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This week in The Space Review…

NASA t-shirts

NASA as a brand

The NASA logo, in both the “meatball” and “worm” variations, is showing up on everything from cheap t-shirts to designer apparel. Dwayne Day examines why the NASA brand has become so popular in recent years.
Monday, August 6, 2018

The robotic space station

Space stations have been associated with crewed facilities since the early days of the Space Age, but can a station carry out missions without people on board? Gordon Roesler argues that advances in robotics technologies enable the creation of uncrewed space stations that can support new missions, and new markets, in Earth orbit and beyond.
Monday, August 6, 2018

The search for life in Congress

A Senate committee held a hearing last week about NASA’s efforts to search for life beyond Earth. Jeff Foust reports that the hearing covered a lot more ground than just the state of astrobiology research at the agency.
Monday, August 6, 2018

Anywhere but in the water

During the early Space Age, capsules carrying astronauts splashed down in the ocean. However, John Charles notes there was consideration of using the a version of the mid-air capture system used for retrieving film canisters returned from space as a way of recovering astronauts.
Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: Apollo Mission Control

Preparations for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 are underway, including the restoration of the mission control room used for the mission. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a technical history of that control center and efforts to restore it to its appearance a half-century ago.
Monday, August 6, 2018

Note: The Space Review will take a summer break and not publish next week. The next issue will be Monday, August 20.


Previous articles:

NASA at 60-something

NASA turned 60 years old this week—unless you celebrate its birthday in October. In any case, Jeff Foust reports on what a panel discussion last week involving the current NASA administrator and two of his predecessors had to say about the past and future of the agency.
Monday, July 30, 2018

Space Force and international space law

As the Trump Administration considered setting up a establishing a Space Force as a separate military branch, what space law issues does it pose? Babak Shakouri Hassanabadi argues that, despite prohibitions in international law on many types of military space activities, there are cases where a military space force would be consistent with treaties.
Monday, July 30, 2018

Around the Moon, revisited

A century before the Apollo landings, Jules Verne penned a story about a human mission around the Moon. Eric Hedman argues that the classic book is worth a second read.
Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Limiting Outer Space

The 1970s was a decade of retrenchment for spaceflight after the early successes that led to landing humans on the Moon. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines some of the cultural effects in the United States and Europe of that dispiriting decade in spaceflight.
Monday, July 30, 2018

British launch plans finally lift off

A highlight of last week’s Farnborough International Airshow in the UK was a long-awaited announcement by the British government of its plans to support the development of a spaceport and vehicles to use it. Jeff Foust examines those plans and the issues the companies, and the government, face to make those plans a success.
Monday, July 23, 2018

Pencils down: OmegA awaits final grade on EELV

The Air Force will soon make selections on vehicles for the next generation of the EELV launch program, with Northrop Grumman’s OmegA one of the leading contenders. Jeff Smith examines what we know about the OmegA design and how it might stack up to the competition.
Monday, July 23, 2018

Powering the first element of the Gateway

NASA is gearing up to seek proposals for the first element of its Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. Jeff Foust reports on what some of the companies that worked on earlier studies for that element have in mind, even as the Gateway itself becomes more ambitious.
Monday, July 23, 2018

An alternative proposal for a revolution in hypersonics and space (part 2)

In the concluding part of his examination of approaches to hypersonics research, Mike Snead discusses the political and economic issues of developing “aircraft-like” access to space.
Monday, July 23, 2018

Self-defense in space: protecting Russian spacecraft from ASAT attacks

Not only did the Soviet Union develop anti-satellite weapons during the Cold War, it investigated ways to protect its own satellites from ASAT attacks. Bart Hendrickx describes that work and new Russian efforts to develop similar technologies.
Monday, July 16, 2018

When will commercial crew launch?

It’s a simple question, but one seemingly difficult to answer: when will Boeing and SpaceX launch their commercial crew vehicles on their planned test flights? Jeff Foust reports that, as scheduled dates for the first test flights approaches, more delays are expected, although then those new dates will be announced is as uncertain as what that new schedule will be.
Monday, July 16, 2018

An alternative proposal for a revolution in hypersonics and space (part 1)

In a recent Aviation Week op-ed, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on renewed focus on hypersonics for space and other applications. In the first of a two-part response, Mike Snead argues that Gingrich’s solution suffers from a number of problems.
Monday, July 16, 2018

NASA’s dilemma: governments don’t do innovation

Critics of NASA’s Space Launch System note that SpaceX developed the Falcon 9 far more rapidly and at a far lower cost. John Hollaway turns to a couple of books, including one historical account, to offer other lessons about the differences between government and private-sector innovation.
Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves have been a hot topic in science in the last few years, but can be difficult to understand. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a concise overview of the topic, including the efforts to detect them that finally succeeded a few years ago.
Monday, July 16, 2018

The humble astronaut

Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon, passed away in May. Dwayne Day recalls how Bean stood out among his fellow astronauts through hard work and a straightforward, common-sense approach that made him seem ordinary.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Charting a path for the space industry’s growth

Some recent studies have suggested the global space economy could grow to $1 trillion by the 2040s, about three times its current size. Jeff Foust reports a challenge to achieving that goal is finding new markets that can stimulate new growth for the overall industry.
Monday, July 9, 2018

LOP-G meets ISECG

NASA’s Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway has been billed as a key step towards human missions to the surface of the Moon, but some worry international cooperation plans could delay the Gateway’s development and make it less effective. Eric Hedman argues that NASA needs to begin with the end in mind, and work its way backwards to a design for the Gateway that makes sense.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Space power: a timely answer to Europe’s energy challenge

Europe faces multiple problems with trying to increase reliance on domestic power sources while reducing its carbon footprint. Vidvuds Beldavs suggests that Europe invest in space solar power to meet its power needs while developing technologies needed for human expansion into the solar system.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: European Access to Space

The small launch vehicle market is dominated by American companies, but there are ventures around the world working on such vehicles, including several in Europe. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the state of the market and offers recommendations to make European companies more competitive.
Monday, July 9, 2018

Too big to fail?

NASA announced last week yet another delay for the James Webb Space Telescope as well as a cost increase that will require Congress to formally reauthorize the mission. Yet, as Jeff Foust notes, few doubt that the mission will continue even with its latest problems.
Monday, July 2, 2018

Launch failures: the boring stuff

Sometimes, you need to sweat the small stuff when it comes to launches. Wayne Eleazer describes how a lack of attention to such details led to launch and satellite failures over the years.
Monday, July 2, 2018

A new rocketry—and workforce—competition

A nonprofit organization announced a rocketry competition for universities last month. Jeff Foust reports on how this effort is intended not just to promote rocket development but also expand and diversify the industry’s workforce.
Monday, July 2, 2018

Space lawmaking

Different countries take different approaches to development national space laws, but all spacefaring countries need laws to comply with their treaty responsibilities. Lucien Rapp examines those differences and how they can inform future global space governance.
Monday, July 2, 2018

Review: Light of the Stars

What does the search for extraterrestrial intelligences have to do with dealing with human-made changes to the Earth’s climate? Jeff Foust reviews a book that attempts to argue how those civilizations—if they exist—can teach us about how to deal with life in the Anthropocene.
Monday, July 2, 2018

Managing space traffic expectations

As expected, the president signed a new space policy directive last week regarding space traffic management. Jeff Foust reports on what the policy covers, and what the next steps are in the administration and in Congress to implement it.
Monday, June 25, 2018

Space guardians

While the president seeks the formation of a Space Force and others a Space Corps within the Air Force, there is another option. Anna Gunn-Golkin describes how a “Space Guard” could carry out many functions analogous to the Coast Guard, providing services that go beyond defense.
Monday, June 25, 2018

American dominance in space and the Space Force

Last week, President Trump directed the Pentagon to establish a Space Force as a separate branch, even though such an effort requires an act of Congress. Vidvuds Beldavs says the move may spark new worries about the weaponization of space.
Monday, June 25, 2018

The populists versus the (rocket) billionaires

Commercial spaceflight has benefitted from the roles taken, and investment provided, by a handful of billionaires. However, A.J. Mackenzie uses a recent essay to warn of the the potential of a backlash to their efforts.
Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Into the Extreme

NASA engineers are focused on the technical details of the spacecraft and related systems they develop for human spaceflight. A new book examines that work from a sociological, and academic, perspective.
Monday, June 25, 2018

Still waiting on space tourism after all these years

This week marks the 14th anniversary of the first suborbital spaceflight by SpaceShipOne, but space tourism, suborbital or orbital, has still failed to take hold. Jeff Foust reports that, despite the delays, some in industry remain confident that the market for commercial human spaceflight will take hold, eventually.
Monday, June 18, 2018

Keep dreaming, young lady, keep dreaming

It’s been 35 years since Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, but for decades before her flight women sought to become astronauts only to be turned down. Dwayne Day looks at some historical records to examine the views of allowing women to become astronauts in the early years of the Space Age.
Monday, June 18, 2018

