The spacex AX-1 flight took off today, 8 April 2022. Billionaire tourists to the ISS.
Feels like the end. NewSpace seems to have completely corrupted that most sacred American endeavor, Human Space Flight. I am so sad.
If those astronauts who sacrificed years of their lives to meet the standards allowing them to be selected to go into space believe the title they earned can be purchased that is on them.
A sacred endeavor honored by all is now likely corrupted and gone forever.
A sad day for space exploration, never to be forgotten, or forgiven.
Like the Space Force, a service whose members have no mission that sends them in harm’s way, yet enjoy all the prestige and entitlements of those that do….it is the pernicious effect of those with zero honor or integrity upon society.
NewSpace is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. And the damage is accumulating.
NewSpace is essentially a for-profit ideology that rejects any activity in space that is not market-driven and a private or corporate enterprise. The anti-government, anti-tax, anti-NASA theme of most of the comments here, which are mostly focused on the flagship company, reflect that. In a nutshell, that is the problem. If you lean into Neoliberalism, it is of course not a problem, it is gospel.
For progressives like me, rocket jesus is not the prophet of space colonization- he is the anti-christ.
No…and the SLS is a perfect example of why. The fanboys have written, literally, libraries of comments over the years NASA-bashing and Death-to-SLS chanting. Why would Americans work directly against the interest of their space program? Though they say it is actually to use tax dollars wisely by investing in the more efficient flagship private company, that is not really why. And everyone knows this. It is simple to look up hundreds of comments over the years demanding NASA be dismantled and it all handed over to Musk. That is what it is really about.
The reality is there is a group that regards space as incidental to their true goal; pushing their anti-government, anti-tax, libertarian ideology. It is not co-existence they are after, it is zero taxation to support any state-sponsored programs. Including space. It is perfectly appropriate to their zero integrity/moral compass identities that they have gamed the system to get companies built with tax dollars and are now using that investment by the citizenry for their own profit-making. That is what they are.
Because of the manic toxic characteristics of the SpaceX fan club I cannot give Elon the credit he deserves. I cannot say he has done anything good without pointing out the damage he has also done, which outweighs the good. He is a product of Neoliberalism, that ideology which I identify as the cause of the ultimate failure of the U.S. space program after Apollo. And while he has found some success with his launch system, it is not as world-shaking as the media reports it to be. Starlink is an extremely bad development and this is all an extremely complicated subject you are asking me to explain. Let me give you three things to consider:
1. We are not progressing as a species on a path that will lead to survival, rather, we are going down the road to extinction. Elon Musk is right about a very few things and very wrong about a great many things. Which is a fairly good general description of why humankind as a whole is headed for extinction. Ironically, one of Elon’s few correct talking points describes the greatest single danger- we may have only a small window of opportunity in which to insure our survival before our history catches up to us and plunges civilization into another dark age. During that next dark age the inevitable extinction level event may come. And that will be the end.
2. The path to survival was accurately foretold by Gerard K. O’Neill in the 1970’s when he proposed space colonization as the future of humankind. Space colonies enabled by the economic engine of Space Solar Power Satellites constructed using lunar resources. O’Neill considered a state-sponsored public works energy project as the only way to make Space Solar Power happen. He also, incidentally, foresaw the planet heating up and saw Space Solar as a solution to that problem. The Reagan Revolution in 1980 effectively ended any possibility of a state-sponsored space energy program on the scale of Apollo. It is now time for a new deal.
3. Neoliberalism, which makes money the god of this world and is the underlying fundamental base of NewSpace ideology, does not care if humankind goes extinct. Absolute greed as a worldview is what drives people like Musk and Bezos to deny the validity of anything they cannot own. This is why NewSpace denies so many of the basic concepts already formulated by space pioneers. Anything that is on a scale so immense that only governmental resources can enable it is not tolerated by NewSpace. Anything that government must have control of is not allowed. Space Solar and Nuclear Pulse Propulsion are the two best examples.
Cosmic ray shielding, exploiting lunar resources, and space colonies; all non-starters for those who want their own private company to do it all, or for their corporation to own all the rights to.
SLS is the state sponsoring exploration. That makes it the only possible solution. Making future iterations of the SLS the vehicle that will enable a cislunar infrastructure is the correct path.
The Saturn V is the benchmark. It was not built by NASA. NASA engineers who were given a goal wrote the specifications and had commercial companies submit their designs. Not the cheapest, but the best, was selected. The Apollo 1 fire was the wake-up call to the aerospace industry that thought they were going to make a fortune off spaceships. The subsequent draconian oversight that ate into their profit margins made it clear that space was going to be hard money. Aerospace went back to the easy money of cold war toys. If you doubt that simply read the history of LockMart.
The system that made Apollo a success, goal oriented and not profit oriented designs, and oversight, went completely down the drain and this was obvious with the Space Shuttle. The SpaceX Starship is nothing more than a new kind of Shuttle, with some of the same mistakes and several new ones. And just as likely to fail.
You are sure about “everyone”…..I have busted several people who are anti-space and posing.
-“good old American know-how.”
A couple ex-Nazi SS officers and a lot of other Germans were at the top of that “pinnacle”.
“What about SLS from a cost standpoint corrects any of these past fallacies?”
