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

It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year

There is an oddity to the International Space Station, its name – a station. On Earth this would be fine, a station, as in stationary, not moving. In space though “station” is a bit of a misnomer for a facility going once around the Earth every 90 minutes and traveling 15,500 miles per hour. Pictures, … Continue reading It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year

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…

Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 3 of 3 (wonkish)

A launch failure is a visual event, out there for all to see, a program’s failure to meet cost or flight rate or other fuzzy goals, not so much. With an odd hardware failure, a unit gone bad, engineers might do a hybrid of Monday morning quarterbacking and applicable anecdotes. Of course, there is methodical … Continue reading Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 3 of 3 (wonkish)

Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 2 of 3 (wonkish)

First there was a forest, then just a smattering of trees, and finally just this one tree. On a specific day, at a specific time, someone came to the last tree. Maybe they paused. Then they chopped it down too. This is a version of the tragedy of the commons, a parable where incentives create … Continue reading Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 2 of 3 (wonkish)

Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 1 of 3 (wonkish)

Details, details… In 2006 NASA went down a rather new path to get cargo to the International Space Station. No one could have imagined the end was so near for the dogma of space exploration as an expensive, exclusively government affair. Suddenly, getting cargo to the ISS meant inside baseball lingo about firm fixed price … Continue reading Commercial space and six questions for a good story – Pt. 1 of 3 (wonkish)

NASA’s human spaceflight strategy, sustainability and growth

The reward is everyone's ability to go further. It’s not every day you are told your choices are not yours alone. Last year’s 2020 Space Council report did just this. NASA’s deep space exploration and the US commercial space sector are linked. The report was clear, a commercial space economy is “necessary” for NASA’s deep … Continue reading NASA’s human spaceflight strategy, sustainability and growth