Interconnectivity, disruption, and the Event Horizon Study

It’s often difficult for space industry market forecasts to accurately predict the effects of truly disruptive launch and other technologies. Aaron Oesterle discusses those challenges that are being addressed by an ongoing study by the Space Frontier Foundation and Deloitte.
Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Catching Stardust

This summer two spacecraft missions will arrive at asteroids with plans to collect samples for eventual return to Earth. Jeff Foust reviews a book that discusses the importance of asteroid and comet science, including returning samples, while also addressing the threats and opportunities such objects offer.
Monday, June 18, 2018

How blockchain technology can track humanity’s lunar heritage sites

One challenge for future human lunar exploration is keeping track of past exploration sites in order to preserve their heritage. Roy Balleste and Michelle L.D. Hanlon describe how the blockchain can be used to help create a database of those sites to aid in efforts to protect them.
Monday, June 11, 2018

Settling into the new job

It’s been more than a month and a half since Jim Bridenstine was sworn in as NASA administrator, and perceptions about him are already changing. Jeff Foust reports on an interview Bridenstine had with reporters that dealt with topics ranging from his views on climate change to the role of commercial capabilities versus NASA-run programs.
Monday, June 11, 2018

The Earth, space settlement, and the hard drive analogy

In a recent interview, Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Red Mars trilogy about humans living on Mars, dismissed the idea of actual human settlements there or elsewhere beyond Earth. John Strickland takes issue with Robinson’s assessment and argues that establishing a human presence beyond Earth remains critical to civilization’s future.
Monday, June 11, 2018

The origin of civilian uses of GPS

Many articles today claim that the civilian use of GPS started only after an off-course Korean airliner was shot down by the Soviets in 1983. Richard Easton argues that GPS, from its beginnings long before that incident, planned to have civilian applications.
Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: On Gravity

Everyone is familiar with gravity, but few understand how this fundamental force works. Jeff Foust reviews a short book that seeks to be more advanced that popular books on the subject without becoming a weighty textbook.
Monday, June 11, 2018

Bezos and humanity’s future beyond Earth

At the International Space Development Conference last month, Jeff Bezos accepted an award, saved a TV series, and also discussed his vision of humanity living and working in space. Jeff Foust describes the scene that linked the richest man in the world with one of the legendary space visionaries of the 20th century.
Monday, June 4, 2018

Space station prestige

Last week China announced it was working with the UN to open its space station to researchers around the world, even as NASA is looking for ways to end its support for the ISS in the mid-2020s; a sign of China’s ascendence at the expense of the US, some claimed. A.J. Mackenzie argues that, in fact, these developments show how relatively unimportant space stations are.
Monday, June 4, 2018

Gateway versus tollbooth

At the recent International Space Development Conference, NASA officials talked up plans to develop the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway as the next step in human space exploration. Jeff Foust reports that another conference attendee offered an alternative approach to human lunar exploration that has no need for the Gateway.
Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: Losing the Nobel Prize

In 2014, astronomers thought they had detected evidence to support the inflationary model of the Big Bang, only for their results to fall through. Jeff Foust reviews a book from one of the scientists involved in that work that describes those ups and downs, and how the pursuit of the Nobel Prize negatively influenced that and other research.
Monday, June 4, 2018

The summer of small launchers

Several companies developing small launch vehicles plan to perform their first commercial missions, or first launches overall, during the next few months. Jeff Foust provides an update on those companies’ plans and concerns about a “glut” of such vehicles on the market.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Does the Gateway make sense?

As NASA refines its plans for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, or simply the Gateway, some question whether that effort to create a human-tended facility in cislunar space makes sense. Eric Hedman lays out the arguments for and against it.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A step towards a “one-stop shop” for commercial space regulations

Last week, President Trump signed his second space policy directive, one addressing commercial space regulatory reform. Jeff Foust reports on what the policy does as a step towards creation of a single office responsible for commercial space issues.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: Gemini Flies!

The Gemini program hasn’t gotten the attention that Mercury or Apollo received, some space enthusiasts argue. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that starts an effort to rectify that with a detailed history of efforts leading up to, and including, the first Gemini mission to carry astronauts.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Martian deadlines

Can setting a specific date as a goal for a human Mars mission provide the impetus to make it happen? Jeff Foust examines some perspectives on the issue based on discussion at a recent conference.
Monday, May 21, 2018

Sheriff Elon Musk? Who will govern human space habitats, and how

If humans are going to live and work in space, they will need governance models that could differ from how things work on Earth. Eytan Tepper argues that research needs to begin now on what paradigms for space governance would work best for future settlements beyond Earth.
Monday, May 21, 2018

WFIRST’s second chance

NASA’s 2019 budget request proposed cancelling WFIRST, the next large astrophysics mission after the James Webb Space Telescope. Jeff Foust reports that things are looking up for the mission, even if it is not out of the woods yet.
Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Bringing Columbia Home

The search for debris from Columbia 15 years ago was critical to the investigation into the accident, but it was also an intensely personal effort for many of the people involved. Jeff Foust reviews a book co-authored by a shuttle launch manager that describes that work from his point of view, as well as many others involved.
Monday, May 21, 2018

SpaceX’s workhorse rocket takes flight

Friday marked the successful debut of the Block 5 version of the Falcon 9, which SpaceX says will be the last major upgrade of that rocket. Jeff Foust reports on the changes made to the vehicle to improve its reusability and its reliability, even as the company looks ahead to the BFR.
Monday, May 14, 2018

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway: an unneeded and costly diversion

NASA says development of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is a key stepping-stone to human missions to the surface of the Moon. Gerald Black argues that the gateway is instead a diversion from that goal.
Monday, May 14, 2018

The legal and financial challenges of privatizing the International Space Station

A proposal by the Trump Administration to end federal funding of the ISS and potentially commercialize it has raised many questions about its feasibility. Kiran Krishnan Nair discusses both the legal obstacles to doing so, as well as the financial challenges involved.
Monday, May 14, 2018

Pondering the business case of ferrying customers for suborbital point to point

SpaceX plans to use its BFR vehicle for point-to-point suborbital passenger flights, but does that make economic sense? Sam Dinkin examines the logistical and financial issues for BFR passenger transportation.
Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity

Some have described NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover as the most complex machine sent into space. Jeff Foust reviews a book that goes into great technical detail about its complexities, from its development to the operations of the rover and its instruments on the Red Planet.
Monday, May 14, 2018

The measure of a man: Evaluating the role of astronauts in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program (part 3)

In mid-1967, the vice president attended a briefing on the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Dwayne Day describes that meeting, as recalled by one of the program’s astronauts who attended, as concerns about the cost and effectiveness of the program grew.
Monday, May 7, 2018

Seeing shadows of rights: What is the intent of Congress in HR 2809?

The House last month passed a commercial space bill that provides a streamlined approach to oversight of commercial space activities. Michael Listner argues that the bill may take liberties with common interpretations of the Outer Space Treaty and whether spaceflight is a fundamental right.
Monday, May 7, 2018

How should NASA return to the Moon?

NASA’s plans to use commercial lunar lander missions, and to cancel a rover mission under development for several years, attracted criticism in recent weeks from some scientists. Jeff Foust reports on the fate of Resource Prospector, one of the first big issues for new NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Monday, May 7, 2018

Engineering Mars commercial rocket propellant production for the Big Falcon Rocket (part 3)

In the final part of his study of producing propellant on Mars for SpaceX’s proposed Big Falcon Rocket, Steve Hoeser examines some of the ways to generate the power needed for those propellant production processes.
Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Life on Mars

One of the driving factors in the exploration of Mars has been the research for past or present life there. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the long history of those efforts, from groundbased telescopes to landers and rovers on the Martian surface, and the many false positives along the way.
Monday, May 7, 2018

Space commerce traffic management

Changes in space policy are giving more powers to a small office within the Department of Commerce, the Office of Space Commerce. Jeff Foust reports on how those policy changes are taking shape even as the administration seeks to give space traffic management responsibilities to that office.
Monday, April 30, 2018

Engineering Mars commercial rocket propellant production for the Big Falcon Rocket (part 2)

In the second part of his engineering study, Steve Hoeser examines various approaches to producing oxygen and methane propellant on Mars and their power requirements.
Monday, April 30, 2018

A new era of planetary protection

NASA has long had a “planetary protection officer,” but the agency recently hired a new one as part of a reorganization of that office. Jeff Foust reports on what the new planetary protection officer sees as key issues facing both agency missions to potentially habitable worlds and those by private ventures.
Monday, April 30, 2018

Space law 2018: nationalists versus internationalists

The recent Space Symposium conference included sessions on space law. Dennis O’Brien describes how those sessions illustrated a divide between development of domestic space laws versus implementation of international treaties.
Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Chasing New Horizons

New Horizons was not just the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto, it was also a triumph for a group of scientists who battled bureaucracies for decades to get the mission launched. Jeff Foust reviews a book co-authored by the mission’s principal investigator that provides the inside story on the mission.
Monday, April 30, 2018

