May 25, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Dundee
Thank you Australia! This…is a rocket. No, really, New Zealand–it’s a rocket! This site contains my opinions and ideas only, not the opinions or ideas of any organization I work for. It’s my idea playground, and I’m inviting you in. Welcome!

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has invited Australia’s new space agency to help it reach the moon

Since Blue Origin is used to testing rockets in godforsaken places, the Australian Outback is probably a logical place for the company’s considerations in plans to launch rockets. I don’t know if Australians should be excited, because “space tourism” is specifically mentioned. Which, when I consider what Blue Origin is doing right now, means the company is looking to just expand the market for suborbital launches for humans in Australia. Not sure a moon launch was in the company’s mind with this invite.

Note, also, the UK is talking with Australia about getting the band back together. The talks are about running an alternative to the European’s Galileo GPS-type system.

We’ll see on both.

Have you ever wondered how to land a rocket’s 2nd stage?

In case you’re one of those who hasn’t been following SpaceX’s plans to rule the world. Now that the company conducts first stage Falcon 9 landings routinely, SpaceX wants to get the second stage back. This HackaDay article is a decent summary of some of the ideas SpaceX is toying with to do that.

In the vein of posting “More News that Isn’t”

It’s really cool that space is drawing interest, and there are people out there with the ability to act on their interest. Is it really news that Musk, Bezos, Branson, and, um, whatsisface…Allen (that’s it!), are working on space travel? Each one has committed significant time and resources, as well as promoted their companies heavily. Some have done this for at least a decade.

Mike Rogers: Air Force pays only lip service to space race against China

Really!!! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you.

However this shakes out, it won’t fix the problem. As noted from the previous week’s resolutions, there are many more U.S. stakeholders in the military/reconnaissance space arena than the USAF. While many serving in the military and civil service probably think they are doing their jobs as the nation’s defenders, sometimes these same people (not all) have parochial outlooks, including a few in the USAF.

Can two turkeys make a space dodo?

If the Air Force and Missile Defense Agency acquisitions professionals collaborate on this project, we might find out. Or not. Both are notorious for moving projects for the right.

I remember the MDA’s plans for the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS), which was supposed to be the successor tp the Space Tracking and Surveillance System demo satellites the agency is still operating. It was, thankfully, aborted. Too much money for a system that wouldn’t have tracked much. Just more STSS birds would have done the trick.

I don’t know if the agency has learned anything from that experience since then. But in spite of all the rush to get the program to acquire new LEO infrared satellites, there’s no indication yet that once the program gets funded, the satellites will be any less expensive or be constructed on budget and on time. Especially with the USAF involved.

Rare birds still nesting near Rocket Lab launch site

From delicious or extinct birds to endangered ones.

I saw the headline and just shook my head. Shore Plover are a type of bird that likes to make nests on the shores of New Zealand. And the Kiwis are worried about the impact that Rocket Lab’s launches have on those birds. Apparently the plover near Rocket Lab’s launch pad aren’t too disturbed. But that could have something to do with a lack of launches coming out of there right now, too.

The thing is, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has to deal with the Snowy Plover on its beaches. They too, are a species that needs protection. Not lying. It’s the truth. Here’s a story about Vandenberg helping keep the Snowy Plover safe. Truly inspiring…

Remember when these birds were once considered “dinner?”

“Juggernaut” eh?

People watch and write about SpaceX because the company seems to not just talk, but walk the talk, too–normally more quickly than rivals. The CNBC article seems to have a good reading of the company and its activities.

One other observation about the article: there’s a graph within showing changes in commercial launch shares. The changes are why a certain Frenchman from Ariane is complaining about SpaceX specifically, and the U.S. generally. I will note, that while the graph is interesting, there are some truths hidden within that give some pause about whether the U.S. is really successful (yet) in gaining customers for commercially-focused missions. Let’s just say there’s room for improvement.

Not convinced of the promise of commercial radar satellites? Meet the radar mafia.

Just one question for this press release disguised as news: which one in the picture is Fredo?

SpaceX’s New Rocket Studied by Air Force, Delaying GPS Upgrades

I think what this meant to say was “The GPS satellite launch needs to be moved to the right on the schedule, so let’s use SpaceX’s newest rocket as cover for that move.” But the original headline is more pithy, I suppose.

Did the United States Air Force not expect the upgraded Falcon 9? Maybe the service is used to working with launch service providers who don’t keep moving forward with capability? The time it takes to “study” the upgraded rocket and make sure it’s up to snuff sounds fishy. It seems to me the USAF’s studying of the Falcon 9 Block 5 will take nearly as long as it took SpaceX to build it. Maybe longer. But we’re told space acquisitions is getting faster and smarter.

So we have that going for us.

Tulsa’s NASA connection made us a city of rocket scientists

They’re making it sound like it’s a good thing? These types are almost as bad as UNIX programmers. Almost.

But, hey–Tulsa’s gotta be proud of something, and this history is just another part of a grand story. I think most of the public will be surprised Tulsa had some hand in the U.S. space program. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable response.

How America Will Launch More Rockets, And Faster

You won’t believe what happens next!

Somehow, in this weird alternate universe, no mention is made of SpaceX’s BFR. Virgin Orbit gets edited out. Instead, DARPA will help. Maybe with the help of Vector. Which makes this more of a press release for Vector to, you know, drum up business.

Aren’t reporters supposed to ask questions instead of crib a press release? Vector’s rocket seems less real to me than BFR.

Blue is the new concentric ring

I don’t normally cover weapons tests, such as missiles, etc. But this story does have a space angle: Earth observation satellites. Planet, the guys who have fielded over 200 satellites since the company’s founding, managed to provide the images of Iranian activity in the Quartz article. This means to me that there are so many of those type of satellites in orbit that maybe other countries have given up trying to hide activities when satellites are overhead. It appears Iran did. Or maybe it forgot.

One thing’s for sure: you can have the best security managers on the planet helping you. But an idiotic sports fan in charge of a weapons program can ruin it for everyone. C’mon Iran, if you’re going to be sinister and sneaky, go FULL SINISTER AND SNEAKY!

After building a billion-dollar business at Citibank, he quit to send rockets into space

…and that’s how he became a millionaire. 🙂

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