A recent comment posted to one of our articles came off as nauseating. This person didn’t like the fact that there actually was a news website that was stating negative things about a NewSpace company. He went so far as accusing us of being funded by this company’s competitors. No, we’re not kidding—nor were we surprised. However, this served as an opportunity to detail how NewSpacers behave, the tactics they use, and why.
Another NewSpacer attempted to further the “dialogue.” No one wants to listen to someone with no actual experience explain how much smarter they think they are than you. After a while, I asked myself, “Why am I bothering with this troll?” Rather than to see my investment of time go to waste, I’ve opted to turn it into this opinion piece. Please note that if you are a NewSpace troll you won’t like it.
The first thing we need to do is define what is meant by the term “troll.” This way, those guilty of these antics can’t deny that they, in fact, are trolls. An internet troll is defined as such:
Internet slang (pron.: /ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) — someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, for the purpose of provoking readers into an emotional response, disrupting on-topic conversation, or distracting attention away from the point at hand.
The next thing that we need to do is to provide examples of this behavior, as well as define why these individuals behave this way.
Gods of Bias: NewSpacers only value what the companies that constitute their philosophy do. Therefore, all achievements by NASA are deemed to be worthless. To hear a NewSpace troll tell it, NASA has only accomplished anything either by accident or by using billions of dollars as rocket fuel.
A NewSpace troll went on an anti-NASA rant and then tried to sound generous by saying, “I support all of the LEO activities!” Of course he supports NASA’s LEO objectives—the space agency is handing those activities to NewSpace companies. The thing is, these people are so divorced from reality that they don’t view this behavior as being at all biased. Being arrogantly oblivious—this is NewSpace.
The Downward Spiral: As an editor on a small, niche website, time is everything. I’ve lost count of the time I have wasted replying to trolls who demand that I “show them” this or that. What invariably happens is I look up the information and then show it to them (usually complete with links) and then they either deny everything or post links to blogs (generally not reputable media outlets) they swear contradicts what I just posted.
In this case, one can sit there and try to have a discussion with these people, but what will inevitably happen is you will highlight a flaw in their master plan. Rather than address it, they will counter with some real or perceived issue with your point of view. NewSpace trolls are incapable of dealing with any problems within their community. If you are hoping to have a dialogue with them about these issues, a rational conversation about the topics highlighted—forget it.
I’ve lost count of all the times I repeatedly asked NewSpace trolls to address the issues raised in my last op-ed. Sadly, none had the prerequisite maturity to do so—not one. The closest I got was a comment stating that he had not witnessed such behavior (naturally, NewSpace trolls not only ignore the poor behavior of their fellows, but they encourage it). Afterward, I tried to calculate how much time I had wasted trying to have a mature discourse with these people and realized that it was extensive.
Rewriting History: To call NewSpace trolls arrogant doesn’t give depth to the problem. According to these individuals, NASA is useless (except for all that useless money the space agency is funneling their way). A perfect example of this was a recent post by a NewSpace fan who believed that NASA—the space agency that sent men to the Moon and gave us the Hubble Space Telescope and all of the probes and rovers that have exponentially expanded our understanding of the universe—was simply not up to the task of competing with NewSpace firms who, to date, haven’t launched a single astronaut. Here is his “unbiased” account of crew escape capabilities:
“As you’re well aware, the current crop of new vehicles are all going to be fitted with crew escape capability (NASA requirement) which should dramatically reduce that horrible possibility since requirement is from launch to orbit. I can wait an eternity if necessary to see such a thing not happen. But eventually I suppose it will. (The word “eventually” is in reference to when an accident will occur on a NewSpace crewed vehicle.)
“NASA’s Orion, who knows? They’re currently 4000lbs overweight and using the tower (old tech’) don’t have the same escape margins. They’ve also got to deal with SRBs on the first stage of SLS which increases the requirements due mainly to the continuing acceleration of the SRB after detachment of the capsule. If the SRB has blown to bits then the capsule has to escape the pieces and the resultant fireball. It’s a difficult issue.”
Here, in essence, is what this person’s take on the situation is. NewSpace, who has zero actual experience launching an astronaut, will probably never experience a failure and lose the crew. Even if an accident should occur, the tech they are using is so terrific that the crew will safely return to Earth under rainbows and everyone will eat cake. Whereas those poor astronauts in their misbegotten Orion capsule are doomed from the start! I mean, after all, they are only working with an agency that has launched over 150 successful manned missions.
I cannot thank the individual who penned the wonderful opinion above enough. I doubt there is a better example of NewSpace troll arrogance out there, and if there is I’m hard-pressed to find it. I mean, think of the mindless gall it takes to state that companies that have never launched anyone into orbit ever (or in the case of one NewSpace troll “evuh”) will naturally do it better than the space agency that has done it since 1961. The tragic thing? This person is so oblivious he can’t see how anyone would find this (and numerous similar) comment as what it is—patently offensive.
This tactic also involves mentioning numbers highlighting the “good” that NewSpace has done, while ignoring all the numbers that show the good that NASA has done. Trolls will hold up the two successful unmanned Dragon flights and willfully ignore the more than 150 manned missions that NASA has conducted, including the missions that sent 12 people to the Moon. They will also happily ignore Hubble, Chandra, Voyager, Spirit, Opportunity, Viking, Galileo, Deep Impact, Curiosity, and on and on. This is NewSpace.
Stay tuned to the second part of this opinion-based series tomorrow.