I figure if I don’t start talking about rockets again soon Knovel is going to start calling me “Craig the guy-who-talks-about-techy-geek-stuff.”
Some come friends, gather around your monitor for warmth, and let’s talk about some interesting new developments… IN SPPPAAAAACCCCEEEEEE!!!!!!!
In the state of Union Address the President said we were in a “Sputnik moment” a lot of people are kind of scratching their heads over what that exactly means. Well let me tell you:
NASA is going to go back to using really old ideas and technology.
Case in point: NASA is currently talking with Bigelow Aerospace in regards to adding an inflatable module to the ISS. Bigelow has already launched two inflatable test modules into orbit and has been very successful. Bigelow also has plans to launch two more modules. So you’re probably thinking” Cool, NASA’s finally thinking outside the box!” but here’s the twist:
NASA originally developed the technology back in the 90’s calling it “TransHab”! In 2000 Congress made them drop it for budget reasons, then few years later Bigelow Aerospace patented the technology NASA paid to develop.
There are a lot of really cynical jokes I could make, but in reality this is a perfect example of the business NASA should be getting into.
- NASA provides upfront technology to several crazy technology ideas.
- The private industry takes the tech in its raw form and develops it into a product.
- Working jointly NASA and private industry test and launch the product.
Not only is this building ties instead of fences between NASA and the private sector, it also brings ideas forward that otherwise would be gathering dust.
In the spirit of NASA’s new found sense of cooperation I would like to sell them the following ideas:
- A lifeboat for the ISS, capable of holding all the whatever-nauts and performing fully automated landings. Ignore the fact that it looks just like the X-38.
- I know NASA would kill for a great design for a crewed single-stage-to-orbit vehicle… I just might happen to have a little design up my sleeve. NASA, you can call me if you’ve forgotten about VentureStar by now.
- Want to get out of the crewed launch vehicle game? That’s cool, I’ve got something for that too. (Just don’t tell the Air Force cause it sorta looks like the X-37)
Ok, enough snark. A lot of great ideas have been shelved over the past 30 years due to budget cuts. If NASA shows they are willingly to relook at them if someone else is willingly to get the ball rolling again we could be looking at a whole new dynamic for the space industry.