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Comment Re:This time... (Score 1) 102

According to TFA you linked, the Sanders campaign has since withdrawn its DMCA notice. Still, it's pretty weird for them request the takedown in the first place. Doesn't really fit well with his populist message.

As for whether or not he "supports extreme forms of copyright protection," I'll reserve judgment until I hear him actually say something that. It's certainly not part of his standard stump speech.

Comment Re:This time... (Score 3, Interesting) 102

Reason number 9,862 why that TPP is a terrible idea

Keep counting... you've got a long way to go yet.

Is it just a coincidence that the most 'exciting' candidates on both sides in the current election (Trump and Sanders) have both come out against the TPP? (Yeah, Clinton has come out against it too, but nobody believes her.) I honestly don't know a single person in America who thinks these so-called "free trade" deals are a good idea, and yet here comes another one.

The liberal talk-show host, Thom Hartmann, likes to refer to the TPP as the Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement or SHAFTA.

Comment Re:Duh! (Score 2) 51

I also RTFA (admittedly, after I posted) but I still think it's pretty obvious to anyone who pays much attention to space development issues (like, you know, readers of Air & Space). For that matter, this isn't really that much of a step change in terms of lunar landers. The author talks about "Developing a reusable cryogenic space vehicle," but the F9 is only half cryogenic, it's kerosene fuel is chilled to very low temps, but it's not the same as LH2 or liquid methane.

We could build a reusable lunar lander here on earth and put it on the moon pretty easily, but it's not much use if we don't also have some ISRU infrastructure to produce fuel up there too. That gets damn expensive at $60M~$200M per launch, but begins to look more feasible at $5M~$10M. That cost savings is the key enabling factor, not the novelty of design.

The 'big deal' about SpaceX's feat is that they soft-landed a booster stage on earth, enabling reusability for the first time in history. We've been soft-landing stuff on the moon for decades.

Comment Re:It's really too soon for this post. (Score 2) 118

Unfortunately, they didn't make the landing. According to Elon via Twitter:

Definitely harder to land on a ship. Similar to an aircraft carrier vs land: much smaller target area, that's also translating & rotating.


However, that was not what prevented it being good. Touchdown speed was ok, but a leg lockout didn't latch, so it tipped over after landing.

It will be interesting to see how well they can zero-in on the 'carrier' landing in future flights. When you combine the trans-sonic approach with the chaos of ocean waves, the magnitude of this task is mind boggling. I can't wait. ;-)

Comment Re:They couldn't do it (Score 2) 412

Do you really think the Chinese likes having a nuclear-armed, inscrutable wack-job on their doorstep? They put up with NK because they like having a buffer between themselves and SK. I just hope they have some sort of 'kill switch' to eliminate the threat (for their own sake) in case he gets too far out of hand.

Comment Re:Be careful what you wish for... (Score 1) 120

Except, in this case, it sounds like Congress just gave them the money without NASA requesting it. FTFA:

Over the last several months, NASA has increasingly emphasized development of a habitation module that could be tested in cislunar space in the 2020s. That module could then be used for human missions to Mars that NASA hopes to carry out some time in the 2030s.

I'm not the biggest space-geek in the world, but I do follow a couple of weekly podcasts, and both /r/space and /r/spacex on reddit, and this is the first news I've heard of this 'emphasis on development of a habitation module.' Of course they have the BEAM module going up next year, but that's been in the works for years already. In any case, I don't think this particular boost to NASA's budget was spurred by the sort of sci-fi fan uprising, whipped up by NASA propaganda as you describe.

Comment Re:Not Yet (Score 1) 48

FTFA: "flight time of six minutes. ... an excruciating six hours to recharge the batteries."

The ArcaBoard supposedly has a software-limited top speed of a leisurely 12.5 mph, and you’ll only be able to enjoy a flight time of six minutes. That’s right; after six minutes, you’ll be sitting back on solid ground. And if you want to recharge for another six minutes of flight time, you’ll have to wait an excruciating six hours to recharge the batteries. However, if you’re simply willing to simply throw money away, you can purchase the optional ArcaDock, which will set you back another $4,500. The ArcaDock reduces charging times down to a mere 35 minutes.

Comment Re:anti-business liberal scoring points (Score 1) 373

I think the problem here is that NDT is just not keeping up to date on the 'New Space' sector. Investors are just starting to realize that space is an option. You can invest $10b now on a copper or gold mine, with an eight year payout, or you can invest $6b on an asteroid mission with a 15~20 year payout. To a big-ticket investor, these two opportunities look very similar.

I wonder what he'll say in a few weeks (or months) after SpaceX 'sticks the landing' on their first booster recovery, which will forever change the economics of space flight.

My guess is he just spends too much time rubbing elbows with 'establishment' types in the space business, and doesn't fully appreciate the revolution taking place below the 'mainstream' radar.

Comment Re:Mars isn't going anywhere. (Score 2) 173

the atmosphere really is .... too thick to light a retro rocket at high speed.

SpaceX claims that their SuperDraco thrusters are capable of igniting during Mars EDL, at supersonic speeds. Of course, we won't know for sure until they actually do it, but given their accomplishments to date, I see no reason to doubt them.

Comment Re:Mars isn't going anywhere. (Score 1) 173

Bub Zubrin's Mars Direct plan is the most likely scenario, at least in the next few decades. Eventually someone will build large-scale cyclers as you describe, but not until mining of asteroids and the moon gets underway, making materials available in space. Judging by his past statements, Elon intends to land people on Mars before that is likely to happen, which most likely means he intends to do it with the Falcon Heavy, at least for those first few 'flags & footprints' missions. If that is so, then they'll most likely use some variation on Zubrin's architecture. In fact, Zubrin himself has outlined a mission (which calls the 'Trans-Orbital Railroad') using Falcon Heavies.

We know very little about SpaceX's upcoming Mars Colonial Transporter, except that it is intended to transport 100 people to Mars with each flight. It's highly unlikely that they'll make that their first trip to Mars, which means they'll do it with Falcon Heavy first, and that means Mars Direct.

As for when...? I reckon they'll get boots on the ground sometime in the late 2020's.

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