NewSpace Troll Tactics: A Viewer’s Guide (Conclusion)

Image Credit: Whynne
Image Credit: Whynne

This series was produced over a long period of time. We opted to finally run it after we were told we should separate commercial space efforts from the NewSpace trolls. The problem is that trolls are embedded in these companies and they have done nothing over the course of years to engender any feelings of good will. In fact, they’ve done their level best, even after NASA went “commercial crazy,” to make enemies out of people who could have been valuable allies. Now that the political winds are blowing the stench of their behavior back into their faces, they want those people they’ve consistently disrespected to come to their aid. They even tried to shame those of us they’ve attacked over the years into supporting them. One of AmericaSpace’s key principles is that we hold people accountable for their actions. This series was posted for that reason.

Shoot the Messenger: Perhaps one of the most nauseating tactics trolls employ is to attack those that report on the problems within their movement. AmericaSpace became the target of just such a tactic when we posted an article detailing the Cal/OSHA findings about the 2007 Scaled Composites accident.

The article detailed the accident and Cal/OSHA’s findings and provided some background. One NewSpace troll, rather than take a look at how Scaled Composites’ safety failures caused the death of three and injuries to three others, lashed out at us for even mentioning it. His comments are below:

“Are you saying that there should be no new start-up companies and all new stuff should be done by the fat cats? Are you saying that accidents don’t happen? Are you suggesting that in the succeeding years, nothing has been done to remedy the safety shortcomings? Are you subsidized by a Virgin competitor?”

Anyone that reads the article will note it is rather sterile (unlike AmericaSpace’s opinion pieces); this article was a straight news piece. However, the troll in question reacted as if the safety concerns raised were all of our own making, and our highlighting them was just a smear campaign. Sorry, but the problems were noted by Cal/OSHA; we just reported the agency’s findings. Note how the troll asks if we are funded by a Scaled competitor. How low can these people sink? Rather than accept any personal responsibility for the apparent lack of adequate safety standards, they lash out at those that bring the root causes behind the deaths to light. The reason behind this is simple.

Trolls seek to cow those that detail flaws within NewSpace firms into silence. This should serve as a wake-up call for NASA—and the public. Many NewSpace trolls are deeply involved with the movement itself. Why are they so determined to silence those that report on these issues? What else are they trying to cover up? If anything, this tactic should force a closer inspection of NewSpace’s standards.

Another NewSpace troll commented that one should not get too “melodramatic,” and that he was confident that companies that have deadly accidents would correct them of their own accord. How does one get too melodramatic when three people die due to lack of safety precautions? Worse, how naive do you have to be to think that, without oversight, NewSpace companies will naturally do the right thing? (One would be correct in assuming this generous policy does not extend to OldSpace companies.) This conversation went on a bit further and provided more insight into the mentality of these people. His next post included the following:

“You seem really fired up! Don’t quite understand why exactly?

“You know, the chances are that Scaled worked out where they went wrong well before the investigating committee did, and implemented the necessary changes. 

“You know, as an observation, the U.S. of America seem to be a land of considerable contradiction. You put up with or ignore so much that seems incredibly important and yet get fired up over something that, in the scheme of things seems pretty small by comparison. That’s not meant as an ‘attack’ incidentally, just an observation, wondering why sort of? It’s definitely noticable to many non-Americans and a friend of mine from Viginia, who’s lived in Australia for quite a while, agrees. Perhaps we’re just a bit more laid back over here. Oh well!

I’ve tried not to get upset when dealing with these people, but this time I blew a fuse. This person could not understand why I was bothered by trolls trying to downplay or cover up the findings behind an accident that killed three. NASA had been excoriated when it lost Challenger and Columbia—and rightfully so. Scaled deserves no better. But here this person was saying that it was a “small” matter. That he didn’t understand why anyone would get worked up over it and that he naively believed that Scaled would’ve handled it on their own. Do you think he’d have given NASA such a pass? Of course not. This person’s insensitive comments garnered him what he deemed “abuse.” It never occurred to him he might have said something offensive and that he earned that abuse. Rather, his reply was that it was everyone else who needed to gain perspective—because he most certainly didn’t. This is NewSpace.

Choke Them with Spam: Think about this for a second: If NewSpace is truly the future of space exploration, are we in good hands? Would the followers of this brave new era handle websites who question their methods with adult conversation? We wish. Rather, whenever a piece critical of NewSpace is posted I brace myself for the barrage of spam which I know will follow. Links to porn websites, Cialis offers, and flat-out cyber attacks are the norm. Again, anything to silence the messenger.

This is not the methods of clear-thinking, rational adults working to build a better future—these are the actions of a petulant child. Anyone reviewing the type of behavior listed in this series should be hard-pressed to consider those that behave this way the leaders of anything. Sadly, some have already tried to do just that. These people are not ready to have such a grave responsibility in their care. Until they grow up, they need to be kept in reserve. They need to show that they can be trusted first. Before you say this is harsh, AmericaSpace recently was the victim of a cyber attack. Again, this occurred after a report critical of NewSpace was posted. It could be a coincidence. However, review some of the nonsense we’ve been subjected to and ask yourself, after experiencing all of that, “Do I think it was a coincidence?” This is NewSpace.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t want to waste time, which I could use to produce articles and features, on people who pull stunts like this. So, instead of waging a constant back-and-forth “war” with a troll who will never see anyone’s point of view other than their own, I wrote this. Not in a day or a week, but over time. I went back and looked at the patterns of behavior fans of NewSpace displayed. It is sickening. To sum up what NewSpace is? It’s arrogant, condescending, inexperienced, and self-destructive. It’s willing to avoid inconvenient truths, make up facts, distort reality, and, as I discovered yesterday, flat out lie. It reinvents facts to turn failure into triumph, it has been given a free pass on this sort of behavior by many within the established and new media, and it is the darling of social media.

NewSpace has yet to fulfill its promise. Its accomplishments in no way entitle its fanbase to act the way that they have. The near-constant, shrill vitriol that these individuals employ has some calling them “howler monkeys.” While this might be apt, for the time being we will stick with calling them what they are—trolls.

The initial reception to the first two segments of this opinion piece saw people speaking to each other civilly. However, one individual attempt to distort what is said. In his mind, “Be nice” apparently means “bribery.” No I’m not joking, review the comments for yourself.

You are probably asking yourself (ironically, as did a NewSpace troll), “Wow, they touched a nerve didn’t they?” Yes, they did. To me, space is all about the best that humanity has to offer. To hear NewSpace tell it, they are the future of space exploration. Take a good, hard look at how these people are acting. If this is the “future of space exploration,” then we are in serious trouble.

NewSpace trolls (mistakenly) believe that acting snarky is cool. They think they need not present real facts to cover the gaping holes in their movement’s experience; all they need to do is talk down to those and that will suffice. They believe acting this way is cool, and therefore anyone who opposes the opinion they are pushing is automatically uncool. Top it off with a helpful heaping pile of condescension and you have won the argument. Correct? Not so much.

Sooner or later, these people will have to pay the tab that these antics are accumulating. I’m willing to bet it will come due when someone is killed on one of the new spacecraft that have yet to carry an astronaut. When that happens these people will attempt to get help or assistance in their darkest hour. By then? It will be far too late. These folks need to be building bridges instead of burning them. However, as highlighted above, there is precious little construction going on—but there is a massive amount of smoke.

People remember when they have been disrespected, and NASA is comprised of people. Currently, the administration and its surrogates are making sure that NewSpace gets its shot. In return, this movement is displaying some of the most repellent behavior imaginable. They are, as stated before, biting the hand that funds them.

(In a twist of fate, during the period that this op-ed was being produced, sequestration took place and the plug was pulled on Commercial Crew. It is unclear if this will be a long-term situation or not. However, one has to wonder if NewSpacers’ rampant lack of respect and lack of progress caused Congress to cut the program’s funding.)

I see great potential and merit in what NewSpace is doing. I want them to join the space industry. Given the extremely offensive and tasteless behavior they display, however, it does not appear they are ready. They still need to grow up and learn to treat others with respect and to value the experience and opinions of others.

Until recently, NewSpace was riding high. They have an administration and deputy administrator at NASA that support them. Rather than use this as a chance to build inroads and strengthen relationships, they are using this time to insult what they view as “the opposition.” Presidents and policies come and go; today’s SpaceX is tomorrow’s Constellation Program. The illusion of NewSpace’s moral authority is just that—an illusion.

My supervisor at another website once warned me away from being too harsh on these people. “Don’t alienate them,” he said. AmericaSpace is founded on principles, such as courtesy and respect. If this is the standard operating procedure for the “new” movement, then we don’t want it here. Moreover, their delusional self-appointed status as NewSpace’s Grand Poobah doesn’t carry any weight here. If you act like a troll, then you’re going to get called on it. It’s not “abuse”; it’s you getting what you deserve.

Talk about the points, and debate the facts. I’ve seen a lot of cowardice in the media when it comes to these companies. One “editor” went so far as to tell me not to make a certain CEO angry. Sorry, our job isn’t to placate these people; it’s to report on what is happening. If showing how something failed, is substandard, or outright dangerous—we’re going to report on it. It doesn’t matter how angry it makes the CEOs, and it doesn’t matter which companies they represent.

NewSpace trolls “hope” that these companies will be accountable; AmericaSpace will hold them accountable. When these companies experience successes, you can read about it here. When they fail, you can read that here, too—no matter how some might wish it will be all of the former and none of the latter. Some within the media have asked that I ignore the past and defend NewSpace to Congress. Sorry, these people have done nothing to warrant any preferential treatment. They bit the hand that funded them, and now it’s coming back to haunt them. This op-ed was produced over months as we went back and monitored how NewSpace behaves and the tactics they use. Some who find the facts above inconvenient and embarrassing will call it a rant. What they won’t do is see how awful this makes them look and make changes. Others might suggest that we’re painting the movement with too broad a brush. There is some merit in that; however, there is an old saying about how it only takes one rotten apple. …

NewSpacers tell us the reason they haven’t accomplished much is because NASA was “in their way.” NASA hasn’t been in their way for the last few years, and these people haven’t cleaned up their act. While I personally hope the effects of sequestration will serve as a reminder that NewSpacers’ statements that they are funding their own way are a fantasy—and get their mind right and become the NewSpace industry we need them to be—history tells me that one should never expect a troll to behave like a person.

One of the reasons I penned this Op-Ed was to stop doing what I spent all day yesterday doing. Getting bogged down in arguments with people who, bully, insult, distract from the topic at hand, drag people into never-ending back and forths, lie and attack others for doing what they themselves are guilty of. So, if you see me not responding to these people – it isn’t because they are correct, it isn’t because they are wrong it’s because I could write an article detailing how a NewSpace offering saves orphans in Uganda and these people will complain about my use of punctuation. So, no it’s not me avoiding what they have to say because I’m trying to push an agenda – it’s me avoiding them because they are pushing one and no matter what I say – they will find fault in it. They believe that winning some argument with me they’re proving their moral and intellectual superiority. In reality, they’re doing the opposite. I realized that in one sense they had succeeded. Rather than explain why those who support NewSpace act this way, they projected these issues onto the person who brought this problem into the light. I realized how bad the situation was when, after stating numerous times that it isn’t about what you say – but how you say it, that you get more flies with honey than vinegar – one person actually thought I meant bribery. This is NewSpace.





  1. Well that’s throwing gasoline into the camp fire. I can’t wait to see the responses you get.

    Spam sucks. It would be nice if spammers didn’t exist, but they do. I just added moderation to my site which also sucks. But we deal with it.

    Every industry has to grow up and suffer the growing pains. I hope we see some real advances in the future. I’m feeling mostly good about it. This is an exciting time to be alive.

    We just can’t allow the various nuisances to bog us down.

  2. While I understand and agree with points that you are making, looking at history and human nature I’d say that if humanity isn’t stillborn and leaves it’s womb, much of the enabling for that will come from the ranks of those you seem to despise.
    Just gotta be tolerant of the foibles of those whose passions aren’t kept in harness very well. Avoiding anarchy in discussion may be due to the ability of those who have the ability to not be goaded into their own emotionally driven reactions.

    • Les,
      I can see your point, I know we need thick skin. However, I believe there’s a limit on what we should be expected to tolerate.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Les,
      Also I need to correct you. I don’t “despise” NewSpace – I “despise” the behavior described. Sorry that you missed the point.
      You are correct. I shouldn’t waste time on people who have no purpose in life other than to provoke others. Thanks so much.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  3. Jason said:

    In a twist of fate, during the period that this op-ed was being produced, sequestration took place and the plug was pulled on Commercial Crew.

