Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Space Policy Online.
The radiation problem facing astronauts on long duration missions in cislunar space can, in my view, be solved with lunar-ice-derived cosmic ray water shields. These thousands of tons of water can be lifted from the lunar poles with between 20 and 25 times less energy than from Earth. Career dosing and debilitation is the single most critical issue, especially for younger female astronauts.
The horrible treatment the SLS is getting on all of the spaceflight forums by NewSpace fans is unbelievable. You would think after the last 4 years this kind of cult behavior would be unacceptable. In my view when the SLS lifts off the world will give the U.S. a standing ovation- except those who hate the U.S. and…these toxic NewSpace fans that have hijacked most online discourse.
(Starship) It is essentially a revision of the Space Shuttle concept with many of the same limitations. Considering what it lifts into orbit I do not consider it the dawn of a new age.
The best solution to a Carrington Event is massive water shielding- which would be necessary for any human-crewed space station in GEO anyway. A ring of these large space stations around the Earth replacing the present telecom satellites would simply shut down temporarily for such a solar event and with their hardware/software protected behind massive thousand ton plus water shields would suffer no damage.
The best place to fill those radiation shields is in Low Lunar Orbit by bringing the water up from the lunar poles using 20 to 25 times less energy than bring it up from Earth. The stations would then be transited across the cislunar sea to GEO.
The products of these little rocket companies are actually more capable than ICBMs. The likelihood of them being used to cause serious incidents or be used in terrorist acts and nefarious schemes has increased by an order of magnitude. The libertarians scream bloody murder at regulation but this is one of those activities, like nuclear power generation, that needs to be strictly regulated. And it is not.
My view has always been that smaller launch vehicles are extremely undesirable. The rockets we want can carry people to the Moon, that is, the only things we should be launching are Saturn V class Vehicles. They can bundle all these smaller launches together on a bus or with their own little boosters for extremely different orbits. This was essentially how the Space Shuttle was going to pay for itself. If they had not tried to go cheap it might have worked. The SLS, if it had reusable liquid boosters and a reusable core engine module and only sacrificed the core tank, is what the Shuttle should have been.
The entire spectrum of Earth orbit for-profit activities reeks of greed and corruption. Smallsat constellations are the strip-mining of a natural resource and should never have been allowed. International agreements should have mandated GEO human-crewed platforms instead- going high, big, and few, instead of the opposite direction.
“The SXM-7 launch, though, was only the third where the primary customer was neither the U.S. government nor SpaceX itself.”
Corporate welfare at it’s finest. With reusable rockets sitting around you have to launch something or it kind of makes them a joke; much cheaper to build them and drop them in the ocean. You then get rid of that huge rotten standing army of worthless people sucking up money not turning around rockets. See how that works?
Like I said, corporate welfare- only 3 launches not for the government or for strip-mining Earth orbit. Delta whataboutism? Sad. And… “Laughable” that this is some kind of market-driven Neoliberal miracle performed by John Galt. Never was that even though the fanboys are true believers. The Cult of Musk, like The Cult of Trump, needs to end.
“The Greens”? They must be one of those terrible threats to the stock market.
Yes, it IS a good thing we have people like the Koch brothers that demonized all the tree huggers before the planet was destroyed by environmentalists. Capitalists are actually the second coming. (Because money is really the god of this world.)
And THAT is the Neoliberal Orwellian diatribe paid for by hundreds of millions of dollars. That endless loop of propaganda in your head. It has been playing for 4 decades straight since the Reagan Revolution.
This virtuous cycle you are describing is a fabrication. The U.S. has a space program and the SLS and Orion are the flagship projects. Your fundamental mistake is in erroneously substituting your favorite private for-profit company for our space program. It is not reality and is a kind of cognitive dissonance…or some kind of lie used for marketing. Or something in between. In any case it is a ethically toxic choice you have made and it seems to influence much of what you write here. Too bad because I like you. But many people messing up any chance of a bright future for the human species, working directly against that, seem to be likeable people. I blame it on Neoliberalism.
SpaceX is not a utilitarian entity dedicated to making us a multi-planet species. They say that but it is marketing. And I have commented on this many times. You must not be paying attention.
Musk has his own plan to pay for his starships to Mars by strip-mining earth orbit.
NASA has it’s plan for returning to the Moon to stay with a program of Super Heavy Lift Vehicles. Compared to DOD projects SLS is chump change.
Musk is not NASA. If you want to dismantle the U.S. space agency and hand it all over to Musk and let him do it his way I do not agree with that. And my perception is that all your blah blah blah money money money taxpayer taxpayer B.S. is just a facade hiding exactly that. That is NewSpace.