23 thoughts on “The “Space Cowboys””

  1. “As easy as it is to make fun of “Space Cowboys,” we must go further and critically examine the underlying assumptions that are allowing billionaires to start carving up space for themselves. If we don’t, we run the risk of losing our chance of a fair and equitable future forever.”

    Sure Bezos and Musk are shaking in their boots at the prospect of being “critically examined”; don’t think they have much to worry about. From the comments:

    “Unfortuntately (?), this is how innovation works. Space is expensive. For the gold rush, you needed a horse and a bucket and you could at least participate. The ability of billionaires to participate is the result of a reduction in the price of space. A better example is cars or aircraft. The first commercial passenger flight was a gimmick between Tampa and another city in Florida, it was completely a rich man’s game. Yes war expanded tech and use, but it wasnt until technology progressed (funded by rich ppl) and the 1979 Airline Deregulation Act that reduced the administrative costs to starting and supporting airlines (i.e., which were ironically subsidizing rich people) that flying became something for common folk. I’m sorry, but criticism of billionaires always falls flat to me, because it’s like “as opposed to what?” We had 50 years of a government controlled space program that only saw progress when there was a military or national prestige goal. Capitalism is a science and a philosophy, and the aspect that’s a science is: more people can buy things that a cheaper. You cant just pass a law wishing that away. I just don’t see a solution from billionaires that isnt solved other than by bringing the price down, which is the billionaires’ explicit goal.”

    What?! Does he mean that Lefty liberals love to bit&$ about something without offering a constructive specific suggestion as to how to improve it? Say it ain’t so…

  2. Here let me fix that old socialist gimmick:

    As easy as it is to make fun of “Space Cowboys,” we must go further and critically examine the underlying assumptions that are allowing billionaires to start carving up space for themselves. If we don’t, we run the risk of losing our chance of a fair and equitable future forever.

    As easy as it is to make fun of “Internet Cowboys,” we must go further and critically examine the underlying assumptions that are allowing billionaires to start carving up the Internet for themselves. If we don’t, we run the risk of losing our chance of a fair and equitable future forever.

    There fixed. See how well that works?

  3. As old of mankind: groups of backbiters, backseat drivers and self-important pundits want to take charge from the people that are actually “doing something”. The nomenklatura always, always dislikes the innovators.

    1. Innovation brings change – change upsets their power base.

      One can see this in both China and the former Soviet Union: They innovate very little, their ‘progress’ in science and technology is usually stolen or purchased from nations that make innovation simple.

      How much longer that will be is anyone’s business.

      As this bit of sodden bafflegab points out:

      https://www.space.com/space-tourism-risk-safety-regulations

      What business is it of the writer, or any government, what people decide is worth risking their lives over?

      1. The article mentions that somehow all consumer products must go through a rigorous safety protocol before they reach market.

        I wonder how that was done for novel consumer products, like microwave ovens? Did UL study people with their heads stuck in radar antennas? If you assume animal studies were done, what where the conditions? What is/was the presumed relevance? How would you know, since most people don’t operate radar transmitters in their homes? Well didn’t until the 1970s anyway. I remember when novel color TVs emitted X-rays. Seems like the regulators were a bit on the late late show there.

        1. Remember the Safety Warnings about color TV / monitors producing soft X-Rays? I sure do. Keep your nose (and eyeballs) more than 6 inches away from that 1″ CRT monitor I had…

      2. Innovation brings change – change upsets their power base.

        On the other hand, if they don’t have a power base, then owning the change might generate that power base.

      3. A European Karen mostly quoting some other European Karen who belongs to some Euro-Space-Safety-NGO that apparently hopes kibitzing and FUD-spreading – about Americans, naturally – will help it become an actual regulatory body in some way. Just for balance, I suppose, an American Karen of similar disposition from the Aerospace Corp. chimes in for a bit of two-part harmony. As, with the exception of a few problematical smallsat launch startups in Germany and Spain, Europe quickly fades in importance anent spacefaring, we get this sort of idiocy as a feeble replacement. Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, kibitz from the cheap seats.

        1. ” Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, kibitz from the cheap seats.”

          You left out lawsuits. Those who can’t but have deep pockets, sue.

  4. Speaking of the writer, we have this:

    Blake Horn is a regulatory analyst and former lawyer based in New Zealand.

    Sounds like someone who has a clue about the space industry!

  5. There is one interesting positive aspect to this whole thing it wasn’t too many years ago when the idea that developing space riches et cetera was regarded as complete boondoggle. But now we are arguing about not letting the billionaires take over space,you’re conceding that space is extremely valuable worth taking over. Which is progress indeed; J.E. Pournelle and Robert Heinlein would be pleased.

  6. Contradictions are inherent to the ideology.

    The Gold Rush was bad because people worked hard but didn’t get rich and minorities were abused just like everyone else was at the time. But Musk settling Mars is also bad because everyone can participate for a contracted salary.

    “Outside of the usual left-wing magazines, there is very little being done to grapple with the actual costs of the extensive privatization of space.”

    Did a commie almost discover opportunity cost? Not giving money to commies is an opportunity cost, at least for the commie.

    “Unfortunately, as with almost every other human desire, we have something of a predilection to turn a blind eye to some of the worst consequences of attaining mastery of space.”

    This is true but not in the way he thinks. For decades we have been turning a blind eye to the Progressive Marxist takeover of society. When the author warns of companies abusing power, just look around you. The author is telling you what the commies will do when they control the companies, just like they do now but it will be in space. Bezos is already on their side.

    1. “Bezos is already on their side.”
      And he will be eaten and shat out- if he is lucky

      It seems US companies in China are reaching that stage,
      And it’s going to get “progressively” worse for them.
      Though they knew that, and Bezos knows it.
      They all imagine they out run the bear and be the last to
      be eaten.
      So all the people who imagine they can outrun it or there and all are
      quite delusional in regards to how fast they can run.
      If they only lose money, then they will be lucky.

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