40 thoughts on “A Harbinger For Space Policy?”

      1. Look for the comments modded down with the negative ratings.

        They are either founded in reality, clothed in commonsense or totally absure, in shich case you will easily see them for what they are.

        The positive rated reviews are either humorous or strong in groupthink kool-ade sheep-dip and the spewings of shallow-thinkers.

        1. The comments I found that were marked down were those suggesting that FH wasn’t going to do SLS’s job, so NASA still needs SLS, are you an SLS fan?

          1. Look harder. There is more than that. If someone even utters the slightest defense of Trump or something that touches on one of their sacred leftist dogmas, they will get heavily modded down.

          2. Of the first 40 posted (when listed by chronological order from oldest to newest, each page displays 40 posts), only one was a defense of Trump:

            No worries, he will change his mind again when Fox News tells him too.

            Your trolling doesn’t add anything. Besides, if Trump has shown us anything it’s that he doesn’t give two craps about what most people think – for better or worse.

            It was rated -154 which also was the only score below 0 on the first page. The post which it replied to was quoted in full and rated at +139 (there was a reply to it rebutting it with a similar level of content to the first post which reached +157). Once you get off the first page, the ratings go down a lot.

            On page 2, there was a weak Trump bash at -15. On page 3, a off-topic link to a junk band video at -8, a profane bash of Trump at -6, a concern troll at -14 (asking questions like “Does the Falcon Heavy have the same sourcing requirements?”), a content-free reply to the profane bash at -1, “Enjoy the cognitive dissonance” at -11, -16 for lame image dump, and -6 lame Trump bash. A brief scan of page 4 seems to show similar stuff so I’m not bothering to continue.

            So it looks like not sufficiently Trump-bashing posts aren’t heavily punished once you get past the first page.

            Alternately, Ars Technica allows one to sort by the best posts (apparently posts with +100 or better rating). Looking at the top posts (appears to be around 21, all with positive score of +107 or higher), about a third are straight up Trump bashes with little bearing on the story (there are a few more Trump bashes which bear on the story such as the wry observation that the journalist supposedly had to emphasize that what Trump said was actually true). Top rated post is the observation that the SLS has a marginal cost greater than the entire development cost of the Falcon Heavy.

            So looks to me like if you want to have the highest or lowest rate posts, you have to get on the first page, that is, be one of the first 40 to post. Second, there’s a huge correlation between Trump bashing and the ratings here. The only defense of Trump (and it was a weak defense at that) which I already mentioned above received the only triple digit negative rating I saw in the first four pages of the comments. A number of Trump bashes received triple scores as mentioned above.

            So looks to me like there’s considerable bias on the ratings on the first page (as well as the postings themselves) against Trump. There’s definitely a lot of TDS there. I don’t know about the later posts which would be read by and rated by far fewer people. That appears to be a different population who isn’t so enamored with off-topic Trump bashing.

          3. Karl, the debate here hasn’t been whether or not the crowd commenting on the article at ars technica is politically partisan, it’s whether or not the opening comment here from Roga: The comments over there could be a case study on cognitive dissonance. is reasonable. I look at the comments and in at least 90% of them I think a charge of cognitive dissonance against the authors is not justified, even though many are still anti-Trump.

            If you think that there being partisan followers on a site is worthy of comment, welcome to the internet.

            I agree that the later comments are much less loaded with TDS comments.

    1. I had a look at the first couple of pages, the weight of the comments I read were pro-SpaceX, anti-SLS and skeptical of Trump being consistent, you disagree with those comments or my interpretation of them? Because I think that would make them very much in touch with reality.

      1. He’s a seagull president: Flies in on a subject, makes a lot of noise, craps on everyone, and flies back out leaving a mess behind.

        He is so fucking stupid. I mean forget his racism, xenophobia, greed, lies, and ass backward policies he just is a moron.

        I’m gonna venture a guess that Rubins has her left hand between her legs to protect herself. Ivanka is giving an approving smile: “Yeah, honey, cover the coochie, because as soon as the handshake is over, he’s going for it.”

