Category Archives: Economics

The New Moon Plan

How much will it cost? A conversation with Jim Bridenstine.

Stratolaunch

To cap off an exciting week in space, and particularly private space, the Roc flew for two hours in Mojave this morning.

I still don’t understand the business model for this airplane. I wonder if it will be another Spruce Goose (whose time in the air was vastly exceeded by this flight).

[Update a couple minutes later]

Doug Messier was there.

[Update early afternoon]

Here‘s Jeff Foust’s story.

NASA’s New Lunar Plans

An interesting article from Eric Berger. This stuck out to me:

Neither Bridenstine nor Pence said so explicitly, but these comments reflect their sense that NASA has become too bureaucratic, too tentative, too risk averse. During his town hall this week, Bridenstine had a telling response when asked why, by setting such an ambitious goal of a 2024 landing, was he not putting schedule over safety?

“I would not say it’s a return to schedule over safety, I would say it’s a return to schedule,” he said. “Safety is paramount for everybody at this agency, it always has been. But the number one mission is not safety. If it was, we would all just stay in the ready room and just watch CNN.”

I gave him a copy of my book after it came out, when he was a congressman. He later told me he’d read it.

[Update a while later]

This is the first that I’d heard Boeing was considering Starliner for cislunar missions. I thought they’d sized the TPS for entry from LEO. I wonder if that means they’d have to beef it up?

Direct Air Capture

An interesting technical development on the CO2 front. But this response from “environmentalists” is telling:

Some climate campaigners are positive about the development of direct air capture technology, but others are worried that it will be used to prolong the fossil fuel era.

“It’s a huge concern,” Tzeporah Berman, international programme director for Stand dot earth, told BBC News.

“We need to be working together to figure out how we move away completely from fossil fuel – that’s our moral and economic challenge but these technologies provide a false hope that we can continue to depend on fossil fuels and produce and burn them, and technology will fix it – we are way past that point!”

Others are concerned that the development of direct air capture devices may just encourage some people to think that they don’t have to personally reduce their carbon footprint.

“I think there’s a real danger that people will see this technology as a magic bullet and not cut back their carbon,” said Shakti Ramkumar, a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), who is active in climate change protests.

“We have a moral responsibility to reduce our consumption on a large scale. We need to reflect deeply on how we live our lives and whether everyone can have access to the things we have, and fairness, so we can all live a good life.”

Why, it’s almost as though they hate cheap energy, and want to run others’ lives, and don’t really care about carbon dioxide.