Tag: Space

Member Post

 

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 There is much to unpack in this verse, and I am not about to try to unpack it here. The only […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

Here’s an updated version of a piece I originally published on Election Day. Since Presidents set policy directions for agencies like NASA, and Congress is tasked with funding these institutions, citizens should be informed about these programs and some history behind previous space policy decisions. Read on below for a brief, non-partisan look at Presidential policies […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

The Sustainable Phase in Space

 

Space has been through several periods of rapid growth alternating with stagnation. Sputnik I through Apollo 11 was a rocket ride, figuratively as well as literally. The rest of the 1970s was flat, followed by growth spurts and flat spells during the Shuttle and ISS programs. Since the Shuttle stopped flying, until this year space seemed stuck on stop. Suddenly things are moving again, rapidly.

“America’s New Destiny in Space” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds explains what is happening and why. He asserts we are entering the third and greatest phase of space exploration and development. Today’s apparent sudden space growth spurt is not really sudden. It began nearly a decade ago, around the time the Shuttle program ended

Reynolds identifies trends. He divides space development into three phases. The visionary phase (as imagined by Verne, Tsiolkovsky, and Goddard) defined space’s potential. This was followed by the command-economy phase (run by government space agencies like NASA and Kosmicheskaya). This phase provided massive muscle growth in space. Yet like a muscle-builder on steroids, command-economy spaceflight ultimately yielded sterility and lacked flexibility. The sustainable phase (SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, et. al.) is the payoff. This phase is where spaceflight that generates enough economic value to pay its own way.  Reynolds asserts we have entered the sustainable phase.

Member Post

 

If there are any fellow space nerds in the house, then you probably already know about the treat this evening’s sky will hold for us. I know where I’ll be hanging out — tonight and next Tuesday. https://mars.nasa.gov/all-about-mars/night-sky/close-approach/ Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Quote of the Day: Space

 

“Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

On October 4, 1957, humans placed the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit. Sputnik I’s “beep, beep, beep,” was opening fanfare for the Space Age. Within a dozen years a man was walking on the Moon’s surface.

ACF PoMoCon #28: Winning Space

 

Today I talk to my friend Brandon Weichert about his tract for the times, Winning Space. Brandon’s gone from staff in Congress to the Institute of World Politics to Oxford for his grad studies and has emerged as the leading young advocate for what Trump called the US Space Force. We talk about America’s shocking satellite vulnerabilities, competition with China in space, and the nationalism required to deal with emerging technologies that will change our world.

How Smart *Are* Billionaires, Anyway?

 

Only in the Age of Foolishness (our current age) would you see a headline like the following: “Billionaires could leave Earth behind for space colony as climate collapses.”

This comically preposterous headline, which sounds like something from some stinkaroo sci-fi flick, begs a very serious question; and no, not one about the climate or the technological feasibility of a space colony. Those pale in comparison to the more trenchant question, which is: If an incredibly wealthy person really believes that the climate is in danger of “collapse,” and collapsing so bad that the only way to survive is by leaving the planet, how is it possible that such a person could ever have been smart enough to make a billion dollars in the first place?

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review Prominent engineer helps change engineering world By MARK LARDAS Preview Open

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, as Viewed From a Soviet Launch Facility

 

This month marks the 57th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world dangerously close to thermonuclear war.  Several years ago,  I read Rockets and People, the totally fascinating memoir of Soviet rocket developer Boris Chertok, which I reviewed here. Chertok’s career encompassed both military and space-exploration projects, and in late October 1962 he was focused on preparations for launching a Mars probe. On the morning of Oct 27, he was awakened by “a strange uneasiness.” After a quick breakfast, he headed for the missile assembly building, known as the MIK.

At the gatehouse, there was usually a lone soldier on duty who would give my pass a cursory glance. Now suddenly I saw a group of soldiers wielding sub-machine guns, and they thoroughly scrutinized my pass. Finally they admitted me to the facility grounds and there, to my surprise, I again saw sub-machine-gun-wielding soldiers who had climbed up the fire escape to the roof of the MIK. Other groups of soldiers in full combat gear, even wearing gas masks, were running about the periphery of the secure area. When I stopped in at the MIK, I immediately saw that the “duty” R-7A combat missile, which had always been covered and standing up against the wall, which we had always ignored, was uncovered.

