Category Archive: Space Politics

Dec 31 2015

What’s Russian for “Disarray”?

Russia Downscales Lunar Program as Roscosmos Morphs into State Corporation. Going from a government agency to a state corporation — is there a difference in Russia? The biggest immediate impact is that Roscosmos State’s budget is slashed from about $2.8 billion to $2 billion. We’ll see if this improves Russian space performance. I think their …

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Dec 28 2015

Probably a good thing wrapped in a bad thing

NASA got a huge bump in the recent Omnibus bill that was passed on the 18th: FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Clears Congress, Signed by President, which resulted in a gargantuan $1.3 billion increase over its 2015 budget. I was going to blog about days ago, but it was signed on the day after my boss …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/28/probably-a-good-thing-wrapped-in-a-bad-thing/

Dec 24 2015

My return stage is bigger than yours

Regarding the pissing match between Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (SpaceX), I think they’re both being ridiculous. Both the New Shepherd’s landing and the Falcon 9 first stage landing were impressive, and both advance their respective company’s business case, and neither business case is in direct competition with each other. New Shepherd is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/24/my-return-stage-is-bigger-than-yours/

Dec 19 2015

Great Googly Moogly

RD-180 Engine Procurement Ban Overturned, Revealing Sharp Space Policy Differences. I cannot believe that we caved on this. This is such a bad idea for multiple reasons: It helps the Russian Aerospace industry. Worse, it gives the Russians (and every other diplomatic thug out there) the clear message that they can do whatever they want …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/19/great-googly-moogly/

Dec 18 2015

Cats and Dogs…living together!

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos signed a cooperation agreement on Thursday with China National Space Administration. Even though Russia and China butt heads more than they get along, this announcement isn’t too surprising. Given the commercial dependence that everyone has on GPS, the Chinese were in a conundrum: GPS is definitely a center of gravity for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/18/cats-and-dogs-living-together-2/

Dec 01 2015

Notes from CSF Google+ Space Resources Hangout

The hangout was sponsored by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and held at 9:00am Pacific today. Here’s the description: A senior White House official and industry partners will be hosting a Commercial Spaceflight Federation Google+ space resources hangout to discuss the impact of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act: what it means for industry, and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/01/notes-from-csf-google-space-resources-hangout/

Nov 25 2015

Time to stake my claim on an asteroid

President Signs FY2016 NDAA, Commercial Space Bills Into Law. Two take aways: Among other things, the bill (NDAA) limits the number of Russian RD-180 rocket engines that the United Launch Alliance (ULA) can obtain for launching national security satellites. The NDAA is an authorization bill that sets policy and recommends funding levels. Only appropriations committees …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/25/time-to-stake-my-claim-on-an-asteroid/

Nov 17 2015

Q.E.D.

As if on cue and in support of my points in the last post: Here Is the Soviet Union’s Secret Space Cannon In 1975: the USSR actually fired a cannon from an orbiting space station. Forty years later, we finally got a good look at this gun. 1975 was eight years after the signing of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/17/q-e-d/

Nov 17 2015

Good ‘Luch’ with that, comrades

Reader Vic Moberg sends this comment: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2839/2 A long & technical review of GEO rendezvous & proximity operations (RPO). (Part 1 is LEO). Has cool telescope video of Astra SATCOM cluster motion. The title of the article is “Dancing in the dark redux: Recent Russian rendezvous and proximity operations in space”, and I addressed Luch …

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Nov 13 2015

Lies, damn lies, and Chinese denials

China Tests Anti-Satellite Missile. A Chinese Embassy spokesman said: “I don’t have detailed information about the missile test you mentioned.” “China advocates for the peaceful use of outer space, and opposes space weaponization or arms race in space,” the spokesman said in an email. Uh huh… China’s most disruptive ASAT test occurred in January 2007 …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/13/lies-damn-lies-and-chinese-denials/

Nov 11 2015

This is pretty significant

Senate Passes Compromise Commercial Space Bill. Here are the major provisions (quoted word-for-word from the article), and my impressions: Provision Analysis/Opinion Formally extends operation of the International Space Station from 2020 through 2024. President Obama announced last year that he was extending it until then, but this will make it law. Canada and Russia have …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/11/this-is-pretty-significant/

Oct 26 2015

Head of FAA endorses ESA’s Lunarville idea

FAA’s Nield Endorses Woerner’s Moon Village, But With Commercial Partners Too. There is a lot to like (and a little to dislike) in this article, which does a little meandering between a few topics. I’ll quote the significant parts and then add my two cents. Nield spoke at the October 21 meeting of the Commercial …

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Oct 16 2015

Well, they’d have to wait for the US, first

China aims to go deeper into space. The article explores possibilities for China to do deep-space exploration. They won’t be able to do that until about 10 years after the US does it, because they’d have to steal our technology first. I mean, the last thing the Chinese invented on their own was paper, right? …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/16/well-theyd-have-to-wait-for-the-us-first/

Oct 15 2015

No waiver for you!!

No Waiver for ULA for GPS III Launch Contract. ULA is arguing that without the waiver, they’ll likely not be able to bid on the contract, which would leave SpaceX as the only certified launcher left, which would violate DoD policy to have at least two viable launch options at any one time. However, the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/15/no-waiver-for-you/

Oct 13 2015

Anglo Space Conference

New Zealand Hosts Combined Space Operations Meeting. New Zealand seems to be playing a bigger and bigger role in the Space Arena (Rocket Labs comes to mind). A coalition made up of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand seems chock full of win to me. Just sayin’. And here’s more …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/13/anglo-space-conference/

Oct 13 2015

Things that make me go “Hmmmm”, part 1001

Russian Rocket Engine Delivery to China May Be Agreed by December. I still stand by my initial take: Bring it on! I’m not seeing what the Chinese expect to gain from this…so I maintain that this is the Russians trying to obliquely put pressure on Congress to relax their ban on the RD-180.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/13/things-that-make-me-go-hmmmm-part-1001/

Oct 12 2015

Ukraine is not the only OpArea in which Russia is misbehaving

Reader Vic Moberg sent this to me over the weekend: You might find this article on potential on-orbit space mines of interest: Russian Satellite Maneuvers, Silence Worry Intelsat .Of course it could be a “jumpseat” mission. This is certainly an interesting development. I lean more towards “jumpseat” as opposed to space mine because the Russians …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/12/ukraine-is-not-the-only-oparea-in-which-russia-is-misbehaving/

Oct 07 2015

I have mixed feelings about this

Satellite Industry Association Urges Congress to Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank. The tea partier in me thinks “Good riddance, EX/IM”, while still acknowledging that the SIA president has a point: Other countries have their own version of the EX/IM bank, or subsidize their industries directly, and not having a similar construct here in the US puts our …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/07/i-have-mixed-feelings-about-this/

Oct 01 2015

ULA Innovation: SMART Reusability

I’ll believe this when I see it… Snagging a parafoil out of the air with a helo is definitely easier said than done. Notice the not-so-subtle jab at SpaceX’s approach…ULA expects their approach to be 12X more cost effective than SpaceX’s approach. 2 observations: ULA must be sweating bullets about their ability to compete against …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/01/ula-innovation-smart-reusability/

Sep 30 2015

No Russian engines after 2019

House and Senate Agree on FY2016 NDAA, RD-180s Still Restricted. The compromise version announced today mostly adopts the Senate language. At a press conference today, McCain vehemently reiterated his opposition to paying Russia for RD-180 engines and his support for SpaceX. He said that SpaceX asserts that it can have a domestic engine ready to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/09/30/no-russian-engines-after-2019/

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