No one was buying it. It’s the moment after NASA’s Constellation Moon program awaited someone saying the time of death, but before the same offices circled the wagons to defend something, anything, preserving parts of the soon-to-end Shuttle program. One of our first points noted our work was officially sanctioned. Not that the Secretary wouldn’t … Continue reading NASA, Moon to Mars, and the predictably likely and unlikely
Space, playing the long game
If you follow the space sector, and maybe even if you don’t, the unavoidable impression is there’s so much happening fast. Space stuff and that AI shows up at every party. The days when only an occasional Shuttle mission, Hubble picture, or a Mars rover made headlines are in our rearview mirror. Today, it’s always … Continue reading Space, playing the long game
The NASA Budget – running in place or getting ahead?
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland Taking longer than initially planned or merely advertised is a hallmark of NASA projects, but the US Congress … Continue reading The NASA Budget – running in place or getting ahead?
A review: “NASA’s Moon to Mars Strategy and Objectives Development”
“Unfortunately, I’m too overextended right now to be useful.” This worked, while not being a lie, getting me out of assisting on the year’s strategic planning document. Or, as the case was – a strategy slash roadmap slash implementation slash plan slash something about technology and what NASA will do to get where it wants … Continue reading A review: “NASA’s Moon to Mars Strategy and Objectives Development”
Writing, NASA, the space sector, and a two-year milestone
Two years ago this day, I published my first blog, never surprised I enjoyed writing, and I had more than a few thoughts on my mind. But why? Judging from the papers I wrote during my career, I am not a writer, and I won’t pretend I am. The record will show I wrote about … Continue reading Writing, NASA, the space sector, and a two-year milestone
About Starships and life cycles, but more too
Space system projects experience all the same phases of life as living organisms, from the cradle to the grave. Uncannily alike, too, even before birth, creators may write down a project’s lifeless but necessary instructions. It’s not hardware yet, it’s your creation’s DNA building blocks made of ideas. Sadly, a seedling may not sprout due … Continue reading About Starships and life cycles, but more too
It’s getting awful crowded out there – Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
This map updates a much older version from Kennedy Space Center (available here) for the recent news of the Space Force allocating three historic launch pads to four companies (Relativity, ABL Space Systems, Stoke Space, and Vaya Space.) How time flies. Once long ago NASA looked at Kennedy Space Center and the Cape as a … Continue reading It’s getting awful crowded out there – Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
“I didn’t understand a word you said”
Recently, the buzz around AI has been about being untraceable, the inability to explain why an AI does what it does. Try and backtrack through an AI’s logic step by step, and you are Alice going down the rabbit hole. This is so for those who create the technology, intimate with it to the most … Continue reading “I didn’t understand a word you said”
Revisiting the near future of human spaceflight
(With acknowledgments to David Brin, blogging at Contrary Brin, and a thank you for his feedback as I wrote this.) Across my many years witnessing and participating in space marvels, too often my awe of the moment got rudely shoved aside by wondering what comes next. Some just can’t resist that temptation to look ahead, … Continue reading Revisiting the near future of human spaceflight
Rising wages, meet technology adoption
Our space sector does not lack news about new tech, business deals, or novel things to come. But, with so much happening, imagine for a moment that the nature of the churn also changed. Would anyone notice? With too much noise, do we miss changes in the signal? The usual tropes marry change and technology … Continue reading Rising wages, meet technology adoption
Reusing, refueling, partnering – and going nuclear
Advocacy for innovation is always challenging, with much written about difficulties like the valley of death. There is one barrier that does not get much attention, though. We forget the future is always outnumbered in the here and now. Artist concept of Demonstration for Rocket to Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) spacecraft, which will demonstrate a nuclear … Continue reading Reusing, refueling, partnering – and going nuclear
AI, art, writing, oh – and spaceplanes
There are the facts, and there is the story. Both can be true, but one without the other is incomplete, as it is the story that carries meaning. As the AI ChatGPT consumes my social media feeds, it’s enough to make a blogger worry. One day soon, will an AI put the words and the … Continue reading AI, art, writing, oh – and spaceplanes
Flashback Friday-Inside a Space Shuttle Mobile Launcher Platform during launch
If you’re a sci-fi fan, you know Hollywood always has the lights go out when a spaceship takes a blast of photon torpedoes. Somehow we’ve figured out how to travel between the stars, but the electrical systems are kind of iffy. So now step into a mobile launcher platform below the Space Shuttle during a … Continue reading Flashback Friday-Inside a Space Shuttle Mobile Launcher Platform during launch
Space technology, meet 2023
A new year forces us to look back and get our bearings before focusing on what’s ahead. Milestones do that, whether beautiful or sad. On these occasions, we draw a mental line precisely marking time to a spot, with everything else on the other side. Similarly, the loss of Challenger, the fall of the Berlin … Continue reading Space technology, meet 2023
Launch costs – are we there yet?
What's the cost per pound? It's one of the eternal questions in our launch business, like "when is NASA going to Mars" and "who called this meeting?" If you were curious about this question more than 15 years ago, you would quickly hear someone say – it's about $10,000 a pound. Nowadays, we can ask … Continue reading Launch costs – are we there yet?