SUSIE, space launch, and the many journeys to full reuse

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

About Starships, and the (not what you think) reusability we need

Recently, a SpaceX Starship ran into a setback that’s been ongoing for a couple of years now –  tile popping off. We get to see all this, as SpaceX runs a very open program, much of Starship taking place in the sights of a paparazzi of cameras and drones. We see that sticking protective tile on … Continue reading About Starships, and the (not what you think) reusability we need

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…

Reusability – legs and fins or wings and things?

The choice was made, so the outcome was determined, if not known. In engineering as in life. Not everyone accepts this notion quite the same way, or as gospel. Making a choice and then having to live with a determined if unknown future sounds fine in theory. In practice though determined leads to deterministic. As … Continue reading Reusability – legs and fins or wings and things?

The case of the $5,000 socket – it’s about the benefit when the mass is there, versus not

The socket cost $5,000. But we got a good deal for three at $15,000. Now this might sound like just another story about a $300 toilet seat, but it turns out there may be some rhyme or reason behind $300 toilet seats. Or even $10,000 toilet seat covers. If you make a plane and then … Continue reading The case of the $5,000 socket – it’s about the benefit when the mass is there, versus not