Golden Spike to announce flights to lunar surface (Updated)

A company called Golden Spike may confirm swirling rumors that it intends to land humans on the surface of the moon by the year 2020. It may sound like pie-in-the-sky, but this is no fly-by-night outfit. Reports are the company is staffed by some of the most accomplished engineers and mission planners to ever turn dreams into reality. Word is that includes Dr. Alan Stern of the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto and Beyond (Interviewed here), and former Apollo launch director Gerry Griffin.  [Read more...]

SpaceX engine fails catastrophically, but it still makes LEO

Yet again the engineers at SpaceX amaze me. It’s hard enough to accelerate tons of payload to several miles a second through a soupy fluid and then coast gracefully in blistering and frigid vacuum. They lost an engine on the way up, at about the worst time as far as aerodynamics stresses. Most other rocket designs would have blown to bits. The whole thing is on video: [Read more...]

NASA engineers on the outs, Newspace could help

Former NASA employees in my former neighborhood are finding out what the rest of us knew for years: the Spacecoast job market sucks even in good times, now it’s virtually un-inhabitable. I feel bad for them, not all of them voted for the economic policies that rewarded repackaging and reselling shady derivatives over actually making things. The ones that did were classic GOP mushroom people: kept in the dark and fed a diet of bullshit: [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...]