Showing posts from February, 2011

How COTS-D Was Killed

Lest we forget, under Mike Griffin NASA awarded to SpaceX an option in their Commercial Orbital Transportation Services contract to develop a crew transport capability. The Space Act Agreement looked like this:

MilestonePaymentProject Management Plan Review and
Crew Demo 1 System Requirements Review$27,420,000Financing D1$10,000,000Crew Demo 1 System Preliminary Design Review$22,420,000Crew Demo 2 System Requirements Review$25,420,000Crew Demo 1 Critical Design Review$20,420,000Crew Demo 2 System Preliminary Design Review$20,420,000Crew Demo 1 Demonstration Readiness Review$20,420,000Crew Demo 3 System Requirements Review$25,420,000Financing 2D$10,000,000Crew Demo 2 Critical Design Review$18,420,000Crew Demo 3 System Preliminary Design Review$20,420,000Crew Demo 1 Mission$15,420,000Crew Demo 2 Demonstration Readiness Review$18,420,000Crew Demo 3 Critical Design Review$18,420,000Crew Demo 2 Mission$8,420,000Crew Demo 3 Demonstration Readiness Review$18,420,000Crew Demo 3 Mission$8,420,…

New Space Music Video

An idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a few years..

Great to finally get it out.

Making Fusion Rockets Relevant

If you read the literature on fusion rockets you probably have a pretty firm idea in mind of what they're good for and when they'll be relevant - in "the future". No good fusion rocket paper is complete without a superconducting magnet here, and a magnetic nozzle there - in fact, these widgets are a primary ingredient of any fusion propulsion design and the more infeasible or untested they are, the better. This seems obvious: fusion rockets are the future because we don't have fusion yet.. right? Actually, no.

Producing nuclear fusion isn't all that hard. Amateurs regularly cobble together desktop fusion devices like the Farnsworth Fusor and other contraptions. The significant hard problem of fusion is getting more energy out of the device than you put into it. The current government backed effort to achieve this is the ITER project who are building a tokamak style device, but many other schemes are also being tried, with significantly less funding.