Member Post

 

October 4, the 62nd anniversary of the Sputnik satellite launch, is a good day for a review of Boris Chertok’s great memoir, Rockets and People. Chertok’s career in the Soviet aerospace industry spanned many decades, encompassing both space exploration and military missile programs. His four-volume memoir is an unusual document–partly, it reads like a high […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

The Near Side of Space

 

“This is really important. I need this at the top of your list.”

The boss-man looks haggard. He’s definitely not been getting enough sleep. And, judging by the look in his eye, he knows exactly how silly of a request he’s making. He’s still gotta make it. He and I aren’t the only ones on this call, and the boss-man has boss-men of his own to appease. That’s life.

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Destination Moon’ a fresh take on telling the story By MARK […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Quote of the Day – Dare to Fail Greatly

 

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy

Yes, the man who said this is Bobby Kennedy, a man disliked by the right and who should be distrusted by the left. (Robert Kennedy worked for Joe McCarthy and at the time apparently liked the work.) But when someone is right about something, pay attention, perhaps especially if you dislike the person.

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘Houston: Space City’ combines history, science and culture By MARK LARDAS […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

A fellow Ricochet member and co-author of “GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones,” @richardeaston joins TOCradio and discusses topics covering from GPS development/evolution, military use vs civilian needs, and SpaceX launch of GEN III GPS satellites. Only on TOCradio can Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Galileo be linked; in this case to the fathers […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Book Review: Everyday Jobs Turn Wondrous in Blue Collar Space

 

What will it be like when humans are living and working in space? Ordinary folk, like those who live down your street? Blue Collar Space by Martin Shoemaker offers one vision. It is a collection of short science fiction stories set on the moon and Mars, and Jupiter orbit.

The settings are exotic. The jobs are ordinary. EMTs, sanitation workers, teachers, doctors, factory workers and miners feature in these stories. A few stories fall into the category of space adventure. “Not Close Enough” deals with a first manned mission to Mars — sort of a first manned mission to Mars. The explorers from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA, and space agencies from India, Australia and China are not allowed closer to Mars’ surface than Martian orbit. There is a sort of spy adventure in the short story “Black Orbit,” with smugglers and secret agents.

Yet most deal with life and work of an everyday sort; dirty jobs in a space setting. A rescue team is sent to assist crash survivors in “Scramble.” A young girl must find help for her injured father — on the surface of the moon — in “Father-Daughter Outing.” The complexities of running a sanitation system on a lunar city gets explored in “The Night We Flushed the Old Town.” A children’s survival class instructor on Mars has to figure out how to fix things when something goes wrong in “Snack Break.” A moon prospector grapples with the discovery that starring in a moon-based kiddie show really is significant in “A Sense of Wonder.”

Quote of the Day: The Apollo Program

 

“Apollo was like a command economy. And a command economy is like being on steroids – your muscles get big but your testicles shrink, so it’s ultimately not sustainable.” – Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit)

Forty-nine years ago today, Apollo 11 began its trip to the Moon. It was my 14th birthday, and the liftoff was the biggest, best candle any 14-year-old could have. It was not the first time men had visited the Moon. Two previous Apollo missions had carried six other men to lunar orbit. It would be the mission where humans would walk for the first time on another planetary body.

Four years later I was sitting before a board of officers deciding whether to admit me to the ROTC program where I was going to college. One question asked was “Where do you see yourself in 25 years?”

Book Review: ‘Ignition!’ Explores the ‘Golden Age’ of Rocketry

 

Today, rocket science commonly refers to anything dealing with space. Originally, it meant rocket design, especially fuel development. “Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Propellants,” by John D. Clark, harks back to those day. While informal, it is a comprehensive account of rocket fuel development.

In “Ignition!” Clark reveals what went on behind the scenes in the early days of rocketry. He was the perfect man to do so. A pioneer rocket scientist, an active chemist from the early 1930s, between 1949 and 1970 he was one of the leading developers of liquid rocket fuels. A talented writer (publishing science fiction in 1930) he knew all the players, inside and outside the United States.

Member Post

 

This is part of a series of posts about the beginning of the space age in 1957-8. The Soviets launched Sputnik 1 in October, 1957 and Sputnik 2 a month later. There was intense pressure on the Eisenhower administration to get an American satellite into orbit. Vanguard’s first three stage live test was scheduled for […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.