There are only so many clever “Space Force” article titles a person should read–this is why AI will be the future. 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!
Having a core of people dedicated to space operations is a good idea. The USAF space operators represent a certain percentage of those operators. Getting others on board would be nice, but maybe even more difficult.
The spending, historically, hasn’t really been on people, but space systems. Since the contracts for those systems aren’t going away, or increasing radically, why would investors do a giddy money dance? GPS OCX, a program crying out for extremely prejudiced termination, has been pushed as the one and only option for that system. As long as rationales like that exist, the problem won’t go away. For that matter, the only result for the big contractors to be giddy about is the apparent fact that space acquisitions hasn’t really changed yet–in spite of lots of brave talk.
Also, see Skylon.
Maybe a Space Force but maybe a softer kind of influence?
Look, a space force is interesting and all…but that all has a sort of ‘Mericuh tinge, doesn’t it? Why all the insecurity for a nation purportedly to be “the best” at many things? China’s been around in one form or another for a few years, but maybe that’s why the country is working smarter and not harder? This article, “China is building its new Silk Road in space, too,” explains some of the initiatives the nation has been taking, including training space operations to other nations. China has also been keen on helping some of those nations get satellites into orbit.
I think our diplomatic corps used to help with this sort of thing.
And a nuclear war would not? The missileer in me begs to differ.
It’s an opinion all right. No doubt. The words “tempest” and “teapot” come to mind.
One question: what if SpaceX doesn’t use NASA astronauts? And another–what if SpaceX develops a corps of astronauts–ones who launch significantly more than NASA’s do right now? Maybe the astronauts who have been waiting on NASA’s roster decide to move over to SpaceX’s private corps? The way the agency allots those slots must be a little irritating to those who speak their mind even a little bit.
If a person wants to talk about a legacy of safety, then maybe that legacy stopped at the shuttle, when NASA had the hubris to build a system without any sort of cockpit ejection system. And NASA is still building a human spaceflight system around solid rocket motors, which can’t be stopped or throttled.
There’s also the other part of the safety factor. SpaceX gets to look at bits of its rockets as they come back to Earth–normally whole. This is one reason for it’s Falcon 9 Block 5–the company beefed up the parts that appeared unable to handle launching or landing. As far as safety and mission assurance goes, having it built into a system is far, far better than having to rely on a cadre of specialists inspecting a launch vehicle that will only launch once.
Cost. How is “privately wealthy” different from what Boeing or Lockheed Martin does? The initial Space Launch System contract and subsequent awards add up to many more billions of dollars spent on those two companies (just look here, and here). For as long as those two have been building up to SLS, there’s not much to show. SpaceX, in the meantime, has two classes of very capable reusable rockets. And if Big Falcon Rocket starts testing in 2019, I’d say whatever billions paid to SpaceX will look like a bargain compared to the SLS, which will launch when?
And, then there’s this…the author never bothered to point out that a NASA safety panel decided that the method of fueling SpaceX intends to use on flights with humans is just fine. Here’s an article about that.
Automation. SpaceX seems to be going in that direction. Blue Origin, too. This is the only way I believe either company will be able to maintain a high launch rate, safely. Which makes me wonder about those systems that won’t be launching near as often…