NASA just rolled out an expendable rocket nearly eleven years after the last launch of its Space Shuttle. This is a long time coming, a project where too often “next year’s” major milestones receded by about one and a half years every year. An expendable Shuttle-derived launch system will go down in history as what … Continue reading Life finds a way
Two recent NASA reports, a study in contrasts. Are there two NASAs here? "What if we modified the main deflector to emit an inverse tachyon pulse, that might scan beyond the subspace barrier." In a pinch to explain something complex? Use technobabble, courtesy of Star Trek (TNG). Remember, there is no limit to the functionality … Continue reading Two reports, two NASAs?
It's over. They worked out an agreement. The boss stuck his head into the conference room to make the announcement. Judging from the look on everyone's face, clearly, there was some confusion. Interrupting our meeting and just blurting out late-breaking news does this. How could it be over when we were just getting started? February … Continue reading It ain’t over till it’s over
It was only some years ago I wandered upon the word “wonk” or “wonkish” as a reference to someone diving too much into obscure details. It's implied, annoyingly too much. First come the numbers, then come the graphs. The predictable debate comes right along – does X cause Y, or is it the other way … Continue reading Are you happy, on average?
Analogies. Everyone loves a good analogy, all the better when they cut right into the heart of a matter. Our space biz is not immune to the allure of analogies, chock full of complex backstories, technology, and eccentricities just begging to be simplified. Though when it's oh so clear, it's probably oversimplified. Elsewhere, the analogies … Continue reading Breaking the speed of analogies
Predictably, reports by committees read like a meeting with a few people speaking all at once. Why say something simply when saying it five ways keeps every contributor happy their suggested sentence remained intact? Yet even with this expectation going in, this year's NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) report is a refreshing read, saying … Continue reading A review of the ASAP review of NASA
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…”
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