The Bridenstine era begins at NASA

On Monday, Jim Bridenstine will be formally sworn in as NASA’s next administrator. Jeff Foust describes the end of the long, contentious confirmation process for Bridenstine, and what it means for the agency now that he’s finally running it.
Monday, April 23, 2018

Engineering Mars commercial rocket propellant production for the Big Falcon Rocket (part 1)

SpaceX’s plans for round-trip missions to and from Mars using its BFR will require the use of propellants made on Mars for the trip home. In the first of a three-part article, Steve Hoeser discusses potential ways to manufacture methane and oxygen using Martian resources.
Monday, April 23, 2018

The challenge of agile launch

Small launch vehicles are proliferating, but can they meet military needs for launching payloads on short notice? Jeff Foust reports on a new competition announced by DARPA to promote responsive launch systems, provided they can overcome regulatory hurdles.
Monday, April 23, 2018

Vanguard’s sixty-year spaceflight heritage

The Naval Research Laboratory hosted an event last month to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of Vanguard 1. Richard Easton discusses how the event traced the launch of that pioneering satellite to modern-day space programs.
Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: Dream Missions

The history of spaceflight has been filled with visions of giant space stations, elaborate Mars expeditions, and massive launch vehicles; dreams that usually fail to become reality. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines those concepts and why they remain dreams to this day.
Monday, April 23, 2018

Kneeling before a sovereign

Some space companies proposed developing orbital facilities for so-called “sovereign clients,” nations without human spaceflight programs of their own. Dwayne Day discusses how those efforts have suffered delays, just like so many other new space markets proposed over the last few decades.
Monday, April 16, 2018

The next era in exoplanet searches

As NASA’s Kepler mission nears its end, another exoplanet hunter is ready for launch this week. Jeff Foust reports on how the TESS mission will carry on the search for exoplanets, particularly those relatively close to Earth.
Monday, April 16, 2018

Space traffic control: technological means and governance implications

The growing amount of both operational satellites and space debris has created growing concerns about the risks of collisions and the need for better tracking and coordination. Nayef Al-Rodhan argues that true space traffic management will require new international accords to ensure proper collection and sharing of information.
Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Rocket Men

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 8 mission. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a well-written, but familiar, account of that first human journey to lunar orbit.
Monday, April 16, 2018

So, what about Mars?

With the new direction given to NASA to return humans to the Moon, some wonder what that means for the agency’s former “Journey to Mars” plans. Jeff Foust describes how sending humans to Mars remains a long-term goal, although one with perhaps even less detail than before.
Monday, April 9, 2018

On seeing the Earth for the first time

What would it be like to finally be able to see the Earth from the outside, as a world floating in the darkness of space? In an essay excerpted from his new book, Christopher Potter discusses those efforts to see the Earth as it truly is, from space.
Monday, April 9, 2018

SpaceShipTwo is a step closer to space

Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo made its first powered test flight last week. Jeff Foust reports on that achievement and its implications for both the company and suborbital space tourism.
Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: The Earth Gazers

Images of the Earth from space are commonplace today, but a half-century ago those first views of the Earth as a sphere in the void stunned society. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines imagery from space within the context of a history of spaceflight.
Monday, April 9, 2018

A tangled Webb of delays

NASA announced last week it was delaying the launch of its James Webb Space Telescope by another year, to May 2020. Jeff Foust reports on the causes of this latest delay and its implications not just on the program but on astrophysics research in general and on other large NASA programs.
Monday, April 2, 2018

Unlicensed swarms in space

Earlier this year an American company launched several small satellites despite lacking an authorization from the FCC. Ian Christensen discusses what steps industry can take to prevent such events from happening in the future and to avoid restrictive new regulations that could result.
Monday, April 2, 2018

Why use lunar propellant?

As NASA contemplates roles for its proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, some argue it should serve as a propellant depot to support future Mars missions. John Strickland examines how much benefit such a depot, using propellant derived from lunar ice, could provide over launching propellant from Earth.
Monday, April 2, 2018

Fifty years after the future arrived: the astronauts of 2001: A Space Odyssey

On this 50th anniversary of the premiere of 2001, Dwayne Day examines the movie from the perspective of the actors who played the two astronauts on the Discovery.
Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Space Odyssey

Fifty years ago today, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey had its world premiere in Washington. Jeff Foust reviews a book that describes in great depth the epic production of this space epic.
Monday, April 2, 2018

The measure of a man: Evaluating the role of astronauts in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program (part 2)

As the Manned Orbiting Laboratory took shape in the latter half of the 1960s, the Air Force again revisited the M in MOL. Dwayne Day examines the rationales that studies from that time developed for having astronauts onboard a reconnaissance platform.
Monday, March 26, 2018

New vehicles, new companies, and new competition in the launch market

Despite the major impact SpaceX has had on the launch industry, most of the vehicles in commercial service today are little changed from those flying a decade ago. Jeff Foust reports how that will change over the next several years as other companies introduce next-generation launch vehicles and new companies get into the market.
Monday, March 26, 2018

Equitable sharing of benefits of space resources

Much of the criticism of the Moon Treaty has focused on the interpretation that it requires an international bureaucracy to share space resources with other nations. Vidvuds Beldavs argues that is not how the treaty should be interpreted, and that there are other mechanisms that can comply with the treaty while still supporting commercial space resource applications.
Monday, March 26, 2018

Confrontation or cooperation: US-China space relations

As the United States embarks on new human space exploration plans, it must decide what to do with one of the most intriguing, but also controversial, potential partners: China. Gentoku Toyoma makes the case for the two countries to work together in human spaceflight.
Monday, March 26, 2018

Reviews: Rocket Billionaires and The Space Barons

Two books published simultaneously last week examine the roles that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have played in the commercial space industry. Jeff Foust reviews both books and finds they contain insights that will be of interest to both industry insiders and newcomers alike.
Monday, March 26, 2018

The measure of a man: Evaluating the role of astronauts in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program (part 1)

A key reason for developing the Manned Orbiting Laboratory during the 1960s was the belief that humans were required to carry out the reconnaissance tasks planned for the station. Dwayne Day describes how Air Force officials, though, found themselves needing to justify that rationale from almost the beginning of the program.
Monday, March 19, 2018

A changing shade of Blue

Blue Origin has grown significantly in the last few years as it tests its New Shepard suborbital vehicle and prepares to build its New Glenn orbital rocket. Jeff Foust reports on that shift from development and operations, and how the company is seeking to maintain its ability to develop new technologies at the same time.
Monday, March 19, 2018

Bombs in orbit? Verification and violation under the Outer Space Treaty

When does a nuclear weapon in space become a violation of the Outer Space Treaty? Taunton Paine discusses how that was debated a half-century ago and how that issue that may be newly relevant today.
Monday, March 19, 2018

A space renaissance

New policies, technologies, and companies all promise to open a new era of human spaceflight and space exploration. Madhu Thangavelu explains why he believes we’re at the beginning of a renaissance in spaceflight that will ultimately change how we view the Earth.
Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: The Planet Factory

As astronomers continue to discover new exoplanets, they open new questions about how planets, in our solar system and others, take shape. Jeff Foust reviews a book that discusses what we know, and don’t know, about the formation of solar systems.
Monday, March 19, 2018

A new focus on exploration worries space technology advocates

One element of NASA’s 2019 budget proposal seeks to combine the agency’s space technology program with its exploration program. Jeff Foust reports that proposal has sparked concern among supporters of the current space technology program that such a move could jeopardize NASA’s technology development expertise.
Monday, March 12, 2018

Our fear of “heritage” imperils our future

The concept of “common heritage of humankind” can get many people in the space community riled up. Michelle L.D. Hanlon says there’s another way of thinking about “heritage” that offers a more commonsense approach to protecting our history in space.
Monday, March 12, 2018

The Secretary of (Space) Commerce

Efforts by the National Space Council have given new prominence to the Department of Commerce for the regulation and promotion of the commercial space industry in the United States. Jeff Foust interviews Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on some of this issues coming out of the latest council meeting.
Monday, March 12, 2018

Why the Outer Space Treaty remains valid and relevant in the modern world

Some wonder if the fifty-year-old Outer Space Treaty is no longer relevant in an era where commercial activities are eclipsing government efforts in space. Cristin Finnigan argues that the treaty remains a good foundation for international space law to this day.
Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: The Future of Humanity

If humanity is to survive in the long term, argues Michio Kaku, it will need to move beyond Earth. Jeff Foust reviews a book by Kaku that takes a sweeping look at the various technologies and related issues associated with moving into the solar system and beyond.
Monday, March 12, 2018

Movements of fire and shadow: The X-23 PRIME reentry vehicle and American satellite reconnaissance

Early reconnaissance satellites returned their film using canisters caught in midair near Hawaii. Dwayne Day describes how the Air Force and NRO considered a different approach that involved the use of an experimental winged vehicle.
Monday, March 5, 2018

