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
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
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
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
Flashback Friday – “Apollo 17” NASA pamphlet, 1972
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. Download the pamphlet as an OCR'ed .pdf This hand-out pamphlet, “Apollo 17,” was likely given to employees, the press, and the public … Continue reading Flashback Friday – “Apollo 17” NASA pamphlet, 1972
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
Is this now?
Saying the universe is vast is an understatement, though it sounds better than saying we have no idea about the nature or extent of everything we have no idea about. These are not your project’s unknown unknowns. This is where words fail. Recently, NASA revealed the first images from its James Webb Space Telescope. If … Continue reading Is this now?
Rocketry – is it more like baking, or cooking?
Baking is not cooking, the same way rocketry is not flight. Or at least, that would be a first impression, to constantly hear about the extreme precision required to get to orbit or anywhere after. In contrast, right after takeoff, an airplane can lose an engine, or even both, only to glide along and land … Continue reading Rocketry – is it more like baking, or cooking?
Of Starships and spaceplanes, and roads less traveled
The first Martian to visit Earth is a young boy, a twist on visiting the old country of your parents. To him, Earth is a distant place, with an odd blue sky, and sparking some anxiety. This was the premise of a short film at the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex in the early 1990s, … Continue reading Of Starships and spaceplanes, and roads less traveled
One word: Propellant
Some graphs, like pictures, are also worth a thousand words. They do what a beautiful painting does while wandering in a museum, holding your stare like reading from a wall. For rockets and space travel, there is no shortage of figures and numbers and graphs, oh my. One especially telling figure came around in 2010 … Continue reading One word: Propellant
A book review – “The Dawn of Everything” by David Graeber and David Wengrow
And what does any of this have to do with space exploration? Talianki, Ukraine, a thriving city of thousands, about a few hours away from Kyiv by car, but a much longer trip 5,800 years ago. Except, wasn’t the going story there were no cities that far back, at least as far as we call … Continue reading A book review – “The Dawn of Everything” by David Graeber and David Wengrow
Life finds a way
NASA just rolled out an expendable rocket nearly eleven years after the last launch of its Space Shuttle. This is a long time coming, a project where too often “next year’s” major milestones receded by about one and a half years every year. An expendable Shuttle-derived launch system will go down in history as what … Continue reading Life finds a way
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?
A book review – “XX” by Rian Hughes
I ordered a book 972 pages long - by mistake. The heft was intimidating, yet it was so enjoyable it is among my fastest reads in recent years. At its heart, "XX – a Novel, Graphic" by Rian Hughes is a book about ideas, but these are as real and solid as ourselves and our … Continue reading A book review – “XX” by Rian Hughes
A review of the ASAP review of NASA
Predictably, reports by committees read like a meeting with a few people speaking all at once. Why say something simply when saying it five ways keeps every contributor happy their suggested sentence remained intact? Yet even with this expectation going in, this year's NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) report is a refreshing read, saying … Continue reading A review of the ASAP review of NASA