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
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
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
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
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?
There is an old joke in NASA, “a million here, a million there, before you know it, you might have real money.” It’s probably a line in any business grown large enough to develop an unhealthy disrespect for money. Yet our more serious discussions enforced the same idea. Could NASA nudge industry this way or … Continue reading NASA: Making markets, not rockets?
A paper of mine was published last week in the New Space Journal, “Ingredients and Anticipated Results for Characterizing and Assessing NASA and U.S. Department of Defense Partnerships and Commercial Programs.” Yes, that’s a mouthful. I often write about what’s next for NASA, the commercial space sector, and how these must move ahead together. My … Continue reading A checklist for commercial space and NASA
After concluding a bat’leth tournament, a lone traveler in deep space passes through a jagged sliver of space-time. This piece of the galaxy is defective, a “quantum fissure” in techno-babble, as if whoever made it was asleep at the wheel. This is the universe of Star Trek, of course, full of all sorts of space-time … Continue reading Technology, transforming the space sector, and us
Here is another item you won’t find anywhere online, on the belief that just as we never know where we may end up, it’s best to upload to the cloud while we can. Download the pamphlet as an OCR'ed .pdf This hand-out pamphlet, “Apollo 17,” was likely given to employees, the press, and the public … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Apollo 17” NASA pamphlet, 1972
NASA press releases often come and go where the world is left to ponder a message one step removed from chicken bones strewn on the floor-mat. If it’s not the acronyms, it’s the lingo or the leaning to put out only the facts, not what they mean. But if NASA ever buried the lede, it … Continue reading Starships mean gas stations in space, and so much more
(Published a day early, by mistake, enjoy!) Here is another item you won’t find anywhere online, on the belief that just as we never know where we may end up, it’s best to upload to the cloud while we can. This fold-out poster pamphlet “Skylab,” by Martin Marietta, is an infographic from before infographics were … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Skylab,” 1971 Martin Marietta fold-out poster “infographic”
When criticism of a trend is not criticism of a project. There is the micro and the macro, the one down at the nuts and bolts, hardware I would see up close and lay my hands on, the other a view from 100,000 feet. Zoomed in, nose at the nitty gritty, there’s a drawing, a … Continue reading The nuts and bolts vs. NASA budgets
Here is another item you won’t find anywhere online, on the belief that just as we never know where we may end up, it’s best to upload to the cloud while we can. [Click picture to Zoom] Front cover of the quad-fold NASA/Grumman pamphlet "Apollo 10 The Lunar Module in Lunar Orbit," from 1969. It’s … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Apollo 10 The Lunar Module in Lunar Orbit,” 1969 Grumman pamphlet
Over a week ago, Europe’s ArianeGroup unveiled a new reusable launch vehicle they call “SUSIE,” a “Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration.” Given the acronym, NASA must be rubbing off on them. Though the name is sure to be memorable, like Wall-E, reusable launcher announcements usually make a splash only to be quickly forgotten. But … Continue reading SUSIE, space launch, and the many journeys to full reuse
Here is another item you won't find anywhere online, on the belief that just as we never know where we may end up, it's best to upload to the cloud while we can. This quad-fold pamphlet “Space Benefits – today and tomorrow” is from 1971. I am not sure who gave me this one, but … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Space Benefits – today and tomorrow,” 1971 NASA pamphlet