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I swear, this guy is one of us August 3, 2009

Posted by Thomas Olson in CRATS, hot air, investment, offworlding, space tourism, Wasting Money.
2 comments

Much love to Cynic-in-waiting Paul Contursi, who offered us this very cynical take on on-orbit refueling by Rob Coppinger. Equally entertaining are the comments.

CRATS, solved June 26, 2009

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

kudos to the Money Cynic for passing over this truly cheap, reliable, access to space approach…  although the “astronauts” should have brought their space suits.

CRATS

Domo Arigato, Selene June 23, 2009

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Watch the video.  Very cool HD imagery of Selene’s final descent to the lunar surface.

THE SPACE SHOW AND OLD SPACE CADET RESPOND TO MATT’S APRIL 28, 2009 POST REQUESTING WHAT POSITIVE ACTION CYNICS AND OTHERS CAN TAKE IN SUPPORT OF THE NEWSPACE INDUSTRY June 2, 2009

Posted by drspaceshow in Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

THE SPACE SHOW AND OLD SPACE CADET RESPOND TO MATT’S APRIL 28, 2009 POST REQUESTING WHAT POSITIVE ACTION CYNICS AND OTHERS CAN TAKE IN SUPPORT OF THE NEWSPACE INDUSTRY


On April 28, 2009, Matt Colborn responded to the April 22, 2009 Cynics post entitled “Well Said, Dr Griffin” with the following comment:

3. Matt Colborn – April 28, 2009
Hi — I’ve read the ’space cynics’ blogs for a while, and also listened to your arguments on the Space Show. I think that there is much truth in your arguments, and that the new space people need a reality check. You detail well what we should NOT expect from the space program in the near future.
However, once one has accepted this, where do we go from here? The subtext to much of your writing seems to be;
1. To give up on space entirely, especially human space, and do something else.
2. To pour scorn on those poor fools who refuse to do (1).
You’re very good at telling us what is not plausible, but what SHOULD we do? What IS realistic? Is space a lost cause, forever? Is that what you’re saying?
I think that you should write a little more about the *positive* action people should take, even if this means giving up on human space and concentrating on something else. Endless negativity just pisses people off eventually, even those of us (like me) who are sympathetic to your arguments….
Puzzled, Matt

The Old Space Cadet replied to Matt and his reply can be found at the top right of the Space Cynics page using the tab “old space cadet’s view.”

The Old Space Cadet, Dr. John Jurist, was then the guest on Sunday’s Space Show program (see the direct URL to the program above) where he discussed his posting and a comprehensive reply to Matt’s good question. Our show today is described as follows:

Dr. John Jurist returned to The Space Show to offer a response to a Space Cynics comment posted on the Space Cynics blog on April 28, 2009 by Matt Colborn. Matt asked what the positive action people should take regarding pushing towards our becoming spacefaring. Dr. Jurist responded to Matt’s question and you can read his response at http://spacecynic.wordpress.com/old-space-cadets-view/ . Our discussion proved stimulating and challenging as listeners not only asked questions about the Jurist action plan/view, but they also wanted a good definition of NewSpace, wondered why the term exists at all, and suggested other terms to represent space development activities. One caller, Thalia, asked what the NewSpace dogma was. You will want to hear how both Dr. Jurist and I answered that one! Dr. Jurist offered concrete suggestions ranging from stopping several negative and personal attacks on people who put forth different views, analysis, or bring different perspectives to the table. We also talked about the possible differences between NewSpace advocates and NewSpace businessmen and businesswomen. This is an important discussion you will want to hear. One of our callers, Jack, an economics student in Texas, talked about markets, the killer application for human spaceflight, and the economics of the launch rate. Don’t miss this discussion, it’s a good one. One listener asked Dr. Jurist for a reasonable test by a NewSpace participant regarding putting forth a positive impression with accurate rhetoric of say a particular project. One idea put forth by John was to more openly discuss issues by submitting papers to reviewed conferences and mixing it up idea-wise with peers that may not always be part of the church choir for NewSpace. I urge you to read the full article written by Dr. Jurist on Space Cynics at the URL above. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Jurist, please post them in the comments section after John’s Cynic’s article. Any comments or questions sent to me here at The Space Show will be posted on Cynics on the Old Space Cadet tab as I am asking you to do.

A Response (part 1) May 6, 2009

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.
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4 comments

A number of recent commenters/visitors to the Space Cynics blog have asked if we could put forward our view of what “should” be done, rather than simply critiquing what we see out there in our (somewhat) regular postings on the blog.

Initially, I was going to respond “if you read the damn blog, you’d see that we actually do this, across many posts.”

The reason? At some point even Sisyphus has to get tired of pushing his rock, and I get tired of saying the same “here’s how you should do it, here’s why A won’t work but B has a shot, etc” mantra.  It’s a key reason why I walkd away from the industry for so long (and remain detached from it other than to stay connected with the many good friends I made whilst working in old and new space).

