The Business Case For Iridium Servicing

Jon Goff has a very interesting post about the potential for justifying the private development of a LEO tug.

This is a key element of a LEO (and cis-lunar) infrastructure that NASA has ignored ever since the ignominious end of the disastrous Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) program in the early nineties (another wonder of management from Marshall). We should have had one decades ago, but it looks like the private sector is going to have to make it happen. Once in existence, it has a number of other useful (and money making) applications, if NASA can start to be a good customer.

107 Since Kitty Hawk

The Wrights first flew a controlled heavier-than-aircraft over a century ago, on this date in 1903. On the hundredth anniversary, I wrote three articles that are still worth reading if you haven’t, or rereading if you have. They contain a lot of lessons for spaceflight development.

[Update a couple minutes later]

I notice that the TCS Daily link from the old Instapundit post is busted. Here‘s another one.

A California Bankruptcy

Some legal thoughts. I don’t know if it would be constitutional, but I would condition a federal bailout on reversion of the state to territory status, with an opportunity to reenter the union after it gets its fiscal act together, possibly as multiple states. For instance, if some of the eastern and/or northern counties wanted to band together to form a new government independent of Sacramento (or even including Sacramento, but independent of the coastal megalopolises) they could do so and apply for readmission. Alternatively, they might want to apply to be annexed to (say) Nevada, or Oregon.

Same thing for Illinois and New York, though the impetus to break them up would be much less in those cases.

Earthquake Prediction?

Instapundit says that it could be very useful.

Well, maybe. But only if it’s reasonably reliable, in terms of time, location and intensity. For instance, if we can’t do any better with it than we do with hurricanes, I’d prefer not to know. I spent/wasted a lot of time and hassle getting ready for hurricanes in Florida that ended up not hitting us, or not being a big deal. I’m convinced that false hurricane prep is almost as economically damaging as the hurricanes themselves. I’ve never had to worry about that in earthquake country — it’s always “come as you are,” and you should always be ready.

[Update a few minutes later]

I should note that I am actually increasingly impressed with their ability to predict storm tracks, a capability that seems to have improved quite a bit over the past decade, and is likely to continue to do so. The biggest uncertainty now seems to be in intensity, and I hope that they get a lot better at that as well. The more confidence we can have where and when it will and won’t hit, and how strong it will be when it does, the better we’ll be able to fine tune the preparedness. My concern with earthquake prediction is that we’re about where we were with hurricanes in the nineteenth century, and early attempts may be worse than useless in needless societal disruption. Imagine the traffic jams out of LA or SF to avoid a predicted “big one” that ends up not happening.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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