Sunday, August 14, 2005

Satellite Launch Outsourced

An American communications satellite - Galaxy-14 - was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket today. (The Hindu: Russia launches new generation US satellite). The satellite was developed by the Orbital Science Corporation and US PanAmSat Corporation grouping. Control of the satellite was transferred to the US based corporation after achieving geosynchronous orbit.

All of this begs the question, why was a foreign space agency contracted to launch a satellite for a US company? While the Shuttle Program has been on ice for two years - and is grounded for several more months - there is nothing wrong with our ability to launch satellites from Vandenberg or Canaveral. Yes this company chose to outsource that function to Russia.

The problem of outsourcing technology is problematic across a wide range of industries. Increasingly, we're seeing our highest paid technical jobs going to India and China. Seeing an American company use Russia to launch a satellite is most disturbing. Perhaps this comes from growing up in a generation that saw Russia as our enemy in the race to space. Perhaps this comes from working in an industry that is being decimated by off-shoring (sending jobs overseas). Whatever the reason, this news article really stuck a cord. I find it most disturbing.



Alan Fraser said...

This is an observation on outsourcing from the Reverend Sasquatch: "The ones who can speak English stay in their home countries to work the call centers and the ones who can't come to America to work."

Kannafoot said...

You know you're on the right track when the good(?) Reverend picks up on it.

For those that have yet to encounter Reverend Sasquatch, you may listen to his observations on life's lunacy here.