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Old 12-16-2016, 08:08 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Remember, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is part of CalTech. You'd be hard-pressed to find any satellite that JPL doesn't have their hands in.

(Yes, JPL is also part of NASA. Nothing says it has to be either/or.)
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is managed by Caltech but is owned by NASA and has been ever since it was transferred from GALCIT. For the most part, JPL does not build satellites; they design certain instruments (typically science and special telemetry instrumentation), perform the systems design, oversee integration, and perform mission operations. Of large satellite manufacturers in the United States, about half base their satellite operations in California (Lockheed Martin at Sunnyvale, Northrop Grumman at Redondo Beach, Boeing at El Segundo and Huntington Beach), but these are of course national aerospace companies with many military and aerospace contracts with the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and et cetera. If the federal government wanted to force them to not support some other line of business, e.g. providing satellite, those companies would have to accede.

Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
I'm sure you're right--or maybe you just made a bunch of wild assumptions about what Brown's intentions are. He literally just said "we'll launch our own damn satellite." All kinds of non-U.S. government entities put satellites in space all the time.

I don't remember where Brown said "we're going to just launch it from California", I don't remember where he said "we're going to make our own space agency and design one ourselves" or any of that. $100m is peanuts, literally peanuts, for a State the size of California. Considering that Republicans love public-private partnerships, and even under Democrats NASA has been pushing more towards that, I very seriously doubt if a State is willing to give $100m to some entity (maybe even some governmental one) to build out and launch a satellite that the Republicans are going to care. Especially if some private contractor gets to make money on the deal. Republicans would also be loathe to take such a big stand against state autonomy.

For frame of reference cities regularly pay for $400m sports venues, cities. California is a state of 39m people with a $2.5 trillion GDP.

I see no reason to assume Governor Brown is proposing all kinds of crazy nonsense like doing all of it alone, assuming he was serious at all, California would cut a check and it'd be done.
No US entity puts satellites in space or operates communications equipment in orbit without the express approval of the US government (FAA, FCC, USSPACECOM). And replacing the Earth observations performed by NASA is, again, more than building and deploying a single $100M satellite. A brief perusal of the current missions being operated by the NASA Earth Observing System Program Office shows [URL=]twenty-five current missions[/I], and even if you assume that not all would be needed for effective climate monitoring you're still looking at billions of dollars in launch costs alone, notwithstanding the cost to build and integrate satellites which are built with components and instrumentation coming from many other states. California, or private entities in California may enter into joint venture agreements or projects, but the federal government can very well prevent that by denying technology export licenses, passing federal restrictions based upon interstate commerce (US Constitution, Article I, Secton 8, Clause 3), and using its authority in control of Customs to prevent the importation or exportation of equipment or information, all of which is perfectly legal.

Now, I don't think the US government, even under Trump, is going to shut down all Earth observation programs because that would be incredibly stupid and expensive, and would also likely run into many legal challenges and contract violations, but if desired the executive branch and/or Congress can certainly put a stranglehold on programs to evaluate the data or support extended missions, and could (in some cases) restrict access to the data collected. But if the federal government was so directed it could shut down the missions and prevent any state or incorporated body in California or another state from performing space-based observation, and there is little California could actually do; nor could California conceivably run an internal space program on the same scale as NASA and deploy replacement observation systems in a reasonable timeframe. Brown hasn't considered anything; this is just a reflexive, off the cuff response to some inane stupidity on the part of a Trump advisor.