RE: End of the world?

From: Edward Ehrlich (
Date: Sun Aug 08 2004 - 18:49:54 EDT

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    Tom wrote:
    >I wonder if in the future the community at large will know when the 
    >Space Shuttle is going to reenter or is NASA going to eliminate that as
    >well? Seems like the public aided NASA a great deal on the last one.
    We shouldn't jump to conclusions. The idea is not to eliminate supplying
    TLE to the public, but to create a pilot program by which instead of
    NASA distributing the information, it will now be distributed by the Air
    Force Space Command (AFSPC). (It would be interesting to know why
    someone thought that such a change was necessary.) The immediate
    problem* is that NASA is planning on cutting off its service on October
    1st even though there is no sign that the AFSPC will have the pilot
    program up and running by then. As I understand it, there is no legal
    obligation for NASA to discontinue providing TLE data on October 1st.
    I would suggest that all Americans on this list write to their local
    congressman asking that the current service be maintained until an
    alternative is ready. You can send an email, but a written letter tends
    to be more effective. Congressmen (members of the House of
    Representative) are very responsive to appeals from their constituents.
    Also, if a congressman sends a letter to a government office, a reply
    must be sent within 48 hours.
    The situation is worrying. I run a commercial web site that depends on
    TLE information, so I'm VERY worried, but it might not be a disaster.
    After all, the purpose of the pilot program is to provide TLE
    information. But letters to Congress might help things to move in the
    direction we would like.
    Ed Ehrlich - SkyWatch - The Astronomical Alarm Clock 
    Jerusalem, Israel
    *There are other possible problems also. Will there be a charge for the
    information? Will it be distributed in a timely manner? What format will
    be used? But for the moment, I suggest that we concentrate on the
    immediate problem of maintaining the flow of TLE information.
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