolute worst mix of age cohorts of any nation on the planet, with the most aged population (and thus non-producing, non-tax-paying, disproportionately high medical care consuming, burning through their capital slice) of any nation and one of the smallest by proportion of the total child/young adult/adult worker cohorts. We are at the tag end of their Boomer retirements, and unlike the US post-war boom population, Chinese Boomers DID NOT HAVE KIDS, so a tiny Chinese Gen X to assume the load. We thought China was going to peak in population sometime in this decade, but that was with the limited numbers China published on their 2020 census. Since then, what has leaked out of China looks like they either intentionally or unintentionally overcounted by about 100 million; nearly all of them young and female and born since 2000. See the problem, now? Even with the end of the ruinous one child policy and a new 'Go, CCP!!!' policy that encourages three children per what remains of the child-bearing pop of the country, there is no reasonable or even unreasonable way in which China avoids population collapse by the end of THIS decade (as in lack of workers, lack of consumers, lack of capital formation - the flip side of workers - and a surfeit of the non-productive). In a nutshell, we've always known we would outlive the Chinese and Soviet/Russian empires...our big, scary task was managing their collapse.

Infrastructure:

Too many things to discuss here, but China is now one of the most expensive places in the advanced developing world to get stuff built, and one of the least automated with modern tech from those master of robotics, the Europeans and... well, us. The only reason we still use China to make stuff is sunk cost in infrastructure for manufacturers like Apple (hint...like your iPhone? Update now to avoid the 3-4 year wait as Apple builds out alternate manufacturing arrangements). Assuming China can solve their population cliff issues with automation assumes away their current credit crunch, the worldwide capital crisis, and their own inability to progress beyond pandemic-levels of productivity. No...you cannot spend yourself out of a recession or automate in the middle of a collapse in the population of people needed to fund and do that work. And even tougher to do it when your chief executive does not want to hear anything 'challenging' or even routine in the way of status reports. Those rolling blackouts throughout China in May 2021? Likely not made known to Xi through September of that year. Think about that given what we see in the US news cycle... absent an errant laptop or two, most bad news goes from 'here I am' to the grist for late-night monologues or Discord and 4Chan memes in about 30 seconds.

All that other stuff:

Once you get outside of the factory media bubble here in the US, a lot of that other stuff I mentioned becomes abundantly clear. The CIA World Fact Book is pretty good on a lot of factish-sort of stuff, although already out of date on population and balance of trade issues when updated. Al Jezeerah is pure positional propaganda for anything middle-east related, but one of the few global news organizations actually doing journalism otherwise and elsewhere - very good for world news not dealing with the Arab World and Iran. There are also some news aggregation sites that both rate bias on coverage and do the digging for you to get the full story, and those sites are required reads if you don't want to be at the septic tank inlet-end of the captive media's opinion and agitprop filtering and distribution network.
 
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BJC

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Communist China got their programming loaded into a great many NIC (Network Interface Cards)

That is just ONE example.
There are many more, starting long ago.

I had an AE professor at Georgia Tech who was doing research for NASA. He had no interest in teaching, in fact most of we students could not understand a word that he said, and he couldn’t answer questions because he couldn’t understand us. But he had been educated in the USA through his PhD, and was being paid by tax payers to do leading edge research. I thought, even then (I graduated on 1970) that, like another PRC citizen that I knew, that he also was employed by the PRC government. There were dozens of others just like him in other areas at GT.

About one of the other PRC citizens that I knew: I found him extremely irate one day. He had just received notification from the Chinese Communist Party that his pay was being reduced to $5,000 per month. He was, IIRC, working on a Master’s in Math. That was circa 1968. To put that pay into context, my 10 quarters at GT cost me a total of $5,000, including everything.

Educating foreign students can be a good thing, but when they are sponsored by / employees of governments that want to destroy our freedoms, it should not be allowed, especially at tax payer supported colleges. I’ve heard the theory that, if we educate them, they will bring change to their homelands, but I have doubts that that actually happens with the highly technically oriented. Perhaps there is something to be gained by educating more well rounded (read that as not techno nerds) foreign students, but my experience has been with the nerds.

