Category Archives: Space


I’m back in Florida, not for fun. Still trying to get another house ready to sell, so we’ll finally be done with real estate in this wretched state. I hope to see the Falcon launch on Sunday, but from afar (I’ll be down in west Palm Beach County). So probably not a lot of blogging for the next week, but I’ll post a couple of things a day, to keep the conversation going. Just to let you know, you know, that I am at least keeping an eye on comments.

And congrats to SpaceX for another successful launch and getting closer on fairing recovery. I’m sure Mr. Steven is disappointed. Though I’ve heard that ships get upset when you anthropomorphize them.

SLS Follies

Eric Berg has the latest on the Leaning Tower of not Pisa, but Launch.

[Late-morning update]

Good point in comments. This London skyscraper only cost half a billion dollars, in the heart of one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Falcon Heavy And Asteroid Mining

Martin Elvis says it’s a game changer. BFR would be even more so. But this (from the story’s author) is a little silly:

Also, I feel like launching all of those rockets and processing the metals can’t be good for the environment.

The metals would be processed in space. The whole point of this is to start to move industry off the planet, which would be great for the environment. He should try thinking, and doing some actually analysis, rather than going on feels.

[Tuesday-morning update]

This seems related, sort of: Planetary Resources has a funding shortfall.

Seems like those billionaires who supposedly founded it don’t actually have that much faith in the venture.

Colonizing The Moon

I agree that we have the tech to do this affordably, but I strenuously disagree with this:

The activities at this moon base would be focusing on science, as is the case in the Antarctic. It could provide an official U.S. government presence on the moon, and its motivation would be rooted in U.S. national policy—again as are the U.S. Antarctic bases.

To the degree that the focus should be on “science,” it should be about better learning how to live on the moon, and Antarctica is a terrible precedent, in that we aren’t allowed to exploit it for its resources. That’s also why the Outer Space Treaty itself, which was modeled on the Antarctic Treaty, is a problem.

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.