    Factually inaccurate. Commercial Crew was reduced using the same formula as all the other NASA programs, and is currently funded at $388.1M. Commercial Crew wasn’t “unplugged” anymore than SLS was, yet you don’t single them out for some reason.

    So were you misinformed, did you make a error in how your stated the facts, or are you misrepresenting the facts on purpose?

    And in case you didn’t know, the Continuing Resolution that Congress is considering would reinstate Commercial Crew funding back up to $525M, which is as much as the House originally proposed.

    The other part of this is that you see this “defunding” as some sort of response to “NewSpace” bad behavior, but in all the analysis of the NASA sequester funding changes, it is very clear that no special attention was paid to any one program, including SLS. NASA used the formula they were provided by Congress, plain and simple.

    So is that a deliberate overstatement on your part, or just an example of the enthusiasm you have for any potential actions that damage “NewSpace”?

    • Ron,
      Review our article on sequestration. Your picking nits(again).
      I hope funding is restored. AS I’ve said: Commercial=LEO & NASA=BE).
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        Your picking nits(again).

        How can I be picking nits when you implied that the entire Commercial Crew program had been shut down? Isn’t that what the term “the plug was pulled” means? To drain until empty?

        Maybe the meaning of words and phrases doesn’t matter as much to you as it does to others, but what you wrote, in your own way, was inflammatory, or at least gloating.

        But that’s OK for your personal viewpoint, as you’ve expressed a distaste for Commercial Crew in other articles you’ve commented in (I just spent some time going back and looking). But when you write something in your article, it’s different than when you’re commenting.

        • Ron,
          Words, actions & behavior mean everything to me. That’s why I found yours offensive. I’ve said what I have to say. I just reached out to you & respectfully await your response.
          I’ve expressed my distaste for the behavior displayed by its supporters & I used your own words against you as you strongly support commercial – to show you how offensive your phrasing was. You proved my point when you called these words “hostile” & by the fact that your still agitated today. The way I see it? We both have taken each others words out of context. I’m willing to admit it & start over.
          Sincerely and with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • Jason said:

            You proved my point when you called these words “hostile”

            I have not!

            You are falsely accusing me of something I haven’t said.

            But you don’t have to believe me, just do a word search – since you didn’t say what article I said it on, I checked all four that I’ve been conversing with you on. Let me know what you find, since the only person I find using the word “hostile” is you, numerous times today and yesterday.

            Maybe you are confusing “hostile” with “inflammatory”?

            • Ron,
              Yes you have, or are you saying that only you can find these words hostile? You can’t see how others might find them hostile when you directed them at them? Actually, unlike you, I’m able to concede a point I believe your actual word was “hostility.” I’m sure you think that one word is better than the other.

              Okay Ron, here you go on Mar. 10 you posted the following: Time to kill the SLS program & Relying on the government to satisfy your space fantasies is only going to result in frustration.

              So, you said we should kill SLS & that I have “space fantasies.” You can deny it, but there it is. What I did was turn your own words back on you & you got upset. You can deny that too – but I think we both remember how “people” like me” with “my head in the sand” got you “riled up.”

              Ron, I would have far more respect for you if you just dropped it and focused on this:

              Ken says you have a lot to offer. I want to hear it. I tell you what. You don’t have to join this “admiration society” of yours, don’t have to agree with me, concede anything. All you have to say is: “Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.” I only ask that we not get into a never-ending back & forth. If we disagree, we disagree. That doesn’t make me right & you wrong – it is what it is. We agree to appreciate & listen to one another’s points & communicate with one another. We’re both adults, we can do better than this. I’m happy to listen to you – if you’re willing to listen to me.

              Ron, if you’re interested, I would suggest dropping the: Jason said:, Karol said:, Ken said: Trollfight said: bit. Just talk to people. By phrasing things the way you have been – it automatically puts people on the defensive.

              I would rather work to turn this around & start something productive. I’ve said the same things over & over again. What’s the point? It’s like the Op-Ed says. I can present information to you, however, if you realize that it proves you wrong, you’ll just state: “I never said that.”

              Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  4. Jason said:

    NewSpace has yet to fulfill its promise.

    You have stated that Orbital Sciences is a NewSpace company, both yesterday and on Sunday.

    Yet Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) was started in 1982, and has built 569 launch vehicles with 82 more to be delivered by 2015. Also, 174 satellites have been built by the company since 1982 with 24 more to be delivered by 2015. And, Orbital has a 40% share of the interceptor market, 55% share of the small communications satellite market, and a 60% share of the small launch vehicles market.

    I think a non-partisan observer would say that Orbital Sciences does not meet your definition of “NewSpace”.

    Are you going to continue keeping them on your “NewSpace” list, or are you going to change what your definition of “NewSpace” is to fit reality?

    • Ron,
      You mentioned “Wikipedia” yesterday. Why don’t you go there & research “NewSpace.” Essentially, one of the sources you use? Disagrees with you. Also, SpaceX, Orbital, SNC have been deemed by many others as NewSpace, your trying to make this about me – nice try. Why don’t you go to all those sites you bragged about visiting? If you did? You’d see that they too call these companies NewSpace. Ron, you’re just trying to provoke & are willing to redefine the definition of “is” to prove your silly opinions.
      Thanks, yesterday, you got upset by your own words when they were used against you & today you prove that your understanding of basic terms- is lacking.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        You mentioned “Wikipedia” yesterday. Why don’t you go there & research “NewSpace.”

        If you would have said you were using the Wikipedia definition, then I wouldn’t have had a reason to ask, now would I?

        And, amazingly, I would have agreed with you if asked, since Orbital fits into my specific definition of what “NewSpace” means to me.

        However, yesterday you said:

        Generally, I define NewSpace as companies that are about 13 years old, were formed as small start up & still have yet to develop a proven track record.

        So by that definition, that’s not Orbital, since they are a long, proven track record.

        And all I’m looking for is a clear, consistent definition.

        Oh, and just something to point out, aren’t all most companies “formed as small start up”? I would think you would want to drop that as a criteria, since it’s a meaningless filter.

        • Dear Ron,
          Again, look at my discussion with Ferris. I’ve said this repeatedly. I want to hear from people with opposing view points. It’s not what you’re saying Ron – it’s how you’re saying it. It also is about what your willing to do to “win” the debate. You shown you found your own words as “hostile.” Why do you think I phrased them that way? You’re right – this is a waste of time. Can we do better? I suggest we try.

          Ron, people can hate everything I say & disagree with every word I utter. However, that doesn’t give them carte blanche to behave however they want. I’ve said what I have to say, now I have a proposal for you.

          Ken says you have a lot to offer. I want to hear it. I tell you what. You don’t have to join this “admiration society” of yours, don’t have to agree with me, concede anything. All you have to say is: “Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.” I only ask that we not get into a never-ending back & forth. If we disagree, we disagree. That doesn’t make me right & you wrong – it is what it is. We agree to appreciate & listen to one another’s points & communicate with one another. We’re both adults, we can do better than this. I’m happy to listen to you – if you’re willing to listen to me.
          Sincerely & with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • Jason said:

            Again, look at my discussion with Ferris.

            I know Ferris from a number of space related blogs, and I think he’s a pretty level-headed guy. And I don’t think he shows his passion as much as I do for space exploration, nor as much as you do either.

            I am also familiar with Doug Messier, and I think he is also a pretty level-headed guy.

            Believe it or not, I went back and read a number of older posts, trying to see if what happened to me was an anomaly, or not. And I came across the recent article called “Sequestration to Squash Commercial Crew?“, authored by you.

            During that discussion, you exchanged a series of comments with Doug, and it wasn’t too long before you accused him of being condescending and taking talking points from “NewSpacers”.

            So apparently it’s not just me that riles you up, and in no way would I say that Doug is nothing but level headed.

            And I don’t mind a spirited discussion, as I think debate is a wonderful thing, as it not only clarifies positions, but can help those on the sidelines better understand the issues and where people stand. In other words, I’m not debating just for myself, but for the education of others (which might not even be in my favor).

            I just wanted to point that out for all who care…

            • Ron,
              Ferris & Doug are both what I’d call NewSpacers – & yes, they both are level-headed. I notice that you didn’t bother to quote what prompted my use of: “condescending.” He called my view “myopic.” I’m curious, why didn’t you mention that? One typically excludes information to make one side look bad & the other good. This wasn’t your intent was it? I think it’s also important that what I said not be taken out of context – so here is what I stated: I haven’t used that type of condescension when responding to your comments & would’ve appreciated the same courtesy.

              Let me try again:

              Ken says you have a lot to offer. I want to hear it. I tell you what. You don’t have to join this “admiration society” of yours, don’t have to agree with me, concede anything. All you have to say is: “Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.” I only ask that we not get into a never-ending back & forth. If we disagree, we disagree. That doesn’t make me right & you wrong – it is what it is. We agree to appreciate & listen to one another’s points & communicate with one another. We’re both adults, we can do better than this. I’m happy to listen to you – if you’re willing to listen to me.

              Ron, if you’re interested, I would suggest dropping the: Jason said:, Karol said:, Ken said: Trollfight said: bit. Just talk to people. By phrasing things the way you have been – it automatically puts people on the defensive.

              Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

              • I saw your offer, but didn’t have a chance to respond, and then apparently my RSS feed for your site cut off, so I didn’t see any of the other comment threads.

                OK Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.

                So how do we discuss things? What are the rules, described so that a 3rd party person could adjudicate who is following them, and who is not?

                I’ve been following the conversation you’ve been having with Ferris, and it clarifies for me a number of perspectives regarding “NewSpace”.

                • Hi Ron,
                  Sounds good.
                  The rules are simple: Treat those how you want to be treated & understand that we’re not always going to agree. There were several points Ferris & I didn’t agree on & I just stated that. Feel free to present information, but try to keep it as succinct as possible.
                  I apologize, but could you clarify your 3rd party statement? I don’t know what you’re asking & what to answer you properly.
                  The funny thing on NewSpace, & Ferris helped clarify some of this, is it seems to mean different things to different people. Is that your take on it?
                  Sincerely, Jason

              • If you want to see a post that is as factual as I think is possible, AND Ken has said he likes it, see my post “March 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm”

                That might be a good starting point, since if we can agree, that lays the foundation for further discussion. And if we can’t agree on the beginning of the SLS and Commercial Crew, then that’s an indication of something…

                • Ron,
                  With respect? I’m in the middle of writing an article could you perhaps summarize the point? I apologize, but I have to manage my time to get the story (and the dishes) done. BTW – it’s 2:23 am here – are you on EST?
                  Sincerely, Jason

                    • Hi Ron,
                      Obama didn’t want SLS, Orion or anything. He tried to cancel it all. However, I’ve spoken with folks at NASA, listened to them & they do want it. It serves as more than just a flagship for the agency. So, I’m not seeing what some are trying to say that Congress “forced” SLS on them. Sorry. Moreover, I really wouldn’t consider how Obama has handled NASA to be all that great. It’s obvious that you support the president’s initiatives – I don’t. Sorry. I think he could have handled things better than he did. I was there when he made his speech at KSC. Ron, I’ve never heard weaker applause or seen more disappointment in my life.

                      As for the reasons not debated here. Let’s do so – but be polite. From the reports I’ve received? SLS emerged as a two-pronged effort to one, return the U.S. to the business of space exploration & two – to hedge their bets on the commercial efforts that were in their nascent stages at the time. I’m going to say something that I ask you take it just as I say it. If these commercial companies can demonstrate capabilities that would replace SLS & that was decided the way to go? I wouldn’t mind. I’m not married to any launch vehicle – I just want us to journey beyond LEO again. I think this bickering about who should get what is counter-productive.

                      In April 2010, President Obama directed NASA to go to an asteroid in the 2020s. I ask you, how else could we achieve this if we didn’t have some HLV? Moreover, since that time, while VSE might have been cancelled, the concept of Moon, Mars & beyond has somewhat survived & NASA is still eyeing these as its objectives. Again, watch the LCC interview I conducted not too long ago. The officials state as much.

                      Let me ask you this, why do you think that this debate (at least seems) to be all one way or the other? Why can’t we blend the two (commercial & BEO) The way I see it? Is SpaceX, SNC, Orbital & a couple others will be just as much of the establishment as Boeing & Lock Mart, In SpaceX’s case it will be soon. So really, what’s the difference who does what?

                      Your thoughts on govt are close to Andrew’s. However, you don’t seem to think govt. should handle space exploration. Given that there really isn’t a business model for space exploration – doesn’t it make sense to have govt. handle it (with the heavy lifting done by companies)? I wonder if the private/public relations are confusing how it is viewed as to who can do what.