Launch Canada

Canada has many impressive space capabilities, but it lacks an ability to launch its own satellites. Jeff Foust reports on discussions at a recent conference where Canadian companies and others discussed efforts to provide launch services, using either imported rockets or vehicles built within the country.
Monday, March 5, 2018

Why it’s a bad idea to weaken the Moon Treaty

Some have suggested ideas to modify the Moon Treaty to make it more amenable to commercial space activities, including space resource extraction. Dennis O’Brien argues that the solutions may be worse than any problem they try to fix.
Monday, March 5, 2018

Bartolomeo: the new European challenge for boosting commercial activities on the International Space Station

Airbus and ESA concluded an agreement last month to mount a commercial platform on the exterior of the International Space Station. Anne-Sophie Martin discusses the project and how it fits into the legal issues regarding commercial activities on the station.
Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: Commercial Uses of Space and Space Tourism

New actors and new applications in space also pose new challenges for legal and regulatory structures that date back in some cases half a century. Jeff Foust reviews a book that explores in detail some of the issues involving the growing commercial use of space.
Monday, March 5, 2018

Making space regulations great again

Improving the regulatory environment for commercial space activities was a theme of the National Space Council’s meeting last week. Jeff Foust reports that while the Council made a number of recommendations for reform, those ideas are not necessarily that novel.
Monday, February 26, 2018

Shadow dancing: the Satellite Data System

Starting in the late 1960s, the NRO and the US Air Force developed of a series of data relay satellites designed primarily to support the NRO’s reconnaissance satellites. Dwayne Day examines the early history of the development of that Satellite Data System, including management conflicts that jeopardized the program in its early years.
Monday, February 26, 2018

Launch failures: payload separation

The launch of the classified Zuma payload on a Falcon 9 in January reportedly failed because of a problem with the payload adapter. Wayne Eleazer notes that payload separation issues, while not common, are also not unheard of as a root cause of launch failures.
Monday, February 26, 2018

Why technological innovation and increased cooperation regarding space debris are vital

Few would disagree that orbital debris is a major issue for space operations, but there’s less concurrence on how to address the problem. Nayef Al-Rodhan argues that there’s a need for both new technologies to deal with the issue and international cooperation to enable the use of those technologies.
Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Building Habitats on the Moon

With plans announced once again to return humans to the Moon, it’s time to revisit ideas for building habitats there to support those future expeditions. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines many of the technical issues, and some of the non-technical ones, associated with establishing lunar habitats.
Monday, February 26, 2018

And all my dreams, torn asunder: The (quiet) collapse of circumlunar tourism

Last decade there was discussion of space tourism not just on suborbital spaceflights or trips to the International Space Station, but also around the Moon. Dwayne Day discusses what happened with one company’s efforts for such a mission, as revealed by an ongoing federal court case.
Monday, February 19, 2018

Will WFIRST last?

NASA’s 2019 budget proposal, released last week, included a number of expected changes, but also one surprise: cancelling WFIRST, the next major astronomy mission after the James Webb Space Telescope. Jeff Foust reports on the evolution of WFIRST over the last several years and why the planned cancellation surprised so many.
Monday, February 19, 2018

Maritime tradition can inform policy and law for commercial active debris removal

Despite the pressing need to deal with orbital debris in advance of the deployment of new satellite megaconstellations, legal obstacles may dwarf any technical challenges. Al Anzaldua and Michelle Hanlon discuss how an approach from maritime salvage could be applied to orbital debris cleanup.
Monday, February 19, 2018

Falcon Heavy will change spaceflight less than you think

The successful first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy earlier this month got many people excited about the ability of the vehicle to revolutionize spaceflight. A.J. Mackenzie argues that the rocket’s impact will not be as great as many enthusiasts believe.
Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Open Space

Government agencies in the US and other countries are making much of the data from their Earth science missions freely available, but that has not always been their approach. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines changing policies regarding the open access to Earth science data amid the ups and downs of commercialization efforts.
Monday, February 19, 2018

Falcon Heavy finally takes flight

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched last week after years of development delays. Jeff Foust reports on the launch and what the future prospects are for the heavy-lift rocket.
Monday, February 12, 2018

And the sky full of stars: American signals intelligence satellites and the Vietnam War

Signals intelligence satellites played a role monitoring Soviet activities during a key event late in the Vietnam War. Dwayne Day describes how that took place and how it marked the changing use of intelligence satellites.
Monday, February 12, 2018

SLS: to be or not to be, or to be something else entirely

The Falcon Heavy launch creates additional scrutiny for NASA’s Space Launch System, which is still years away from a first launch and will cost far more to develop and operate. Dick Eagleson suggests it’s time to redesign the SLS to incorporate reusability and lower costs, or else it faces an eventual cancellation.
Monday, February 12, 2018

Why couldn’t NASA do this?

The successful test launch of the Falcon Heavy demonstrates, to some, the growing capabilities of the private sector in space compared to agencies like NASA. Mark Wessels argues that it’s time to revisit the roles, and risk acceptance, of NASA and the private sector.
Monday, February 12, 2018

Man to mannequin: is this progress?

The images of a sports car launched into space on the test flight of a Falcon Heavy last week attracted the attention of people around the world. Ajey Lele, though, sees the event as a demonstration of the lack of progress in spaceflight in the last half-century.
Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Emerging Space Markets

New space applications, from constellations of broadband satellites to commercial missions to the Moon and Mars, are showing promise in the industry. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a guide to those emerging markets, but falls short of being a useful resource.
Monday, February 12, 2018

How long will the money keep flowing?

Venture capitalists and other investors have put billions of dollars into space startups in recent years. Jeff Foust examines if that investment can continue to grow as options for exits for these investors remain limited.
Monday, February 5, 2018

Mars atmospheric dust and human exploration

Dust on Mars, and in the Martian atmosphere, could pose a serious health and safety risk for future astronauts. Joel S. Levine identifies the concerns and the research that needs to be done to better understand the risks before humans can travel to Mars.
Monday, February 5, 2018

Orbital ATK, EELV, and the Chinese word for crisis

Orbital ATK is preparing to offer a next-generation launch vehicle it is developing to the Air Force. Jeffrey L. Smith discusses the status of that vehicle and how it fits into the broader competitive environment for government launches.
Monday, February 5, 2018

Small is big again in space science

Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the launch of the first American satellite, Explorer 1, which was far smaller than the large science satellites NASA operates today. However, Jeff Foust reports, NASA and others are growing increasingly interested in returning to smaller satellites to complement the science larger spacecraft can conduct.
Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Outer Space Law

Legal texts on space topics are either academic treatises or resources for space law practitioners. Michael Listner reviews a book that manages to bridge the two categories.
Monday, February 5, 2018

Space, and the stories we tell ourselves

Space centers often highlight the achievements of space programs, but what responsibility do they have to discuss tragedies and other setbacks? Dwayne Day explores that issue through the lens of exhibits at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Monday, January 29, 2018

Eyes no longer on the prize

Last week the X Prize Foundation announced that the Google Lunar X Prize competition will come to an end in March without any team even attempting a launch. Jeff Foust examines the end of the competition and what the teams involved planned to do now that the $20 million grand prize will no longer be available.
Monday, January 29, 2018

Revisiting “non-interference zones” in outer space

While countries can’t claim property on the Moon or other bodies, can they offer companies exclusion zones on safety or other rationales? Cody Knipfer examines some of the concepts behind so-called “non-interference zones” and efforts in Congress to enact legislation to enable them.
Monday, January 29, 2018

The era of extremely large telescopes

Three different projects are underway to build a new generation of very large ground-based telescopes, but each faces its own set of challenges. Jeff Foust reports on the policy challenges facing the Thirty Meter Telescope and the technical challenges of the Giant Magellan Telescope.
Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Ripples in Spacetime

It’s been nearly two years since scientists announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, enough time for gravitational wave science to almost become routine. Jeff Foust reviews a book that recounts the efforts to discover such waves and their implications for the future of astronomy.
Monday, January 29, 2018

Small rockets are finally taking off, but will the market follow?