        The tariffs are a shit-tier move. The people he hires, shit-tier. Foreign relations, shit-tier. Environmental protection, shit-tier.

        Agent Orange is a rat-bastard who not only should not be trusted, his efforts should be thwarted at every turn. People in government who are not doing so may well be breaking their oaths of office.

        It’s distasteful to hear him discussing science and technology, as if he and the culture of ignorance he represents had anything to do with those achievements. It’s like finding a pube in the last bite of your sandwich.

        Clearly these in-touch-with-reality individuals are just normal joes with interest in rockets and space travel.

        1. Wow, I have to admire your dillagence there Curt, I only looked at the first couple of pages and saw only one of the comments that you quote, you must have gone through all ~480 comments (at the moment) to find those 6 quotes.

          1. You apparently have comments sorted differently than I do, 8 of 10 comments I see on the first page are clearly anti-Trump in nature.

        2. Pretty tame considering the anti obama screeds I would read when he was president … it generally involved bananas and some sort of monkey or the groin area of the 1st lady of the United States.

      2. Going guano loco over Trump as a person and as our President is the same as being skeptical of Trump’s consistency?

        Example: This is the closest thing to a coherent statement I’ve ever heard come out of that dumb f**&^^r’s mouth. Weird to feel an empathetic connection, however brief, with this failure.

        1. Jon, obviously there are a few comments there like the ones you and Curt quote, but I can find 10 good comments focused on the topic for each example of and over-the-top attack on Trump that you can find.

          1. Now you’re changing what you said. There are people in there suffering from Trump derangement syndrome and are talking about nothing related to policy.

          2. Maybe it’s a glass half full – half empty thing.
            I looked through the comments and see the 90% of them I agree with, you look through and see the 5% that are from a commenter with Trump derangement syndrome.

    2. You clearly never read comments on Spacex/ Musk articles on Instapundit, PJM, Brietbart, Daily Caller. The last two make up a large part of Trumps Base and had/have significant influence on his actions. Hence some of the healthy skepticism of the Ars Technia commentariat of Trump changing his opinion.

      Now some of the derangement well the president already a 40% approval, the readership for Ars Technia is largely 18-44 college educated located around the world not really Trump strong suit where his approval another 20 % lower. So really doesn’t take much grooming to get a echo chamber of opinion on this president.

      It a good sign for private space, but with Trump no guarantee of future support. what Trumps opinion be in the future if Elon push back against a Trump position be it Aluminum Tariffs, H1B Visas etc. Or the Bezos owned Washington Post goes too far , and Trumps decides not only the reporters but the owner of the paper is an “Enemy of the American people” . Would be more encouraging if he recognize the push on NASA of being a political money trough and jobs program and resolve to make them more task completion oriented than a pork project.

      1. “….the readership for Ars Technia is largely 18-44 college educated located around the world not really Trump strong suit where his approval another 20 % lower. So really doesn’t take much grooming to get a echo chamber of opinion on this president.”

        An excellent point.

        The demographics of Ars are already weighted heavily with the kind of people who loathe Trump. It doesn’t take a lot to intensify that into a genuine Two Minutes Hate on every Trump related article.

      2. It a good sign for private space, but with Trump no guarantee of future support.

        In this case, all the support needed is just to let commercial space to their thing.

        While Trump is similar to Obama in many ways, he hasn’t targeted companies or individuals with vindictive punative regulations yet. So far, Trump has been able to have strong disagreements with people on one thing but then work great with them on other issues.

  1. I find the report very hope-inspiring. If Trump is impressed by FH, and most impressed by the cost, it tells me that even if he’s utterly clueless on space he’s still got better instincts than most.

    And, Trump claims he’s looking to cut government waste. Couple that with his words here and I think it plausible to hope that he pushes to ax SLS/Orion.

    1. I agree. That article gives us all kinds of reasons for hope. I don’t remember where I read it (maybe here), but apparently Vice President Pence was very interested in the Falcon Heavy launch.

