First and foremost, layoffs are always a major bummer. As far as Planetary Resources goes, I did start to get worried about their future after their pivot to Earth observation in 2016 and then their pivot back to asteroid mining just a few months later. It was—and remains—a confused strategy that was pretty blatantly about chasing the money wherever the money could be found.
I’m still generally skeptical about Vector after the past year or two of mostly empty calories of the PR variety. But there’s another thing about this announcement: it further shows the relative uselessness of Wallops.
Shouldn’t this have been a part of what Bigelow has been doing all these years? It’s way more important to the future of Bigelow than whether or not expandable modules work in space. They could always pivot and build their modules with proven technology, but the business case has to exist either way.
SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy last week and shook up the space launch world. I spend some time thinking through SpaceX’s motivations for building Falcon Heavy, and what its effects might be on the world around it.
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The Commercial Crew program—NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, and more—went in front of Congress to discuss the current status of the crew launch systems in development. Concurrently, the GAO released a report warning that more delays are likely, and could put NASA in a tough spot. I share some thoughts on the matter and talk through what is likely to happen this year.
This requirement grew out of concerns about SpaceX and how frequently they update the design of Falcon 9. And from where NASA stands, it’s a totally valid concern and requirement. The problem is that it has very blatantly only ever been applied to SpaceX.
The US Air Force has developed a viable corridor for launching to polar and other high-inclination orbits from Cape Canaveral. I spend some time thinking through who may be interested in using that corridor and what its existence could mean for the newer launch vehicles in development.
In thinking through who may launch to high-inclination orbits from the Cape, I totally forgot about DARPA’s XS-1 that will be based out of Cape Canaveral. I would be surprised if there weren’t plans to launch XS-1 from Vandenberg, but as of yet, we haven’t heard anything. Maybe the Department of Defense had XS-1 in mind when developing a polar corridor from Cape Canaveral?