Over the weekend, Rocket Lab successfully launched its Electron small rocket for the first time, putting three cubesats into orbit. Jeff Foust reports on that milestone launch that puts the company on the vanguard of a rapidly growing part of the space industry, albeit one where the demand for such vehicles remains uncertain.
Monday, January 22, 2018

Why the Falcon Heavy should be America's next Moon rocket

As the Falcon Heavy near its first launch, what role can the rocket play in new national policy to return to the Moon? Doug Plata argues that the Falcon Heavy is better suited than the Space Launch System for lunar missions, as part of an architecture that makes use of vehicles from other companies and public private partnerships.
Monday, January 22, 2018

Latin America’s space programs: an update

Over the last several years a number of Latin American countries have built and launched satellites. W. Alejandro Sanchez provides an update to a 2012 article on the developments countries in the region are making in terms of satellites and space policy.
Monday, January 22, 2018

How to reduce US space expenses through competitive and cooperative approaches

The US seeks to compete with other countries in space in some arenas, and cooperate in others, but how do you decide what approach to take? Takuya Wakimoto offers an analysis of the space policies of the US and other major spacefaring countries to see where the US can benefit best through cooperation.
Monday, January 22, 2018

A treatise on the formation of a US Space Force

Proposals to create an independent “Space Force” within the US military face, among other obstacles, financial challenges. Roger X. Lenard offers a forward-looking approach to the roles of a future Space Force and how they can help support its operations and commercial activities expand beyond Earth orbit.
Monday, January 22, 2018

The mystery of Zuma

We know that a Falcon 9 lifted off last week carrying a classified payload known only as Zuma, but what happened to Zuma, and why, remain a mystery. Jeff Foust reports on what is known, and what is speculated, about the mission, and the implications for SpaceX as it begins a big year.
Monday, January 15, 2018

PSLV-C40: A multipurpose mission

Last week India launched its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for the first time since a failure in August. Ajey Lele explains that this mission did more than demonstrate that the problem that caused the failure had been corrected.
Monday, January 15, 2018

Simply fix the Moon Treaty

The Moon Treaty, not ratified by major spacefaring nations, has been criticized for its “common heritage of mankind” language. Vidvuds Beldavs argues that modest changes to the treaty could address those concerns while leaving in place a framework for enabling commercial extraction of resources from the Moon and asteroids.
Monday, January 15, 2018

NASA has too much on its plate to return to the Moon

A space policy directive signed last month directs NASA to return humans to the Moon, but how? Gerald Black argues that NASA can’t afford to do it in traditional ways, and needs to instead work in partnership with the private sector.
Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: Spaceport Earth

Spaceports are popping up around the United States and elsewhere, far outpacing the demand from commercial launch companies. Jeff Foust reviews a book that attempts to explain why that’s the case by visiting a number of existing and proposed launch sites.
Monday, January 15, 2018

Will Space Policy Directive 1 benefit or hinder human missions to Mars?

President Trump signed a directive last month amending national space policy to call for a human return to the Moon. Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker argue that this need not be in conflict with plans for human missions to Mars, provided the administration is willing to back its policy with sufficient funding.
Monday, January 8, 2018

The coming age of commercial spaceflight: some considerations

As commercial suborbital vehicles capable of carrying people prepare to enter service, those vehicles offers new opportunities for “ordinary” people to fly into space. John Putman cautions that such opportunities will require people to prepare not just physically but also psychologically.
Monday, January 8, 2018

NASA sees the light for the future of space communications

As spacecraft become more advanced, and probe more distant parts of the solar system, communications becomes a weak link. Jeff Foust reports on how NASA is working on laser communications technologies for Earth science and planetary missions to dramatically increase data rates.
Monday, January 8, 2018

A bittersweet homecoming (part 2)

In the concluding part of her interview, Emily Carney talks with Jonathan Ward, co-author of a new book on the Columbia accident investigation, on the recovery effort and comparisons with other NASA human spaceflight accidents.
Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: NASA Spaceflight: A History of Innovation

Innovation is a key buzzword when it comes to NASA initiatives today, but it’s hardly something new for the agency. Jeff Foust reviews a collection of essays that examines efforts from throughout NASA’s history to attempt innovation, often in cooperation with the private sector.
Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 may (almost) be the year for commercial human suborbital spaceflight

After years of delays, two companies are edging closer to flights of commercial suborbital vehicles carrying people. Jeff Foust reports on those companies’ progress and the effect they will have on the suborbital research field.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Will 2018 be a step forward or a step back for SpaceX?

Last year was perhaps the most successful in the history of SpaceX, but what will the company do for an encore in 2018? A.J. Mackenzie argues that the company faces new risks in 2018 with the introduction of new vehicles, among other challenges.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Next Christmas in the Kuiper Belt

Next New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make a close flyby of a small object, or objects, in the Kuiper Belt. Jeff Foust previews the science, and the technical challenges, of the flyby.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Why the US should notify the public of all satellite reentries

A year ago, a classified US satellite reentered over the South Pacific without any advance warning or other notice by US government agencies. Charles Phillips discusses why, for safety’s sake, the government should provide a warning of such reentries without disclosing the satellite’s mission.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A bittersweet homecoming (part 1)

A new book due out this month chronicles the investigation into the Columbia shuttle accident 15 years ago. In the first of a two-part interview, Emily Carney talks with co-author Jonathan Ward about the development of the book and what he learned about the tragedy.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Where, but not how or when

Last week, President Trump signed a space policy directive that formally made a human return to the Moon part of national policy. Jeff Foust reports that, beyond that directive, there are still few details about how and when NASA astronauts will set foot on the Moon.
Monday, December 18, 2017

Black ops and the shuttle (part 3-2): The HEXAGON ghost haunting the desert storm

The decision to end the HEXAGON film-collection spysat program, and not use shuttle capabilities to extend its lifetime, had long-term implications for military operations. Dwayne Day describes how nothing has quite replaced what HEXAGON could do.
Monday, December 18, 2017

The emerging field of space economics: theoretical and practical considerations

Is it time for a distinct subfield of economics devoted to space? Vidvuds Beldavs and Jeffrey Sommers argue that such studies are required to understand if, and how, a self-sustaining space economy can be created.
Monday, December 18, 2017

Liability for space debris collisions and the Kessler Syndrome (part 2)

In the concluding part of his examination of orbital debris and space law, Scott Kerr explores some scenarios for orbital debris incidents in orbit, which can lead to conclusions about liability that might defy expectations.
Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Artemis

The author of The Martian, Andy Weir, is back with a tale set on the Moon. Jeff Foust reviews this hard science fiction novel with a central character different in many respects from Mark Watney, but quite similar in other ways.
Monday, December 18, 2017

Black ops and the shuttle (part 3-1): Recovering spent HEXAGON reconnaissance satellites with the space shuttle

One concept quietly studied for military shuttle missions was to recover and refurbish reconnaissance satellites. Dwayne Day examines what’s known about those studies as the national security community moved from film-based to electronic satellites.
Monday, December 11, 2017

A bridge to Venus

Planetary scientists who study Venus were disappointed by the outcome of NASA’s latest Discovery competition, but are doing more than placing all their bets on the ongoing New Frontiers program. Jeff Foust reports on how smallsats may provide a new option for sending missions to the planet.
Monday, December 11, 2017

“Do we want to get to the Moon or not?” (part 2)

In the concluding portion of his history of the decision-making process to get humans to the Moon in the Apollo program, Carl Alessi examines how the debate on the various modes came to a head as John Houbolt lobbied for lunar orbit rendezvous.
Monday, December 11, 2017

Liability for space debris collisions and the Kessler Syndrome (part 1)

A growing concern for those who operate satellites is potential damage from space debris, and determining who, if anyone, can be held liable for it. In the first of a two-part paper, Scott Kerr examines some of the legal issues on this subject.
Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities

How does the symbiotic relationship between spaceflight and science fiction hold up in an era of increasing commercial ventures and new space applications? Jeff foust reviews a book that combines hard science fiction short stories with essays on topics from low Earth orbit commercialization to exploration of exoplanets.
Monday, December 11, 2017

Seeking regulatory certainty for new space applications

Companies in the US developing “non-traditional” commercial space missions, like lunar landers of satellite servicing, still face regulatory uncertainty. Jeff Foust reports on how companies, and one government agency, believe that uncertainty should be resolved.
Monday, December 4, 2017

“Do we want to get to the Moon or not?” (part 1)

The approach NASA eventually adopted for landing astronauts on the Moon for the Apollo program makes perfect sense in retrospect, but at the dawn of the Space Age had little support. Carl Alessi, in the first of a two-part article, discusses how one engineer faced an uphill battle to win backing for lunar orbit rendezvous.
Monday, December 4, 2017

Establishing a European NewSpace industry

Luxembourg hosted the first NewSpace Europe conference last month, bringing together European startups, investors, and government officials. Jeff Foust discusses some of the challenges European startups face in this sector and how they compete against American counterparts.
Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: Soonish

There’s no shortage of space technologies that have been proposed as revolutionary for life on Earth and beyond. Jeff Foust review a book that examines some of those technologies, along with those from other fields, that could “improve and/or ruin everything.”
Monday, December 4, 2017

Great Britain gets serious about launch

Despite the large number of small launch vehicle efforts underway globally, the British space industry sees an opportunity to develop and launch such vehicles from the country. Jeff Foust reports on a recent conference that discussed some of the vehicles under development and efforts by the British government to support them with funding and regulation.
Monday, November 27, 2017

International cooperation and competition in space (part 2)

In the concluding part of his analysis on the benefits and drawbacks of cooperation and competition in space, Cody Knipfer offers some examples of how such efforts would work on projects ranging from human missions to the Moon to greater engagement with China.
Monday, November 27, 2017

A failed company and an uncertain market

Earlier this month XCOR Aerospace filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, bringing a likely end to the suborbital spaceflight company. Jeff Foust reports on the fall of XCOR and its implications for the suborbital industry.
Monday, November 27, 2017

