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Nibbles in Space

Author: Malcolm Macdonald || SpaceProf

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Nibbles in Space is a series of short podcasts from SpaceProf, making space more accessible. A nibble is half a byte. A nibble is 4 bits of information, whether you listen to it as a podcast or if want a little more of a Nibble you can read it at SpaceProf is Prof. Malcolm Macdonald, Chair of Applied Space Technology at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
10 Episodes
The most valuable service from space is communications; space enables reliable, and high-quality communications far from terrestrial infrastructure; it is estimated that over 13% of the non-financial business economy gross domestic product is supported by GNSS; (US) companies can sell images to anyone down to a spatial resolution of 25cm.
By studying the space environment around the Earth we can better understand how it effects our lives, and our planet. Spaceflight osteopenia causes astronauts to lose, on average, more than 1% of bone mass per month in space, making them good subjects to study and learn more about osteoporosis and how to help minimise its effects. Altimetry from space provides information on sea level, and the size and health of glaciers and ice-caps in detail that is otherwise near-impossible. An ever-increasing understanding of our impact on our planet, and our responsibilities to take better care of it.
Satellites monitor the Earth’s weather and are responsible for the vast majority of the accuracy of weather forecasts. A satellite-aided search and rescue system ensures immediate detection of an alert anywhere in the world, and aids the rescue of thousands of people each year. The International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' provides charitable and humanitarian acquisition of satellite data from over 60 spacecraft to aid relief efforts in major disasters. In 2013 an American high school launched the first spacecraft designed, built, and operated by high school students.
Space technology has probably contributed more to the pursuit of peace than just about any other technology. Locating all kinds of radio transmissions from Earth is a key form of military surveillance from space. A number of countries have dedicated military communications satellites. Several militaries also operate a Global Navigation Satellite System.
All orbits below 2000km altitude are termed low-Earth Orbits, or LEO. The duration, or period of an orbit increases as altitude increases. A geostationary spacecraft appears stationary in the sky. If you are north of Svalbard, at over 81 degrees latitude GEO satellites are below the southern horizon.
0003: What's an orbit?

0003: What's an orbit?


A satellite is an object that orbits something else. An object in orbit is in continual freefall, moving forward so fast it never hits the ground. The closest point of an orbit to Earth is termed perigee, and the furthest point is apogee. An orbit is the path around another object in space.
Space travel became a seriously considered engineering endeavour through the works of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. To access space a dedicated vehicle is required, a launch vehicle. Multistage rockets are two or more rockets, or stages working in sequence. Once a stage has completed its burn it is jettisoned.
As altitude increases the air gets thinner, that is, atmospheric density decreases. The nominal boundary to space as the von Kármán ellipsoid, a curve, above the surface of the Earth at 100km altitude. A spacecraft is a vehicle or vessel designed to operate beyond the von Kármán ellipsoid. The only thing we all agree on is that space is up.
The basic unit of information is a bit. It has two possible values, “0” (zero) or “1” (one). Eight bits make up a byte. Each hexadecimal digit represents four binary digits, termed a nibble. A nibble is half a byte.



Nibbles in Space is a series of short podcasts, making space more accessible. A nibble is half a byte. A nibble is 4 bits of information, whether you listen to it as a podcast or if want a little more of a Nibble you can read it at
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