                      I have watched as over the past eight or so years as NASA has been yanked this way & that. While you might not like VSE/Constellation/SLS/Orion, I hope you can see what I’m saying on that point. Back to the Moon, then cancelled, tech development, then Orion returns, then commercial crew & cargo, SLS and on & on. I just want to grab the politicians & say – “stop!” That’s Congress, that’s the president that’s all of them. They’ve all made a mess of things.

                      Sorry to go off on an anti-politician rant there. It’s 3 a.m. I gotta jump.

                      Sincerely, Jason

  5. Jason said:

    NewSpace has yet to fulfill its promise.

    You have stated that Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) is a NewSpace company, both yesterday and on Sunday.

    Yet SNC was started in 1963, employs over 2500 people, has six different business areas and 30 locations in 16 states along with numerous customer support sites located throughout the world.

    40 years old – how have they stayed in business so long by not fulfilling promises?

    I think a non-partisan observer would say that Sierra Nevada does not meet your definition of “NewSpace”.

    Are you going to continue keeping them on your “NewSpace” list, or are you going to change what your definition of “NewSpace” is to fit reality?

    • Ron,
      How many commercial crew missions has Dream Chaser completed? Oh, that’s right, they haven’t. That’s the 800 lbs gorilla in the room. Only SpaceX, in terms of completing major commercial milestones, has done much of anything.

      Yes Ron, I’ve stated that SpaceX is a NewSpace company, I’ve also stated that they’re becoming more & more like an established company. Again Ron, your selective memory is coming into play. Your foisting up one half of one of my statements – all the while ignoring the other half.

      Also, review my conversation (yes, we actually talk “to” each other – shocking I know) with Ferris. I’m tired of repeating myself to address your cherry-picked “arguments.” In summary – I detailed my perceptions & admit that they aren’t perfect. Ron, you think you never make a mistake & are always right. Don’t project that on to me. I admit I’m human & that my point of view is neither correct or perfect. According to you, you “rarely” make a mistake (here’s where we differ – I will acknowledge you were referring to your writing – you wouldn’t you’d make it into some “proof” that I’m an arrogant dolt).

      Again Ron. You think you can win your argument by proving that one tiny element doesn’t mesh with the rest. Go right ahead. However, so far, I haven’t seen you address the fact that when I used your own words against your favorite projects that you got upset. That’s the point your avoiding Ron, you yourself became incensed when someone talked to you – the way you’ve been talking to others. Once this happened? You proved my point for me – you already lost the debate. Your behavior, your words are divisive & self destructive.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        How many commercial crew missions has Dream Chaser completed? Oh, that’s right, they haven’t. That’s the 800 lbs gorilla in the room.

        This is the benefit of asking questions, because now we understand more of how you perceive “NewSpace”.

        To you, “NewSpace” isn’t really the company, but a specific program within a company. Sierra Nevada Corp. is 40 years old, and has proven it’s self over and over during those 40 years. NASA thought highly enough of the company that it wanted to give them part of the Commercial Crew funding, even though it knew that by doing that it could be delaying SpaceX and Boeing.

        Which brings us to a possible point of agreement!

        In my definition of “NewSpace” (read yesterday’s post to view it), the Satellites & Space division within Boeing is being “NewSpace”, or in business-speak, entrepreneurial.

        So while the corporate Boeing that is in a partnership with Lockheed Martin on ULA is, for whatever reason, not acting entrepreneurial in keeping ULA cutting edge (i.e. “OldSpace”), a division within Boeing is.

        You seem to be saying the same about Sierra Nevada, in that for the Dream Chaser, you view that product within the company as “NewSpace”, but not necessarily the company as a whole. In fact you may have not opinion about SNC outside of the Dream Chaser.

        Am I close?

        • Dear Ron,
          Again, look at my discussion with Ferris. I’ve said this repeatedly. I want to hear from people with opposing view points. It’s not what you’re saying Ron – it’s how you’re saying it. It also is about what your willing to do to “win” the debate. You shown you found your own words as “hostile.” Why do you think I phrased them that way? You’re right – this is a waste of time. Can we do better? I suggest we try.

          Ron, people can hate everything I say & disagree with every word I utter. However, that doesn’t give them carte blanche to behave however they want. I’ve said what I have to say, now I have a proposal for you.

          Ken says you have a lot to offer. I want to hear it. I tell you what. You don’t have to join this “admiration society” of yours, don’t have to agree with me, concede anything. All you have to say is: “Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.” I only ask that we not get into a never-ending back & forth. If we disagree, we disagree. That doesn’t make me right & you wrong – it is what it is. We agree to appreciate & listen to one another’s points & communicate with one another. We’re both adults, we can do better than this. I’m happy to listen to you – if you’re willing to listen to me.
          Sincerely & with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

        • Ron,
          Just to be clear. If you want to proceed, review my proposal & let me know if you find it acceptable.
          Sincerely & with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        However, so far, I haven’t seen you address the fact that when I used your own words against your favorite projects that you got upset.

        Since you don’t quote me, I’m not sure what you are referencing. I did use the phrase “Gee, you actually got me riled on that one.” yesterday, is that what you mean? Was that my indication that I was upset? Because I used the phrase “riled up”?

        Golly gosh, passion in one sentence. How many did you show passion in yesterday? Not that it should really matter, since the topic of space does, as everyone knows, elicit passion in many people. You must have noticed it by now, and it’s something you have to be prepared for.

        But as I’ve mentioned before, and this is just for future comments with anyone, if you are addressing something that someone specifically said, it helps to provide the quote so there isn’t any of this back and forth, and guessing. it shortens the conversation, which I think you will appreciate.

        • Ron,
          I’ve referred to it several times today, I also responded to your comments several times referencing it. Take a look at my proposal and tell me what you think.
          Sincerely & with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • Jason said:

            I’ve referred to it several times today, I also responded to your comments several times referencing it. Take a look at my proposal and tell me what you think.

            Can you just quote it? I’ve already looked, but since we’re talking about things we don’t define the same way, I’m not seeing what you see.

            Maybe this is why some disagreements happen, since you could be responding to one thing, and others are responding to something else, and that’s why there is no agreement.

            • Ron,
              You said the following: “Kill SLS” & referred to my views on spaceflight as “space fantasies.” I turned these into: “Kill commercial” & NewSpace fantasies. You referred to these comments as “hostile” & became “riled up” about “people like me.” I know this is inflammatory, but it’s at that point you really stepped in it. You said” “Those are your words – not mine.” actually Ron? They were your words – I just moved some nouns around.

              You were offended by your own phrasing. That’s the point I’ve been making all week. I see your behavior & words as divisive & insulting – & judging by how you responded? So do you. Why can’t you try to talk to people & actually listen to what they’re saying instead of just uttering a never-ending stream of counter-points to try to prove how you’re right and everyone else is wrong?

              I’ve now asked you 5 times (this is the 6th) if you can agree to the following:

              Ken says you have a lot to offer. I want to hear it. I tell you what. You don’t have to join this “admiration society” of yours, don’t have to agree with me, concede anything. All you have to say is: “Jason, it looks like we got off on the wrong foot – let’s start over.” I only ask that we not get into a never-ending back & forth. If we disagree, we disagree. That doesn’t make me right & you wrong – it is what it is. We agree to appreciate & listen to one another’s points & communicate with one another. We’re both adults, we can do better than this. I’m happy to listen to you – if you’re willing to listen to me.

              Ron, if you’re interested, I would suggest dropping the: Jason said:, Karol said:, Ken said: Trollfight said: bit. Just talk to people. By phrasing things the way you have been – it automatically puts people on the defensive.

              Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  6. Jason said:

    “NewSpace has yet to fulfill its promise.”

    You have stated that SpaceX is a NewSpace company.

    Though SpaceX is only 11 years old, they have been fulfilling their promises to NASA and the American taxpayer. They have yet to go over a set contractual budget, and they have been delivering on their contractual obligations.

    I think a non-partisan observer would say that SpaceX, in regards to your implication that they have not been fulfilling their promises, does not meet your definition of “NewSpace”.

    Are you going to continue keeping them on your “NewSpace” list, or are you going to change what your definition of “NewSpace” is to fit reality?

    • Ron,
      When I pulled a single example (Kistler for bankruptcy) you referred to it as a “thin” argument. Ron, here’s what you just did. When I used Kistler to highlight something negative – you pretended I didn’t have a point. You just did the same thing to reflect positively on NewSpace. Sooo – it’s okay when you do it – but not when I do it? Hmmmm…

      You probably should read “cloning” – because painting NewSpace with the SpaceX brush – doesn’t work. You’re trying t make the exception – the rule.

      I’ve already stated my opinion on SpaceX – I feel they’re becoming less & less NewSpace & resemble an established firm with each mission. Yet again ROn, you ignore what I say just so you can argue & prove some point.

      Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        When I pulled a single example (Kistler for bankruptcy) you referred to it as a “thin” argument.

        First of all we have to agree on what company we are talking about. You keep saying “Kistler”, but that is a different company from Rocketplane Kistler (RpK), which bought Kistler.

        If you mean Rocketplane Kistler (RpK), they received a COTS contract from NASA, and received $32.1M in milestone payments until they were kicked off the COTS program for non-performance (they couldn’t get the financing they said they would get to continue).

        NASA took a calculated risk on RpK, and because of the incremental setup of the COTS milestone schedule, they were able to determine that RpK was not able to complete their COTS contract. That happens in business, and NASA, because of good contract management, was able to get rid of RpK and replace them with Orbital Sciences.

        So what is your example of “Kistler” supposed to show? That NASA manages risk well?

        I’ve provided my explanation, please provide yours.

  7. Ron, I really don’t want to get in the middle here, but your facts will be missed if the heat is too intense. Jason has repeated that it’s the how of it that is a factor.

    I did notice you’ve broken things up into smaller, more focused comments and hope that Jason acknowledges that fact.

    So play nice boys and respect each other and please forgive me for sticking my nose in. I think the points Ron raises are worth a reasonable, on the facts, response.

    • Ken,
      I’m not going to waste more time on Ron. He can only hear his own voice. Moreover, In two of my replies – I used his own words against him – & he himself referred to them as “hostile.” When someone used the same phrasing he himself had used? He got ticked off.

      Ron said: “Kill SLS.” I took out SLS & replaced it with “commercial.” I also added NewSpace to his comments that my view was nothing but “space fantasies.” How did he react? He got upset, incensed. In short, he proved what I’ve been saying all week.

      I’m happy Ron opted to break his litany of complaints down – but don’t wish to debate a person – who wants to provoke – not have a conversation.

      Lastly, after wasting my breath for two days, I reviewed our comments. I agreed with him several times. How many times did he agree with me, how many times did he reach out, to show humility or reach out? He didn’t. He just tried to bully.

      So, there’s no talking with people like him (yes, that phrase is divisive – & yes it is actually a play on Ron’s own words).

      Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • I think you are correct that Ron should acknowledge agreements a bit more. He does occasionally but it’s not really his style.

        If you can accept him as someone that has human faults (like all of us) you might be able to let go of your frustration with him and not let the way he expresses himself get under your skin.

        I very much respect the fact that you’ve acknowledge that some of the things you’ve said could get under other peoples skin.

        I also think it’s a mistake to label someone a troll when most of what they say includes facts you can agree with or dispute. Nobody likes being falsely accuse (even when there may be an element of truth in the accusation.)

        So far, I haven’t really weighed in on the debate which is a subject fascinating to me. If you start a thread on SLS vs. not SLS I would love to add my 2 cents. You will never hurt my feelings by being critical of me (doesn’t that sound like freedom?)

        • Ken,
          Again, it’s not that I agree or disagree with the points. It’s about the behavior. The attitude, the insults, attacks – that’s what makes someone a troll. Doug doesn’t agree with 98 percent of what I say – but he doesn’t resort to these tactics. He’s just a NewSpacer, one with strong convictions. Does that explain what I’m trying to say better?
          I listened to you. I thought, you know what, Ken’s probably right & I should reach out to Ron. I’ve offered to him that we drop this & start over – six times. I will continue to do so for a while longer in hopes of a positive response. We’re human as you say, it’s time we started treating each other that way.
          Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • You know what you just reminded me of. Peter talking to Jesus saying (and thinking he was being generous) “should I forgive my brother seven times?”

            …and Jesus said, “Seventy seven.”

            People are slow to change. That’s why it’s very important to take notice of even the smallest bit of change.

            Yes, Ron says antagonistic things. So do you. I do to. It’s not always intentional. But because of human nature, sometimes it is.

            Honestly, have you not seen Ron make small changes? That doesn’t mean he wont fall back. But think of it as your contribution to humanity in encouraging good behavior modification.

