Category Archives: Economics

Block 5

Loren Grush on the significance of today’s launch.

At this point, SpaceX rules the world on expertise in developing and operating space transports. BFR is largely simply scaling up current systems. And rockets scale up quite nicely, within facilities limits.

[Update a few minutes later]

More from Doug Messier.

[Update a while later]

And more, from Chris Gebhart.

This will be an historic day if the flight is successful. Or even if it’s unsuccessful. Only way it won’t be historic is if they scrub.

[Update Friday morning]

OK, they scrubbed yesterday, and have another opportunity today. I haven’t heard yet if they found the problem, but here’s a transcript of a very interesting telecon with Elon yesterday.


[Afternoon update]

I did a little tweetstorm.

As I note over there, in terms of opening space to humanity, historians will record that today was a more significant day than July 20th, and the most significant event in spaceflight since Sputnik and Gagarin. We’re finally making spaceflight routine and affordable to others than governments, over half a century after we first started.

[Monday-afternoon update]

More from Jeff Foust over at The Space Review today.


Akins’ Laws Of Spacecraft Design

I’ve known Dave for decades, but this is the first time I’ve seen these.

I particularly like 39(s):

39. Any exploration program which “just happens” to include a new launch vehicle is, de facto, a launch vehicle program.

39. (alternate formulation) The three keys to keeping a new human space program affordable and on schedule:
1) No new launch vehicles.
2) No new launch vehicles.
3) Whatever you do, don’t develop any new launch vehicles.

Shame that NASA and Congress can’t learn this.

America The Weird

Victor Davis Hanson on the appeal of the West:

America remains the exceptional Western nation, whose influence and stature transcend the size of its economy and population, and its vast land mass of rich natural resources. Its cocktail of property rights, unfettered oil and gas development, muscular national defense, gun rights, religiosity, free-market economics, limited government, philanthropy, and great private universities is, again, unlike anything in the West.

Likewise, its excesses that arise from the marriage of free-market affluence and constitutionally protected unfettered expression, in the eyes of the world, appear often as license and indulgence. Certainly, the First and Second Amendments, the National Football League, rap music, the U.S. Marine Corps, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Ivy League, or 24/7 cable news could not originate elsewhere.

The result is that America exists both as the world’s refuge and its beacon, the sole place where individuals can find a safe harbor. Only in America can the individual remain free and able to live his life under the assumption that the major decisions of his life are his own and not predicated on state approval. Only in the United States does the rags to riches story still exist, given that neither regulation, the deep state, nor an entrenched aristocracy can fully suppress entrepreneurs or aspiring capitalists.

A key goal of my Outer Space Treaty project is to extend this to the solar system. Speaking of which, Michael Listner has an analysis of the latest U.S. legislation along these lines.

CBO Estimates

Why they are useless BS, that can’t provide a guide to policy. Remember how the “tax cuts” were going to increase the deficit?

All told the government collected $515 billion and spent $297 billion, for a total monthly surplus of $218 billion. That swamped the previous monthly record of $190 billion, set in 2001.

CBO analysts were surprised by the surplus, which was some $40 billion more than they’d guessed at less than a month ago.

Analysts said they’ll have a better idea of what’s behind the surge as more information rolls in, but for now said it looks like individual taxpayers are paying more because they have higher incomes.

You don’t say.