Party of one: why we’re still alone in the universe

Astronomers have been scanning the sky for more than half a century to look for signals for alien civilizations, without success. Michael Morgan proposes some reasons why that’s the case in a universe that is likely teeming with life.
Monday, November 27, 2017

Review: Endurance

Scott Kelly went from someone in danger of flunking out of school to becoming a test pilot, astronaut, and holder of the US record for the longest single space mission. Jeff Foust reviews Kelly’s memoir, which tells his life story as well as goes into detail about his nearly one year on the ISS.
Monday, November 27, 2017

International cooperation and competition in space (part 1)

When should countries, including the United States, work together with other countries on space projects, and when should they compete against one another? In the first of a two-part examination, Cody Knipfer looks at some of the key factors affecting international cooperation and competition.
Monday, November 20, 2017

A landing lifts Dream Chaser’s prospects

Earlier this month, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser successfully completed its second glide flight, this time with a safe landing. Jeff Foust reports on how the company is confident it can press ahead with the vehicle’s development after this latest test.
Monday, November 20, 2017

A giant leap for America

As the US develops plans for a potential human return to the Moon, what’s the best way to get there? Ajay Kothari discusses how reusable vehicles and on-orbit fueling can deliver cargo to the Moon at a fraction of the cost of a conventional heavy-lift rocket.
Monday, November 20, 2017

The future challenges related to space activities: towards a new legal framework?

The current international legal regime governing spaceflight is struggling to keep up with emerging actors and applications. Anne-Sophie Martin discusses the problem and ways to get those other than countries involved in rulemaking.
Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: The Space Shuttle Program: Technologies and Accomplishments

The shuttle program may have failed to live up to its cost and flight-rate goals, but it was a versatile vehicle that carried out a wide range of missions. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines those various roles the shuttle played beyond the assembly of the space space station.
Monday, November 20, 2017

A tale of two rockets

An Orbital ATK Antares rocket successfully launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on Sunday, the rocket’s first flight in more than a year. Jeff Foust reports on the launch and the challenges that medium-class rocket is facing in the launch market.
Monday, November 13, 2017

The Outer Space Treaty and states’ obligation to remove space debris: a US perspective

It’s widely believed that cleaning up orbital debris requires new laws or even international treaties. However, Ram S Jakhu and Md Tanveer Ahmad argue that existing laws give the US the authority it needs to remove orbital debris.
Monday, November 13, 2017

An open letter to Vice President Pence and the National Space Council on space traffic management

As the National Space Council starts its work, one topic it will likely address is space traffic management. Three authors, in an open letter to the council and its chairman, suggest establishing a new agency to deal with this issue.
Monday, November 13, 2017

The Moon and America’s (and the world’s) defense

Some Mars exploration advocates seen a return to the Moon as an unnecessary detour. Gary Fisher proposes a lunar base that could support future Mars missions and other applications, although in a very unconventional way.
Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Piercing the Horizon

Thomas Paine served only briefly as NASA administrator, but at a key time for the agency as the Apollo Moon landing approached and the agency was planning its post-Apollo future. Jeff Foust reviews a biography of Paine that traces the arc of his career and his interest in long-term planning.
Monday, November 13, 2017

A contentious confirmation

The Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation hearing last week for Jim Bridenstine’s nomination to become NASA administrator. Jeff Foust reports the long hearing featured a lot of criticism of Bridenstine’s views on a wide range of issues far beyond those directly linked to space policy.
Monday, November 6, 2017

“And then on launch day it worked”: Marking the 50th anniversary of the first Saturn V launch (part 2)

The concluding part of a book excerpt recounts the successful launch, 50 years ago this week, of the first Saturn V from the Kennedy Space Center.
Monday, November 6, 2017

CubeSats are challenging

While CubeSats are increasingly popular, many satellites that are built and launched don’t function once in orbit. Charles Phillips looks at a few examples of such satellites that malfunctioned to seek common causes.
Monday, November 6, 2017

A path to a commercial orbital debris cleanup, power-beaming, and communications utility, using technology development missions at the ISS

The growing population of orbital debris poses a problem for which there are many potential solutions. Four authors present one such solution, taking advantage of the International Space Station as a testbed to demonstrate their approach that has other applications as well.
Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: View From Above

Many astronauts have written memoirs about their lives and careers, and some have published books filled with photos they took during their missions. Jeff Foust reviews a book by former astronaut Terry Virts that offers some of both.
Monday, November 6, 2017

US space policy, organizational incentives, and orbital debris removal

United States policy regarding orbital debris has evolved over time, but one issue it has yet to fully deal with is the removal of debris, versus simply limiting its creation. Brian Weeden examines national policy regarding debris and the challenges faced by government and private efforts to remove it from orbit.
Monday, October 30, 2017

“And then on launch day it worked”: Marking the 50th anniversary of the first Saturn V launch (part 1)

To mark the approaching 50th anniversary of the first launch of the Saturn V rocket, a reprint of part of a chapter of a seminal book on the Apollo program by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox about the preparations for that historic flight.
Monday, October 30, 2017

More problems for big space telescopes

After years of staying on schedule for a 2018 launch, NASA has delayed the James Webb Space Telescope to the spring of 2019. Jeff Foust reports on the issues that led to this delay, as well as challenges facing the next big space telescope after JWST.
Monday, October 30, 2017

The trillion-dollar (solar) storm

The threat of massive disruptions to our technology-dependent way of life caused by solar storms is something that has become increasingly clear in recent years. Robert Coker describes how the US government has, so far, done a good job dealing with this complex problem, but with far more to do to be ready to handle a trillion-dollar storm.
Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: We Can’t Stop Thinking About The Future

“Space Tapestry” is an artwork 200 meters long depicting various aspects of space exploration, with parts of it on display in two British museums. Jeff Foust reviews a book about that artwork, which includes interviews with scientists, engineers, and other involved with spaceflight.
Monday, October 30, 2017

Fired up for the engine wars

Last week, Blue Origin announced the successful first hotfire test of its BE-4 engine. Jeff Foust reports on this and other developments as several companies work on new large engines for a variety of new vehicles.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Luxembourg’s law on space resources rests on a contentious relationship with international framework

Luxembourg recently enacted a law that, like in the United States, grants rights to space resources to the companies that obtain them. Philip De Man argues that the law, which had to be revised to win passage, might not be aligned with relevant space treaties.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Some commentary about the National Space Council’s inaugural meeting (part 2)

In the second part of his review of the inaugural meeting of the new National Space Council, Mike Snead examines the session’s civil and commercial space panels, with an emphasis on logistics and safety.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Making The Farthest journey: An interview with director Emer Reynolds

The documentary The Farthest is an elegant story of the Voyager missions to the outer solar system. Emily Carney interviews the film’s director to discuss how it came together.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Seeing Our Planet Whole

The ability to observe our planet from space has been transformative for both scientific and cultural reasons. Jeff Foust reviews a book that attempts to take on some of the cultural and ethical aspects of Earth observation.
Monday, October 23, 2017

Why should we go? Reevaluating the rationales for human spaceflight in the 21st century

A perennial struggle for space advocates has been developing rationales for human spaceflight that can be sustained over the long term. Cody Knipfer argues that now is the time to reexamine those arguments, particularly given the rise of commercial human spaceflight.
Monday, October 16, 2017

Back to back to the Moon

With a statement by the vice president at the National Space Council meeting, NASA is back in the business of returning humans to the Moon. Jeff Foust reports on what that means for agency plans, including potentially greater roles for international and commercial partners.
Monday, October 16, 2017

From Skylab to Shuttle to the Smithsonian

When NASA transitioned from the Skylab program to the space shuttle, once piece of Skylab hardware almost found new life. Dwayne Day describes studies on adapting instrument hardware for the shuttle, and how that hardware made its way instead to the National Air and Space Museum.
Monday, October 16, 2017

Some commentary about the National Space Council’s inaugural meeting (part 1)

The first meeting of the National Space Council earlier this month is, to many, a good start for the administration’s focus on space policy. Mike Snead offers some recommendations for the council’s upcoming activities in the first of a two-part report.
Monday, October 16, 2017

Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, and Finding My Virginity

It’s been 13 years since the last suborbital flight of SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galactic is still at least months away from flying people into space on SpaceShipTwo. Jeff Foust examines what company founder Richard Branson had to say about the company’s progress and setbacks in his new autobiography.
Monday, October 16, 2017

Moon, milspace, and beyond

Last week the National Space Council held the first meeting since being reestablished earlier this year. Jeff Foust reports on what the council discussed and whether this iteration of the council will be different from its predecessors.
Monday, October 9, 2017

The missions proposed for the New Frontiers program

NASA will select several finalists this fall in the competition for the next New Frontiers medium-class planetary science mission. Van Kane examines what is known about the dozen proposals submitted for missions from the Moon to Saturn.
Monday, October 9, 2017