However, that isn’t fair  to the readers…

Before I get to that, though, let me just say “Thank You”.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this blog, to listen to the contrarian voices in the wilderness, to challenge our thinking and our positions, and for adding to our perspective on space.  At our cores (surrounded by that caramel and nougat goodness, of course) we are passionate about space, and really want the frontier to open.  Not speaking for the others, but only for myself, I will reiterate that if I had $35,000,001, i would spend $35,000,000 on a ticket to ISS – even if it meant starting over building my retirement again.  I have always been a space tragic, and will have it carved on my tombstone someday.  While I may disagree with many of you on the details, I believe we all share a common goal, which is why we come back and push the rock, week after week.

When I get to a new blog, one that is “new” to me but may have been around for years, I am often frustrated by having to go back through months (or years) of postings simply to get up to speed on the POV of the author(s) and feel like I can join in the discussion.  And yet, to an extent, our response to you who have asked about our position on X are often instructed to do the same thing (go back and look it up).

In order to be fair to our readers, occasional visitors, and accidental link-clickers (welcome anyways!), I have decided to put up a static “page” that will list out our positions and suggested approach for all to reference.

This may take a little while, though, and will require the input of my fellow Cynics.  As such, I have named this “Part 1″.

Consider it the equivalent of a movie trailer – although not nearly as cool as the second trailer for Star Trek, with the great line “Why are you talking to me, man?”.

I can’t WAIT to see the movie this weekend!

Well Said, Dr. Griffin April 22, 2009

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.
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10 comments

A fictional space program will always be faster, better, and cheaper than a real space program.

- Mike Griffin, Goddard Award Dinner 2009

Words to live by April 16, 2009

Posted by shubber in public service announcement.
3 comments

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then they beat you with experience.

Why We Won’t (fill in the blank): April 14, 2009

Posted by shubber in bailout, distracting PR, economy, finance, hot air, investment, Manned Space, NASA, public service announcement, sbsp, smack talk, solar power, space, Space Solar Power, Wasting Money.
12 comments
  1. Go back to the Moon
  2. Build a Lunar Settlement (see #1)
  3. Send humans to Mars
  4. Build a Space Based Solar Power Satellite (other than a demo, if that)
  5. Build a real replacement for the Shuttle (i.e. something reusable)
  6. Build a Space Elevator
  7. Fulfill any other wild fantasy of the Space Tragic community

obamadebt

Giving kudos where they are due, I was alerted to this chart by a blog posting at Rand Simberg’s site, Transterrestrial Musings.  The reason I decided to show this here is not to engage in a “who can spend more like a drunken sailor on shore leave” debate between the righties and the lefties – since both parties have long since given up any semblance of fiscal conservatism, proving once again that the old saying:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy….”

While we aren’t quite at collapse stage yet, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any major investments in space-related projects when you are fighting against much better organized and heeled opponents wanting those funny money dollars for their clean coal facilities, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, national health care systems, expanded international adventures with our military, farm subsidies, rail subsidies, etc.

For those of you who are in your 20s – i feel for you.  This is the first recession you’ve experienced, and it’s got to be discouraging (to say the least).  Take heart in the sage words of Chance Gardner, who said:

In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

What should discourage you even more, and those of you who are even younger that read this blog (all 3 of you), is this: you (and perhaps your children) are going to be stuck working crap jobs and paying high taxes to work off the ridiculous level of debt this country has saddled itself with over the past 30 years, and from the looks of the chart above, will continue to do.


You Can’t Fight In Here! This Is The War Room! April 9, 2009

Posted by shubber in economy, finance, gauntlet being dropped, military, public service announcement.
Tags: , , , , , ,
6 comments

strangelove

It seems our friends at the Pentagon have either finally gotten around to watching Die Hard 4.0 or their kids have been twittering long enough that the message (via sheer electronic osmotic pressure) has finally penetrated their cold war mindset.  Either way, there have been many of us on the sidelines who have been trying to point out that another carrier group or silo full of nukes ain’t going to win against our upcoming superpower adversaries…

The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis.

The two-day event near Ft. Meade, Maryland, had all the earmarks of a regular war game. Participants sat along a V-shaped set of desks beneath an enormous wall of video monitors displaying economic data, according to the accounts of three participants.

“It felt a little bit like Dr. Strangelove,” one person who was at the previously undisclosed exercise told POLITICO.

Give the entire article a read – it’s worth it.

Didn’t we already discuss this? March 11, 2009

Posted by Thomas Olson in economy, finance, investment, offworlding, smack talk, space tourism, suborbital tourism, Wasting Money.
7 comments

I saw in Space Daily yesterday an interesting take on “spaceports”.

The money quote from the sidebar was: “All in all, there are some 20 active, or soon to be active, space launch sites around the world. Last year the total worldwide orbital launch count was 68. Simple arithmetic tells us that the average number of launches for each site is around three.”

I seem to remember writing a three-part series on “Extreme Ports” almost three years ago, now. But the buildup of infrastructure continues unabated, with nothing to insure that it will in any way pay for itself down the road.

Of course, as the article claims, many of the buildout projects are by governments, fed by hapless taxpayers, as a way to declare “SEE? WE’RE in the club too!” despite the fact that their annual flight rate might be one.

Or zero.

There are still, at minimum, five sites on the table, funded by private money, in various stages of completion. But in this global economic meltdown, I can’t foresee, near term, a great run on space tourist operations. Hope the investors in these projects are taking the long view.

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