This is obviously a bad look for NASA, Boeing, SpaceX, and Congress, but it’s smart to have Soyuz overlap with the early Commercial Crew flights, just in case. However, let’s not forget the constant fearmongering from Bill Gerstenmaier and other NASA officials about how it’s too late to buy more Soyuz seats.
This is a pretty unique situation—a satellite for the Air Force Research Lab riding on a commercial Indonesian satellite all the way to (near) geostationary orbit.
It’ll be endlessly interesting to see how this turns out, but now is precisely the right time for SpaceX to protest an award like this. They’re fresh off their Category 3 certification from the NASA Launch Services Program, they’re on a hell of a roll, and ULA has had quite a few scrubs and some long delays of late.
This shit is as annoying as when the Alabama Space Mafia does the same sort of thing.
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Musk posted a few tweets last night about it. The best one is the last of the three, which is a video with booming sound.
I guess they’re right—things do always test better on Sundays.
Once again, the rocket equivalent of Alan Kay’s theorem: people who are really serious about launch services should make their own engines.
The telling sign here will be whether DARPA pursues a continuation of RSGS with Northrop Grumman, who lost out on the original round of agreements. Northrop Grumman may feel confident enough in their Mission Extension Vehicles and Pods that they don’t need the additional complexity of RSGS, or they may feel like the robotic arm would be a valuable boost to their work.
Hell of a backlog for New Glenn. This brings it into double digits.
A $200–300 user terminal like this is the critical technology piece for OneWeb, SpaceX’s Starlink, and the like. Their business case would be near a complete collapse without it.