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Nature Can Be Unforgiving – Sun and Solar Storms Challenge NextGen Satellite ATC

The Sun’s rays are part of the world we live in, and that’s just part of nature. Still, we know that the Sun’s rays, too much of them can cause sunburns, skin cancer, heat stroke, oxidized car finishes, and other challenges to our daily lives. Yes, those rays can also be converted into solar energy to power up our lights, television, computers, or recharge our iPhones – so it’s a good trade off. We pay attention and use prudence. But what happens when the Sun throws us a curve ball?

How so you ask? Well, what about solar flares, heat waves, and chaotic bursts during solar maximum phases? Sure, those are issues. Now what happens if this reliable Sun of ours, part of nature as we know it causes a solar flare so big it takes out our communication satellites, and electronics – not good right? Well, not long ago, our think tank was discussing this issue with a fellow think tanker type, Troy Laclaire.

Troy was worried about a solar flare taking out the FAA’s NextGen air traffic control satellite system, and stated; “Thinking more on this, I have to wonder, what is going to happen during a severe solar storm and satellites get knocked out?”

Well, that’s a good point and I like ITT Corporation as a company, one of the main makers of these computerized ATC systems. And yes, it’s nice of them to offer financing to airlines to upgrade their equipment to help with the NextGen ATC, but I agree, what good is such a system after an EMP weapon detonation, or massive solar flare.

The US Military Satellites are battle-hardened for solar flares, aviation communication satellite lesser so. This is a dangerous $40 Billion financial fiasco waiting to happen, if these are not solar flare resistant systems. Basically it is not the next-generation, but the last-generation if it all collapses and goes dark one day, holy hell. I hope I’m not flying that day, or stuck at an airport. Troy commented; “I Really hope that they have a backup system.”

Well, the airplanes can all revert back to Unicom and the pilots announce their positions to each other, and then watch like a hawk for other traffic, and fly the proper routes, but it adds another layer of uncertainty, and guaranteed delays too. Troy stated; “I Think I would trust a ground based system a little bit better.” Indeed, but of course, that’s not always possible. The satellite system is better as long as it always works, but remember; security, and 100% up time is what we seek here right?

Mother Nature will do its thing, whether humans are here or not, and she doesn’t care if we build the sea walls high enough at our nuclear power plants by the sea, or our satellites strong enough to hold back the Sun’s rays. Indeed, I hope you will please consider all this.