A GT Flying Club member asked me show him some basic aerobatics, but we didn’t do much. He started talking about his upcoming graduation (Masters in Civil Engineering) and how he dreaded going to his home in Central or South America, because he anticipated / feared a military takeover of the government. (He, like the Chinaman, was a government employee.) He was fearful of how he would be treated and what he might end up having to do. We flew for over an hour, just talking about his situation. So some may have been inclined to foment change, but at least one was fearful.

I suspect that almost everyone here has seen examples of students and professors, employed by their governments, governments opposed to our freedoms, being educated by our colleges, supported by tax payers, and being paid by our tax payers to do research.

We haven’t been very smart as a nation. We have even taught people how to fly.


BJC
 

tspear

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@SpruceForest

Interesting read on the population aspects. I am NOT current, but I recall a lot of the discussions around China population over the past couple decades. Especially when they first relaxed the one child rule.
Back then, from what I recall, the workforce population should peak in the mid 20s (as in within next couple years), then really start to crash around 2035 with it cut in half by 2040. The population was supposed to peak around 2035-2040, and cut in half by 2055.

Tim
 

SpruceForest

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@SpruceForest

Interesting read on the population aspects. I am NOT current, but I recall a lot of the discussions around China population over the past couple decades. Especially when they first relaxed the one child rule.
Back then, from what I recall, the workforce population should peak in the mid 20s (as in within next couple years), then really start to crash around 2035 with it cut in half by 2040. The population was supposed to peak around 2035-2040, and cut in half by 2055.

Tim
Exactly...but that was before we figured out that there is a 100M hole in the released 2020 data that skews hard young and hard female. If you correct the model for the hole, you go from P2100/P2020 = 0.5 to P2050/P2020 = 0.5, and peak population then has to be somewhere back in the last decade to make it work.

The problem is not so much not enough workers as it is not enough workers, consumers, and taxpayers promised an ever-increasing standard of living as a condition for keeping the CCP in power, and a global contraction of demand for what China does.
 

tspear

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I have spent a few minutes looking online about the 100M hole in the population number. I have found zero info yet on why it was so far off.
I am kinda curious if there is any information on why it was so wrong. I mean, that is almost a 1/3 of the US population. I would think we would notice that so many people are missing!

Tim
 

SpruceForest

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Peter Zeihan and Ian Bremer would be decent reads on the issue, with a couple of the geopolitical consulting shops being the ones teasing out the issues in the released data on the Chinese 2020 census. Bremer is more the traditional politically-influenced policy wonk here, with Zeihan the lane-breaker who's company is doing the detective work to get a better picture of the ground truth demographics. Zeihan's view of the bleak future for China is gaining traction as the fallout from their vax failure and the continued lock-downs-as-only-pandemic-management-tool have impacts on the output side of the house. Also the guy that called the Russia invasion sometime back prior to 2012, when he was def a voice in the wilderness.

Also...Russia simply stopped reporting their pop numbers and demo breakouts after it became apparent that it was ALL bad news and pretty decent intel for those dealing with Russia's ongoing efforts to determine the nature and speed at which they move into their twilight years as a nation. China may be in the same mode, given that demand destruction and capital flight may be as much tied to perceived near future as actual conditions on the ground.
 
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Wanttaja

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I question why they would want to re-use boosters.
I'll admit it's probably a low priority in the PRC, but one reason would be to stop dropping expended first stages on their own population. Their launch site is very inland.

Ron Wanttaja
 

SpruceForest

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One thing about centrally managed highly repressive autocracies... tough to get much traction that is visible outside the country. External pressure? Very different!

Apparently the Chinese were dumbfounded at the actions of individuals and corporations establishing policy that differed from government policy re: Russian sanctions. It def changed the calculus re: Taiwan. That they are so aggressive and over-the-top in response tells me they know they are essentially impotent to do much of anything when faced with a couple destroyers being capable of effectively blockading 80+ percent of their oil supply following any real move on the island.
 

