The latest issue of The Space Review is up a day late (I assume due to the holiday yesterday) but it was worth waiting for. I’m too busy to post much, but go read about Oklahoma spaceports by Jeff Foust, an old study on asteroid deflection by Dwayne Day, a cautionary note to space entrepreneurs about patents from Sam Dinkin, and a report from Taylor Dinerman on the prospects for a new space military service to supercede the Air Force.
I’m headed to Boca Raton. We don’t have internet connectivity there yet (and as of the last few hours, we don’t even have a land line), so I don’t know when I’ll be logging on again, but hopefully by early in the week.
Until then, congratulations to the Cassini team. Sometimes, amidst all of the ongoing disaster of our space policy (for instance, check out this bit of micromanagement foolishness by Congress), it’s easy to get jaded, but if someone had told you thirty-five years ago (the first moon landing) that there would be a satellite in orbit around Saturn sending back such spectacular close-up pictures of its rings and its many moons (most of which we were unaware at that time), you would have been amazed, even in the face of the manned moon landings. This is one of those moments (which are happening ever more frequently) in which I finally feel like I’m living in the twenty-first century.
A couple weeks ago I published a eulogy to Ronald Reagan at National Review on line, with respect to his legacy for space. It wasn’t the original piece I submitted–the original submission was longer and more comprehensive in terms of his overall space policy.
The piece that they published was better, partly because it was tighter and more succinct, and partly because, in the interests of the old saying of de mortuis nil nisi bonum, it was uncritical of his failures in space policy.
Now that he’s been interred, and it’s time to reflect on his presidency in its entirety, I’m republishing the original piece here. It will follow when you click on the “read the rest” link (unless you’re coming directly to the permalinked post, in which case it follows after the next couple paragraphs).
I’m prompted to do this for two reasons. First, because it has some perspective on the Reagan space policy that is relevant today, but also because Dwayne Day had a piece at The Space Review today that I think is too kind to Bill Clinton in that regard (and by the way, there are a lot of interesting pieces at that site today, so don’t restrict yourself to that one).
Thus, I’m providing what I hope is a relatively objective perspective of Reagan’s space policy, which was by no means completely laudatory, in anticipation of a similar one on Mr. Clinton’s, which was yet another decade-long setback, and one that the current administration is not addressing in many important ways.
Dale Amon has pictures from Mojave that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. They’re worth a look, even though my ugly mug is in some of them.
Clark Lindsey has a summary of the Av Week article.
Apparently there was an attitude control failure toward the end of the burn. That could have been a vehicle (and pilot) killer if it had happened earlier.
Here’s a great photo slideshow, including a lot of pictures from the chase planes.
In any case, since the federal Safe Explosives Act — which requires permits for rockets with more than 0.9 pounds of fuel — went into effect in late 2002, the rocketry industry has been battered.
John Wickman, president of CP Technologies, an amateur rocketry supplier, said his company’s sales have dropped by about 50 percent since the act passed.
“It was a major hit, because people just dropped out,” said Wickman. “They just dropped out of the hobby completely.”
Part of the problem, say people like Wickman, is that the ATF doesn’t even understand the hobby it is trying to regulate.
First, a little bit of Blue Origin Kremlinology: They are advertising for a crew systems engineer. There are rumors that they are working on a manned suborbital ship but then again there are also rumors that they are working on a transdimensional intergalactic warp drive. Either way, it looks like they want to put humans on it.
Clark Lindsey has an interesting item on the development of GPS, with lessons for RLV development.
…and Derek Lyons starts strong out of the gate with a piece on the business practicalities of space access.
Update a few hours later: Check out Dr. Day’s detailed comment on GPS, which is meatier than either my post or the one I linked to. Good Stuff.