Category Archives: Space

Space Force

That was then, this is now:

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson asserted on Wednesday that the service is not pushing back on President Trump’s idea to create a Space Force. She offered no new details on how the process of forming a new service might unfold but insisted that this “has to be done the right way.”

I’m old enough to remember when she opposed Space Corps, let alone Space Force.

And are people really talking (again) about a Department of Space? Please, no.

Reusability

Jeff Foust writes about the unheralded 25th anniversary of the DC-X flights, and what has happened in the past half decade to see the promise that it offered a quarter of a century ago finally coming to fruition. I attended the 20th anniversary, but the only thing happening this year is a dinner in LA later this month.

I would note, per the criticism of the “purists,” that SSTO is highly overrated. Two-stage systems are much more flexible and efficient, particularly for off-nominal missions (e.g., high inclination or high altitude). SSTO would make sense only for a large traffic model to a single destination, probably equatorial.

Airworthiness For Spacecraft

I missed this earlier in the week, but Mike Snead has a long essay on passenger safety over at The Space Review. It’s a useful history, that touches on many of the themes of my book, but I believe that it’s technologically premature to apply the principles to human spaceflight. Spaceflight participants (not passengers) must be aware of the risks of the varied methods of building spaceships, and accept them accordingly. No one should, at this point in history, get aboard one with the same expection of getting safely off that one does with an airliner, particularly because different people have different risk tolerances and goals. There will come a time when trips to space will be considered common carrier, on certified vehicles, but we are years from that time.

Planting The American Flag On The Moon

Bob Zimmerman isn’t impressed with the Armstrong movie.

[Update late evening, before I drive up to West Palm Beach to pick up Patricia]

Some (sadly) hilarious thoughts and links from Jim Treacher.

[Sunday update]

OK, I see that Bob Zimmerman has had second thoughts.

I’m going to reserve judgment until I see the film. I think that the proximate cause of the uproar wasn’t the decision to leave out the flag planting, but the Canadian actor’s idiotic explanation of it. As I note in comments, the movie is a biopick of Neil Armstrong, not a history of Apollo, and his great achievement was not in planting a flag on the moon, but in simply being present on its surface.

Paul Spudis

This is terrible, and a huge loss to the lunar development community. I just saw him in January at the lunar landing science workshop at Ames. He had finally come around to oppose SLS. Condolences to his family and other friends, RIP, and ad astra.

[Update a few minutes later]

More from Leonard David, who was as shocked by the news as I am. I hadn’t been aware that he had lung cancer.

Crew Dragon

Almost ready to fly.

And NASA is now saying that the first crewed flight, scheduled for spring of next year, may be operational. And no more Soyuz flights after that. Should have happened long ago, though.