SpruceForest

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So SpaceX says refurb of a rocket runs about 10% of a new Falcon 9 booster. Obviously just throwing the booster away at launch results in some payload savings due to lack of need to carry the fuel, avionics, etc. necessary to safely land a reusable booster, so the notion of getting what looks like a cheap second launch (or 13th) comes with payload penalty, etc. That said, SpaceX has done what no other nation or civil company has done to date - dozens of routinely successful launches per year using the same boosters (with a number of SpaceX vehicles flown multiple times).

The company has 52 scheduled launches in 2022, or one per week, and launch pricing beats the former budget champ - the Russian Soyuz - by a few rubles per astronaut (OK... about $30M worth of rubles), and positively smokes NASA/Boeing costs (about $90M per astronaut per manned launch to ISS for NASA's in-house Boeing-built system versus about $55M per astronaut for a SpaceX Crew Dragon launch...numbers from NASA OIG). With Russia effectively out of the launch game re: European customers, I suspect we'll see even more ramp-up on SpaceX's schedule to pick up the slack.

So the way to think of this from the NASA perspective is that when all is said and done, NASA trades away two launches on new boosters for three launches on reusable boosters. Not quite BOGO yet, but def in BTGT (Buy Two - Get Three) territory.
 
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tspear

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SpaceX vs NASA/Boeing is really an interesting study in difference in approach.
SpaceX has a model of mitigate failure, fail fast, and accept some failures. NASA/Boeing has a model of utilize as many redundancies required that failure is a statistically almost impossible.

No idea of the veracity, but one of the examples I read about was the difference in the igniter for the booster. NASA/Boeing spent millions designing an extremely complex and sophisticated igniter that will fail one in a billion times. Then installed two of them. SpaceX just installed four existing igniters, each with a much higher failure rate, and increased the electrical power to fire all together in parallel.

Tim
 

SpruceForest

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Yes… the build, break, improve repeat stuff is just an instantiation of the idea that we learn more from failures than successes… hopefully with some bubble wrap to keep the mayhem to an acceptable level.
 

Bob H

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Boosters are built from filament wound materials (glass and carbon) with epoxy matrix and cost much money especially if engines are also reusable. So the driver for reusing rocket sections is cost. Expendables were used exclusively on early launch programs because we had government funding and were looking for the most reliable rocket systems. The DC-X and XA reusable rocket programs used aluminum initially and then composite structure to get the mass fraction down around 15% of total. I built the 6000 gal LH2 tank from carbon and much of the main structure also, to try and get the weight down.
Flew the XA vehicle 5X including a half-loop until the gear didn't deploy on last flight due to a human mistake and it fell over on three legs and burned up on ground. Was my favorite rocket program because it was bold and we made it work.
When we did many launches for Iridium program for Motorola, the comm satellites always maintained a small level of on-board fuel to drive the old satellite down to burnup on re-entry. Then a new satellite could be launched into the vacant orbit to replace it. The customer was willing to pay more for a launch if we could save rocket weight which allowed them to load more on-board fuel ( hypergolics) which enabled them to keep the satellite up another year or more. Saved them millions in cost.
 

rdj

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What I find interesting in the /. article is that it's the *FCC* that's stepping up to the plate. (AKA jockeying for bureaucratic power and the associated dollars.) You would think NASA or Space Force would be taking the lead here to be the world's LEO traffic cop, with the FCC more concerned about sorting out the EM band conflicts.
 

PredragVasic

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Think about this. China has roughly 50% of the worlds population (India is 2nd with something around 13%). This gives China roughly 50% of the worlds work force.

this is incorrect by a large margin. China certainly is the most populous nation (for now), but not nearly thet big. Current population is 1.4 billion. There are 8 billion people in the world. China represents about 17%.

India is expected to become the most populous nation, surpassing China’s population, by next spring.
 

