A heroes day

A few years ago I met some great people, and wrote the article below, it seems even more relevant this Memorial Day than it was then. -- DS

Justin Callahan’s life changed forever in one violent instant on a cold, bleak January morning in 2004. The then 21 year-old army sergeant was on routine patrol in Afghanistan when a hockey-puck sized land mine called a PMN2, a Soviet relic from the cold war, detonated a mere yard away. He never even heard the explosion: [Read more...]

The Austerians

It seems the Austerians have managed to move Europe’s economy toward another recession. Right now we are enjoying lower gas prices as a result, but there are Austerian sympathizers hard at work in US politics hell bent on following the EU into the abyss. I’m not sure what planet they’re on, but below is a short list of the belt-tightening I’ve already undergone thanks to conservative economic policies. [Read more...]

A word on newspace vs. old

 

Rocketdyne's F-1 engine, five of these powered the first stage of the Saturn V that carried Apollo 11 to the moon

 

The SpaceX-Dragon launch drew the nation’s eyes’ the newspace vs traditional aerospace over the weekend. That’s mostly good news in my view, but I saw some misconceptions being bandied around by talking heads and bloggers. Some people are skeptical of corporations, which is not only understandable in my view but essential to reality in ths day and age. It kinda broke down into two groups, more or less, one that prefers the traditional government approach and one that prefers privatization. The problem with that, they’re arguing over fictional assumptions. NASA already pays out most of its money to private contractors, the big change in the air is how those contractors are going to be paid, cost-plus developmental programs versus flat fee for product or service. There’s one further twist on it, but that’s about it. [Read more...]

ISS flyby

Here’s something a researcher told me in a  recent interview with some asteroid miners: when it comes to newspace, failure is an option. It has to be. If we restrict ourselves as a species only to tasks with super high confidence rates, the rate of progress will slow to a crawl. This failure is an option theme may lead in my upcoming post on Planetary Resources. For now, SpaceX is doing marvelously: [Read more...]