Off-topic Iridium hubbub

Robert Rodriguez (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 04:19:54 -0600

While sifting through the electronic heap of fortune-telling and economic
discussion relating to the Iridium constellation, I happened upon a minor
discrepancy.  No, not a discrepancy in orbital parameters or flash timings.
It was instead a discrepancy of principle.

In a rebuttal to a rebuttal to another rebuttal, Philip Chien defends the
validity of his argument concerning the corporate future of the troubled
Iridium satellites.  Off topic?  Probably.  Yet I held no objection to
seeing it posted.  In truth, I read it with a certain degree of interest.

But then, in a concurrently-submitted post, Mr. Chien takes John Locker to
task for posting the "Lost Cosmonauts" tale.  Not only is Mr. Locker sternly
discouraged from posting any additional off-topic items, but he is also --
in no uncertain terms -- made aware of his gullibility and lack of education
regarding the operational dynamics of artificial-satellite telemetry.
(C'mon Mr. Locker -- weren't you awake while being taught wireless data
communications physics in 3rd grade science class??)

So...if it is appropriate for one person to engage in a continuing and
irrelevant topic (irrelevant to SeeSat insofar as hypothetical Iridium
scenarios are concerned), then the same privilege should be allowed to every
person on this list.

Now I wish to stress that I have no ill-feelings toward Philip Chien.  I
have a healthy respect and admiration for his expertise.  And I realize that
maybe he was having a bad day when he responded to John.  Maybe the skies
are still cloudy over his house.  Maybe he was kicked out of the
Delta/Globalstar launch control room on August 17.  Who knows?

At any rate, I offer my sincere apologies to you, fellow SeeSat'er, for
cramming this in your inbox.  And to the list manager I offer my solemn
promise that this will be my last off-topic post.  (Heck -- depending on the
thrashing I get, it may just be my last post!)

Robert Rodriguez Jr.