Category Archives: Space

“A Niche Part Of The Market”

Peter Beck explains the low flight rate of Electron.

There are many more small launchers than there is demand for them. And if my idea about equatorial LEO happens (and I think it’s inevitable), there will be no market for them at all.

[Tuesday-morning update]

I’m both fascinated and amused at the degree to which intelligent commenters are having difficulty wrapping their heads around the ELEO concept.

Astra News

In the face of multiple failures, the company is changing its strategy.

I bought a bunch of November calls on ASTR at fourteen bucks each as lottery tickets after the most recent failure, when the stock price fell to a buck and a half, on the hope that the next launch this summer would be successful. Now they may expire worthless, and I’ll lose about three hundred bucks. But November is still three months away, and the stock could still rally on news.

Bad Newspace News

Masten was an alumni factory, resulting in a lot of other innovative companies. They were arguably the progenitor to SpaceX’s success at reusability. I hope they’ll be able to restructure.

The Value Of Space Exploration

An essay:

For its part, Webb suffered repeated delays and cost overruns even before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed work on a number of projects in both the public and private sectors. Initially meant to launch in 2010 at a cost of $3 billion, Webb eventually launched last December at a final cost of more than $10 billion. Similarly, the enormous Space Launch System rocket has cost more and taken far longer to lift off from Kennedy Space Center than originally planned – though NASA now expects to finally launch the rocket that will take astronauts back to the Moon at the end of August or beginning of September.

All the same, criticisms focused on excessive delays and busted budgets tend to fall by the wayside when we see the results of America’s space exploration programs. That’s certainly been the case with Webb, whose first images have received a rapturous reception by the media and public alike. But few people would say that this sense of wonder and inspiration is the reason America invests as much of its national resources as it does in space exploration, and even fewer would say it’s worth the financial costs involved.

One of these things is not like the others. I’m confident that history will record that SLS/Orion played a trivial, if not non-existent role in actual space exploration. And (as always) I would reiterate that out exploration of space will be much more effective when it is rightly viewed as not an end, but a means to a grander goal: the development and settlement of a new frontier, and the expansion of life and consciousness into the universe.