Category Archives: Technology and Society

The Pace Of Vulcan Rockets

The Air Force is growing concerned.

I suspect that ULA has been so focused on competing against SpaceX on price that it’s ignored the need to compete on tempo. The fact that SpaceX reuses its boosters means that its launch cadence is not constrained by manufacturing capacity. I think that ULA made a bad decision in assuming that launch rates would not be dramatically increasing when doing its cost/benefit analysis on reusability.

Spaceport Vegas?

In theory, Vegas should be an ideal hub for space tourism, but what operators are they talking to? VG doesn’t have enough business to support Spaceport America as it is, and it would be a real punch in the gut to the poor citizens in New Mexico who paid taxes to build it if they pulled up stakes for Vegas. Maybe New Shepard could fly out of there, but it’s not a vehicle with enough tempo to justify it. Is there someone else (finally) working on a practical suborbital vehicle?


With the upcoming launch today, Eric Berger writes that the surprise is not that it took so long, but that it happened at all.

Has Boeing done anything right, or well recently?

[Update a few minutes later]

Reading in the article about the “incident” at White Sands, I recall that I was sitting next to Chris Ferguson at an Apollo 49th-anniversary dinner at KSC a month or so afterward, and I said something like “I heard you had a little oopsie at WSMR.” He said, “You’re not supposed to know about that.” I’m sure that he wished that I (and others) didn’t know about that.