Once again, it was that meeting, the one with the drone of presenter, questions, or occasional speech posing as a question, set to repeat mode. On cue, add the light-hearted tangent every forty-two minutes. We would cover issues and risks and endless lists, the former already happening, the later possible. Also, as expected, the wrap … Continue reading “In the end…”
"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”
With the new administration’s Space Council meeting for the first time this week (or soon), it’s natural to look back at the comings and goings of US space policy. A casual observer might assign a shape to the blurry happenings and seemingly important pronouncements about the direction for NASA over the years. If you have … Continue reading Space Councils, events, technology, and NASA are all evolving – but towards what?
After a specific scale, our intuition fails us. Whatever is so much larger, farther, or faster than our day-to-day experience is quickly incomprehensible. This is so for the scale of NASA. As if degrees of the unimaginable are possible, the scale of the global space economy beyond NASA is larger by over a factor of … Continue reading The scale of NASA, the global space economy, and commercial space to come
I don't have my usual blog this Monday, as I'm working on something a little more extensive, so crunching numbers. But I would like to point out pages available on the main menu here. I update these as launches occur. Global commercial orbital space launches Recent space launch pricing US launches by launcher Falcon 9 … Continue reading Space launch – the state of play in graphs
The familiar refrain "it's impossible to keep up with so much happening" has come to the space sector. Though this could be said in all walks of life. As we join the club, it's a good time to ask "why space"? Our aerospace industry is not unique, carried along in a wave, wondering if there … Continue reading Commercial space stations begin shifting the conversation to “why space”?
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?
Back in 2007, the NASA plan was to go back to the Moon by 2020. This is not to confuse anyone with current plans to return to the Moon by 2024, which might be 2028 or sometime later. Rather, this was the older plan as NASA launched its Shuttles on their last missions. Except there … Continue reading Planning, for space exploration, development, and commerce
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
Passing the word around. This years NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium is open to the public. You can register here. "All are invited to attend this Symposium which will introduce NIAC Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III Fellows’ multidisciplinary research. NIAC concepts cover a wide range of innovations in a diverse range of … Continue reading NIAC September 21-23, 2021 – Virtual Event
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
The best answers led us to better questions. It is easy to embrace this notion as just part of the process, learning and all that, and all good. Admittedly, this sentiment may just be comforting fiction. I wasn’t lost. I was exploring. Why admit that we didn’t look far enough ahead, that what was evident … Continue reading Please phrase your answer in the form of a question
Depending on the news, “new space” is commercial, innovative, well-funded by billionaires and changing the world. The site of a Falcon 9 booster returning to land after being flown eight times tells a story of change, a revolution that as predicted is being televised, in high definition. Crews that are not NASA astronauts have now … Continue reading New space, a Rorschach test
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
Blue sky ahead. My job with NASA always meant looking ahead. Today I can’t help but look back. I am now retired, which I find an odd mix of calm, caffeinated, and a sense “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” I arrived at Kennedy Space Center in 1988, a wonderful world of huge machines, … Continue reading Technology stagnation and NASA – problem and opportunity