July 13, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

Pot pies in a rainy Seattle can be tasty and uplifting–even for rocket engineers. 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!

Aerospace startup Rocket Lab says it’s going to build a second launch site in the US

Soon the company will be known for building launch pads, instead of launching rockets from them. I understand caution, but Rocket Lab is nearing the Virgin Galactic approach for launching things.

I am also confused by this. One of Rocket Lab’s rationales for launching out of New Zealand was it was ideal, with barely any air traffic to contend with, no launch schedule-chicken games, and it was at a latitude ideal for launching small satellites into polar/sun-synchronous orbits. But Florida isn’t ideal on any of those counts. Vandenberg is good for the orbit types Rocket Lab was pursuing, but the other two problems still exist. Wallops Island, Virginia, probably has to worry about air traffic, and the launch inclination isn’t perfect for polar/sun-sync. Since Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK) barely launches anything from there, the schedule is probably fairly free.

Alaska, however, may have all the characteristics of the company’s New Zealand launch site: good latitude for those type of orbits; low air traffic competition; and not many competitors jockeying for position on the launch schedule. There may be another perk as well–lower prices for launch support services from Alaska. The other three locations are probably a little pricier.

Unless Rocket Lab is changing its focus, the only one on that list that makes sense to me as a likely Rocket Lab launch site is the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska.

Pot Pie in the Sky – Flying Pie Tins

Maybe proof that if you put a big enough motor on anything, you can get it flying. This Instructables.com set of instructions is pretty clear. It might be a great family project.

It’s also pretty clear I won’t be launching these things within my city’s area. Fires get pretty serious around here.

Here’s why space engineers come to Seattle … and why some of them leave

Seattle is a great place to live. There’s so much to see and do. The Puget Sound is beautiful, but cold. And while most of the green might be mildew (:-)), the trees and mountains are something my wife and I miss on more than a few occasions. We lived there for quite a few years.

The key is not to let the weather dictate your day.

Probably the biggest change to the city, and perhaps its biggest challenge, is the rise and success of local tech companies. Amazon is probably the best known, but Microsoft is right across the lake in Redmond. The cost of living in the Seattle area has increased dramatically. Traffic in Seattle has always been terrible–those two major lake crossings are major traffic bottlenecks.

What this article tells me is that space companies can’t pay enough to compete with other tech companies–especially New Space ones. Inspiration only goes so far, too. If a person can’t cope with the wet weather, plus has to worry about just the basics, such as paying for housing, then, sure, that person will probably leave.

Jim Mattis once wanted to rocket Marines into space, foreshadowing Trump’s Space Force

I think many of us have wanted to do this to a few particular Marines…;-)

Space Insecurity: Implications For Non-Spacefaring States – Analysis

The article points out the impacts of the actions of the major space nations on the nations not active in space. He might be right. On the other hand, small satellite technology is getting cheaper, encouraging nations with no space pedigree to give space a chance. See the Zimbabwe article below as an example.

Zimbabwe Launches Space Agency

Yes…Zimbabwe! The nation is calling it ZiNGSA, short for Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency. The country’s Development Minister wants to give Zimbabweans living abroad reasons to come home. Also interesting is the Minister believes technology has gotten affordable enough for the nation to build satellites. I believe he’s referring to cubesats, but we will maybe see? If so, this just shows one man’s “debris-sat” is a nation’s space opportunity.

It’s interesting to see other nations jumping in. The next step is to ensure conditions to grow local space industries in these countries remain strong.

SpaceX launch site gets huge rocket propellant container

Man, oh, man! They say everything is bigger in Texas. The pictured container being hauled through Brownsville is huge. The tank will be the latest addition to all the other launch support necessities that have been installed at Boca Chica, Texas. Some related images are on this site, too.

UAE plans to launch more satellites

Believe or not, the United Arab Emirates plans to conduct a Mars mission. The UAE has increasingly become very interested in space and space industry, so much so, the country has its own astronaut program.

The Director-General interviewed for this article noted that the UAE tends to do things in a big way, and indicated that the country’s efforts in space will be similarly scaled. I believe him. This is the same monarchy that builds unique artificial islands off of its coasts, and constructed the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Trump’s Space Force, the comic

Is this satire? I’m pretty sure it’s satire :-). I appreciate the “action figures” (or dolls, if that’s yer poison) towards the bottom of the article.

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