            There is a part of human nature that likes irritating others (any parent knows this.) You change that by not rising to the bait and instead encouraging the good behavior. Don’t wait for others to do that, take the lead (I know you can because it’s one of the qualities I’ve seen in you.)

            If it doesn’t work, so what? You make yourself a better person and that counts for something.

            Ignore the insults because they really don’t mean anything. Of course, if he says “Yo momma” go ahead and bitch slap him!

            • Ken,
              I saw Ron make big changes last night and they were appreciated. Also, I may have my strengths – but I’m no Jesus – I’m as you so eloquently put it – human.

              As to my “contribution” – that’s what the series was. Three days can be boiled down to: “This makes you look awful – stop it.”

              Ken, sorry, but I think that given how Ron seems to have responded to my suggestion? And given that I listened to you – that you’d find that a step in the right direction.
              Sincerely, Jason

  8. Doug,
    It actually feels that way sometimes.

    Exactly. NewSpace has started to prove not only its potential – but also that the two-step concept (commercial LEO, NASA BEO) can be pulled off. They’ve shown that they can do it. Now? They need to put aside their animosity, their bitterness & join “OldSpace” in a stronger, more vibrant space industry. In fact? The terms NewSpace & OldSpace need to be scrapped – they’re divisive & serve no other purpose to allow one group to look down on the other.
    Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Much of what you’re talking about is already happening. XCOR built a methane engine for NASA a few years back. It’s working with ATK on Lynx and with ULA on a new upper stage for Delta IV and Atlas V. Masten is using a Centaur upper stage in tests to see if it’s possible to land one on the moon. Virgin Galactic is researching a low-cost launch vehicle under a DARPA contract. It’s also partnered with Sierra Nevada on Dream Chaser on commercial crew.

      So, if as you say, NewSpace is moving along nicely in proving itself, and newer companies are already partnering with traditional ones, then we can largely ignore what you’ve written here.

      If you want to build bridges, then three days of ranting about NewSpace trolls isn’t the way to go about it. What you write here is probably not going to be nearly as important as the day-to-day business realities on the ground in both new and established aerospace firms.

      • Doug,
        I pretty much agree with everything you say – except that we can ignore these points. What does it say about these people when they exhibit the behavior described? Why are they biting the hand that funds them? What do they think the tactics described here will accomplish? NewSpace has taken massive strides – but there still appears to be residual resentment from when, they feel, NASA was opposing them.

        This type of behavior is counter productive & self-destructive. This was an opinion-based series that is meant to highlight these issues, yes I will concede it also was meant to shame people who act this way as well, because it’s detrimental to what is being accomplished.

        Every time NewSpace accomplishes something positive, people who act this way drag these accomplishments down by their actions. If you want to say that I’m holding them to a high standard, I’d say that was fair. They have a big responsibility, one that requires maturity. I don’t the actions detailed reflect that.
        Sure, we can ignore this type of behavior. But, when one of these companies loses a spacecraft, worse a crewed one? All of this is going to come back to bite them. They’ll be eviscerated. Doug, I deeply respect your opinion. Please try to consider mine. This behavior is ugly & I’m disappointed that some want to ignore, excuse or even promote this sort of thing. In the end, you’re correct, for me personally this is time I should be spending on content. Also in the end? They’re only hurting themselves.
        Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  9. All,
    I wanted to bring two things up for discussion:

    1. Ron, has been using language all week that I’ve called “Troll-Worthy.” I pulled two of his phrases & changed the wording. I took out SLS from his “Kill SLS” comment & put “Commercial” in its place I then placed NewSpace in front of his referral of my point-of-view as “space fantasies.” Ron viewed his own words as “hostile” he became upset when someone phrased things the way he has been phrasing things all week.

    2. I mentioned this point to Doug & wanted to see who agrees. Do you feel that since we currently have a single NewSpace company completing major NASA milestones & that others could start doing so as early as this year – that it is time to drop the use of divisive words such as “Old” & “New?”

    I know that this series has proved to be controversial. That was the point. NewSpace is starting to do what they say they would. NASA has recognized this & started commercial cargo & commercial crew programs -isn’t it time that those that are guilty of this behavior let go of their anger?
    Sincerely and with much thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Jason –

      1) Not everyone (including me) see AmericaSpace as an honest broker. (you probably won’t like me saying that, but thats how a lot of us feel).

      2) The other part is you fundamentally don’t get what NewSpace is about. Your own definition fundamentally misses what NewSpace is about. You keep thinking this about a select group of companies, some of whom are transitioning to establishment. Its not that. Its much more fundamental than that. This isn’t about age – its liberal vs conservative philosophic debate.

      • Ferris,
        Sure, I understand. However, I feel that they feel this way because we have the nerve to actually present the other side. It’s easy to say people aren’t being honest when they’re saying things that contradict your personal beliefs.

        I’m willing to give you some on that. I just have one problem. Who says so? Is this a majority of the community? Those elements that agree with you side? With my side? See what I’m saying? Who gets to define what “is” is? Whose opinion is more valid than others? Just because we might not agree – doesn’t give people a blank check to act like these people have been. If this is liberalism or conservatism? I’m glad I’m a moderate. Because this type of behavior, is unacceptable. Certain folks like to lay down “edicts.” Well, if they can – then so can I. My edict is simple: “Treat those the way you yourself want to be treated.”
        Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian, Editor, AmericaSpace

        • Jason –

          To answer your question, I would suggest that those who self-identify as being a part of NewSpace should have some role in defining what NewSpace is. And you, at a minimum, haven’t really engaged with the rationale and reasons and justifications behind what codifies the NewSpace philosophy.

          You say you want to engage the ideas, and debate the issues – then at least learn about our way of thought.

          • Ferris,
            So, only those within the community can comment on it? I’m not sure if that is what you’re saying, but it sounds like it. If so, can you see how that makes NewSpacers look? NASA has been accused (and rightfully so in some cases) as arrogant & elitist. If NewSpace I to provide us with a “better” alternative to NASA – should they really be picking up “OldSpace’s” bad habits. I know that this statement is inflammatory & I’m sorry for that. However, I’m trying to get you to see how this behavior is counterproductive & self-destructive.

            Ferris, I’ve tried to better understand the beliefs of those within the community. That’s where I gained my opinion that it contained many who had suffered real or perceived slights by NASA. I have learned some about the NewSpace way of thought, but don’t pretend to know it all.

            I appreciate what you’re saying & will give it more thought (today’s a bit busy). However, think about this. This isn’t me holding up one single example. This is a pattern of behavior over a course of years.

            Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

            • Jason – I didn’t say that only those within the community can comment on it. I said those who self-identify as being NewSpace should have a role in defining it (to borrow a line, I choose my words carefully – something I’ve stated very frequently). That is what I said, and that is what I meant. And yes, I will grant that the philosophy and rationale for it has some of its roots in NASA slights. But that actually isn’t the underlying beliefs. Do this, and you’ll understand why NewSpacers by and large reject SLS.

              As for a pattern of behavior – believe me we could discuss other patterns, much closer to home. But for the moment, I am leaving that to the side.

              • Ferris,
                Yeah sometimes our comment system is a bit wonky. Sorry about that.

                Oh, most certainly!

                Honestly Ferris, I got no problems with most of what you’ve said here. Except one point. My view is that they reject SLS as they see it as a threat to NewSpace efforts. Can I ask you a question? Do you find fault with the concept that commercial (NewSpace companies) handle LEO while NASA focuses on BEO? Moreover (this is, as Ron put it, my “space fantasy”). NASA would establish a lunar base. After they’ve completed this – it would be turned over to commercial companies. Same with asteroid missions & so on. Essentially NASA would serve as a pathfinder. That’s what I believe makes the most sense. It includes both & excludes neither.

                I’m sure we have a number of problems here. We make mistakes, we’re human. The difference is? We’re willing to admit it.

                Ferris, you strongly disagree with me. That’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not a matter of what is being said – it’s a matter of how they say it. They should take notes from you. You don’t drop “F” bombs, you don’t intentionally misrepresent the truth, you don’t twist “be nice” into “bribery.” Why is it that those in the NewSpace community feel these actions are acceptable? Sorry, I’m not trying to hold you accountable for the actions of others & I don’t want to generalize – but I’m tired of it.
                Sincerely & with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                • You’ve asked an involved question, so this is an involved answer. Sorry for that

                  I do find fault with it. First, I find fault with the “give commercial LEO, and let NASA handle BEO” because thats not actually a strategy or a plan. Its a soundbyte. But there is more than that. It also creates a demarcation that is completely arbitrary, and actually isn’t all that clear. When we say “Commercial has LEO, and NASA has BEO” does that mean commercial handles ALL of spaceflight from earth surface to LEO, and NASA goes from LEO to BEO? Does that mean any flights happening that are going to BEO must be NASA from minute 1? So, that statement lacks definition.

                  If you take it to mean the current plan, followed by your preferred vision (which is what I think you mean), then I still find fault with it. And that is I find fault because it is unsustainable, and a dead end. Part of it comes from the fact that I find the concept of “space exploration” to be a meaningless phrase. Is exploration purely science? Then there is argument for the manned vs unmanned. Is exploration about “inspiration” (however you define that)? Then why aren’t we frequently linking space with art, since art inspires as well?

                  Fundamentally, the problem is human spaceflight has lacked metrics that relate to real value returned. People float around ideas like spinoffs, but spinoffs are like winning the lottery – its nice, but not a retirement plan. Or they throw around numbers of “every dollar in space returns $7-10” which is not really justifiable.

                  So, the point is we need a measurable goal, that provides real, measurable, easy to understand value to the average person. If you compare space to the internet, people everywhere grasp the advantage and utilize the internet. Not so for human spaceflight.

                  All of that said, I do believe there is value to be found in human spaceflight, and value that the average person can understand and interact with, and it will be found when space is developed and when it is settled. Therefore, we must develop a plan that creates a self-sustaining cycle where by we end up with space settlements within our lifetime (which, for me, means 2 million on the moon, 1 million people on mars, and another 3 million spread across deep space, by 2050, or so).

                  So how do we build that cycle? Market creation, and capability based exploration. Look for ways that encourage the private sector to invest its own money and also look for ways to encourage other users that need the same capability that NASA wants to have access to.

                  Case in point – heavy lift. I used to be violently pro depot based architecture. And then, at some point, I realized that super-HLVs weren’t inherently flawed. What was flawed was having systems that only NASA needed/could afford to use. There has always been a commercial option for Heavy Lift, that was market sustainable – the Atlas V Phase 2, and the Falcon Super-Heavy option. Those options are designed in a way that start with multiple users, and they also have someone whose butt is dependent upon finding non-NASA customers for there vehicles (and who start with some non-NASA customers, because they have systems that scalable to other markets). SLS doesn’t work that way – its not scalable, and its price tag is so huge, and no identified need for a dedicated system, that NASA is forced to absorb all of the costs. We’ve been down this road with Shuttle, and we never got to where we should be.

                  which brings me to your moonbase – the problem is that building a moonbase isn’t just technical. It also involves economics, legalities, and numerous other social issues. NASA is NOT the organization to actually address all of that. Look at the ISS situation – having reviewed things like the IGA, the CASIS situation, and so forth, it is clear NASA does not understand how to build self-sustaining entities. And your moonbase idea will merely re-create those ideas.

                  I’ve kind of wandered, and I probably could be more clear. If you read the recent Space Foundation report, where they talked about pioneering, that actually captures a lot of the idea of what I am getting at. But for that to happen, NASA has to look at things from a capability based viewpoint, and after we have some initial data, must engage commercial industry in a way that allows commercial industry to do market creation.

                  As for your second point – the problem is Jason, AmericaSpace in general, and you included in this, have attacked the motives and positions of people that NewSpace respects. And not on a discussion of the merits of this design choice over that, or this philosphic view point over that one, but rather questioning integrity and the like. I could point to the recent exchange regarding Pete Worden, and Inspiration Mars (yes, that was very close to slander, IMHO). I could point to the piece you wrote about the Augustine Committee’s options being pre-determined ( – that piece had demonstrable errors, relating to the committee’s endorsement of commercial and the Atlas V rocket, among other problems. So, to borrow a phrase, doctor heal thyself.

                  • Ferris,
                    No need to apologize. Some times, to adequately explain something it takes a detailed response.

                    NASA has been stating that: “They’re going to cede LEO operations to private firms so NASA can focus on exploration.” I’d take it up with NASA. I happen to agree with it – for now. The way I see it? After NASA establishes bases on the Moon, asteroids or Mars – it should then get ready to explore further. Handing the bases over to be managed my commercial companies. In essence, NASA would be a pathfinder. That’s actually two points. NASA’s – & then my take on how the public/private effort should work. One is NASA policy, the second just my opinion.

