Satellite Hunting Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, September 20 at noon Pacific for the Satellite Hunting Hack Chat with Scott Tilley!

From the very first beeps of Sputnik, space has primarily been the domain of nations. It makes sense — for the most part, it takes the resources of a nation to get anything of appreciable size up out of the gravity well we all live in, but more importantly, space is the highest of high ground, and the high ground has always been a place of advantage to occupy. And so a lot of the hardware we’ve sent upstairs in the last 70 years has been in the national interest of this or that country.

join-hack-chatA lot of these satellites are — or were, at least — top secret stuff, with classified payloads, poorly characterized orbits, and unknown communications protocols. This can make tracking them from the ground a challenge, but one that’s worth undertaking. Scott Tilley has been hunting for satellites for years, writing about his exploits on the Riddles in the Sky blog and sometimes being featured on Hackaday. After recently putting his skills to work listening in on a solar observation satellite as its orbit takes it close to Earth again, we asked him to stop by the Hack Chat to share what he’s learned about hunting for satellites, both long-lost and intentionally hidden. Join us as we take a virtual trip into orbit to find out just what’s going on up there.

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, September 20 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

5 thoughts on “Satellite Hunting Hack Chat

  1. I would hunt satellites, but the DNR licensing for that is a pain, the season is really short, and they are so skittish, if you don’t have the right blind they just fly away before you can get lined up on them

  2. “From the very first beeps of Sputnik, space has primarily been the domain of nations”

    Except for amateur radio satellite service and various school projects around the globe (pun intended).

    Personally, what me worries is commercialization of space.

    While nationalism isn’t ideal and questionable, it does at least serve “the people”. Be it trough national pride or by doing research for a common future.

    If say, NASA, wasn’t a government agency, a public agency, it wouldn’t need to release pictures and documents into Public Domain. All the great astronomic photographies by Hubble and other facilities are being accessible because of this.

    Commercialisation has no such goals. It focuses on profits, on money. How can this be possible a good thing for humanity as a whole.

    The whole concept reminds me of the Waylan Corporation in “Alien”, a 1979 film.
    Crew is expendable, so is humanity. If money runs the project, solely,

    Let’s remember, in space there’s no authority supervising things. Companies could let their astronauts die up there no problem, because they don’t need to comply to laws up there, they don’t need care about safety standards.

    Projects driven by nations are different. They must justify themselves, obey their own law. Otherwise they will loose power. Their people, their citizens will make them responsible. So national projects must obey national laws and/or international laws. They can’t let astronauts die or they will be made responsible.

    Same goes for humanitarian aspects. Another nation must offer another in space some help.
    Private companies aren’t forced to do the same.

    Let’s remember, if a “crime” is being commited in country A, the law of country A is in effect. In space, there’s no country, though, no authority. Company A can let the astronauts of company B die without being held responsible.

    This is depressing and not the kind of progress I want to see.
    Dystopian sci-fi novels had warned us about capitalism in space for about 100 years.

  3. Corporations are not equivalent to countries and nations, they must comply with laws too. In my country it is illegal not to help someone whose life is in danger (say the person is drowning, having a stroke, asphyxiation …), regardless of who you work for (be it public or private sector). You’re mixing several disjoint concepts in your essay, which is consequently not very informative, nor pleasant. By your logic the homeless have no moral duty to help a fellow human.

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