The idea: How each step we explore beyond Earth can only happen if the previous step gets cheaper. I must back-track and unbury the lede from my previous post. Especially as we start the new year and NASA's budget continues at 2021 levels for 2022 (in beltway-talk, congress passed a "continuing resolution.") This idea, in the … Continue reading Unburying the lede
To talk about NASA space exploration as policy, intersecting budgets as resources, is to witness a repeating crash between what and how. A step removed as the children of policy, plans are in one car and rarely strapped in. Projects, over inside the budget, are distracted checking texts. This might sound like an acutely pessimistic … Continue reading How space policy can successfully meet up with space projects
Once again, it was that meeting, the one with the drone of presenter, questions, or occasional speech posing as a question, set to repeat mode. On cue, add the light-hearted tangent every forty-two minutes. We would cover issues and risks and endless lists, the former already happening, the later possible. Also, as expected, the wrap … Continue reading “In the end…”
"I remember it all. I was there. That's what matters." These were the words of an Apollo/Shuttle-era retiree, cleaning up a little but leaving behind much of the memorabilia of a decades-long career. I was fortunate to inherit some of these items from a few retirees, as I was young, enthusiastic, and dust-tolerant. So today, … Continue reading A little Space memorabilia – “The next giant leap”
With the new administration’s Space Council meeting for the first time this week (or soon), it’s natural to look back at the comings and goings of US space policy. A casual observer might assign a shape to the blurry happenings and seemingly important pronouncements about the direction for NASA over the years. If you have … Continue reading Space Councils, events, technology, and NASA are all evolving – but towards what?
After a specific scale, our intuition fails us. Whatever is so much larger, farther, or faster than our day-to-day experience is quickly incomprehensible. This is so for the scale of NASA. As if degrees of the unimaginable are possible, the scale of the global space economy beyond NASA is larger by over a factor of … Continue reading The scale of NASA, the global space economy, and commercial space to come
I don't have my usual blog this Monday, as I'm working on something a little more extensive, so crunching numbers. But I would like to point out pages available on the main menu here. I update these all as launches occur. Global commercial orbital space launches Recent space launch pricing US launches by launcher Falcon … Continue reading Space launch – the state of play in graphs
The familiar refrain "it's impossible to keep up with so much happening" has come to the space sector. Though this could be said in all walks of life. As we join the club, it's a good time to ask "why space"? Our aerospace industry is not unique, carried along in a wave, wondering if there … Continue reading Commercial space stations begin shifting the conversation to “why space”?
I'd like to do the math. One day, years from now but seeming too soon, the International Space Station will come to an end. But this ending will also be a story about beginnings. NASA having led the way, learning to live and work in space, others will follow, building on what was learned. If … Continue reading Commercial space stations and NASA savings – would you like to do the math?
Back in 2007, the NASA plan was to go back to the Moon by 2020. This is not to confuse anyone with current plans to return to the Moon by 2024, which might be 2028 or sometime later. Rather, this was the older plan as NASA launched its Shuttles on their last missions. Except there … Continue reading Planning, for space exploration, development, and commerce
Most everyone has now heard the mysterious words "supply chain" in more than a few places. I have a guest commentary today on this and our space industry at Ex Terra, The Journal of Space Commerce - "The Supply Chain Crisis: An Historical Perspective."
The label read, "Natural and Artificial Flavors Added." So, I put it back. Artificial, we've been told, is just not good for you. We are almost at the same place with artificial intelligence. Alarm bells go off there as well, except in the form of Nobel laureates prognosticating about the dangers of A.I. There are … Continue reading Natural and Artificial Flavors Added
Sometimes less is more. This also applies to data. Too long ago to say when without sounding ancient, I came upon a holy grail of launch price data. Many Bothans died to bring us this information. The more extensive, second spreadsheet, not the first one. We had known about the existence of the data, shown … Continue reading When less is more
There is the movie “The Sixth Sense,” and there are NASA cost estimates. I am not sure which is a better example of the unreliable narrator. “Call me Ishmael.” Why should I call you Ishmael? Most people would say, “My name is Ishmael.” What are you hiding? Of course, the first version sounds more intriguing. … Continue reading The unreliable narrator
The award said it was amazing what I could accomplish, "with an endless supply of NASA interns." This much was true, as they did great work. I mentored many students in their summers at the Kennedy Space Center. They always amazed me with a refreshing perspective on what might otherwise be a daily grind of … Continue reading NASA – TNG