Monday, January 7, 2013

For sale: your own communications satellite

That is if you can afford a satellite.

Communication satellites were an invention of the United States but a 1999 act of Congress prohibited their export, saying that they technically qualified as "weapons."  As of now, that export ban has been lifted.

It started in the Reagan administration.  Both Reagan and later Bush approved the transfer of American-made satellites to China where they would be placed in orbit via Chinese rockets.  This was thought to be a cheaper way of doing things.  Clinton continued this practice until Congress grew concerned that the leakage of top secret materials might be an unforeseen by-product of this exchange and banned all export.  With the ban lifted, US aerospace and telecommunication companies are predicted to benefit.

So there are civilian satellites for sale.  Reminds me of an article I once read in Omni magazine and yes that alone should be an indication of how long ago this was.  The article was about how to launch your own rocket.  You only need about $1 million, a few million gallons of kerosene, and approval from NASA, the State Department, and the DoD.  Well once all of those piddly chores are out of the way, I figure I could then launch my own satellite into orbit.  Imagine...a telecommunication satellite dedicated solely to broadcasting the music of Duran Duran across the globe.

But why stop there?  I wonder if the components of the satellite could be rearranged into a rudimentary space probe?  I could launch my own probe, sending biological material out into to space to seed an unknown planet's primordial soup with life.  Then, millions of years from now, a bunch of aliens show up on Earth...aliens that all look like me.  I will need to launch this probe under a pseudonymous identity so nothing can get pinned on my historical reputation.

Maybe I'll scrawl "Wayne LaPierre" somewhere on the satellite probe.

My e-novella, Hound of Winter is available for only 99 cents 
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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