SpruceForest

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Peter Zeihan and Ian Bremer would be decent reads on the issue, with a couple of the geopolitical consulting shops being the ones teasing out the issues in the released data on the Chinese 2020 census. Bremer is more the traditional politically-influenced policy wonk here, with Zeihan the lane-breaker who's company is doing the detective work to get a better picture of the ground truth demographics. Zeihan's view of the bleak future for China is gaining traction as the fallout from their vax failure and the continued lock-downs-as-only-pandemic-management-tool have impacts on the output side of the house. Also the guy that called the Russia invasion sometime back prior to 2012, when he was def a voice in the wilderness.

Also...Russia simply stopped reporting their pop numbers and demo breakouts after it became apparent that it was ALL bad news and pretty decent intel for those dealing with Russia's ongoing efforts to determine the nature and speed at which they move into their twilight years as a nation. China may be in the same mode, given that demand destruction and capital flight may be as much tied to perceived near future as actual conditions on the ground

Summary: India has been the world's most populous nation for a couple years now... according to another good source on Chinese population data issues. Critic/UofWI academic Yi Fuxion shows 130M hole in data (1.28B vs. 1.41B), with peak last decade (2018) and no upsurge of births associated with two and three child policies noted in available data to 2022.

Discussion: UofWI OBGYN Researcher Yi Fujian is one of several researchers outside of China that has been publishing data for years on the demographic hole in Chinese births. He's been a leading critic on the One Child rule (his book on the topic was banned in China by the CCP) and slow recognition by Xi that the policy was hollowing out China for the 21st Century. If you Duck Duck Go 'Yi Fuxian', you'll get some summaries and links to papers. A summary of the disparity in data from the CCP is linked below. Yi Fuxian actually looked at inputs and outputs data and concluded that there is about a 130M hole in overall pop, which lines up fairly well with the Zeihan number of 100M missing in the data born after the 2000 census.

Keep in mind that search results for some search engines are heavily biased, either as policy or by other actors gaming the algorithm to suppress or favor the result stack... if you are using Google or Bing for searches on data critical of the CCP's official pronouncements, you may be getting different ordering of results than with other, more privacy-oriented engines.


Hope this gives you some idea of where to look. I did the deep dive on this a few years ago, but since then, there has been a raft of books published, which explains why this finally went mainstream at Davos (super-lagging indicator... virtue-signaling elites are never on the bleeding edge of anything data-driven).main-qimg-293de080ccdfde5c9cb53a323e302daf.png
 
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Appowner

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this is incorrect by a large margin. China certainly is the most populous nation (for now), but not nearly thet big. Current population is 1.4 billion. There are 8 billion people in the world. China represents about 17%.

India is expected to become the most populous nation, surpassing China’s population, by next spring.
My sources were wrong then. Or simply way out of date. My apologies! Haven't really kept up on things as I've been preoccupied with cancer for some 9 years now.

But either way, all else being equal our population couldn't hope to compete. And that should be a concern.
 
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SpruceForest

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What I find interesting in the /. article is that it's the *FCC* that's stepping up to the plate. (AKA jockeying for bureaucratic power and the associated dollars.) You would think NASA or Space Force would be taking the lead here to be the world's LEO traffic cop, with the FCC more concerned about sorting out the EM band conflicts.
So I have some involvement here on the work side so limited in what can be said, but to summarize, launch slots are a secondary aspect of owning the right to broadcast. Without spectrum, chucking comm sats into LEO is a vanity exercise or simply not doable. FCC regulates and license the RF spectrum in the US and as member of and in coordination with other members of the UN-sponsored ITU, assigns spectrum licenses and slots for US satellites... like any international agreement binding on the US, enforcement is via the executive branch through compliant regulation... FCC in this case makes and publishes those regulations and operates the enforcement mechanisms.

Launch services like SpaceX, New Shepard, etc. have to go through FAA to get to LEO (and EPA, all applicable state agencies binding on the ground side, DoD, etc.), but FCC governs for spectrum licensing and satellite slot management. Obviously, a lot of coordination is required, and that sometimes is less effective than we'd like (re: the RADALT debacle).
 
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