Sputnik remembered: The first race to space (part 2)

In the conclusion of his two-part history of the first satellite, Asif Siddiqi discusses the events leading up to the launch of Sputnik and the aftermath of its successful mission.
Monday, October 9, 2017

Estimating the cost of BFR

When Elon Musk discussed his revised BFR launch system recently, he disclosed few details about its costs. Sam Dinkin estimates the capital costs and operating costs for the BFR for use for Mars or point-to-point Earth flights.
Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: Science Advice to NASA

Throughout its history, NASA has relied on internal and external advisory groups to help direct its programs. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that offers a detailed history of how such groups shaped NASA’s science programs.
Monday, October 9, 2017

Sputnik remembered: The first race to space (part 1)

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, an event whose impact has been well-chronicled, even though the details of the event itself are far less known. Asif Siddiqi examines the history of Sputnik’s development in the first of a two-part article.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Mars mission sequels

On the same day last week at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, SpaceX and Lockheed Martin offered updates to Mars mission architectures unveiled last year. Jeff Foust reports on the changes, and the distinct differences between the two approaches.
Monday, October 2, 2017

SpaceX prepares to eat its young

One of the key messages from Elon Musk’s talk at the International Astronautical Congress was his plan to focus exclusively on his BFR rocket in the future. Dick Eagleson ponders some of the implications of that decision for NASA and other companies.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Is India looking towards space-based resources?

The United States, Luxembourg, and other nations are interested in developing space-based resources. Peter Garretson and Namrata Goswami examine whether India has similar interests and a willingness to back that interest with policy and law.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Blue Origin and Virgin Orbit on the launch range

SpaceX is not the only company pursuing reusable launch vehicles. Antoine Meunier discusses updates Blue Origin and Virgin Orbit offered at a recent conference about their partially reusable, but very different, launch systems under development.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Ghost in the machine

A common theme in space missions is that spacecraft are able to do so much with so little computing power on board. Dwayne Day reflects on what happens when the computing power, and intelligence, of those missions shifts from the ground to future, more capable spacecraft.
Monday, September 25, 2017

The Outer Space Treaty at 50: An enduring basis for cooperative security

October marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty, but some are concerned about its long-term viability. Paul Meyer suggests some diplomatic steps that can be taken to support the treaty.
Monday, September 25, 2017

Space looks up down under

As the world’s space community meets in Australia this week for the International Astronautical Congress, the country’s government made news about plans for a national space agency. Jeff Foust reports on the agency and the limited details offered to date about what that agency will, or could, do.
Monday, September 25, 2017

Moon or Mars: Why not both?

Interest in redirecting NASA’s human spaceflight plans back to the Moon have some worried about another fight breaking out regarding the Moon versus Mars. Chris Carberry, Joe Cassady, and Rick Zucker argue that there’s room for both, using different approaches.
Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the preeminent science communicators in the world, but what more can he say on well-trodden subjects like astrophysics? Jeff Foust reviews a book where Tyson offers brief overviews of some key topics, while not ignoring the bigger picture.
Monday, September 25, 2017

Deterring Chinese and Russian space hybrid warfare by economic and financial means

Some in the US and allied nations are increasingly concerned by apparent efforts by the Chinese and Russian governments to engage in provocative actions that could endanger space assets. Jana Robinson proposes a means by which the US deter those attacks without risking an escalation of space warfare.
Monday, September 18, 2017

Back to the Moon, this time for pay

For the second time in two months, a company showed off a full-scale model of its commercial lunar lander in Washington last week. Jeff Foust reports this comes as companies, NASA, and politicians examine potential roles such efforts might play in a broader effort to return to the Moon and access its resources.
Monday, September 18, 2017

Blue Origin meets Apollo

At this year’s EAA AirVenture show in Wisconsin, the past heroes of spaceflight met the future of space transportation. Eric Hedman describes the appear of Blue Origin’s New Shepard at a show that also features a reunion of Apollo astronauts.
Monday, September 18, 2017

Applying lessons from Apollo for a smart space agenda at a time of increased international tension

The Space Race between the US and USSR provided a means for peaceful competition at a time when the Cold War threatened to turn hot. David Dunlop argues that, today, increased international tensions call for greater cooperation among spacefaring nations.
Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Perspectives in Space Surveillance

Programs to track satellites and other objects in Earth orbit using radars and telescopes can be traced back decades. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the history, and underlying technology, of some of those efforts operated out of Lincoln Laboratory.
Monday, September 18, 2017

It’s time to recover Helo 66

A key artifact from the Apollo program is not in a museum but instead on the ocean floor. Dwayne Day discusses the history of a famous helicopter used to recover astronauts from several Apollo missions, and why it’s time to retrieve it from the Pacific.
Monday, September 11, 2017

Forming an American Spacefaring Advisory Group to the National Space Council

The new National Space Council will include representatives of many government agencies as well as an industry group. Mike Snead says that the council also needs input from citizens to ensure it adopts policies needed to make American a truly spacefaring nation.
Monday, September 11, 2017

The past and future of outer solar system exploration

As NASA prepares for the end of the Cassini mission, it also spent time last week marking the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager missions, still operating today. Jeff Foust reports on those looks back at the past, as well as planning for future missions for the outer solar system using new and existing spacecraft.
Monday, September 11, 2017

Masters of the dark art: The NRO and the operational level of war

Although the first satellite was launched nearly 60 years ago, no one has emerged as a key strategist yet about military space operations. Joseph T. Page II argues that, for now, one could learn lessons about the NRO has made use of space over those decades.
Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Canadian Space Program

The Canadian space community is awaiting what new directions, if any, the government might propose for the country’s space program in an upcoming strategy. Jeff Foust reviews a book that looks back at the long history of Canadian space efforts, which involve more than just astronauts and robotic arms.
Monday, September 11, 2017

Russia’s evolving rocket plans

Russia’s development of new launch vehicles has taken a circuitous path in recent years. Bart Hendrickx provides an update on recent developments, including plans for a new rocket and accelerated development of a heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cassini’s grand finale

NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn will end later this month with a plunge into the giant planet’s atmosphere. Jeff Foust examines the mission’s final days and what the spacecraft has accomplished since its beginnings three decades ago.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Learning to fly again

For the first time in nearly four years, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser test vehicle took to the skies last week above Edwards Air Force Base. Jeff Foust reports on the flight and the company’s continued hopes to one day fly a crewed version of that spacecraft.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Extended human space travel through biolation

Long-duration space travel creates human factors requirements that drive up the size,cost, and complexity of interplanetary spacecraft. Steve Hoeser describes how a form of hibernation, dubbed “biolation,” could mitigate those problems.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Willy Ley: Prophet of the Space Age

At the dawn of the Space Age six decades ago, many Americans relied on a German immigrant for information about space travel—and that person wasn’t Wernher von Braun. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a biography of Willy Ley, whose books and articles were essential reading in the early years of spaceflight.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The National Space Council for American leadership in space industries

The revival of the National Space Council comes at a pivotal time for commercial space efforts in the US and elsewhere. In an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence, Vidvuds Beldavs offers ideas of how the council can support US companies and the broader commercial space industry on some key issues.
Monday, August 28, 2017

Hypersonic air-breathing propulsion: The key to affordable nanosatellite launch

Getting frequent and affordable access to space for small satellites has long been a challenge for the space industry. Karl Hoose argues that air-breathing propulsion could provide the technological solution to this problem.
Monday, August 28, 2017

Working eclipse vacation

A total solar eclipse last week attracted both hardcore eclipse chasers as well as more casual tourists to a path that stretched across the US. Jeff Foust recounts a road trip to South Carolina to witness the eclipse in a distinctly American setting.
Monday, August 28, 2017

The need for new space-based missile defense systems

Missile tests by North Korea have generated new attention regarding missile defense capabilities and needs in the US. Taylor Dinerman argues that it means, among other things, developing new space-based systems to better track those missiles.
Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: The Sky Below

Astronauts are adventurers, but some are more adventurous than others. Jeff Foust reviews a book by a former astronaut who has flown in space and helped repair the International Space Station, in addition to climbing Mount Everest.
Monday, August 28, 2017

Small rockets, new and renewed

Growing interest in small satellites continues to fuel development of small launch vehicles. Jeff Foust reports on two such efforts, one from a company that appeared all but dead several months ago, and another from a company still keeping a low profile.
Monday, August 21, 2017

Space exploration as religious experience: Evangelical astronauts and the perception of God’s worldview

A number of astronauts have strong religious views, often enhanced by the experience of spaceflight. Deana L. Weibel examines these views and how they compare with the pessimism about space exploration shared by many evangelicals.
Monday, August 21, 2017

Privilege of a lifetime

One of the highlights of last month’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a panel discussion involving several Apollo-era astronauts. Eric Hedman recounts what the astronauts said about their missions and their legacy.
Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Hello, Is This Planet Earth?

