I’m hopeful—both personally and for his sake—that Gerst is heading to SpaceX not to be a political face for the organization or to schmooze inside the right DC circles, but rather to take things back to his roots as an engineer.
Astra is finally making themselves known publicly by way of an Ashlee Vance feature for Bloomberg.
Nice win for SpaceX, but the most interesting part is that PACE is going to sun-synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral rather than Vandenberg. SpaceX will be trying out this long-unused launch profile next month for the launch of SAOCOM-1B.
Very special thanks to the 361 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off on Patreon for the month of January. 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.
I’m really excited to watch this project move forward. It’s a distinctly 2020s project, and has the feeling of something we’ll remember in the long view of space history.
Leave it to the man himself to write the nice version of my thoughts on the draft authorization.
I usually don’t give draft appropriations or authorization bills much focus here or on the podcast, though I do keep track of them to see where the Congressional mindset is on space policy. But the draft NASA authorization bill that the House Science Committee released last week is worth mentioning, because it is utterly atrocious policy making.
It’s important to remember that if you’ve got hardware on a test stand that can create fire—the good or the bad kind—you’re ahead of an extraordinarily large portion of all people who have ever tried to go to space.
A DARPA launch project, contracted out to Boeing, in the year 2020—I don’t know many people who would have bet on XS-1 panning out. And sure enough, less than three years after the award, Boeing has officially dropped out. I’m quite happy with how my thoughts on XS-1 have held up, three years later.
On the list of threats to the commercial launch market, unless and until something drastic changes, new Russian launch vehicles should sit just above the heat death of the universe.
Very special thanks to the 360 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off on Patreon for the month of December. 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.
It’s been a few months since I launched Downlink, and since then I’ve put out a few nice updates—better handling of Spaces, multiple displays, and so on. But there was one big feature on my list that I’m happy to announce is now available: custom views of Earth!
Microsat-R was intercepted at an altitude of ~300 kilometers, and there is still debris reaching 1,400 kilometers higher (and 8 other pieces 700 kilometers higher). Those pieces regularly pass through the orbital regimes of the ISS, low-orbiting weather satellites, nearly all satellites in sun-synchronous orbits, and a ton of LEO communications satellites.