WHY did Russia blow up their own satellite?

Today we learned Russia has conducted an ASAT missile test and destroyed one of its own old satellites. Normally this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Countries test their weapons regularly. Plus it was their own satellite. Under different circumstances this would have be a normal news and we wouldn’t even read the details. Unfortunately, this is news we cannot ignore. The satellite in question was in an orbit of about 400 km. That orbit is very very popular. One, ISS. I mean who doesn’t know at this point. And 2, there are many nanosatellites in that orbit. It is close to earth and you can collect a lot of useful data from that orbit. The debris created by this test will endanger the ISS and god knows how many satellites that are currently in LEO.
Now let’s play the devil’s advocate for a moment. What would be a good reason to destroy that particular satellite? surely , Russia has many other satellites. Perhaps some in the 200 km range. Could it be

  1. They were trying to hide something? Maybe they didn’t want anyone to find out that the satellite was painted in pink paint? ~ Unlikely, the satellite in question was launched in the 1980’s. Nobody cares about such an old satellite. 
  2. They needed the space? Maybe they have a replacement satellite ready? Nope. That can’t be a good reason. The only way to vacate an orbit is to fire the booster and set course for the sea
  3. Maybe it was their test requirement. Maybe the goal of this ASAT was to destroy something at 400 km. could be. But why would they risk their own cosmonauts? Currently there are 2 cosmonauts in ISS right now. This test put their lives in danger too. Even if this was a requirement, where was the courtesy announcement? The the navy conducts live firing exercises, they make sure there are no fishermen at the sea. This is a common practice.

Now I don’t have the president’s Putin’s phone number nor  am I a specialist on global politics. So this is my personal opinion, take it with a grain of salt. If you search for news on Russia right now, you’ll see that there are some tensions related with territory and EU politics. My bet is that this was a show of power. Nothing else. My guess is they didn’t want to launch an ICBM into the sea and gather too much news attention. So they picked space and aimed their missile at their own satellites. This way they can flex their muscle just enough to make everyone notice but not enough to create a global news cycle.
This is the misfortune of the field I chose to work 

Astronauts or Astro-nots?

You must have heard by now, back in July Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin both launched ordinary citizens to space. When I say ordinary, please read rich/lucky. 

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully launched and returned 6 people from the edge of space. Virgin Galactic has this 2 stage launch process. An aircraft first takes you to high altitude. From there, the rocket separates and uses thrusters to go into space. 

Blue origin does things in a more traditional way. Using rocket propulsion from the very first. 

In blue origin’s case there were 4 people, including Jeff. They were in space for about 11 minutes. 

In both cases you will notice, the launch is conveniently in day time. Not some odd time at night. This is because there was no need for orbital injection. They could take any orbit as long as they were empty. This is not the case for satellites. For satellites, you must inject your payload into a specific orbit. So launch times are not always convenient. 

I hope you all enjoyed the Twitter drama in addition to the launch itself. https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1413521627116032001?lang=en 

And https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1413521631717122059?lang=en. There was a lot of dirt thrown around as no one wanted to lose customers to the other company. I am not going to comment on the Karman line debate. To me it doesn’t matter. In both cases, you have enough altitude to gaze towards the earth in awe. What I will comment about is the use of the word “astronaut”. 

If you visit Blue Origin website (as of 2021 September 25) you will see something like, “become astronauts”. Is it really that easy to become an astronaut?

I have had the opportunity to talk with 2 astronauts. That being a social setting, we could ask just about anything. What you immediately notice about them, they have this aura of calmness around them. Not in a rush. You can get a glimpse of knowledge and experience when you talk to them face to face. And when they start talking about space, there is a spark of flame in their eyes and a hint of smile. These people dedicated their entire life to follow one goal. They train for a decade even before a mission is set for them.

To become an astronaut they pursued a degree in advanced science, sometimes serving in the military. Gaining tons of experience before even applying to become an astronaut. Your application is one in a few thousand others. From that you get shortlisted and finally accepted to be ‘trained’ as an astronaut. 

And now if people have a quarter million in their bank, can they call themselves an astronaut? Sorry mate. Feels like a gimmick to me. 

In both cases, there was a ‘ceremony’ shortly after the landing. Ceremony where they were ‘awarded’ astronaut wings. Richard Branson was designated as ‘mission specialists’ in the official documentation. If you visit Blue Origin website (as of September 2021) you’ll see the term “Commercial astronauts” https://www.blueorigin.com/news/first-human-flight-updates. Participants did go through a minimum amount of training before the flight. 

https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/10/22569889/virgin-galactic-launch-watch-richard-branson-space but this is nowhere close to the real thing to call yourself an astronaut. 

By the time I managed to finally write this article, another private company, SpaceX, had successfully launched 4 more people to space. This time, higher than the other 2 companies (even higher than ISS), longer than other 2 companies (3 days). The passenger ‘had difficulties’ using the restroom while they were orbiting the earth. Dude, what were you expecting? People gave their lives for us to come so far. I’m upset about how the industry is trying to sell this as roller coaster tickets. Would I have taken the ride if I had the opportunity? Probably. Do I have the money to buy the tickets? Nope. Would I call myself an astronaut if I could go. Nope. Absolutely no. If I’m a passenger on a commercial flight, do I get to call myself a pilot? Being an astronaut takes dedication, courage, commitment on a level that only a few can imagine. I’m glad that the conversation around this has started https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/16/business/astronaut-wings-spacex/index.html. Maezawa san is flying soon. Call them space-tourists or whatever, but to me, they are astro-nots. 

