File under: Cool Buildings

I picked up on this one from le blog lunar express, posted last Friday. Apparently, the Chinese helped out with the SMART-1 mission from Shanghai.

For the French-impaired, I offer the following free-form, dictionary-free translation:

“The communications attempts between SMART-1 and China were a great success. Entering into a type of partnership between ESA and the Chinese Space Agency, the radiometric observation station based in Shanghai on the roof of the Sheshan Hill building in the Songjiang district was able to follow with precision the positioning of the satellite in its Lunar orbit.

-Photo of cool building-

It’s working toward a repeat success for the launch of Chang’e, the Chinese Lunar prove which should take flight next April.”

I’m trying to picture such a thing in midtown NYC, or downtown Dallas. It does bring to mind the fact that we really do need to beef up our Deep Space Network (DSN), and perhaps there are unconventional ways of doing that. Spreading the assets around is of course always a good idea politically. Before someone brings up the threat of such an item being a security target, let me assert that if one is going to let phantom fears drive one’s decisions, one is going to arrive at a lot of bad decisions. Such a target would be of marginal value at best, and what would be accomplished? (‘We deny the yankee infidels the ability to speak with their infidel probes in heaven!’ Get real…)

I think it would be kind of cool, and offer another way for people to feel connected to space. (‘Look kid, that’s where they do traffic control for the Moon!’) That lack of connectedness is certainly something that is increasingly coming to light as people in the space industry look more into why they’re being ignored.

It’s also something I need to address for next year’s NSS ISDC if I hope to draw attendees from the local metroplex. My goal is about 200, though I’d be happy with 20. Speaking of which, I need to get back to work on that. Hmm, Chang’e-1 in April, Memorial Day in May…

Ken

Update: It loks like Leonard David has also picked up on the story, giving a lot more details and background here.

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4 Responses to File under: Cool Buildings

  1. Big D says:

    You do realize that Reunion Tower was practically *made* for such an application, right? 🙂

  2. Karl Hallowell says:

    Sounds like we could go with a “Brer Rabbit” strategy. “Oh please, Mr. Terrorist! Don’t blow up my radiometric observatory station!”

    How of curiousity, how in the world did we go from satellite tracking to terrorism?

  3. murphydyne says:

    The shift there, Karl, is in part to address concerns some scaredy-cats might have that having such an object in an urban area would make it a tactical target in an area rich with potential collateral damage.

    My first concern was actually the electromagnetic radiation that the facility might be flooding the neighboring blocks with, but that just goes to show you that people view risk differently.

    I was also making a clumsy attempt to mock the writing style often used by those of a more ‘right-wing’ bent, who like to use such loaded phrases as “We all know the loony left-wing MSM will portray this as…” or “Next, Jon wanders into the fever swamps.” Clearly I lack the rhetorical skills necessary to carry it off.

    And big d, you make a good point. Maybe I’ll bring it up with the Mayor’s office when we start our dialogue with them. We’re kind of taking a top-down approach, delicately dancing closer to Senator Hutchison, speaking with the Governor’s aerospace office, and once we have that lined up moving to the local level to talk to the Mayors of Dallas, FW and Addison. Possibly others. I’m certainly developing a lot of empathy for project managers.

  4. Karl Hallowell says:

    Ok, I can see the scaredy-cat factor. Doesn’t seem like it’d be a more dangerous target than any other packed office building, but maybe the telecommunications concentration will draw them in. Still, I’d have to say that heavily urbanized areas are terrorist targets just because of the population and infrastructure concentration. Hard to see how your addon would make much of a difference and certainly I fail to see how it would make the neighborhood more dangerous, terrorismwise.

    The EMF seems a more likely concern especially given the paranoid hysteria out there around EMF as it is.

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