Revisiting commercial space and NASA

Before “commercial space” there was “cost-plus space”. It was in this Byzantine world that whistle blower Ernie Fitzgerald said back in the 1960s “There are only two phases of a program. The first is ‘It’s too early to tell.’ The second ‘It’s too late to stop.’” While today’s trending topics in space exploration are about … Continue reading Revisiting commercial space and NASA

What’s old is new again – more on refueling in space

On my shelves sits a childhood book “Planets and Spaceflight” published in 1957 by General Mills. The front cover is “Planets” and the rear “Spaceflight”, full of vivid descriptions and beautiful artwork of so many places to go and how we will get there. The publisher being best known for Cheerios leaves me sure the … Continue reading What’s old is new again – more on refueling in space

The rise, fall and rise again of refueling – in space

Range anxiety was invented by NASA. Well, perhaps not (or Velcro), but space exploration gives new meaning to an obsessive awareness of how much further you can go when there is not a charger on every corner. Now imagine that feeling in outer space, or back on the ground watching your spacecraft, not just for … Continue reading The rise, fall and rise again of refueling – in space

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

You can’t always get what you want, but…

The room filled with the usual suspects and small talk. This year it seemed an unwritten rule that before any presenter could talk about their good work there came this certain chart. It was the late 1990’s, exciting times when ever faster computers, internet connections and aerospace technology came together to spur dreams of things … Continue reading You can’t always get what you want, but…

Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 3 of 3 (wonkish)

A launch failure is a visual event, out there for all to see, a program’s failure to meet cost or flight rate or other fuzzy goals, not so much. With an odd hardware failure, a unit gone bad, engineers might do a hybrid of Monday morning quarterbacking and applicable anecdotes. Of course, there is methodical … Continue reading Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 3 of 3 (wonkish)