Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Space is HARD

Condolonces to the men and women of SeaLaunch over the failed attempt to loft the NSS-8 satellite today. Hopefully the Odyssey platform, which is based in my hometown of Long Beach, California, did not suffer much damage and will be back to sea launching again soon.

For those of you who think that space is easy, take a good look at the picture.

It isn't.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The hits keep coming

Here's another example from the MSM under the rubric of "stuff you can't make up."

Apparently Brian Emmett, who had won a "flight to space" in a loudly promoted public contest in 2005, believed he had to "give up his seat" because he wasn't able to pay the taxes on his "winnings."

Well, I try to use polite, high-road language on this forum, so rather than say what I truly feel, I'll just say that poor Mr. Emmett was..."misinformed".

The fact is, the so-called "prize" he won has no cash retail value of any kind. Why? Because commercial space tourist flights - other than the $21 million a pop Soyuz excursions to ISS, which arguably do not fit the definition - simply do not exist.

Emmett should not have been liable for any tax whatsoever until the day he could actually claim a real seat on a real rocket that was really going somewhere. Those do not exist, yet. Not Rocketplane, not Virgin Galactic, not anybody has anything that is blessed by AST and ready to take paying passengers. And until they do, his "prize" is just a blank sheet of paper, with about the same cash value as that deed to Mars acreage I bought from that guy a few years back, just for fun.

However, should a real seat actually materialize in 2009-11 timeframe, Emmett would have had 4-6 years to set aside enough personal savings to pay the tax.

Think he was disappointed when he gave up his seat? Imagine his chagrin should he read something like this and realizes he did so for no good reason??

Sunday, January 28, 2007


In the category of life imitating art (and the term art being used loosely in this case), i bring you this snippet and link to a truly entertaining article from today's Sydney Morning Herald.

You just can't make this stuff up.

US Urges Scientists to Block Out Sun

"THE US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming.

It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday)."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jeff Bell on COTS

These will no doubt be seen as "fightin' words" by the alt.space community:


Have at it, one and all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Who Goes There?

On my weekly foray through the various web newsites, blogs, and occasional entertainment links (such as PostSecret, which I highly recommend) I have made a point of regularly visiting Jeff Foust's blog, Space Politics so I can keep abreast of the goings-on in my old neighborhood (Washington DC) as it pertains to space development.

Sadly, while the articles/columns are still quite informative and well-written (and yes, Robin, the format is more pleasing than a black-background blog, but hey, i'm trying to maintain a space theme here...) it appears that the curse of the space angst has finally hit Jeff's blog.

Let us remember briefly just another one of the oh so many other fora that have since disappeared into the dustbin of space history in the 10+ short years that the WWW has been around...

The Space Arena Board - RIP 2005

What is it that killed this board? Apathy?

Well, eventually, yes.

But first, it began with the sniping and then the personal attacks. Who can forget the ever entertaining debates between the self-appointed geniuses of the alt.space "community", who managed to make virtually every thread devolve into a back and forth of name-calling and ad hominem attacks. The use of anonymity often accompanied the postings of these gems of our sector, and it was often the case that the worst offences came from those who were too afraid to post under their own names.

So, it is with sadness i have noticed the increasing use of clever (or not) anonymous handles for comments posted on Jeff's blog, and the corresponding increase in partisan and childish comments as well.