A checklist for commercial space and NASA

A paper of mine was published last week in the New Space Journal, “Ingredients and Anticipated Results for Characterizing and Assessing NASA and U.S. Department of Defense Partnerships and Commercial Programs.” Yes, that’s a mouthful. I often write about what’s next for NASA, the commercial space sector, and how these must move ahead together. My … Continue reading A checklist for commercial space and NASA

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

Financial risks, spaceflight, and the questions we ask

"Would Boeing make a bet like that again, on a low-cost space launch vehicle," asked our team leader. Suddenly, thirty or so people burst into a tower of babel, everyone talking at once as if a spark set off a conflagration. Mostly the cacophony of replies leaned toward "no," or jumped right into statements - … Continue reading Financial risks, spaceflight, and the questions we ask

Useful answers – the cost of NASA spacecraft

It’s spaceships aplenty – and it’s all good. Contrary to popular belief, there is plenty of public data out there for what NASA spacecraft cost. Yet judging by regular NASA Inspector General or GAO reviews, this is all beyond obscure and confusing. There’s even a thought from NASA that not knowing what things cost saves money. (That is not … Continue reading Useful answers – the cost of NASA spacecraft

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