28 thoughts on “The Future Of Space”

  1. “Boeing died when the money guys replaced the plane guys and moved to Chicago. It took a while for people to notice the smell,” Bennett said.

    Is it the Chicago stockyards or Boeing that you smell? Try the MCAS switch to know for sure….

  2. This whole billionaires beyond the borderlands plus politics as grievance and restitution story makes me feel like I’m living in some kind of mashup of The Space Merchants and Atlas Shrugged novels.

    1. That’s because we are living in such a world – at least for the nonce. If the Democrats continue to double down on Open Borders, the Covid Reich and Your Children are Property of the State, I am cautiously optimistic the 2020 Putsch will be overturned with minimal bloodshed fairly soon.

      1. Politically, they could lose elections but they populate local, state, and federal workforces. It will take at least a generation to get them out of education.

          1. You mean education dollars following the student in some sort of free enterprise or unfettered exchange of value for value?

            That’s an idea so crazy it might work. It would certainly be worth it to see the teachers unions collective freak out.

        1. When Republicans take back the country one of the first orders of business is getting rid of public employee unions – except perhaps for police unions as police really are an oppressed class these days. Teacher unions, in particular, have to go. They exist as one of many mechanisms for funneling tax money into the coffers of the Democratic Party. Absent teacher unions, the leftist education establishment would lose its lopsided dominance of local school boards.

          But even without doing that, states where Republicans control state legislatures should abolish state-level teacher certifications that require education degrees. Anyone with or without a bachelors degree in a given subject who can pass the corresponding Praxis exam should be eligible, by law, to teach that subject. Salary bumps for baccalaureate or graduate education degrees should be ended.

          These reforms would enable much of the septic tank modern education has become to be pumped out and flushed fairly quickly.

          1. The thing about Teachers Unions is that they work hard to elect the school boards, who are their bosses. A slight conflict of interest there.

            Should the unions lose that control, expect to see them respond with lots of strikes.

  3. Isn’t New Glenn pretty far along in the development process, can they make changes to be more competitive with Super Heavy and Starship?

    Bezos should have built a space ship or something instead of getting stuck in the launch trap.

    1. Bennett has matters pretty well laid out except for his casual assumption that Bezos will remain a relevant player. That looks less and less likely as time goes by.

      Blue seems to be trying its best to be competitive with the coming Starship colossus – hence the “Jarvis” stainless steel reusable upper stage for New Glenn. But it cannot seem to shake its desultory ways even for this. And for Jarvis to work, New Glenn will have to yield some unknown, but likely fairly large, fraction of its notional 45 tonnes to LEO lift capacity.

      With BE-4 botherations still an issue and ULA having first dibs on limited production, it seems increasingly likely New Glenn, with or without Jarvis, will be doing well to debut in 2024. That is the same year Relativity plans to debut its completely reusable Terran-R – a sort of Starship Mini-Me. Terran-R will be neither as muscular nor as capacious as even a Jarvis-ized New Glenn, but its operating economics could well be significantly better. In that case, Terran-R and larger follow-ons will likely make Relativity the second-place player to SpaceX’s Starship, not Blue’s New Glenn or even more problematical New Armstrong.

      1. The only thing I can see that Bezos has going for himself is that he has a finger in everything. It is a scattered and unfocused approach but just like a VC expects failures, Bezos only needs a couple things to work out. But it looks like Bezos doesn’t take any of these side hustles seriously.

        Maybe when he first started, it made sense to work on launch but now? It is just a money sink that isn’t on the critical path to doing the things Bezos claims to want to do in space. I’d keep the engine business going but stop the launcher side and throw all the money and mindpower into doing things in space.

        He could subvert SpaceX’s efforts by using their capability to leap frog Musk in whatever competition he thinks he is having.

          1. Speed of lawfare = Number of lawsuits x dollars / Number of litigants x length of court procedure.

            Lawfare limit = ratio of litigants / lawyers.

        1. ” It is just a money sink that isn’t on the critical path to doing the things Bezos claims to want to do in space. I’d keep the engine business going but stop the launcher side and throw all the money and mindpower into doing things in space.”

          What does he want to do in space?
          There expression keep your enemies close.
          Not that I approve the message, but why not work with Musk?
          Or I think he should work with Musk as general thing, but he in to the enemy thing…
          Why not get Musk to make him a space station.
          A really cheap artificial gravity space station.
          Or Bezos wants people living in space, yes?

          Maybe he just wants robots in space- I don’t know.
          If just business, I think Venus is bigger than Mars.

          1. Bezos could make a cruise ship in space and ferry people to the Moon and Mars.

            Starship’s strength is going up and down, then doing it again in a short period of time (hopefully). They can deliver more people to LEO or whatever orbital staging area than they could ever deliver to Mars directly in a lunch season.

            Bezos talks about manufacturing though, and he has little experience with that despite founding Amazon.

          2. “Bezos could make a cruise ship in space and ferry people to the Moon and Mars.”
            He bought books and sold books.
            He should buy a {cheap}cruise ship.
            But first, buy a very cheap artificial gravity station.

        2. Except that, having abjectly failed to best SpaceX in launch, there is no particular reason to expect Blue to be able to do any better when it comes to space settlement and industrialization. A company with no demonstrated ability to compete in any important space-related market cannot be rationally granted the benefit of any doubts. Bezos’s “plans” for massive heavy industry in space all have yawning Underpants Gnome-type gaps in specification.

          Relativity, in contrast, has announced it plans to participate in the settlement and industrialization of space by duplicating its giant 3-D metal printing technology on the Moon, Mars and elsewhere. Doing so would establish Relativity as a prime customer for extraterrestrial mining and smelting operations and as a prime supplier to pretty much every other industry in space.

      2. I honestly have more hope for Rocket Lab and Relativity than I do Blue Origin at this point.

        Only a radical managerial and cultur makeover could probably save BO at this point.

        1. Yes. And if no such reformation is forthcoming within, say, six months, I think Blue can be safely consigned to the ranks of the also-rans anent launch and pretty much everything else.

  4. –Meanwhile, aerospace industry giant Boeing doesn’t even look to be a sideshow in the coming race to Mars and beyond.–

    Well, Boeing is having various troubles that don’t involve space, and this indicates problems. But I would not rule out Boeing regarding space, specifically. Or concerned about Boeing the bloated corporation in general, but I don’t see that Boeing has lost it, in terms it’s involvement with space.
    What Musk is doing is energizing “everything” to do with space, corporations are not going give up on space, because Musk could have a good rocket.
    Quite the opposite.

  5. “Musk hired smart young kids mostly and managed them himself, marching them at a pace like the Bataan Death March. Bezos thought he would be the tortoise and beat Musk’s hare, but he forgot that the rabbit has to stop for it to work. Instead, Musk is pushing on like the Energizer Bunny on methamphetamines.“

    I laughed out loud.

      1. Those marching were not keen on reaching Bataan.

        If you not keen on opening the space frontier, you probably shouldn’t work for SpaceX.
        Even as janitor {as, it could be contagious}.

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