August 17, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

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Mission accomplished.

This. Is. Cool!!

About two weeks ago, a group of volunteers in Denmark launched a rocket that went about 7 kilometers into the sky. Successfully! They have been patiently working on this, going through a lot of trial and error.

Could an Astronaut Steal a Rocket and Lift Off, Without Mission Control?

Inspired by the Seattle shenanigans earlier this week, this Quora post gives a short, somewhat decent, answer to a question that swaps airplanes for rockets. The answer focuses on the complexities involved with launching a Saturn V rocket. Which is a little weird, since it’s been a long, long time since any human has been launched into space with one. And older tech requires more people. Not saying a Falcon Heavy, or other more contemporary launch vehicle could be stolen, though. First, they need a human-rated capsule.

GOP divide emerges over Trump’s Space Force

Fun fact: The Telegraph’s editor could have left out the words “Space Force” and the headline would have still been valid. Would’ve saved some ink, too.

Also, some Republicans are confusing the Space Force with Team America. Some think it would be, like, super cool.

We went on a Picnic in a Parisian Nazi Bunker

A surprising and fun write-up and video from the Messy Nessy blog. Some of you might have encountered a bit about my writing of the horror of Mittelwerk–the German prison factory that used prisoners to manufacture V2 rockets in tunnels in Germany. More people died manufacturing V2’s than ever were killed by the rockets.

According to the narrator, the tunnels in France were going to be used to transport and store finished V2’s before being moved to be launched against England from places such as La Coupole, also in France.

The video is whimsical and informative, but it’s sobering to think the tunnels they were dining in were probably dug and poured by slaves who likely died during its construction. It would have been par for the NAZI course.

US space companies are crossing the Atlantic, bringing rocket launches to the UK for the first time

More about this sort of thing, here.

Look, I know it sounds great and all that the United Kingdom is getting serious about the space industry. But, we all know what happens. It’s all captured in the British space documentary of the future…Red Dwarf. 🙂

Narendra Modi Says India Will Send a Manned Flight Into Space by 2022

Big news from India. Once the good Doctor Sivan (the Indian Space Research Organisation’s chairman) changes his pants, it looks like he’ll be busy for a while.

Note this timeline will be much less than what’s been needed for the U.S. Space Launch System, which probably will be pushed back past India’s 2022 goal. Maybe we should hire their contractors?

Why The U.S. Space Program Never Left

Interesting editorial.

There is hard data available documenting declines in U.S. launch activity for the past two decades or so (until recently), especially compared to those heady “space is the future” years in the sixties and fear-based launch rates in the late 1980’s.

I understand what the author is saying. The NASA activities never stopped–maybe slowed–but not stopped during those years of declining launch rates. Probes, as spacecraft or rovers, were sent out as proxies for human explorers during those years. More amazingly, during those years of lean launch rates, the U.S. was key in getting the International Space Station up and running. However, as interesting and useful as those machine explorers are to certain people, they don’t necessarily hold the public’s imagination like human spaceflight does. The ISS continues to get attention, but since the U.S. itself lost the ability to launch humans into orbit years ago, the public might be on to something.

The U.S. public is right to question why NASA made such great progress with not just one, but three manned programs in 14 years: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Especially since, between Constellation and SLS, in nearly the same amount of time (and projected to take much longer), not one human has been launched with those programs. In the meantime, U.S. launch service providers such as ULA and SpaceX (more the latter, recently), seem to be the ones doing the work of getting things into space. There’s data supporting that, too.

And when certain companies are accomplishing what a certain space administration wouldn’t/couldn’t, then, yeah, maybe the public intuitively grasps something changed. So, while “space” was a nice clean-room or spacecraft mission center for NASA’s erstwhile eggheads and a few astronauts, even in the lean years, “space” seemed to have disappeared to the public’s eyes, until the past few years. According to NASA’s achievements in the history books, and the data surrounding launches from the U.S., they’re not wrong.

Sprint toward new missile-warning satellites begins with first contract award to Lockheed

What acquisitions problem? The Air Force has an acquisitions problem? After all, the earlier Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) was contracted to Lockheed Martin….oh, now I see the problem!

Seriously, Air Force–if you’re saying you are changing acquisitions processes, then go on to contract with the same military-defense company of the previous system, then maybe you’re not really changing the acquisitions process. Sure, another “innovative” and “entrepreneurial” company, Northrop Grumman, gets the low Earth orbiting satellites. But wait–wasn’t that the same company contracted for SBIRS Low, which eventually became the Space Tracking and Surveillance System run by the Missile Defense Agency? I believe it was. All we need are a table, one pea, and three shells. Everything else is in place.

So, no changes really. Just lots of pretty-sounding words to make it seem as if the USAF “gets it.” I’m not sure this type of thing will change when the Space Force comes into being, by the way. Everyone say it with me, for practice: “Nunn-McCurdy.”

And when the editor uses the word “sprint” in the title, I believe he really meant “glacial pace.”

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