Doug Messier has a hell of a read over on Parabolic Arc about the Firefly saga over the last three years. We’ve heard bits and pieces of this before, but there’s a ton in here about investors, some Vulcan (Stratolaunch) involvement I had not heard previously, and a bunch of accusations in both directions.
It’s been a hell of a last day or two for NASA and Boeing. I wanted to share a handful of thoughts I’ve had since launch.
All week, I’ve been appearing on the AGI YouTube channel alongside T.S. Kelso of CelesTrak. As we head into the weekend and a long holiday, find some time to settle in and learn about CelesTrak.
I’ve been podcasting for a few years now. I’m 143 episodes into Main Engine Cut Off, 25 episodes into Off-Nominal with my friend Jake Robins, and had some past shows that were much too short-lived. Occasionally I’ll have people ask about my setup, so I figured I should probably post it somewhere for posterity.
Very special thanks to the 350 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off on Patreon for the month of November. MECO is entirely listener- and reader-supported, so your support keeps this blog and podcast going, growing, and improving, and most importantly, it keeps it independent.
This is definitely an improvement over the status quo, which is that you can launch a single satellite and that covers your spectrum rights for thousands more that you may never launch.
When I was at IAC, I heard that this would be flying on the back of Centaur. That made sense, as ULA was a partner in Nanoracks’ Outpost program. But after this announcement, I went looking, and ULA hasn’t appeared in anything related to Outposts in months.
Last week, NASA announced the addition of SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, Tyvak, and Ceres Robotics to the list of Commercial Lunar Payload Services providers. That brings the total number of providers to 14.
Blue Origin filed a protest back in August with a handful of complaints about the selection criteria for the National Security Space Launch program. The Government Accountability Office sided with Blue Origin on what seems like the most important complaint, but threw out a handful of other ones.
I think I’m too quick to shrug off the “domestic launch capability on demand” aspect of Virgin Orbit. That’s a big selling point for countries with no up-and-running spaceport, and even more so for countries with geography that isn’t conducive to the existence of one at all.