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June 06, 2010

(Solar) Weather Delays: A Curious Juxtaposition

I had two headlines in my inbox that suggest a curious juxtaposition.

First was a story about Boeing ATC being awarded a major research & development support contract worth up to $1.7 billion for the Next-Generation Air Transportation System. They're going to shift from air traffic control to air traffic management.

A large portion of this effort is moving from a ground-based system to a space-based system, moving facilities from the (existing) ground grid to satellites, and moving decision making from the (existing) command-and-control structure to a systemic, profitability-sensitive collaborative model.

Which is good news for primary beneficiaries Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Cessna, and secondary beneficiaries Adacel, Ensco, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harris, Honeywell, Jeppesen, Jerry Thompson & Associates, Mosaic ATM, Spectrum Software Technology, Tetra Tech ATM, and the Washington Consulting Group. The entire military-industrial complex is eating at this trough.

Second is a story from NASA about expected increases in solar activity over the next decade, which have the ability to compromise GPS, satellites, space-based systems, and datalink communications.

The new National Space Weather Program notes how "people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina."

I'm just wondering: are they reading each other's press releases?

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