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
Category: Commercial Space
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
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
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?
NASA: Making markets, not rockets?
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 checklist for commercial space and NASA
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
Technology, transforming the space sector, and us
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
Starships mean gas stations in space, and so much more
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
Space based solar power and not losing sight of the plot
“The General doesn’t like it,” he said, because “he doesn’t want to own the big, easy target that’s the first thing destroyed in the next war.” So much for what we might do together on Space Based Solar Power. This would be a short call. The idea of a massive power station floating in space … Continue reading Space based solar power and not losing sight of the plot
Commercial launch trends – what do you see?
Graphs with a lot of space launch data can be a bit of a Rorschach test, including the part about seeing angels or demons. The lonely data point, on the other hand, is easy to employ to jump to about any answer, and nowadays, there is no lack of these unique space sector events. In … Continue reading Commercial launch trends – what do you see?