Stories I happened upon during the past week.
“…the Government Accountability Office warned that costs for national security space launches are rising…”
Aand, here we go again: http://spacenews.com/congressional-auditors-raise-red-flags-on-eelv-costs-national-security-launch-industrial-base/. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an annual report and noted AGAIN concerns about excessive costs surrounding the United States Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program (look at page 128): https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/691473.pdf. Upshot, the USAF has been, and continues to be, very keen on spending taxpayer dollars on a certain legacy launch provider’s rockets–specifically ULA’s EXTREMELY PRICEY Delta IV Heavy. And that the predicted decreasing number of military satellites available for launches in the future will make it difficult to interest other launch service providers. While the Secretary of the Air Force delivered a great speech about things changing in the USAF at Symposium last week, EELV, and the USAF’s plans surrounding it, serve as a counterpoint and show that a lot of work needs to be done to make that speech reality. I hate acquisitions…
How to become a space tourist
Step 1: Bring money. Lots and lots of money: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/how-to-become-a-space-tourist-8-companies-almost-ready-to-launch/ar-AAw7ClE.
For better or worse, NASA finally has a new leader
What does this mean, really? https://mashable.com/2018/04/19/jim-bridenstine-appointed-trump-nasa-administrator/#_QGv8MJj4gqk. The only mistake Bridenstine has made is to become a politician before becoming a NASA administrator. Bridenstine will probably work out just fine. He has been supported by many experts in space to keep him smart about space, and he likely won’t just leave that core of expertise roadside. And if he’s smart enough to do that, then he’ll probably continue to listen people with more experience/smarts/expertise to help him–unlike a certain orangutan throwing turds in a certain house of white. In my experience the majority of engineers and scientists do not good leaders make, so possibly, quite possibly, Bridenstine can actually help NASA. He might hold program managers’ feet to the fire. At worst, taxpayers end up paying less for certain space administration job-programs. At best, taxpayers end up paying less for certain space administration job-programs. Let’s see.
Russia’s water on the International Space Station (ISS) started turning yellow.
As Frank Zappa used to sing, “Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow.” Russians on the International Space Station had to deal with yellow water from their water supply: http://www.iflscience.com/space/russia-now-knows-why-their-water-on-the-iss-turned-yellow-and-the-answer-is-pretty-grim/. Funnily enough, the cause isn’t urine in the water–the Russian water system doesn’t recycle urine–but something any homeowner can relate to: limescale buildup in the water heater. It happens in space, too! The problem was reported to be fixed now, by the way.
Uberisation In The Space Industry
Can we just agree this sort of thing needs to stop now? https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarwantsingh/2018/04/18/uberisation-in-the-space-industry/#788e13e47efc. I mean writers taking shortcuts and liberties with English and tech companies, which I shall call the “gooberization” of English :-). It’s unclever marketing, and doesn’t really convey the concept in the article very accurately. And, companies really should distance themselves from being equated with Uber in any manner–it’s tone deaf for them to make such a link (what’s diversity, bro’: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2018/04/uber-shows-slight-progress-in-diversity.html). The article itself has some interesting points, but please stop the gooberization fellow bloggers! Please!
Rocket Lab integrates payloads for first ever NASA Venture Class Launch Services Mission
In the meantime, the child in me so much wants the title in this Rocket Lab press release to be amended to include “…Venture Brothers Class…” https://www.rocketlabusa.com/news/updates/rocket-lab-integrates-payloads-for-first-ever-nasa-venture-class-launch-services-mission/. **giggle**
Exclusive: 4 cool things about Boeing’s Starliner space capsule (Video)
I found this: Exclusive: 4 cool things about Boeing’s Starliner space capsule (Video). So, NASA spends hundreds of millions of dollars on Starliner, and these yahoos only find four cool things? And then expect us to subscribe for viewing that very limited set of cool things (likely regurgitated PR from Boeing flacks)? No thanks!
NASA to make orbiting lunar base decision in early 2019
Mind you, this is just the decision for a contract, but I guess Orlando is so small, this is newsworthy: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/space/go-for-launch/os-nasa-lunar-orbital-platform-gateway-update-20180424-story.html. And the contract is courting the usual players, all having shown the willingness to “work on” NASA’s more ambitious programs for decades. You would think the administration had learned a few things from its commercial cargo program.
61 Sensational Soviet Space Posters
Space history nerd that I am, this site appeals to me, comrade: https://flashbak.com/61-sensational-soviet-space-posters-398905/. These old CCCP posters are cool to behold and the art styles are fascinating to look upon. The artists certainly knew how to promote space through images. Ahh, the National Anthem of the USSR just warms my heart, if only because of it’s association in my mind with “Rocky IV.” That Drago got nuthin’ on the Italian Stallion.