Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Edge of Space" It 'Aint!

Rant time.....

I just received my new QST magazine, and on the cover as the lead story is an article about "Amateur Radio At The Edge Of SPACE!".....

It's an article about a group of high-school Hams who send home brew instrument packages up ~120,000 feet using balloons, and recording the downlinked data.

This is great stuff, and I greatly admire the young men and women who are doing it.

BUT....for crying out loud, STOP calling it "The Edge of Space"!

It's NOT.

It's not even close!

The official definition of "Space", is an altitude ABOVE 100km, or about 62 miles, a bit more than 328,000 feet.

120,000 feet is a bit more than ONE-THIRD the required altitude to be in "space", and as such is pretty far from being "the edge" of anything meaningfully close to "space".

I remember not too long ago when the guy jumped out of the balloon sponsored by Red Bull, and they insisted on using this same "Edge of Space" nonsense.

I sure don't have the big brass ones it takes to do that, and I also greatly admire Felix Baumgartner for having the cajones to do it, but it wasn't, and never will be, "The Edge of Space".

Knock it off,'re just demeaning the people who really do go into space for your own cheap amusement....

/rant off


  1. It's hard work, but somebody has to do it....

  2. The "want to be" Space Cadets. Not.
    But this is the stuff they teach people now days. Always changing history.
    Good post.

  3. Spoil sport (even though you are right).

  4. Hi Jim. Welcome to the ranks of the Language Curmudgeons. I've been one for years. I admit to chuckling a bit here, as I know some of these EOSS guys.

    I hadn't read that QST article, and I just took a look. This sort of language imprecision is unsurprising in a program using "Engineering" 1,2, and 3, and "Space Cowboys", though I suppose we should make some allowances for the latter, given they're in Texas. But if they're going to be doing "Engineering" you might expect better linguistic precision. It is, however, public education, where cheerleading and boosterism are rampant.

    My mean side wants to share that article with my PE friend. He'd be sputtering foam by the 3rd paragraph.

    1. Yeah, if they're trying to teach the students some Engineer basics, language precision should be included, at no extra cost!


Keep it civil, please....