“Fallacy” is an interesting term. As I noted, Aerospace took a huge hit after the Apollo 1 fire due to NASA oversight making them do what was required. Which cost them the mountains of money they were hoping to make. So they went after those people making it so difficult for them behind closed doors.
DOD projects have never had to measure up like the companies building Apollo had to. I worked on a lot of military hardware in my life and seen a lot more in action, and most of it does not do what it is supposed to. Cost plus is no great satan for submarines and stealth bombers. It is just business as usual. Exactly why the SpaceX fanboys get away with their libertarian screaming cheap is hard to define. NASA-bashing is incomprehensible to me as an American.
I believe it is essentially about goals. We have no long term goal like the Panama Canal or Hoover dam that is meant to accomplish something of real meaning. That was the genius of O’Neill and why he is the true prophet of space colonization. And Musk is the anti-christ.
I served in the U.S. military most of my adult life, so I can, I think, have my say about it, and what I say is we can take those immense fortunes and all those people using up their lifetimes like I did, and we can have them doing what they have been doing, building things that make us an endangered species, or we can build spaceships that are an insurance policy for humankind.
No difference except spaceships, unlike cold war toys, must work. Hard money.
Perhaps “the key” is to see through the sophistry inherent in terms like “competitive public-private-partnerships.”
What must be understood is the two principal entities interacting- the public and private sectors. In Neoliberal ideology there is no “public” sector. The Market, like a god, decides all things. The god is money and the plan is profit and humans are incidental. This is the fundamental tenet. Truth is not on the list of articles of faith, rather, it is greed that is inherent in all matters. Possession of wealth is the only salvation and any form of redistribution is blasphemy. It really is a cult.
Through this lens ALL of these public private partnerships must be viewed. And the first thing that becomes crystal clear is it is NOT a partnership.
What you see is the private sector always, always, striving to destroy the public sector. One of the most time-honored methods is to infiltrate and wreck a public domain and then hold it up to the public (the enemy) as proof that only competition among profit-seekers can provide a service that is not corrupt and inefficient. This gambit was rather transparently displayed recently with the U.S. Postal Service. In all cases it is the public allowing representatives to steal and mismanage public activities that enable this kind of power-seeking.
Neoliberals consider this proof that they have a right to prey on us if we are so stupid we let them do it. Truth.
1. Advancing ISAM research and development
In my view “ISAM” is about transiting material between GEO and the Moon. LEO, being deep inside Earth’s gravity well and only a few hundred miles above the surface, is NOT the most wonderful place to go. As the smallsat megaconstellation disaster slowly unfolds this will become apparent. R&D should, ironically, be focused on the Moon.
2. Prioritizing expansion of “scalable infrastructure”
There are essentially three different infrastructures to be developed: A ring of human-crewed space stations around the planet’s equator in GEO, a fleet of Lunar Cyclers transporting personnel between GEO and the Moon on a cislunar highway, and a Space Solar Energy project that will eventually scale up to immense constructs.
3. Accelerating the development of the ISAM industry
The accelerator is Climate Change and Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution. This is the only force capable of directing global resources and the investment of trillions of dollars.
4. Promoting international collaboration and cooperation on ISAM
5. Emphasizing environmental sustainability
6. Inspiring the future workforce
Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision of a western standard of living for the entire planet by powering civilization from space is the ultimate inspiration. Nothing can be more desirable than a bright future for humankind not only on Earth but in space.
SpaceX is selling cheap and its only real U.S. competitor is quoting essentially the same price with Vulcan. What that is telling us is that reusability is not the why the falcon is cheap. It might help to break even but everything else, like so many engines and a standing army to turn the rockets around, actually cancel out much of the gains. Great P.R. though and while I hate handing his gang of cyberthugs anything they can mock me with, reusing the first stage was one of the very few good things Musk has done. Unfortunately the damage to space exploration done by NewSpace ideology far outweighs the good. If you retire Off-world I expect it will be on the inner surface of a miles-in-diameter artificial hollow spinning moon. Courtesy of a Space Solar Power infrastructure. This was the vision of Gerard K. O’Neill and not the fakery of the false prophet Elon Musk. Mars, like strip mining LEO for video gamers, is a dead end.
No….competition does not drive an economy. Supply and demand does.
Government cannot regulate, that is, control how businesses operate, and also be “partners.”
You have to understand that we are in the last stages of democracy. Only a “mixed economy” with social programs supported by taxing top earners allow a democracy to function. Neoliberalism is essentially proto-fascism which is just Social Darwinism reframed with the wealthy at the top and those at the bottom being eliminated as useless eaters.
The key term here is “Redistribution of Wealth.” The wealthy constantly seek to distribute all wealth into their individual accounts while the masses seek to distribute wealth into the community. The tug of war between the two ends, ideologically, with fascism or communism winning. Both are Utopian systems that are impossible and thus eventually destroy society.
The Reagan Revolution was the beginning of Oligarchy, Plutocracy, Autocracy, whichever flavor or definition of absolutism you want to use. When a society allows absolute power to corrupt absolutely then the cycle of empire is inevitable. At some point the status quo breaks down and the streets run with blood. It has been that way for thousands of years. The problem is that now we have the technology to destroy ourselves completely.