                    Unsustainable, I’m hoping I don’t hear the Augustine Committee here. Because that, in my view, was rigged to provide a predetermined response. I find fault with it. If you can find with official statements and decisions, then I imagine you will allow me that same courtesy.

                    I’m mixed on the “definition” of space exploration. Primarily? I view it as required for the survival of the human race. We need to not have our eggs all in one basket.

                    I find the attempt to define space exploration in a business sense to be disingenuous & again designed to result in a predetermined result. What was it Andrew said? If you can make a buck of it – it’s commercial’s venue – if you can’t – it’s the government’s.

                    You know Ferris, I completely agree with you on that. As I was readying my SpX-2 article I came across three numbers: 1,200, 1,498 & 2,700. These were the press kit’s, cargo manifest’s & Shotwell’s numbers as to how much lbs Dragon was sending aloft. Three totally different amounts. I think that might be some of the problem that is furthering the “new” & “old” divide. One side holds up one set of numbers & the other side holds up a completely different set. There needs to be consensus – but to do that people need to communicate properly.

                    As to people settling the solar system – agree with you 100 percent. I just differ about how we need to do it (see above).

                    First of all, I think the private sector has a massive role to play. However, what’s the business model? How can these companies make money off of this venture? Don’t you think that my “pathfinder” scenario is one way to accomplish this?

                    I’m going to merge your next two points into this one response (sorry, I’m pressed for time). While you don’t out-and-out “slam” NASA, you still seem to have some of that residual resentment I’ve been talking about. I think NASA, like anything, is flawed. However, in the past few years they’ve started commercial crew, cargo and on & on. They’ve started working with what myself & others have called NewSpace so, I have to ask – why not back off a bit? They’re changing how they do things. They’re listening to your ideas, a commercial spacecraft is at station now, a inflatable module will be there in 2015. Can’t you at least begrudgingly see some positive changes?

                    Also, my moonbase as you put it, involves a mining camp, lunar-based telescope & a substantial footprint. We’ve found water, titanium & numerous other in situ resources on the Moon. Do you see where I’m going with this?

                    I know you’ll prolly knock me for this & perhaps I deserve it – but I try to avoid MOUs, press release, press announcements & so on. I’ve lost count of the ocean of paper & promises I’ve tracked over the past decade Ferris. I hope you can see that after seeing all of that paper & not much bent metal – I just don’t place real value in conferences & people saying they’re going to send people to the Moon & Mars. How you change my view is much more difficult. I gave SpaceX HELL before & shortly after their first F9 launch. Do you know how they converted me? They kept launching. They had stuff go wrong & they worked the problem. In short? They put their flight hardware where their mouth is. You can’t argue with success – but it’s really easy to argue with a PowerPoint.

                    Ferris, you’re 100 percent – we have attacked the integrity of those who have attacked & insulted us. When I post a report on the Cal/OSHA’s findings on the Scaled accident? Someone had the nerve to accuse me of being subsidized by a Scaled Competitor. I ask you, given that that this is just one of multiple examples – what do you expect? Do you think that folks can do this sort of thing & there not be any repercussions or backlash? Why do you think I’ve spent so much time trying to make people understand how wrong this is? To be upfront? Yes, I hate it when we respond as others have treated us – but no one likes to be insulted & abused & we’re only human.

                    Ferris, yes, I feel that Augustine was designed to be predetermined – so do a good many others. You use a strong word “slander.” and link to my story regarding the aerospace letter. Is there something in the article which was factually inaccurate? Ferris, you know we report on things that are inconvenient to your beliefs, but I’m asking you – are we misrepresenting the truth? Are we making up the documents that have been provided to us? If so, then we’re guilty. If not, then it’s just a matter of us highlighting something unpleasant you wished we wouldn’t. However, just because you don’t like it – doesn’t make it slander (libel). As to Worden, Av Week & others reported it too – not just us. So, I’d suggest you not get upset with the messenger that is bringing bad news, at least on that score.

                    As to Inspiration Mars & Golden Spike? Read my comments regarding PowerPoints & press conferences. I know this might seem harsh to you, but I think, that if you take a day & look at the never-ending stream of promises posited over the years? You’ll find that most of them go nowhere.

                    Also, do me a favor, make these a bit more succinct please. I’d appreciate it. Lastly, the doctor heal thyself comment – really? Ferris, here’s the deal. We both have strong viewpoints. When I express mine, I have to tolerate comments like that. Is it any wonder that myself and others are getting tired of it and starting to respond in kind?

                    Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                    • Your pressed for time, and I am not wanting to invest a lot of time –

                      You want to start with NASA pathfinding, and then put a private/public partnership in place. IMHO, that is the cart before the horse. Put the private/public partnership in place, and then have NASA pathfind. It produces a very different result.

                      Regarding unsustainable – yes we are talking Augustine. As for you viewing it as rigged, I view as insulting a lot of good people who worked their butts to produce a good document. There is the problem.

                      As for positive changes – yes I agree we’ve seen some. The reason we’ve seen them is because of the things you seem to dismiss/dislike/view as rigged – like the Augustine report. Like the deputy Administrator. And there is the point that you still don’t understand the idea that all of space, including companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, can become NewSpace (again, its not a group of young companies).

                      As for ignoring things like MOU, press releases – I could actually care less. But I do take issue with you equating not making it to space as being the equivalent of powerpoint (which, yes, you’ve done that).

                      And I don’t believe I refereed Inspiration Mars or Golden Spike.

                      As for succinct points – well, I’ve done better this time. And as I said, sometimes you can’t avoid it.

                    • Ferris,
                      Quick question – how do you know what will be the result of doing it your way? Also, was the “not wanting to invest time” comment really necessary? If you don’t want to talk to me, you don’t have to.

                      Sorry, I’m not talking about the people on the committee – I’m talking about the restrictions placed on them regarding budget & other issues. I should have explained that better & I didn’t mean to offend. we have dramatically opposing views on how Augustine was handled & why. Ferris, we’ve managed to find much in common, but I don’t think this subject is going to be one of them. Sorry.

                      Ferris, expressing my personal opinions on the restrictions placed on Augustine, the behavior of Garver & others will only sour the conversation. Given that these things have benefitted you, you seek to defend them. While I can understand why you’d do this – I don’t share your view regarding these events.

                      Could you do me a favor? Can you address the point I raised? What about how NASA under the current administration has worked to build relationships with the private space industry? Haven’t they been supportive? You said they did – so again, why is that those that on “your side” (you don’t want me calling you NewSpace – but God that sounded bad) – are still so bitter? Why are you still attacking the agency that has opened it’s doors to you? Can’t you see what I’m saying as to how bad that makes you look?

                      So what if I did? Ferris, we don’t have the money to shovel to everybody with an idea. If they’re moving forward with their milestones and proving they can do what they say they can – then by all means give them a shot. If they just keep uttering promises & documents – that’s foolish. Ferris, perhaps you interpreted what I have said that way, and perhaps I gave you cause. However – there have been a ton of announcements & promises from starry eyed dreamers. Look at X-33 if it makes you feel better. The point is I’ve been snakebit – so when someone promises to grow apple trees on the Moon? They better demonstrate they have the hardware to do it – because a press conference & a promise ain’t going to cut it. I’m surprised you could find fault with that.

                      Ferris, I’m not trying to say you’re lying: I could point to the recent exchange regarding Pete Worden, and Inspiration Mars (yes, that was very close to slander, IMHO). I could point to…

                      Sincerely and with thanks, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                    • 3 other quick points that I missed

                      1) I am not defining space exploration in a business sense. I am saying though that you have to have metrics that are relevant to the average person. Something we really haven’t had in a long time (if ever)

                      2) Regarding moonbase and mining, and lunar based scopes and so forth – again, the problem is that building a moonbase involves more than just technical issues, and many of the non-technical ones NASA does not have the operational expertise needed (again, I cite the example of the governance of ISS). Which goes back to my point in the other post – partnership first, then pathfinder.

                      3) You may view me as having “residual resentment” – but the fact is I want NASA to be hugely successful, and I fear NASA is inches from death, because it doesn’t produce value for the taxpayer, and there are too many myths and misconceptions about NASA and space that expose it to unacceptable levels of risk. Re-aligning towards a NewSpace philosophy (and getting the contractors to embrace that philosophy) is the best chance to save it.

                    • 1). Okay, that makes a bit more sense. So you’re saying that space efforts should be detailed in a manner that can be relatable to the average person – correct? If so, that makes sense to me. I think that would help improve the public’s awareness about space issues. However, I’m willing to bet we wouldn’t agree on what those metrics should be.

                      2). Okay. I think we can probably merge those two together to save time, but while it might not be what I would personally do, at least I understand what you’re saying and see how it makes sense. Thanks for explaining that.

                      3). On this point, I kinda see where you’re coming from. However, while I don’t view the agency as “inches from death” and remember I’m a frequent visitor to KSC & have visited most of NASA’s centers and am in contact with those on the inside. I do feel it has been weakened. However, I’m sure you won’t agree with me on this point. I think the problem there is that the politicians have yanked NASA around by the nose, saddled it with an expensive space truck to LEO & generally made a mess of things since Nixon. You still didn’t quite address the issue of the vitriol still emanating from NewSpace. That’s okay, it’s a touchy topic and hopefully things will improve on that front.

                      Thanks for this comment. I didn’t understand some of what you were saying and this cleared it up. I also understand some of where you’re coming from now.

                      Sincerely & with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                    • Jason –

                      In response to your first comment
                      I was responding to a comment, that doesn’t seem to be there any more, about you not having a lot of time.

                      As for doing it your way – I presume you mean my point about partnership first, and then pathfinding? If not, you’ll have to explain what you mean.

                      I won’t say that I know “for certain.” What I can say is that we’ve done the pathfinder way first, and its produced 2 systems that had to be kludged into some sort of commercial system (Shuttle and Station), and one never made a real successful transition to commercialization. And we can compare that to how comm sats developed, which was closer to a partnership first model.

                      Second, I want to speak to a very specific point. You said “Given that these things have benefitted you, you seek to defend them. While I can understand why you’d do this – I don’t share your view regarding these events.” My defense of Garver and Augustine isn’t about “benefit to me.” I defend them because I agree with the viewpoints. And I entered the industry because I agreed with them. Only later did I find someone who would hire me to be help defend them.

                      As for NASA being supportive – yes, I am thrilled that they are supportive (I’ve helped craft press releases celebrating those facts, actually). Again, the problem is that NewSpace isn’t a specific collection of companies. Its a philosphy. Parts of NASA embrace it, parts of it hate it. Its like conservatives vs liberals, so yes, its my side vs your side, if you will (and yes, I call myself NewSpace). This is why I keep coming back to the issue of what is NewSpace. You see it as a simple divide in time, related to new companies. I see it as a philosphical and methodological approach.

                      And my fear about NASA being disbanded is very real.

                      As for not having money to shovel at everybody with an idea – I agree. But the point isn’t that we are taking about anyone with an idea. We are talking about companies who produce an hardware, and an increasing number of successful demonstration, even if they haven’t flown in space. And I am not saying we have to give them money. They do deserve respect for having produced hardware (and yes, the X-33 guys deserve respect for what they did – I don’t disagree).

                      In response to your second comment
                      1) The metrics have to be more than just relatable. They have to be relevant and make a difference for the average person. The average person must have a personal link/interaction with the value and metrics (much like how we’ve done so for connectivity to the internet).

                      Skipping 2

                      3) The mismanagement of NASA isn’t any one person, or group of person’s fault. We, as a nation, all get to own a piece of that. Its just a question of what piece you own – a politician who saw NASA only in the guise of pork. An uninterested public person who didn’t have time for dealing with complex issues. Or a civil servant who wanted to be connect to space, even though the value produced wasn’t there.

                      Finally, the heal thyself comment – again, many of us don’t view these attacks as being a one way street. So there in lies the problem.

                    • Hi Ferris,
                      I’ve been really trying to tone down the rhetoric & you might have caught me editing it. Sorry, but it sounded as if this conversation wasn’t time well spent.

                      Yes, that’s what I meant.

                      As to shuttle & station, yeah, I really hope that template isn’t used ever again.

                      That’s what I was saying. Benefit was meant to imply personal, professional, etc. In this case it meshes with what you believe personally.

                      Well, from what I & a good many others seen, a number of followers of this philosophy are acting reprehensibly. The point, that I’ve been making over & over again – is it’s not helpful, it’s counterproductive (the behavior).

