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Old 12-17-2016, 04:01 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,058
Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
No US entity puts satellites in space or operates communications equipment in orbit without the express approval of the US government (FAA, FCC, USSPACECOM).
Oh okay. I remember where we all said otherwise--wait, no one did. You've actually already said this. Again, all Jerry Brown said was "we'll launch our own damn satellite." Your response here is like if Elon Musk said "we'll launch a rocket" to respond "well they can't just launch rockets into space, there's government approvals and etc." Maybe the more reasonable thing is, if we take it on face value that the Governor of California wants to launch something into space, he's not going to just call up ULA and be like "hey can we launch some satellite I'm going to pull out of my ass in to space next week? I assume we need no government approval for this, since I've only been in government for 45 years and have been Governor of California on multiple occasions, graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and Yale Law I'm a fundamentally stupid person that believes this is how things work, and don't understand that maybe I'll need subordinates who know what they're doing in this subject area to detail a plan of action."

Again, I don't think California is going down this route, it was politics (psst--Jerry Brown is a politician), but I'd wager a good bit of money if some entity like say the State of California wanted to do research and launch weather satellites, they'd get all the approvals necessary and I very seriously doubt anyone in the Federal government would treat them unfairly or try to "block it" for some "vague reasons" argument relating to the Feds not wanting California to do satellite-based research.

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.
This is where I'm confused again. What are you responding to? Something you wish people had said? Or something people actually said? Because what I actually said was not just that $100m is peanuts, but that California could actually fund all of NASA. I consider it borderline offensive that you're trying to portray it like I said California could replace NASA's earth science/climate monitoring operation by writing a single check for $100m and launching a single satellite into space. The plain reading of what I said makes it quite clear I was not saying that.

Then you finish this quoted passage with a fundamentally confusing comment "..built with components and instrumentation coming from many other states." What the hell is this a response to? Where did anyone say California had to be 100% independent in this venture? Jerry Brown said we can launch our own damn satellite, he didn't say all t his other stuff. You act like you're the only person in the world that knows complex machinery is made with components sourced not only from other states--but often from all over the world. Which again, is borderline insulting--I challenge that there's anyone of even average intelligence who doesn't understand at least on a very basic level we have a globally interconnected economy and complex machines frequently have parts that come from all over the place. None of which has anything to do with the topic here, and is countering a point no one has made (that California isn't only going to launch a satellite, but source 100% of the raw materials and the intermediate parts, and the design work, solely from within its borders because California has suddenly become the Hermit Kingdom akin to feudal Korea.)

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.
The list of things the federal government could do to be asshats is almost endless, and the reality is they do only a small portion of those things. Actual history, both recent and older, suggests the Federal government has literal interests in interfering with States who want to engage in spending money on various initiatives.

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.
Congress could close NASA on 1/20 if it felt like it, or even more drastic things like defund the entire government. They could (and this has been proven by the debt ceiling nonsense) even refuse to pay debts (in violation of the 14th Amendment's provision against exactly this), Congress could also impeach Trump and Pence and make Paul Ryan President and then he could launch nukes all over the globe and bring about Armageddon. The universe of things congress "could do" is vast, but sans evidence there's no reason to assume they will do things way off the spectrum of normal behavior.

This is why you don't see many engineers in government--politicians don't actually have to prepare a 500 page document before they utter a word. Brown was simply making the point that in response to Trump doing things antithetical to California, for example weakening research on climate change, California will be willing to step up to the plate.