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SpaceX test explosion... next!


December 6th, 1957 Vanguard TV3 blew up and destroyed a significant portion of its Cape Canaveral launch pad.  Media reports were quick to put the cost of the project in the header of their stories... just under the famous headlines with the catchy words: Flopnik, Kaputnik, Oopsnik and Stayputnik.

11 and a half years later the largest rocket ever built had safely delivered two Human Beings to the surface of the moon and just a few years after that the media was so bored with successful flights that the coverage of the walks of 10 other human beings on another world sloped off to casual mentions. 

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Earthlike Planet found near Proxima Centauri


Something to consider when we hear reports of an exoplanet being "Earth like" or "Mars like" or anything-like is that such statements are from the same folks who said that they knew everything that there was to know about the planets and moons right nearby... but then when probes were sent to those places right here in our own neighborhood every post mission interview features at least one moment where the researchers say that they were totally blown away by what they actually found. In many cases they come out and say "we were totally wrong". ... with each report I'm reminded of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and the story of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Sages, Luminaries and other Professional Thinking Persons ... [more]

Cool O'Neill Colony Model


Cool O'Neill Cylinder!

Easy and very authentic.

Here's my post at

Even supercomputers need space


A few months ago I was watching a documentary on supercomputing and there was a quick, casual, offhand mention that most of the space used by Google's D-Wave was for cooling.  A second 'toid was that the amount of energy needed for this 'quantum computer' was very high.  The point of the segment was that things that are big now will be smaller tomorrow...

...but do they actually need to be?

Space is big.  Space beyond the Earth's atmosphere can take substantial energy directly from solar capture without the major diffraction limitations on Earth.  And, in the places not directly in line of that energy, space is cold.


So while the PR continues to say that big companies want only to be humanitarians by placing rings of wifi sats in LEO, the big win for them is that Space is just a great place to put your smartest assets... the watchers, the crunchers and the directors. 

Still voicing after all these years


How much wattage can those minisats beam?


So, was it the old talk of 2.4GHz? Is that what got someone looking at a way around the old roadblocks?

Response to ION PROJECT blog post on Solar Power Satellites


I was reading a July 2015 article from "The Ion Project" on Solar Power Satellites (here it is) and wanted to comment on it, but of course there was a severe character limit on the comment form that forces folks to reduce their thoughts to "Great!" or "Stupid!" soundbites and the author didn't provide an alternative way to get in touch... so I'm putting my response here and eventually when I track him down I'll have it.

Dear Mr. Manning,

An excellent post hitting on many of the most important points.  There are different perspectives to some of the bullets that should be kept in mind including: [read more...]

Alive Yes, Putting my money where my mouth is


K.  I have seen the texts and emails.  Got it.  It is thought that a blog is about posting.  Got that too.  But this isn't a "blog", it was started several years before that ugly term went viral.  This is a web site, made from the ground up by me to test out how a web site is made from the ground up.  A "blog" is a tool that people who don't know how to code and script use to promote themselves.  Some are great, many are vanity plates.

And don't get me started on Facebook.

I put stuff here that I need to remember so I can go back and find it when I forget. Though sometimes when the whiskey hits me just right I guess I do use this as a place to vent or pontificate, there's no need to remember my foibles.

And if you truly want an update... click here

Lower launch cost means lower payload build cost. The Domino effect


It has been stated repeatedly over the years that adjusted cost of launch per pound has not changed since 1961.  But that is now no longer true.

“One of the big drivers was cost,” Spiwak said. “We’re able to get the launch cost significantly reduced, get more payload mass to orbit, and reduce the overall cycle time of (building each satellite).”

Quote from Mark Spiwak, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc. on last night's SpaceX launch.

He's hyping the thrusters but the SpaceX launch cost is a major part of the equation. THAT is what it is all about.  Lower cost to orbit means payloads don't have to cost so much to build for every inconceivable fringe issue that may not ever come up. You can add some risk because putting up another bird costs less.


Space and the regular Joe mind KFI Los Angeles


There're a lot of sticks in Los Angeles but eventually every English speaking listener over 30 spends some quarter hours with Bill Handel on KFI. 

Driving home this morning Handel teased a fluff on the SpaceX fin test and I got in the door just in time to switch on the recorder... nice piece.  Elon's team has the von Braun public face momentum well rolling.

Have an mp3 listen by clicking right here.

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Since 1997 a place for my stuff, and it if helps you too then all the better