Lesson Learned: Trip to Nagasaki

  1. It doesn’t get easier: This was my second trip to Nagasaki. Compared to Hiroshima, Nagasaki isn’t as exciting. Peace museum is the top attraction in Nagasaki city. Having visited the museum already, I thought it’ll be OK for me. It wasn’t. Like the first time, my insides went hollow. Nuclear weapons don’t belong on earth.
  2. Driving is scary: Public transport in Nagasaki isn’t like the rest of Japan. It feels like Nagasaki could’ve used some modernization like rest of Japan. You can get around but takes a lot of time in public transport. And google maps isn’t spectacular here. A lot of info isn’t available on “Tourist Apps”. So driving was my choice for this trip. That was mistake. driving around trams is scary. The roads are narrow. Turns are sharp. I don’t think I’ll be driving again in Nagasaki city.
  3. Parking is f*&^%ing expensive.
  4. Take the toll free road: Driving out of Nagasaki was a scene from heaven. Since we had time, we decided to take the long way back home. we chose the toll-free route back to Kitakyushu. Wish I had more time. There were multiple spots where I slowed down or wanted to stop and take picture. The scenes were from heaven.
  5. I recommend hotel forza: The entrance to the hotel is hard to find. Take a taxi and continue searching on foot once the taxi drops you of. If you manage to find the entrance of the hotel, you’ll be rewarded adequately. If you are driving, get out of Nagasaki, find a hotel elsewhere.

BadCoin Giveaway

I’m doing a spring cleaning. Both online and offline. I’m giving away my spare screwdriver set, 3D glasses, drones etc. Digitally, I’m giving way my BadCoin. They are worth a stagerring $0. It is predicted their value will quadrupple in a year and be worth a massive $0. Joking aside, they are an easy way to understand wallet functionality. They are yours to play with now.

Wallet address:

BSKSzK3PbnnoWmRqwT9dG1G9UCTvwPwq8w

I don’t understand the keys to my wallet. The backup file is a DAT file. I could not extract the key from it. I hope you guys will have better luck. The file is on my GitHub. Just search with the wallet info.

Have fun.

Help me grow

Hello internet. I have a favor to ask.

One of my goal in my life is to spread knowledge and education to those who desire it. Since I specialize is Satellite Systems Engineering, I would like to help others who wish to follow similar path.

Now time is a limited resource. I cannot endlessly write articles on the topic and hope someone finds it useful. Therefore I have decided I will resume google analytics on this site, to find out what my audience is most interested in. Also, if you have any suggestion for improvement, leave them in the comments.

By the end of 2021, I wish to participate in forum promoting science and technology. I don’t know yet if the appropriate platform is already there. If not, I’ll also need to built it. Wish me luck.

Nvidia buys ARM: from a perspective of a developer?

Although the deal isn’t done yet, the announcement has been made. Now, the whole news cycle is dominated by Nvidia. Here are my two cents as a developer uses these chips for development. 

First, Nvidia is a big player when it comes to AI and machine learning. I cannot think of any competitors to CUDA cores. If Nvidia has the right intention and plays their cards right, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Nvidia’s desktop-level features trickle down to ARM SoC. Since the majority of smartphones uses some ARM based chips, this could be revolutionary. 

Second, Nvidia’s competitor AMD has one advantage. AMD also makes CPU along with GPU. With ARM, Nvidia now has a way to come up with specialized products to further reduce AMD’s market share. We might more efficient systems overall. 

Third, Nvidia has a bad reputation with the Linux community. Nvidia never really cooperated with open source community. As an open-source supporter myself, I’m afraid of the changes  Nvidia will bring in the future. As a company, I can see Nvidia growing. If I had the money, I would buy their stock now. But as they grow bigger, they might bring negative results for the open-source community. 

Fourth, speaking of open source, Nvidia is a US-based company. That would mean Chinese phone manufacturers will not be able to use ARM in the future. Does this mean RISC-V will finally get the boost I was expecting? 

Waiting patiently to see how this turns out.

This month is Space: August 2020

The month of August was dominated by Elon Musk. With multiple success, he’s company has been the main highlight for this month’s review.

Compared to July, August has been really eventful. I talk about 2 new space comapanies, WrapSpace and TRSC. India and Nigeria has a new MOU. Amazon get clearance for their satellites.

Due to formatting issue, I’m no longer pasting the entire post on the website. Instead, I’ll pos the google doc link. Here is the link to google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UNmB1qAkOkD7NtkmhdZFFpAme5HLSirCpLoHoxG7YtU/edit?usp=sharing

This month in Space: July 2020

Hey guys, sorry for the delay.

Actually, I’m really busy trying to find a job right now. So not enough time to put the series together. Also, due to formatting issue, I decided, from this month, I won’t post the whole thing on the website. I’ll post a link to the google doc.

Not many news to cover for July. We have 2 significant launch. Both to Mars. For the majority of the post, I rant about peaceful use of space.

Link to the google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1on9xNmzqSRX-7gq4tKnlgAEScR_7w07QU9ZOPcM7N4k/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you IEEE-AESS@BRACU

Thank you members IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society at BRAC University. Although I was online, it was pleasant to interact with you all via Q/A.

If you still have questions unanswered, you can always shoot them at: maisun.i.monowar@ieee.org

Hello everyone, with the start of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society BRACU Student Chapter, we are very…

Posted by IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society BRACU Student Branch Chapter on Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Event poster
Space Expedition : BRAC Onnesha | IEEE AESS

IEEE AESS presents to you it's very first event – Webinar that is focused on BRAC Onnesha! Our chief guest is Professor Dr.Arifur R. Khan. In addition, meet the very pioneers of BRAC Onnesha! There's a Q/A session after the main event. You may post your queries in that chat below and we'll try our best to have them answered!

Posted by IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society BRACU Student Branch Chapter on Saturday, July 25, 2020
Recorded Video.