                      Let me be completely honest. I think NASA has issues. However, so do we as a people. I sometimes wonder if we deserve NASA.

                      Ferris, we agree, if companies have hardware & have shown they probably can do what they say? They got my support. However, initially I/m going to be very skeptical & I hope you can appreciate this.

                      As to the metrics – what do you think would work? I’ve posited the idea (back in the day when I really did have space fantasies) that if NASA could mine the Moon for helium 3, that the agency could help provide power & that it’d be hard to tell the agency that allows the lights to come on in your home no. While assorted elements of that are prolly never going to happen – do you mean something like that?

                      It’s funny you say that, because I’ve often thought that NASA needs to be taken out of the politician’s hands. However, if that were to occur where would the directives & funding come from?

                      Ferris, thank you. For at least acknowledging that their is a problem. As I hold a “NowSpace” view (it’s my philosophy, so I’m calling it what I want) I can say that I have seen attacks on both sides. However, I still feel most of it is coming from one side & given the current situation is no longer needed or helpful.

                      The one thing I’d like to see happen is for one side to give up some of what they want, the other some of what they want & for them to meet in the middle. I might suffer from “space fantasies” – but that isn’t one of them however & I just don’t think this will ever happen. There’s too much of this “my way or the highway” crap on both sides.

                      Sincerely and with thanks, Jason

                    • Jason,

                      The problem is that when you say “you’ve benefited from it” many people read that as I am only in this for money, which, believe me, is NOT the case.

                      As for acting reprehensibly, I’ve seen a lot of people on the other side acting worse, and yes, we are responding in kind.

                      (Getting on soapbox for a moment) We live in a time of extreme ideological partisanship. And this isn’t just a Democratic vs Republican, and media like blogs don’t encourage coming together, they encourage greater ideological purity. I realize a lot of people would like to imagine otherwise, that there is a coming together, but the foundation of how we interact right now is really built around strife. This is a fundamental problem with our politics right now, which IMHO, has its roots in the media. Its something that isn’t unique to space, and so we’d better learn to live in a world where ideological purity is one of the most, if not the most, important thing (getting off soapbox)

                      Sorry, but decrying (or denying) the world of ideological purity we live in is a pet peeve of mine. But then, I believe that the Democratic/Republican partisan divide can actually help space (rather than the bi-partisan label)

                      (Moving back to the major points)

                      Regarding moving NASA out of the politicians hands, and your metrics – the problem is that the only way you deal with that issue is, as Ken said, to go fully private. Those metrics are good metrics for a private corporation, not a government agency (particularly when you have something that lends itself to market creation).

                      I don’t have a “for sure, thats the metric we should use”, but my belief is that the metrics need to be built around market creation, capability development that has multiple users, and increasing space access (and this I mean access to an ever expanding list of destinations in space)

                      2 last points
                      1) I think “deserving NASA” over exaggerates NASA’s value/importance. At the end of the day, NASA is merely a government agency. What you actually might want to consider is whether we deserve space

                      2) Did you read about Mark Albrecht’s speech to the National Space Council? Jeff Foust detailed it pretty good –

                    • Ferris,
                      Soapbox or not – it’s correct. I don’t think that publicly stating it should cease is bad however.

                      Sorry, I just don’t see a business model for deep space exploration ventures. Andrew said it well, if you can make a buck – give it to commercial – if not – government. Also, don’t get me wrong, the government couldn’t even manage “Cash for Clunkers.” I don’t have much faith in them (hence why I’d like to take it out of government hands) – I just don’t think that commercial could get the whole pie. To me, that argument is selfish. It’s just as wrong as saying NASA should have control over it all and thus makes those espousing this statement – no better than those they oppose. That’s a big issue that all the NewSpace supporters have yet to address. Why can’t they handle sharing? Why does everything have to be given to them? Do you have any idea how selfish & arrogant that looks? Especially if you consider SpaceX is the only NewSpace company that has accomplished major NASA milestones under its commercial efforts.

                      I think that NASA, the agency that put men on the Moon, the agency that exponentially revolutionized our understanding of the universe & to phrase them as “merely a government agency” is a grave disservice to what they have accomplished.

                      No I haven’t. Sorry, I have to be honest, I don’t visit Space Politics. I’ve been going round & round as to how to phrase this and not be offending or say that I avoid sites that have a bias as strong as the one you say we have. Let’s just say, that it isn’t a site I visit. It has been supported by certain people (not Jeff, who is an awesome guy) that have called us “idiots” asked if we were “on drugs” & so on. As, I think any sane person would, we tend to avoid people & places that act that way. I understand that it also allows people to say some pretty vitriolic things – so no, I avoid that type of place.
                      Sincerely, Jason

                    • Jason said:

                      Sorry, I just don’t see a business model for deep space exploration ventures.

                      But entrepreneurs do. That’s why people are backing Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industry, and even Golden Spike.

                      This is only possible because costs are going down for accessing space, and the technology for operating in space is fairly mature.

                      You can thank SpaceX for the cost side, and the commercial satellite industry for the technology side. NASA has contributed too, but it’s not just because of NASA that these companies are spending money to do risky things.

                      And I’d like to point out that the U.S. Government hasn’t found a reason to do space exploration either. Space science, yes, and that is what the ISS is for. But human exploration beyond LEO? No reason exists.

                      In fact, it looks like Dennis Tito has more of a chance to get people to Mars before the U.S. Government does, and on 1/100 the budget. And that is because of NewSpace thinking, not OldSpace thinking.

                    • Dear Ron,
                      I’m sorry. But I have no interest in responding to someone who cuts my comments into sections just to make his point. You intentionally took me out of context – again. Moreover, it’s not communication to do nothing but disagree with someone, ignore virtually everything I say, insult, talk down to others & so on.

                      Ron, stating that I agreed with you that NASA had no mission, when I never said any such thing – is a lie.

                      As to “how I treated” Ferris & Doug? I agreed with you that they were level-headed & I’ve had a great conversation with Ferris over the past two days. He hasn’t stated I said something that I didn’t, hasn’t cut up my comments, ignoring some points, while harping on others. What he has done is agreed with me, disagreed with me & as far as I’m concerned treated me with courtesy & respect.

                      Ken, might be right, you might have some great ideas. However, after a week of trying to communicate with you, I find you’re too obnoxious to listen to, too willing to dismiss, ignore, skew the facts & make a company that’s been around for a month, hasn’t accomplished anything other than hold a press conference – as more capable than the agency that gave us Apollo, Hubble & the other great observatories as well as the robotic explorers who have changed how we viewed the universe.

                      When someone is so willing to do some of the things you have, to make statements like you have – you make my argument for me. You don’t want to talk to me – you want to talk at me. You will never listen to anyone other than those who are in lock step with you & I’ve wasted an entire week on you. I’ve allowed you to goad me, to provoke me, even after I tried to start over. I truly hope that “people like you” to use your own words against you again – aren’t the norm in NewSpace.

                      It’s a little late for you to try act indignant. Sadly I don’t have the money to “pay” you to stay or bribe you, (points that you suggested earlier). If they were in jest – then your humor is pretty tasteless.

                      Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                    • Jason

                      I guess I view saying ideological purity issues should cease is like saying we should have good weather. Anyway….

                      I somewhat agree with you, when it comes to deep spaceflight ventures – right now, I suspect they are going to be fighting an uphill battle to succeed. But the metrics you provided really are metrics that are best utilized in a private market situation. If you will – its like trying to determine the viability of fusion energy by examining the success of midnight basketball programs. Or, if you prefer another example, the Dow Jones Industrial average (Planet Money had a very good story about DJ average, and how its fundamentally flawed).

                      Anyway, the point isn’t “to give it all to commercial.” The point is to incorporate commercial (and more than commercial – every aspect of society) into the strategy, in a way that allows for NASA to take advantage of positive developments. Commercial Crew allows this to happen, because if VG, or XCOR, or someone else develops a better system than the initial winners, its not that difficult for NASA to incorporate these new system. The reverse is not true for SLS.

                      As for why can’t NewSpacer handle sharing – agian, this isn’t about a particular company. Or even a group of companies. I maintain that ULA is NewSpace. Further, I also claim that Lockheed Martin and Boeing can become NewSpace, if they want. This why I keep coming back to the issue of NewSpace is a philosphy.

                      As for referring to NASA as just an agency – the problem is the way you speak of them, you aren’t treating them with respect, but reverence. If you want to revere something, worship something, you have your choice of religions to consider. But doing that with human institutions is dangerous. And this brings up another point.

                      We’ve talked of metrics. Let me pose this question – if we actually chose some metrics, and gave reasonable resources to the effort for NASA to meet those metrics, and it doesn’t, would you be willing to walk away? Also, answer that question for human spaceflight at large – if human spaceflight can’t meet the metrics, would you be willing to walk away from it?

                      As for Space Politics – I wasn’t actually asking for your thoughts on that, but rather if you had heard about Albrecht’s speech (Jeff’s is the only report I’ve seen of it, unfortunately)

                    • Ferris,
                      I love what you said about incorporating every aspect of human society into the space exploration strategy. I’ll be the first to admit that NASA can be elitist (if we ever meet, ask me about it sometime).

                      Ah, I see what you’re saying. Listen, I didn’t say this when talking to you, but I said earlier – I’m not married to SLS. I don’t care what launch vehicle we use. However, I get the impression that you might not be happy if we used by ones developed by Lock-Mart of Boeing, even if they were the least expensive. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

                      I’m starting to understand your concept of the NewSpace term. I’ll tell you that as a philosophy, I see where you’re coming from. However, the divisions within the community won’t allow others to view it that way & will suggest that my comments on the rationale behind this attempt are valid.

                      Trust me, I don’t revere NASA, not after some of the stuff I’ve not only seen – but had to put up with. The thing is your first impulse is to be dismissive – mine is the opposite reaction. So here’s what happens – we both see the other as “extreme.” Does that make sense?

                      No, I wouldn’t & here’s why. You & I know that both of us can submit metrics that won’t allow the other to “stack up.” Would I be willing to walk away from human spaceflight if it doesn’t meet either an individuals or group’s metrics? No. Because, as I’ve been saying all along – everyone is biased. I can submit numbers that prove NewSpace (my definition of) is a dismal failure. Here’s the problem. I have several different sets of numbers. Some show one thing, others point to something entirely different. Therefore, all you have to do to “win” your point is select the worst looking numbers to win.

                      I’m going to take a smidge of the last (would you walk away) & close with this. AmericaSpace – is biased. Space Politics – is biased. In fact, all media – is biased & so are we as a people. The weakest thing I could do is to allow you to submit some “proof” & allow it to influence what I do. It’s called conviction. We both have it. You’re not wrong for doing so. Neither am I. The difference? We need to stop trying to convert one another into believing that our philosophy is the only way – & try to merge are positions. It’s called compromise. That’s what I believe in. Take a look at the tone of some of Ron’s responses. Throughout the course of three days – I can’t recall too many (any actually) times when he has agreed with me. He has stated a viewpoint that NASA is doomed to fail while stating that Inspiration Mars will do exactly what they say, despite the fact that they haven’t done anything other than hold a press conference. Ferris, that’s reverence coupled with pride & arrogance.

                      You’re one of the few “NewSpacers” who have come into this conversation & treated me with respect & held a real conversation. Given that your previous comments are actually a part of this series? You worked to move past that. You could have become hostile. Instead? You opened a dialogue. Because of this? I’m far more willing to listen to what you say & to move some of my opinion “metrics” closer to your own. We’ve had some hellacious arguments – but I respect you more than almost any other NewSpace who posts comments on here – because you’re actually making the attempt to hear me.
                      Sincerely & with much thanks, Jason

                    • Jason said:

                      I’m sorry. But I have no interest in responding to someone who cuts my comments into sections just to make his point.

                      How else does someone respond to specific comments? Especially since the comments now are displayed so narrow, if I tried to respond to everything you said I’d take up a couple of feet of comment space, and that’s not readable.

                      At least I quote the exact text I’m responding to, I still have a hard time understanding what you’re responding to, since you don’t quote it in any way.

                      as more capable than the agency that gave us Apollo, Hubble & the other great observatories as well as the robotic explorers who have changed how we viewed the universe.

                      Jason, you know I never said that, so now you are putting words in my mouth – again (you’ve done it before). How should I respond to that?

                      I’d explain that in the endeavor of getting to Mars, that I meant that Dennis Tito and company could get to Mars far in advance of NASA. So for space exploration, that would mean that NASA is not the only organization that can do non-profit space exploration.

                      And if Golden Spike is able to get enough investment (I give them less than a 50% chance, but you never asked), then they could also do something that NASA hasn’t been able to do (i.e. return to the Moon), but they will have found a for-profit way to do it.

