[Beowulf] [Server-sky] Server Sky - Internet and computation in orbit

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Jun 21 09:19:33 PDT 2013


----- Forwarded message from Michael Turner <michael.eugene.turner at gmail.com> -----

Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 11:02:20 -0500
From: Michael Turner <michael.eugene.turner at gmail.com>
To: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
Cc: Server Sky - Internet and Computing in Orbit <server-sky at server-sky.com>
Subject: Re: [Server-sky] [Beowulf] Server Sky - Internet and computation in orbit

In my experience, there is little in this idea that Keith /hasn't/
considered, even if he doesn't claim to have all the answers. His wiki
attempts to look at all the issues.

To address a couple of the issues raised here, from memory (bad
internet connections just now)

  - orbit stability ... IIRC thinsats get some propulsion value out of
solar sailing, even from solar pressure ordinarily used for attitude
control.

  - "does it really save anything to put the computation in orbit? ...
*terrestrial solar plus( a fat comm pipe to those third world
countries, wouldn't that work as well?" Good question, but fat pipes
must eventually branch into thin ones. There's a
last-mile/last-ten-miles (even a last 100 miles) problem for some of
these countries. (Trust me on this one - I'm in the late stages of a
trip that took me to Indonesia, Kenya and now Ecuador.) More important
for space development and eventual global equity on climate change and
energy supply generally is to establish that solar power can be
directly used in orbit, adding value to photons. This helps make the
case for space based solar power in general, which (at scale, anyway)
would be more economical under an ISRU scenario than under
earth-to-orbit logistics, for maintaining the array.

I love Server Sky because it makes something like a business case for
an environmental public good that also boosts space development.
Whether it makes enough of any of those three things is the
engineering, economic and (ultimately) political challenge.


Regards,
Michael Turner

Project Persephone
K-1 bldg 3F
7-2-6 Nishishinjuku
Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0023
Tel: +81 (3) 6890-1140
Fax: +81 (3) 6890-1158
Mobile: +81 (90) 5203-8682
turner at projectpersephone.org
http://www.projectpersephone.org/

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward
together in the same direction." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


On Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 10:40 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> ----- Forwarded message from "Lux, Jim (337C)" <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov> -----
>
> Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 15:35:00 +0000
> From: "Lux, Jim (337C)" <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>
> To: "Beowulf at beowulf.org" <Beowulf at beowulf.org>
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Server Sky - Internet and computation in orbit
>
> A couple fundamental questions arise in this sort of strategy (which is nothing really new, although technology advances are making it easier)
>
> 1) orbital debris - fling those thousands of widgets out there.  Are they high enough to stay in orbit for a while? Are they going to damage things that hit them?
> 2) orbital mechanics - the "array" pretty much has to be flat, that is, they're all at the same orbit height, otherwise they'll drift apart, since the period is different.   There's also a whole raft of issues about orientation, etc., stability of the orbit.  As we all know, the earth is not a perfect sphere with perfect 1/r^2 gravity.  There are some remarkably stable orbits (I worked on a satellite that is in one: QuikSCAT 801km orbit at 98.6 degree inclination, a perfect 4 day repeat cycle that is very stable)
>
> 3) does it really save anything to put the computation in orbit? As much as I love computing in space (particularly deep space), if you had a solar powered conventional data center on the ground and a fat comm pipe to those third world countries, wouldn't that work as well?  The solar plant on the ground will see about 1/3 the solar power as one in the right orbit (which may not be stable, see #2), but mass to orbit is expensive, so why not put all those solar cells to work on the earth's surface, rather than spending energy to put them into orbit.
>
> I'd like to see more justification of the 100x cost differential between ground and space 25 years from now.
>
> Jim Lux
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Eugen Leitl
> Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 3:32 AM
> To: tt at postbiota.org; Beowulf at beowulf.org; NANOG list; forkit!
> Subject: [Beowulf] Server Sky - Internet and computation in orbit
>
>
> (This may be Wacky Friday, but this one is not tongue in cheek -- the name Keith Lofstrom should ring a bell).
>
> http://server-sky.com/
>
> Server Sky - internet and computation in orbit
>
> It is easier to move terabits than kilograms or megawatts. Space solar power will solve the energy crisis. Sooner if we process space power into high value computation before we send it to earth. Computation is most valuable where it is rarest - in the rural developing world. Human attention is the most valuable resource on earth, and Server Sky space-based internet can transport that attention from where it is most abundant to where it is most valued.
>
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> ----- End forwarded message -----
> --
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Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
______________________________________________________________
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