Here is another item 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. Front cover of the folded NASA pamphlet "Living and Working in Space," from 1983. The NASA pamphlet, "Living and Working in Space," from … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Living and Working in Space,” 1983 NASA pamphlet
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?
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
Soon, NASA will load propellants onto its new Space Launch System – the “SLS.” This test will span a few days, a whole shakedown and practice run, much like the launch countdown starting at T-72 hours for a Space Shuttle. This is an exciting moment, the end-to-end system seeing liquid hydrogen and oxygen for the … Continue reading Make good choices!
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
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
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
"I remember it all. I was there. That's what matters." These were the words of an Apollo/Shuttle-era retiree, cleaning up a little but leaving behind much of the memorabilia of a decades-long career. I was fortunate to inherit some of these items from a few retirees, as I was young, enthusiastic, and dust-tolerant. So today, … Continue reading A little Space memorabilia – “The next giant leap”
Most everyone has now heard the mysterious words "supply chain" in more than a few places. I have a guest commentary today on this and our space industry at Ex Terra, The Journal of Space Commerce - "The Supply Chain Crisis: An Historical Perspective."
There is the movie “The Sixth Sense,” and there are NASA cost estimates. I am not sure which is a better example of the unreliable narrator. “Call me Ishmael.” Why should I call you Ishmael? Most people would say, “My name is Ishmael.” What are you hiding? Of course, the first version sounds more intriguing. … Continue reading The unreliable narrator
It turns out rocket launches, a possible boil water notice here in Orlando, and hospitals caring for patients with COVID are all connected. Right now, it's about liquid oxygen, but it would not be surprising to find more connections, like in any system. Oddly and often in projects, "it's a system" was an observation that … Continue reading It’s a system
There are flying machines that simply stick in the mind, a Concorde, a Shuttle, a Valkyrie XB-70, or a Boeing 747. One machine that hardly flew but does this trick is the 1920s German Dornier X airliner, an early and massive flying boat with 12 engines. Its wings had a crawl space so the crew … Continue reading Contrasts
The saying “getting your wings clipped” took on a new meaning. It was 2002, and the plan for even a partially reusable replacement for the Space Shuttle now seemed a bridge too far. The debate had already devolved once, from fully reusable to partially reusable. It would devolve again, as all of a sudden, old-style … Continue reading Not in our stars
Time is supposed to be the way the universe keeps everything from happening all at once. My wife and I were in London in 2016, and we made a point to see The Fighting Temeraire by Joseph Mallord William Turner. London has endless museums. So for a time, we were taking it all in with … Continue reading Parallels
Iconic orange Space Shuttle external tanks and shiny SpaceX Starships are uncannily close in scale. I was fortunate to be on the team in the 1990’s that checked out and prepared the external tanks and then on the team that filled and launched them. I could not have guessed that 23 years into my career … Continue reading Of external tanks and Starships