Astronauts on the International Space Station have increasingly become known as photographers, taking and tweeting images of the Earth. Jeff Foust reviews a book by a British astronaut that compiles the images he took during his stint on the station.
Monday, August 21, 2017

Why the US must lead again

The new National Space Council will have many options for issues to tackle when it starts its work in the coming weeks. Douglas Loverro argues in an open letter to the council’s incoming executive secretary that it should focus on the policies the US should promote internationally that best serve national needs.
Monday, August 14, 2017

CubeSats: faster and cheaper, but are they better?

CubeSats have become very popular in recent years as a low-cost platform for many missions, but some have found difficulties using them for certain missions where high reliability is important. Jeff Foust reports on discussions at a recent conference on efforts to improve CubeSat reliability without losing their key benefits.
Monday, August 14, 2017

Finding Ender: The utility of tactical decision games for space warfare

The best ideas for military tactics can come not from generals but from junior officers and enlisted personnel. Joseph T. Page II describes how tactical decision games, used elsewhere in the US military, could be applied to space.
Monday, August 14, 2017

Building off US law to create an international registry of extraterrestrial mining claims

Passage of space resources laws in the US and Luxembourg have raised questions about whether treaties grant rights for extracted resources to companies or countries. Will Gray argues that those laws can become the basis for an international regime for mining claims off Earth.
Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Making Contact

One of the most important figures in the history of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been Jill Tarter. Jeff Foust reviews a new biography of Tarter that traces her influence on both SETI and society.
Monday, August 14, 2017

Black ops and the shuttle (part 2): Reconnaissance missions in the space shuttle, from WASP to ZEUS

In the late 1970s, the National Reconnaissance Office examined potential roles the space shuttle could play in launching and servicing reconnaissance satellites, or serving as a reconnaissance platform itself. Dwayne Day examines how declassified documents have shed new light on those plans.
Monday, August 7, 2017

The National Space Council gets to work

With an executive secretary selected, the National Space Council will soon be in operation, but what should it be focusing on? Jeff Foust reports from a recent event where a number of past space policy officials offered their views on the council and its priorities.
Monday, August 7, 2017

A dim future for the National Space Council?

As the reconstituted National Space Council prepares to hold its first meeting, some wonder just what it can accomplish. Roger Handberg argues that fiscal constraints and the rise of military and commercial activities may limit its effectiveness.
Monday, August 7, 2017

I’ve died and gone to Oshkosh

This year’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, had more space-related events than usual. Eric Hedman provides an overview, from the appearance of Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos to an Apollo astronaut reunion.
Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Outposts on the Frontier: A Fifty-Year History of Space Stations

The International Space Station is the culmination of half a century of space station projects by both the US and the former Soviet Union. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a history of those programs, from the cancellation of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory to the completion of the ISS.
Monday, August 7, 2017

Pondering the future of the International Space Station

As researchers make increasing use of the International Space Station, some wonder what the long-term fate of the station is. Jeff Foust reports that as NASA studies options for a post-2024 ISS transition plan, commercial users want nearer-term certainty about the station’s future.
Monday, July 31, 2017

The stars, my inspiration

Space is often said to be inspirational, but what exactly does that mean? Dwayne Day examines how spaceflight, and space-themed science fiction, can inspire different people in different mediums.
Monday, July 31, 2017

Iran’s rocket launch: a need to create a “space” for engagement

Iran launched a rocket last week that it said was a test of a satellite launch vehicle, but which was condemned in the West as a missile test. Ajey Lele argues that Iran’s growing capabilities present the opportunity for peaceful space cooperation, perhaps as a way to dissuade further missile development.
Monday, July 31, 2017

The end of a very long honeymoon

In May, DARPA selected Boeing to develop its Phantom Express vehicle as part of the XS-1 reusable spaceplane project. John Hollaway is unimpressed with this latest effort to try and reduce the cost of getting into space.
Monday, July 31, 2017

Cislunar suspense 2: The Cynthianing

Spaceflight in cislunar space as long been a topic of science fiction and other books. Ken Murphy updates an earlier review of such books with several dozen other novels, from the 1950s to the present day.
Monday, July 31, 2017

The Moon is a harsh milestone

There has been growing interest in carrying out human lunar missions prior to going to Mars, thinking that will be an easier near-term step. Jeff Foust reports that, despite these discussions, governments and companies alike have found it difficult just getting robotic missions there.
Monday, July 24, 2017

A summer update on the COPUOS long-term sustainability guidelines

An ongoing topic of discussion and debate at the international level regarding space is its long-term sustainability. Christopher D. Johnson and Victoria Samson provide an update on those discussions that have played out at United Nations meetings in recent months.
Monday, July 24, 2017

Blue “Hubble”: The Manned Orbiting Laboratory as a planetary telescope

Could the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, intended to be a crewed reconnaissance satellite, have also played a role in spacebased astronomy? Joseph T. Page II finds some hints of such an alternative mission in declassified documents.
Monday, July 24, 2017

Another view on the problems facing NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

Advocates of the robotic exploration of Mars have warned of limited funding and plans for later missions needed to carry out Mars sample return. Louis Friedman argues that the focus on sample return, at the expense of other science, has also hurt the program.
Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Spaceflight in the Shuttle Era and Beyond

The rationales supporting NASA human spaceflight efforts have changed over the decades. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines changing frameworks for supporting it during the shuttle and station programs, and implications for the future.
Monday, July 24, 2017

The future (or lack thereof) of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

NASA’s ongoing program for exploring Mars with orbiters and rovers appears, at first glance, to be working well. Jason Callahan and Casey Dreier describe how the program is actually facing serious questions about its future because of funding challenges.
Monday, July 17, 2017

A legal look at Elon Musk’s plans to colonize Mars

Elon Musk unveiled his plans last September for establishing a permanent human presence on Mars, with a focus on the technical issues of getting people to Mars. Michael Listner examines some of the legal obstacles that such an effort would have to overcome.
Monday, July 17, 2017

Giving a push for in-space propulsion

With NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission now cancelled, the agency is looking for other ways to demonstrate advanced propulsion technologies like high-power solar electric propulsion. Jeff Foust reports on what concepts NASA is working with industry on that could find eventual use on Mars exploration missions.
Monday, July 17, 2017

Creating a spacefaring civilization: What is more important, means or motivation?

Those who remember the Apollo program may be disappointed by the lack of progress in human spaceflight in the decades since. Stephen Kostes sees promise in the growing capabilities available today to enable new, sustainable space applications.
Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: In the Shadow of the Moon

In a little more than a month a total solar eclipse will take place on a path across the United States. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers background on the history of eclipse observations as well as some advice for seeing one yourself.
Monday, July 17, 2017

In support of a forming a US Space Corps now

The House is scheduled to take up this week a defense authorization bill that includes language establishing a Space Corps within the US Air Force. Mike Snead discusses why it’s important to establish a Space Corps now, leading to a full-fledged Space Force, to protect national interests in space.
Monday, July 10, 2017

Seeking private funding for space science

As private space capabilities grow, it opens up new possibilities for doing science missions outside of government agencies. Jeff Foust reports on a recent conference that examined the prospects of, the challenges facing, privately-funded space science missions.
Monday, July 10, 2017

The last astronaut class?

NASA announced its newest astronaut class last month with a considerable degree of fanfare. A.J. Mackenzie wonders if that was the case because won’t have much need for hiring more astronauts in the years to come.
Monday, July 10, 2017

The common burden of “spacemankind”

Companies planning space resources ventures, and the countries backing them, are running into conflict with countries who see such resources as belonging to all humanity. Kamil Muzyka explores some possible solutions to this argument that can benefit companies and countries alike.
Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Adventures in Outer Space

Can a space-themed textbook help students better learn elements of math and science? Steve Rokicki reviews a book that attempts to do just that over the course of a school year.
Monday, July 10, 2017

Close encounters of the classified kind

A month ago, a classified satellite made a series of close approaches to the International Space Station, sparking questions about whether it was coincidental or intentional. Marco Langbroek examines what is known about USA 276 and why it may have passed so close to the station.
Monday, July 3, 2017

At last, a National Space Council. Now what?

Last Friday afternoon, President Trump signed the executive order formally creating the National Space Council. Jeff Foust reports that the establishment of the council still leaves many questions unanswered about what it will do and how it will affect space policy.
Monday, July 3, 2017

Re-opening the American frontier: Recent Congressional hearings on space

A Senate committee has held a series of hearings on commercial space policy issues. Peter Garretson offers some recommendations on what Congress should, and should not, do to promote the development of new space markets.
Monday, July 3, 2017

Space colonization, faith, and Pascal’s Wager

The idea of space settlement, some have argued, is reminiscent of religion in the idea that it may represent the salvation of humanity. Sylvia Engdahl argues that faith in space colonization isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: Chasing Space

As difficult as it is for someone to become a professional athlete, being selected as a NASA astronaut is far more difficult. Jeff Foust reviews the memoir of someone who managed to be both drafted by the NFL and selected as a NASA astronaut.
Monday, July 3, 2017

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