  2. Andrew, I encountered those nasty remarks in the first dozen comments I read. The vituperation with respect to Trump was nauseating. It was hardly “level-headed.”

  3. I have enjoyed transterrestrial musings for a couple of years now, and as an independent observer based on several of the past few months’ worth of postings, Andrew seems to be far more interested in politics than space, and I don’t think either side is going to be able to bring the other around to their way of thinking. Seems that if you stopped feeding the political troll he would eventually move to another bridge.

    1. It’s not just his interests, it’s his habit of mouthing off on things he clearly has no knowledge of, and then when that is pointed out to him, he doubles down, and then doubles down again, and again. Probably some kind of psychopathology related to a sense of self-importance.

      But yeah, as a frequent feeder myself, I should probably practice a little more restraint.

  4. As someone once said, space isn’t important. Don’t expect Trump to focus much on space but we could luck out with more ppp’s or regulation reductions that help commercial space.

    Even if SLS gets cancelled, it looks like LOP-G is a thing (that everyone seems to hate). It might be slightly competitive in the construction of some of its elements but will still be a government run station. Perhaps Trump’s appreciation of commerce would spread to favoring those like Bigelow over the traditional contractors. Or maybe LOP-G will take so long that commercial players will already have stations in LEO or cislunar space.

    Whatever anyone’s feeling on what the government does, the government is always going do its own thing, which won’t please everyone. A dual track where the government does its thing while supporting industry to do their thing might be the best we can expect.

  5. The $90 million list price is for the FH expendable, isn’t it? I thought the price of the FH with recovered first stages was more like $63 million. But what do I know?

    1. Yes, it’s $90 million with three cores recovered and $150 million fully expendable, but the way some news stories mention the FH’s fully expendable performance of 63.8 tonnes to LEO in the same breath as it’s three-cores-recovered price of $90 M, the misunderstanding is common.

      Interestingly, Mr. Musk tweeted “Side boosters landing on droneships & center expended is only ~10% performance penalty vs fully expended. Cost is only slightly higher than an expended F9, so around $95M.” That seems a very small premium for expending the center core and deploying a second ASDS, so some people have taken it as an indication that if the Block 5 core is as reusable as SpaceX hopes, they will drop the fully recoverable FH price to give a more reasonable distribution of prices.

      1. These prices are suggestive that SpaceX’s actual costs for the Falcon stages are pretty low. They’re still building in a healthy profit margin – which makes sense, because they have a lot of development costs to retire.

      2. they will drop the fully recoverable FH price to give a more reasonable distribution of prices.

        It would be funny if the price drops to $80 million.

  6. I think it would be silly of anyone to expect Trump’s impromptu remarks to signal a major change in space policy.

    If there’s a value in what Trump said, it’s that it shifts the Overton Window on launcher policy a little bit, especially with Republican policy makers (who after all constitute the bulk of energetic SLS supporters and SpaceX skeptics). Not enough to kill SLS, to be sure, but perhaps a noteworthy moment in an ongoing Window shift. One which will more likely bear real fruit in the next presidential administration.

    The surge in SLS advocacy pieces of late (I count at least three in THE HILL this winter alone) suggests growing alarm in SLS quarters. They wouldn’t be out there running these op-eds if they didn’t think there wasn’t a threat to SLS. It’s not in any immediate danger of being killed, but it’s clear that there’s a slow and steady erosion, fueled by every New Space success and every SLS/Orion delay or cost overrun.

    1. Nice link, rickl. At 1:11 in that video we can see the only footage released so far of the center core overshooting its ASDS after being able to start only one of three engines for the landing burn.

      At 0:44 is the only footage I’ve seen so far taken from the camera being mounted on the FSS shown in this photo. With its fineness ratio, the F9 and FH cores look smaller than they really are. It takes a shot like this, with the worker at the height of the interstage mounting a nearby camera, to reveal its true size.

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