NASA seems to have stated SpaceX will be the first “private” company to fly astronauts to the ISS…and then quickly retracted it. Spacex is also breaking a “record” by reusing a stage for the 5th time. What is left out is the several months it takes a “standing army” to inspect and recondition these stages after use. It is likely cheaper to just drop them in the ocean. This kind of “journalism” is borderline Orwellian in that it is more about deceiving and influencing the population than reporting facts. If todays launch is successful there will be 300 refrigerator size pieces of spacexjunk in orbit with 41,700 yet to be launched. This is in effect the strip-mining of Earth orbit yet nobody is really upset about it. Not yet.
The hobby rocket has too many small engines and does not lift a payload useful for Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit (HSF-BEO). Yet it was hyped as the answer to all problems. The same principle can be seen at work in the new fuel economy standards the Trump administration is attempting to put in place. All of it is simply a façade concealing unrestrained obscene greed. Along with making it safer to drive while actually making it more dangerous are the brave men and women of the “Space Force” who do not go anywhere except into a dark room filled with computer screens. Yet these warriors receive all the benefits and courtesies of the other uniformed services whose members regularly risk their lives in the field, at sea, or in the air. It is insulting to them as well as the intelligence of the citizenry.
As long as they are simply satellite operators and until they are actually going in harms way, their Space Force trekkie badge should be nicknamed “the bone spur.”
More funding appears to be on the way for going to the Moon but continuing to waste 4 billion a year on LEO makes it bitter sweet. Starved for funding for decades a large part of it will still be wasted on the NewSpace scam. The toxic dragon (crew dragon) is a bad design, though perhaps not as bad as the shuttle. Even though it has an escape system that same system wraps a ton and a half of noxious explosive chemicals around the crew instead of using a tower. The Starliner, which can at least jettison the hypergolic abort system, is not much better. All the lessons learned from the 1st space age and the wrong turn that was the shuttle are being ignored.
To reduce the problem into terms the average citizen understands is the critical challenge in a representative democracy. Having worked in aviation for the majority of my life, the commercial airline industry is my example of choice. Aviation as a whole is a system that is almost completely self-correcting and humans performing oversight keep it that way. The old saying is that all procedures are written in blood because someone died to make that procedure the standard. Very little deviation from all these rules are allowed. The same holds true with Democracy and unfortunately the degradation of truth destroys democracies exactly like ignoring set standards makes airplanes crash.
We rely on representatives as experts on issues, to explain their actions concerning the issues, and so perform oversight benefiting all citizens. The warning flags being ignored in our society today are variations of “The Rapa Nui Debate.” We create narratives to guide our actions and these stories are never completely factual and accurate. They are all “spun” in a certain direction. If that direction benefits the population and the future of that population we get a plus. If the story is used to benefit a small number to the detriment of the rest and does not benefit futurity we get a negative. It goes without saying the stories in circulation right now are negative in the extreme.
If we allow a narrow view with little truth, promoted by the few for their benefit, to deceptively influence the many, Democracy becomes Autocracy. The very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution is freedom of the press. This was, of course, meant as accuracy and truth from the press. Journalistic integrity has waxed and waned over the last two centuries but now the very existence of the United States system of government is in danger because of the narrow view and little truth. It was the broad view and larger truth that drove “The New Deal” after the free market fantasy crashed in 1929. After World War Two the 91 percent tax rate on the 1 percent top earners was the larger truth. The hatred and excoriation now visited on anyone telling this truth is crystal clear.
In conclusion, the people with the broad view and larger truth are the enemy of those seeking to maximize profit/worship of their god mammon. They demand others believe their Orwellian worldview when they pay the money for it to be propagandized and for critics to be demonized. In a twisted insane way they believe if they pay for it that makes it true. And that absolute greed could lead to the end of our species. Space is first of all about the survival imperative: insurance against extinction.
The NewSpace flagship company is promoting their shiny reusable starship in the same way they did the hobby rocket. Their story is Mars is going to be a second home for humankind. Tens of thousands of small satellites in a cloud around the Earth will miraculously pay for transporting humans to that second home. The broad view and larger truth is the opposite. Only a state-sponsored public works project on a larger scale than the Panama Canal and Hoover Dam will enable space colonization. No natural body other than Earth is suitable for colonization, making artificial spinning hollow moons the only path. Large GEO human-crewed platforms are the solution to myriad problems in space commercialization and expansion into the solar system: The cloud of space junk filling Earth orbit is a cheap and nasty scam.
There is no cheap.