12 thoughts on “Nelson Reminds Congress”

  1. I just finished reading “Safe Is Not an Option”. It’s an important book whose message, sadly, has still not been taken to heart by enough policy leaders. Since the book was written, SpaceX has made progress, if more slowly than expected, but some of the noted contenders have dropped from the race. People fail to understand that the settlement of outer space is essential for humanity’s very-long-term survival.

    1. Policy leaders (deep state) don’t want settlement of Outer Space. They would lose control. They hunger for control of the people. The lockdowns are proof of that.

    2. Many of the people who appear to fail to understand the importance of settling space for the survival of humans are actually against the survival of humans. They see us as a blight on this planet and can only conceive of humanity blighting other planets as well.

      Or they think that money needs to be spent on social programs and that any money sent “off-world” is contributing to the downfall of humanity here on earth.

      These are the people who don’t understand the concept of making bigger pies, or rising waters lifting all ships.

  2. They are unserious about it because they don’t care about space. They care about what will get them re-elected or what will prevent them from getting re-elected or what might tip over their rice bowl.

    Space becomes important only if ignoring it is a threat to re-election.

    So Sputnik was a threat to re-election because the public didn’t like being beat by the Soviets.

    It can be important if you have space organizations in your district or state. I say CAN be important because there may be other concerns within the state or district.

    Space can also be useful in burnishing your woke-cred – such as supporting climate-related expenditures.

    Otherwise space is merely a small bargaining chip in the intra-legislative horse trading.

    It’s all cost-benefit.

  3. My opinion is that government tends towards the status quo and simply isn’t sufficiently innovative. But then, the primes are also not particularly innovative. Really, only the outsider radicals are innovative but most of them don’t have enough money to establish a rocket company. Of the few that do (Musk & Bezos), only Musk is especially innovative and driven. Hence, our hopes rely upon SpaceX and it is looking pretty good. Every month they goes by government space is becoming increasingly irrelevant because the future is SpaceX and not NASA. The best that NASA can do would be to join or choose to do what SpaceX is not doing — develop surface system.

    1. “My opinion is that government tends towards the status quo and simply isn’t sufficiently innovative.”

      Agree. There may be nefarious supervillians at legacy space companies; or, there could just be a preponderance of laziness and lack of imagination. I admit I’m the first one to project future trends based on past trends.

      Regarding disruption, I’m hard-pressed to think of a large, established company realizing something has changed and accordingly changing their firm’s direction(*). Therefore, I don’t see NG, LockMart, or ULA changing enough or soon enough to make a difference. Instead, I think they will simply diminish as a percentage of the launch business. Besides SpaceX, I see the Rocket Lab Neutron as taking business away from, well, not Elon, but perhaps Tory.

      (*) Back in the day, greatly Microsoft had the attitude, “this is networking, our style. Deal with it.” They were big, huge, but it turned out that the wide world of Internet, TCP/IP etc., had enough advantages that even their size couldn’t compete. Mr. Gates saw this, according to the story I heard, and managed to turn the company around.

  4. Nelson’s comments are somewhat re-assuring given the typical congressman’s idiocy.

    That said, it would be great if another private team or two steps up their game as Musk has done with SpaceX. Right now it’s all on SpaceX and if something bad happened to Musk it could all fall apart.

    1. I think Mama Shotwell, as a “work widow” would keep the family together. Musk is not replacable in toto, but I think some combination of three or four suitable people could probably do an 80% job of replacing him. Enough to keep SpaceX ahead of everyone else for at least another generation.

    2. Let’s hope so. Just three years ago I would have said competition is good, so be glad for Blue Origin. I’m not as hopeful for the Blue now, like many others, I suppose, but Rocket Lab seems to have two things in its favor. One, it’s well run. Two, it has a next-gen larger booster in mind (Neutron). It is not giant, but perhaps not everyone needs Starship. And if Neutron performs like Falcon 9, then their is decent competition in that launch category.

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