                      And since you’ve never asked me, you have no idea what my alternative to the SLS would be. So you’ll never know what part I want NASA to play, and what part commercial would play, and how in the heck those two together can go further without the SLS than with.

                      And that is because you tend to be very reactive, and not inquisitive. If you think it’s bait, then rise above it and press on – let their words speak for themselves. There are tools/techniques available to you to shape a conversation, maybe you should look into that.

                      People have taken time out of their lives to engage in conversation, likely with the hope that they can understand your point of view (like I have with the very first comment you made to me), but they spend more time listening to your “manners” lectures than hearing anything of substance.


                      Did you get the reference? 😉

                    • Well, I could point out that I frequently cite using the Atlas V Phase 2, which is from ULA. But to answer your question – Provided that it was honest cost accounting, and also provided the rocket was done in a way to encourage multiple users of the rocket, or alternatively, allowed others to pay for large parts of the rocket, and the company has reasonable ethics (you know, no slave labor, treats its employees decently, etc), I really don’t care whose name is on the rocket. It could be SpaceX, it could be ULA, it could be Boeing, it could be ATK – hell, it could be Whole Foods. The key thing for me is a program that is structured in a way as to be able to really serve multiple users. That is why I like clustering, and only gradually scaling up (again, I say Atlas V Phase 2, or other similar OTRAG ideas). If you haven’t really looked at the Atlas V Phase 2 option, please do. SpaceX could do a similar option, I know. But things like clustering, and combining existing lines, can get us the lift capacity we need, at a cheaper price. Alternatively, you can pursue the propellent depot option (which is just as viable). But again, you don’t want something that is solely for NASA’s use (imaging the potential market for refueling satellites, as well as NASA missions….).

                      As for being dismissive of NASA – I am not dismissive of NASA. They’ve done some great things. But I’ve seen enough fanboys for one lifetime (hell, I’ve been one). And to be fair, I’ve seen some ugly fanboys on my side of the fence (There is the one comment I’ve seen of “Give NASA to Elon”). Its a bit like Jeff Greason’s comment “Its just a space shuttle”

                      concerning metrics, and being willing to walk away. The problem is by not allowing space to fail, it can’t succeed. That is somewhat of a sound byte, but not everything really is fungible. There are times things become absolute. In effect, Spaceflight (and by extension NASA) need to take the advice of Yoda (There is no try – either do or do not). We have to be willing to risk. Not just our lives, but even our dreams. To not do so risks that we never take off the training wheels.

                      As for needing to stop trying to convert each other – why? This may seem rhetorical, but the reality is that this isn’t a negotiation. You have your position, and I have mine. And its not like we are working together, (or for that matter, like either of us have a ton of say in what actually happens). Only when there is a responsibility to something greater (like actual negotiations) is there a need for compromise. But 2 guys posting on a blog – sorry but compromise isn’t in the language (anymore than it is when you turn on cable news). There is a reason you’ll never see Rush Limbaugh or Ed Schultz compromise, but John Boehner and Barack Obama will.

                      BTW, for the record – I actually prefer Ron’s practice of responding to each section directly. Its easier to follow the train of the discussion.

                    • Ferris,

                      Thanks. Again, I really appreciate that.

                      The thing with my statement that really bothered me, was it kind of sounded like “too big to fail.” Or more to the point, “Too important to fail.” I’m willing to admit I’m not totally secure in my perceptions & beliefs. That’s one of the reasons I’ve had some severe issues with the blatant arrogance of some of the other posts I’ve seen. It reminded me of NASA during Challenger. That kind of “I can do no wrong” attitude – gets folks killed.

                      I’m willing to meet you at least a good part of the way on that. I think that, so long as there is some type of “safety net” (so if we do allow them to fail, we don’t lose everything) – then I can somewhat agree with that. However, I think that there is one aspect to space flight that is non-negotiable. We need to move off-Earth – quickly. On the day 2012 DA14 did its flyby of Earth, we got smacked by another meteor which came tearing in out of the blue. All this back-and-forth isn’t getting us anywhere. We need to stop bouncing the ball back & forth and go. When Russia was developing it’s space program, engineers rung their hands about landing a cosmonaut on the Moon – because no one knew what the surface was like. Korolev manned up & signed documentation stating the Moon was solid (this might be paraphrasing the event – but you get the idea). We need to do something similar now. Pick a path & do it. Right now? We got commercial handling LEO & NASA eyeing BEO. I could give a crap which launch vehicles do it – we just need to stop screwing around & get it done.

                      Okay. No worries. Keep trying, who knows maybe one day you will actually convert me, maybe one day I might even convert you. What I’d rather see happen is we meet in the middle. We’re a little different here. I, according to some, have a “romanticized” view of space flight. I want people to be better. Sorry, but to me, someone unwilling to compromise is a stubborn fool. A person willing to accept the point of view of others is far more rational than a selfish zealot who isn’t. While other blogs, Limbaugh, Chris Matthews & their ilk think that sort of nonsense is acceptable – we don’t. I’ve been working to build AmericaSpace for the past three years. Jim (Hillhouse) puts his two cents worth in every now & again – but largely lets me decide the path it takes. I grew up old school: Honor, integrity, common courtesy, manners & respect. I served in the United States Army for 7 years & in law enforcement for an additional 7. Perhaps knowing a smidge more about my background might better explain my adherence to these principles.

                      Ron is used to handling things on websites where a lot of what I describe in this series is tolerated. Coupled with his inability to see no one’s point of view other than his own, his talking down to others, distortions & so on? Ken also stated he like elements of how Ron operates & they probably do have merit. However, by behaving the way he does? When you act that way – it means your point of view is worthless. It’s okay to break down a discussion the way Ron does – so long as it doesn’t dip into condescension every other paragraph. Look at how we’ve been talking? We’ve considered each other’s positions. We’ve flatly refused some, accepted others, but considered all. Ron, hasn’t done that. You both visit Space Politics & from what I understand, that method of commenting is acceptable there, as are other things, I think that explains why you like his methodology, you’re accustomed to it. When I see “Jason said:” at the lead of all of his posts, it makes me feel as if he thinks he’s talking to a moron & I instantly get put on the defensive. However, given that you do prefer that methodology, let me thank you for appreciating my feelings on the subject & not submitting things that way. Seriously, I appreciate that.

                      Sincerely, Jason

                    • Ferris said: “I really don’t care whose name is on the rocket.

                      I am on record over on Space Politics of saying that though I am a fan of SpaceX now, once a lower cost launch provider comes around, THEY will be my favorite launch company.

                      I have said this over and over, but apparently it’s not understood or believed, but what I care about is value, not anything else.

                      Jason said: “We’ve considered each other’s positions. We’ve flatly refused some, accepted others, but considered all. Ron, hasn’t done that.

                      There have been things we’ve agreed with. But as I’ve said numerous times, I don’t spend time writing about things that we agree with, since time is short, and so is comment space.

                      This is part of understanding your audience, since you can’t control the whole world, but you can understand what types of people there are. You have to decide how much time you are going to spend correcting everyone, or figure out that regardless what they say, you don’t take it personally. Obviously this will be post-Ron 😉

                      And just another piece of background, is that after years of discussion, debate and learning at Space Politics and other space blogs, most of us regulars on Space Politics have been able to distill and verify what we believe.

                      And my beliefs were quite different when I started, because I initially started engaging on blogs because I was a DIRECT supporter. However, a number of people spent time providing information to show me why that wasn’t good, and after spending time doing my own verification and research (with lots of debate), I came to understand how to calculate the launch costs of just about any launch system the U.S. uses. That’s why I have such firm beliefs about the SLS (amongst other things).

                      When I see “Jason said:” at the lead of all of his posts, it makes me feel as if he thinks he’s talking to a moron & I instantly get put on the defensive.

                      If there are only a few people talking, it might be overkill. But we already covered this, didn’t we? And I stopped the preface when it was just you and I, but you never provided any quotes for what you were responding to. It’s still hard to follow what are responding to. You can’t say I didn’t make any changes.

                    • Ferris,
                      Yes, I know. However, I think you’re too quick to accept this sort of behavior. I come from a background where things like courtesy & respect are not irrelevant. While Ron, yourself & others might view this as activism – I don’t. I’ve been trying to engage in a discussion. However, perhaps that’s part of the problem. Activism is an effort to get people to think the way that you do. I’ve been trying to get people to “meet in the middle.” However, what appears to be taking place, is that NewSpacers are trying to tell people what to think.

                      Contrary to what you suggest, I’m not trying to get people to think the way that I do – I’m trying to get people to treat each other with respect. Why is this such a foreign concept for NewSpacers to consider? Just because someone doesn’t agree with another & is willing to express himself – does not mean that they’re trying to get someone else to agree with them. It does mean that they aren’t afraid to express themselves. I’m really disappointed that you are confused about this. Go back to my comments to you. I say repeatedly I’m willing to see your point of view, I’m willing to “give.” However, you’re comments suggest that this is a “mistake.” If it’s a mistake to not be rigid, I’m willing to make it. So, I’ve no interest in “activism”, that’s the problem with the NewSpace philosophy. If NASA wasn’t willing to give, to accept new paths & efforts? There would be no commercial crew, no commercial cargo. You might want to rethink this concept. I couldn’t disagree with you more than your comment on activism. I do view this as a discussion. If you want to see what I view as “activism” – look at Ron’s posts – everything has to be his way – all the time. Those aren’t the actions of a mature adult & they aren’t how I’ve been treating this discussion.
                      Sincerely, Jason

                    • Ferris,
                      In closing. Let me say this. I’m fully aware that if someone is unwilling to change their behavior, nothing I say will alter that. However, that does not mean that one should just sit idly by & accept it.
                      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

                    • Jason,

                      First, its not a matter of “accepting this sort of behavior” – activism requires this type of behavior. And this isn’t something that is NewSpace specific. This is modern activism, that anyone engaged in online activities does (whether its gay rights, monetary policy, space policy, even breast-feeding – buzzfeed covered the breast-feeding situation recently). Seriously, go look at other examples of internet activism, you’ll see no difference, because its a fundamental part of internet activism.

                      Second, trying to get people to “meet in the middle” is itself activism. If you truly aren’t interested in activism, then all you should be looking for is an exchange of ideas. Don’t expect, or even hope for a middle ground.

                      Third, blogs are, arguably, the worst form of interaction to get 2 sides to come together, when there isn’t some sort of forcing function that requires them to work together (which, again, is not here). Its a bit like the old CNN show crossfire. Blogs in many ways grew up around online activism.

                      So I’d argue your problem isn’t NewSpace. Your problem is with modern online activism. And this isn’t something that is unique to NewSpace, or even the NewSpace community. Its part of the soul of the internet, and part of the DNA that makes blogs. And since you are an editor of a blog that covers public policy, well, to be blunt – its not going away.

                    • Ferris,

                      This is an excellent point that you’ve made. It goes a long way to explain the shouting match that has been on-going in space policy since…well, at least the early 2000’s.


                    • Ferris,
                      Thanks, but no thanks. I have zero interest in the validation of “my way or the highway” policies.

                      That’s your take on it & that highlights a flaw in how some on both sides enter into a conversation. They only view interaction as getting everything their way, never considering that elements of what they think could be wrong.

                      You’d be incorrect in that argument. Here’s why. If I post an article detailing a flaw in ULA’s RL-10 engine. I won’t receive one comment, no emails & no phone calls. However, if I describe a flaw with something SpaceX is doing? I get deluged in all three – including some from representatives of the company itself telling me to use their wording regarding the event. While this mentality exists on both sides – it’s obviously a major problem with the NewSpace crowd. Ferris, a mature person or organization admits when they’re wrong, considers another’s point of view & makes changes accordingly.

                      I already acknowledged it isn’t going away & stated it’s something I will continue to address.

                      Another issue I wanted to bring up is something I noted when I visited Space Politics. I went back aways & could only see one contributor. While Jeff is one of the most knowledgeable people in the biz – he’s still just one person. AmericaSpace has several writers & has used several others in the past. Forgive me, but I’d put more faith in a site that draws on a variety of views & thoughts – than one that does not.

                      Moreover, there seem to be a small grouping of like-minded people that visits these & a handful of other “NewSpace friendly” sites. They agree with one another & their opinions are similar. I believe Ron referred to what I wanted here as being a “mutual admiration society” – which is pretty hysterical because that appears to be what he’s accustomed to – & part of the problem. When folks get used to hearing the “community” that they visit frequently, agree with them – they fool themselves into thinking that their views are the norm. Then they go someplace else & see that isn’t the case. When they see that that their attitudes aren’t accepted, they think that this new site is “hostile” or “abusive” – when all it really is, is a confirmation that their worldview isn’t absolute.

