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?
Flashback Friday – “Skylab,” 1971 Martin Marietta fold-out poster “infographic”
(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”
Space benefits, stem cells, and why we’re just getting started
Early September saw some good news in the space sector, but not of the usual sort that quickly goes viral. The University of California San Diego received a gift of $150M to fund the Sanford Stem Cell Institute. Their valuable work with stem cells already includes years of research in Earth orbit. Yet news like … Continue reading Space benefits, stem cells, and why we’re just getting started
Mind the gap
“We have one data point. All we need is one more and we can draw a line.” This was one of our many meetings where we dwelled on lessons learned, the Space Shuttle, and what’s next in reusable launch. As far as jokes go, at least for number crunchers, this was a good one. Except … Continue reading Mind the gap
Financial risks, spaceflight, and the questions we ask
"Would Boeing make a bet like that again, on a low-cost space launch vehicle," asked our team leader. Suddenly, thirty or so people burst into a tower of babel, everyone talking at once as if a spark set off a conflagration. Mostly the cacophony of replies leaned toward "no," or jumped right into statements - … Continue reading Financial risks, spaceflight, and the questions we ask
Inflation, NASA’s budget, and ambition
Inflation is a hot topic in the news of late. This is to be expected when daily experience brings a far-off abstraction home for a visit. Also unsurprisingly, this phenom happens more so when the news is terrible. A price dropping is fodder for a moment of amazement, good company with a happy grin about … Continue reading Inflation, NASA’s budget, and ambition
NASA – join the club?
Groucho Marx famously said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." Here the search for where you belong is not just a horizon you can never reach, but one you don't want to. As the world changes around NASA, there is no lack of similar questioning – what is … Continue reading NASA – join the club?
How space policy can successfully meet up with space projects
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
Commercial space stations and NASA savings – would you like to do the math?
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?
Natural and Artificial Flavors Added
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
It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year
There is an oddity to the International Space Station, its name – a station. On Earth this would be fine, a station, as in stationary, not moving. In space though “station” is a bit of a misnomer for a facility going once around the Earth every 90 minutes and traveling 15,500 miles per hour. Pictures, … Continue reading It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year