The NASA Budget

Eric Berger has looked at it, and (unsurprisingly) the Trump administration seems to be in no hurry to get back to the moon. The NASA budget is going to become increasingly irrelevant in the next few years.

[Update a while later]

Dick Eagleson wonders not only if SLS’s days are numbered, but just how low the number is?

SLS, as currently envisioned, is a farce. Its development has been glacial and insanely expensive. It plows absolutely no significant new technological ground. It will be slow and insanely expensive to build. It is entirely expendable. Its associated spacecraft, Orion, is, at best, a Moon-craft, lacking heat shielding sufficient to withstand an Earth return from any significantly more distant point and, in any case, having life support capability for only 12 person-weeks of continuous occupancy.

But other than that, it’s great.

Last week’s launch was a major temblor, I think.

[Update early afternoon]

Here‘s Christian Davenport’s story (I saw him at the launch last week).

[Tuesday-morning update]

Katherine Mangu-Ward: It’s not a crazy idea to privatize the ISS.

Sea-Level-Rise Acceleration

Judith Curry’s latest thoughts (this is part of a series, to be continued).

The more times goes on, the less concerned I get about climate change (not that it may not change for the worse — that’s always a possibility — but in the sense that we really understand and can predict it). For example, consider the Iceland event of 1783. If that happened today, it would be much larger than anything we’ve been doing with CO2, and it’s entirely unpredictable.

As always, our best bet is to get as wealthy as possible so we’ll have the resources to deal with whatever the future holds. Instead the climate alarmists advocate polices that make energy needlessly more expensive (and hence everything more expensive, inhibiting economic growth).

[Update late afternoon]

Judith’s weekly climate roundup, which is usually interesting.

On The Corruption Of Obama And Clinton

Break down that wall of silence.

Yes, they figured they’d get away with all of it because they assumed they were going to win a rigged election. Then when she was to incompetent to win a rigged election, they panicked and the big cover up and counterattack began.

[Saturday-morning update]

Given all of the other revelations that are pouring out, it sure would be nice if there were some discussion in comments about, oh, I don’t know…the actual topic of this post?

[Update a while later]

FBI agents ready to revolt in the corrupt Clinton probe. Long overdue, if true. I think, or at least hope, that Comey’s name will go down in infamy.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Oops, just noticed the date on that. Still, it rings true.

And this one is today: Hillary’s fingerprints are all over the FBI investigation of Trump. This really is (or should be, if we had a press worthy of the name) the biggest scandal in U.S. history.

Space Transportation Conference

I’m tweeting about it, which is a better way of rapid updating than blogging, and it gets a lot more views. So…

[Update a while later]

Meanwhile, SpaceX will be testing elements of BFR next year.

Also, the failed center corefirst stage that they failed to expend from the previous Falcon 9 launch couldn’t be safely recovered, so the Air Force scuttled it with an air strike.

Yes, as per comments, I screwed up in the middle of listening to a talk on launch regulations at the same time.

At The Cape

I drove up from Boynton Beach this morning, and was at the press center by the VAB in Kennedy Space Center this afternoon. I’ll be heading back over there in the morning, I hope for a launch. Elon was wished well by both Tory Bruno and Jeff Bezos.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s Eric Berger’s story on the interview with Elon at the pad today. I didn’t quite get there in time to go out there. He made some news.

[Update a few minutes later]

Alan Boyle (who I also saw today) has a guide to what to watch for.

[Update after midnight]

Elon’s new video.

[Update a while later]

Sorry, fixed the last link.

[Tuesday-afternoon update]

For those wondering, launch has been pushed back to 1505 in hopes that upper-level winds die down. About 20% higher than they want. That leaves a little less than an hour in the window.

[Late evening update]

OK, obviously, everyone saw it. I’m in DC now, after fighting traffic after the launch to the airport.

Many thousands of people saw the first Shuttle launch. Many thousands of people also it land in California, two days later. The intersection of those two sets isn’t large, but I’m a member of it. I imagine that the number of people who saw both those and were present at today’s launch, which is at least as historic, in its own way, is a very elite club, perhaps fewer than have gone into space.

I’ve seen four Falcon 9 launches, but none as close as this one. This one you could feel, and the sound was different, with 27 engines, instead of two large SRBs and three SSMEs. I’d be curious to know difference the decibels. But of course, something the Shuttle never did was launch and land within minutes, and seeing and hearing those two coming back, with the very loud double triple sonic booms, was amazing. As I noted on Twitter, few words are more overused than “awesome,” but that word pretty well describes what I witnessed this afternoon.

[Update before bed]

“This may be the day that Elon opens up space to the masses.”

Falcon Heavy

What is it good for?

SpaceX’s plans, from Falcon 1 to Falcon 5, to Dragonlab, and perhaps now this, tend to outpace their accomplishments. And that’s a good thing.

[Update a few minutes later]

A preview of the flight.

Only pad 39A is outfitted for crew flights, which are expected to start later this year (an ambitious timeline, according to the Government Accountability Office). Should the Falcon Heavy damage 39A, how will that affect NASA’s commercial crew program, which has been waiting to launch astronauts from American soil since 2011? It’s a fair question, and you can bet NASA officials will be watching this demo flight with clenched teeth.

Maybe, but with the successful static fire, I don’t think it should be as big a concern.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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