June 1, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Because UFOs, aliens, and the “Space Goose” are on their way. 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!

UFO Crash In China Explained: It Really Did Come From Space

This is why the U.S. launches rockets near the oceans–rocket bodies just don’t fall on land unless something goes terribly wrong. Unless you’re SpaceX–then you just fly your first stage back for a safe landing. But even then, the company launches from pads next to oceans.

However, this is a common occurrence in China, a nation with a few launch sites inland. A Long March 3B’s rocket body dropped on a village earlier this year. And it’s been happening for a while–this one occurred in 2015. Just type in something like “China village rocket” in your favorite search engine, and you can see just how often this does happen.

Comp heats up over space agency

More news about the colony down under’s space efforts. Would you believe the Australian states are competing for the country’s new space agency headquarters location? Because…money? Then again, maybe nobody is surprised.

Are Aliens Spying on Us?

The answer to this is obvious: No, they are not watching us.

They’re just spying on you. Yes, you–the one with tin foil wrapped around your head. They think your browser history is very interesting.

As America Looks Inward, China Looks to Outer Space


This headline and subsequent paragraph are just lazy reporting. Whether a person is a fan of this U.S. administration or not, it has shown an interest in the U.S. space industry in a few ways. Looking hard at out-of-date space industry regulations and reactivating the National Space Council are just one piece. The ambitions of private company leadership are another. By the way, a “space race” doesn’t exist between China and the United States. Not the way it existed between the Soviet Union and the United States way back when.

I know it makes for a great headline, but I expect more from the New York Times. It almost reads like a press release from China’s embassy. And the article lacks some tidbits concerning the nation in its focus, such as China’s commercial initiatives. Wuhan in Hubei province, for example, is a city very much interested in growing the nation’s commercial space industry. And there are various “startup” companies in China looking to get a piece of the small satellite launch vehicle pie. SpaceNews wrote up a decent look at this part of China’s space industry earlier in May.

The surprising scale of China’s space program

Just to hammer the point home there are other journalists doing a fantastic job covering China’s space industry. It must be said, however, that the U.S. and Russia haven’t been the only nations contributing to space for quite some time.

Source: new Roscosmos head to operate piloted launch from Baikonur cosmodrome on June 6

Um, I am not sure what this means. Putin is putting someone else in charge of Roscosmos, and, as a result, the whole Russian space industry. Someone who was once a deputy prime minister. Is it a promotion? It sounds like a demotion. It could mean things are so bad for the Russian space industry that someone so unqualified will make final, literal life and death decisions, for an ISS launch. I really hope the Russian A-team is there to support this.

And, this Rogozin feller is going to be conducting another re-org, which will likely not help Russia’s space industry. Are the problems with the Russian space industry by design? There’s been a lot of talking out of the side of one’s mouth about how important the Russian space effort is, then everyone finds out the guys in charge are on the take.

But, hey, at least Russia finally has working submarine launched ballistic missiles. That only took a decade-and-a-half to get working properly (longer, I think).

The worst thing in all of space travel may be pooping

Gross! But interesting. Kids ask about this all the time at the museum.

’nuff said.

Leaving Spaceship Europe: British space policy after Brexit

A Brit’s analysis of potential impacts on UK space efforts from Brexit. He does bring up the Galileo satellite issue, in which the UK might not benefit from the investments it made into the program. But still, there might be a few things in here you didn’t know/think about.

Plus, he uses the word “whilst.”

Paul Allen’s space plane prepares for its coming out party

I still am trying to figure out the business case for this launch platform, Stratolaunch. There are mixed messages coming out from this interview. There’s an indication of the payload capabilities, around 4500 kgs of mass, probably to low Earth orbit. But then there’s talk about offering small satellite launch to entrepreneurs, etc. An average 3U cubesat masses in around 4.5 kgs. So, maybe 1000 3U cubesats on one launch? But wouldn’t that put them all in one particular inclination (unless there’s a powerful upper stage)?

And the big pro of an air launched rocket is that it can be launched from nearly anywhere, including down by the Equator. But most of the small satellite operators are aiming for polar or sun-synchronous low Earth orbit (although Planet has a few at lower inclinations). Also, since there’s no great source I’ve found yet for the actual rocket to be used in typical operations, well, it’s just hard to tell.

There’s some complexity here. The plane is huge, and people are piloting it, which is a possible safety problem if the rocket they are carrying has issues. As near as I can tell, there’s been no test of the rocket itself yet (and no word of a prototype in the wings), which means Stratolaunch is far from ready for launching its own rockets. The Pegasus is already way too expensive to launch without possible adaptations needed to launch from Stratolaunch. Somehow, I don’t think it will be cheaper than launching with a SpaceX Falcon 9, or even a Rocket Lab Electron.

ActinSpace 2018 Goes International

The European Space Agency does have a great program facilitating technical transfers of space technology into the commercial sector. ActInSpace promotes this as an advertised hackathon for various uses of space technology. Maybe one of these ideas becomes a business.

ESA promotes business incubation centers in a few countries in Europe. Some of the ideas even get produced. If you or someone you know has wondered what space has done for you today, just click on the “Business Incubation” tab at the top of the linked page. Select a country and have a look around at what each center is doing.

Funpost! Space beer face-off

So, look…we already know the best beer on Earth is made by Avery Brewing up near Boulder, Colorado. And before I read the post, I held little hope that space-themed beer might be any good. After reading the post, I’m still a little dubious. And what’s missing is Ninkasi Brewing Company’s “Ground Control,” which is very tasty. The yeast for that beer has been to space, too.

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