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Old 12-16-2016, 12:03 PM
wevets wevets is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Do you have a cite for any of this? Plenty of state-funded universities have built satellites, although typically much smaller than what we are talking about here.

I don't know of any satellites completely build by a university in California, but the University of California system currently has its hands in the instrumentation/data processing/analysis on several satellites:

Originally Posted by UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory
Current Research Projects

SSL instruments and detectors are currently operating on more than a dozen spacecraft in orbit, including the FUSE (Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopy Explorer), IMAGE (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration), GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer), and the MESSENGER mission to Mercury; the ISUAL (Imager for Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning) instrument, Polar, Geotail and the four-spacecraft Cluster missions in Earth orbit; the Ulysses, Wind and SoHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) missions in orbit around the Sun, and the Mars Global Surveyor mission at Mars. The complete payloads of RHESSI (Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager), FAST (Fast Auroral SnapshoT), and the CHIPS (Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer) University Explorer were developed at SSL, and all of these spacecraft are being operated from SSL.

Under development at SSL are detectors for HST COS (Hubble Space Telescope Cosmic Origins Spectrograph), the STEREO/IMPACT (Solar-TErrestrial RElations Observatory/In-situ Measurements of Particles and CME Transients) suite of instruments, and THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms), a 5 spacecraft Explorer Mission. SSL is studying an exciting new major space mission-SNAP (SuperNova Acceleration Probe), in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

One could imagine that if NASA lost interest in launching Earth observation missions in the future, SSL might do a similar kind of partnership with ESA to what it currently has with NASA, and it's hard to imagine Congress delving into contract law to prevent the state from signing this type of contract - that might have unforeseen consequences on all sorts of contracts that are unrelated to the issue.

The idea that California might completely build and launch its own satellite is a little silly. On the other hand, the idea that California might partner with foreign space science agencies like ESA or JAXA to do the type of science NASA might lose interest in doing is plausible, depending on the cost of contribution.