                      What happens next is they make it their mission to convert those to their philosophy, rather than do the mature thing & accept the differences. How they go about it, almost invariably is to talk to everyone at the “opposing” site as if they’re less knowledgeable than they think they are. I’ve grown to respect you Ferris, but this is how I see what has been going on. So, while I might have to accept that this situation isn’t going to change, you & yours are going to have to accept, that we (AmericaSpace) aren’t going to change just to accommodate the wishes of a handful of people. Each website is a community & when you visit that community – it’s you who need to change to deal with the norms established therein – not the other way around. To presume otherwise is the very pinnacle of arrogance.

                      As I said earlier, much of the animosity directed at NASA is due to years of elitism, however, those that espouse that they’re the “new” NASA, that they’re going to replace it with something better – appear to be just as arrogant as what they call “Old” – & as proven here – perhaps even more so.

                      As for myself, I know I don’t know it all, that some of my views aren’t spot on & I express concern regarding this. I have a task for you. Look at the comments from those supporting NewSpace. Do you see any of that? Any humility? Not so much. For those of us a little older? We’ve seen it before. We saw it before Challenger, we saw it before Columbia. You imply having humility is perhaps a flaw or isn’t how “online activism” is done. I counter with this. When the first crew is lost on a commercial vehicle – those behaving this way are going to realize what the real flaw was all along. But by then, it will be far too late. I’ve listened to the “NewSpacers” here. They claim that I: “Hate” NewSpace, that I “Despise” NewSpace. They fail to realize is that what I’m really trying to accomplish – is to save NewSpace from repeating the same mistakes that NASA did in 1986 & 2003 – which had their foundations built in pride.

                      Sincerely, Jason

                    • Jason

                      Well, then

                      1) Good luck trying to stop the tide from coming in, because online activism is very much a force of nature.

                      2) Please really do try to understand that NewSpace is a philosophy. This isn’t to say you have to agree with it, but learn more about it. Try and learn why I say that ULA is NewSpace, and that ATK and Boeing and Lockheed Martin can become NewSpace (and some argue that they are)

                      3) Please understand that the tactic of online activism is just that – a tactic used in an ideological/policy war. Its not something unique just to NewSpacers.

  10. People are what they are and because change is slow you often have to take them as they are. Sometimes you just have to let go of your frustration with them if you can.

    Actually, I’m encouraged because I see both Jason and Ron coming together a bit more here (I understand they may not see that as I do.)

    For example, I’ve never looked up Newspace before, but did because of their encouragement. I would sum up Newspace to be a philosophy within companies working to develop low-cost access to space. This usually refers to younger companies but could also refer to skunk works in companies that are older. The point being it is a philosophy and to the extent any agree with it and attempt it, they are newspace (I’d even go so far as to say, even a single individual in a definite oldspace company could represent newspace.) However, since it is a philosophy, it’s not a label that you can use with precision and should be avoided when possible. Using newspace, or oldspace for that matter, derisively is not really productive.

    Another problem with the definition is it’s mom and apple pie aspect. Who isn’t for develop of low-cost access to space? (if any of you say oldspace I’m gonna hit ya with a stick.)

    So I’m encouraged and hope you can be too.

    • Ken,
      More like one handled by an oversight committee. I wondered, if given the scope, space exploration shouldn’t be handled by an international organization. A closer look at the U.N. killed that idea. BTW, please review some of my conversation with Ferris. I’m not opposed to commercial. I’m opposed to the “my way or the highway” division that has arisen in the two camps.
      Sincerely, Jason

  11. Positions and Perceptions – NewSpace, NASA and Congress

    These are the perspectives that I have, but I think they are shared by others that are of like mind. And I’m not talking to you Jason, but to “the community”, so “you” doesn’t mean you.

    Part 1:
    “NewSpace” – I don’t know who coined the term, but it has many owners, no set definition of what it means, and who it applies to. Because of that, I apply my own definition, and I can tell people when they have the definition wrong. Others feel the same, but since there is no one that can arbitrate this, it’s a point of disagreement. If you argue the point with me, you’re wrong. If I argue the point with you, I’m wrong.

    I’m a business person, not in the aerospace industry, or anything related to space. Space is a passion, which is why I used a pseudonym, since I don’t want Google searches of my name for business reasons bringing up space blog comments. But I look at space from a business perspective, where “value” is important, and though money is part of that, capabilities from the money spent is really the bottom line – what do we get for the money and effort we spend?

    The difference, to me, between “NewSpace” and an “OldSpace” is about risk. “NewSpace” takes risk to create new products and services, and “OldSpace” doesn’t. For those that have read The Lean Startup, you will recognize that this applies to companies as a whole, or to individuals and groups within large organizations (even in the government). Risk means, by nature, that there will be failures, and that’s not bad – America was built by people that took risk, so this is the American spirit.

    For space, there has always been risk. The biggest risks came when we started flying people, and Apollo and the Shuttle were probably the two biggest gambles in space. In those cases, the U.S. Government was “NewSpace”, but us taxpayers took the financial risk, and the astronauts took the physical risk.

    There have also been many “bubbles” of time where more risk was going on, and many of us that see “NewSpace” as a good thing see that we are in a period of extraordinary innovation. Not only is the government being risky on new approaches, but wealthy individuals are committing a lot of time and money to space-related ventures.

    And everybody knows that some will fail. But since so many are trying, some will succeed. And since entrepreneurs (as well as intrapreneurs) are by nature a pretty positive bunch, I have seen no evidence of any “bitterness” or other negative adjectives, since entrepreneurs are usually too busy figuring out solutions to the inevitable roadblocks to take any roadblock personal.

    • Ron,
      Okay, the thing I have to ask is – if you’re allowed to have your own definition, shouldn’t others, by that same rational be allowed to have their own definitions?

      I don’t have a problem with almost anything that you’ve said – except “extraordinary innovation.” I think you will find that much of the “new” hardware these companies are using, contrary to their press releases, is not new. In fact? It’s based off of legacy hardware. Look at where some of the concepts that Dragon came from – Gemini. Dream Chaser is actually based off of NASA’s HL-20 & Antares is using old Russian rocket engines. Rather, I’d suggest you look at it as these companies taking the “football” developed by NASA & others – & running with it. That too however, is a good thing.

      Then you are very fortunate. Because there is a very vocal group that have been behaving this way for a while now. Some have dropped it – but others have not. Also, it’s human nature to overlook the poor behavior of those you yourself support.
      I know you might not have been addressing me, I just wanted to respond.
      Sincerely, Jason

      • Jason said:

        if you’re allowed to have your own definition, shouldn’t others, by that same rational be allowed to have their own definitions?

        I said that. In fact I stated that there is no definitive definition, which means we all have our own.

        I think you will find that much of the “new” hardware these companies are using, contrary to their press releases, is not new.

        Hardware has nothing to do with it. Look at the definition for “Disruptive Innovation“, and you will see that the age or source of ideas and hardware is immaterial – it’s application of them.

        For instance, SpaceX didn’t invent rockets, they use the LEM engine design as the basis for their Merlin engine, and they use many of the same manufacturing techniques that ULA does, like friction-stir welding. In fact, their ability to find bargains has allowed them to stretch their money better than most.

        It’s the “value” they produce for their customers that is the innovation. They can put 4,850kg of payload to GTO for $54M, and 53mt of mass to LEO for $128M. Their customers don’t care how old the technology is they use. Car companies are still building cars based on 18th century designs, yet you don’t keep reminding GM about that, do you? It doesn’t matter.

      • Jason said:

        I think you will find that much of the “new” hardware these companies are using, contrary to their press releases, is not new.

        If you believe everything everyone says, then you are setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment in life.

        I’m a big Apple fan, and I have bought some of their products when announced, but I know that reality doesn’t always match their advertising. I know this, yet I know that Apple does make good products.

        You have to apply a filter to anything marketing related. You seem to have a bias against anything that SpaceX says, as you’ve stated in the past that they have exceeded your expectations. That’s OK, since that is your filter. But just recognize that your filter is not the same as everyone else, and that we all use different metrics and experiences to judge things.

        For SpaceX, I have watched everything about them for their manufacturing processes, including lurking on their job board to see what their hiring rate is, how many shifts, and the types of people they are looking for. That is one of my metrics I use to judge companies, the ability they have to make things. You may not have a manufacturing background, so your ability to see what I see with SpaceX is not there.

        Press releases are a poor metric to judge a company.

        • Ron,
          If you want to have a conversation, then you need to drop the “Jason said” bit. I’ve already asked you this. It puts people on the defensive and is unnecessary – I know what I said. You’re moving back into your old patterns. Also, the “If you believe” comment was rude & unwarranted.

          Ron, you seem to have a lot of bias against NASA. Also, you’re ignoring all of my previous comments about how SpaceX has won my respect. I’ve actually been all around SLC 40 (I’ve even been under the F9). I’ve interviewed & spoke with a number of their people. Why are you so ready to discount what I have to say? Also, you’re selecting one part of what I said – & then ignoring other things that I’ve said. In short, you’re stacking the deck to make me look bad.

          Why are you starting to act this way again?

          Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • If we’re having a personal conversation, and no one else is joining in, then I’ll drop the preface. But in blogs where there are lots of discussion, I do it. It’s not you, it’s the format that I use on every single blog I post on. You are the first to comment about it.

            Ron, you seem to have a lot of bias against NASA.

            You are incorrect. See my comments in my NASA section below.

            Also, you’re ignoring all of my previous comments about how SpaceX has won my respect.

            I stated a fact, and I can provide a link if you need it. And I was making a reference to the past to provide context to how things change over time.

            • Ron,
              A word of advice – just use it when someone asks for a reference. I’d also ask that you do what you did last night. You asked me to look at your 10:29 pm post. By doing things that way, it’s less likely to be antagonistic.

              Ron, I can provide you with links to where I laud SpaceX. Things do change over time. I told Ferris something to the effect of the following: I gave SpaceX hell before and shortly after their first F9 launch – however they won my respect. Not by what they said – but by what they did. You can’t argue with success.

              I’d suggest to look at the breadth of what someone says, rather than harping on small points. We already know that we have opposing viewpoints. By speaking “at” one another this way – things just get more polarized and divisive.
              Sincerely, Jason

              • Ron, I can provide you with links to where I laud SpaceX. Things do change over time. I told Ferris something to the effect of the following: I gave SpaceX hell before and shortly after their first F9 launch

                That was the actual post that I was referring to, and showing how attitudes change.

              • Andrew,
                Please edit your comment & re-post. We don’t allow that type of language on AmericaSpace.
                Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Jason said:

        Then you are very fortunate. Because there is a very vocal group that have been behaving this way for a while now.

        I am guessing what you are talking about here, since apparently you don’t want to reference the statement you are responding to. Just so you know.

        This statement tells me that you are reacting to emotions regarding “NewSpace”. I don’t know what they are, and I can’t judge them, because everyone reacts to things differently.

        But I see things from the perspective of the business of “NewSpace”, which is where the money comes from. Me ranting on blogs about how good “X” is and how bad “Y” is doesn’t matter to NASA when they are deciding on who to award the CCiCap contracts. It’s not a criteria.

        This is actually something I need you to explain, because it is a big point of disagreement between you and me. I need to see any example of where the emotion of the bad “NewSpace” has had any effect on potential business for them. Can you do that for me?

        • Ron,
          I’ll try one more time – stop talking to me like I’m an idiot.

          If by reference you mean pointing out names – no – that opens me up to potential lawsuits. If you want examples? You got three days worth of my series to review – what more do you need? The series is filled with references. If you are asking for examples -then you’re willfully ignoring all that I have already provided in the NewSpace Troll series.

          Ron, not everything is as black & white as you might want.

          Maybe this will help you settle down. I can’t cite an example. But what does that statement really mean? It means the following: I’m not always right, some of what I say is based off of statements, thoughts that were expressed & other pieces of information that aren’t easy to nail down. Within just a few posts you’ve already started using the bullying tactics I was talking about again. If this continues? I’m just going to ignore you. Here’s how this relates to your question. Given the attitudes described? A great many in NASA want to show NewSpace the door. All they need is the opportunity. So NewSpace will keep some of its commercial market – until things go wrong. I’d suggest you take a hard look at what has happened at Sea Launch. Orbital’s fairings sent Glory & OCO to a watery grave. You mentioned tracking – people are tracking this. Administrations change all the time. Today’s “Commercial Space” can easily become tomorrow’s Constellation Program. So, here’s my point, other than to gloat at NewSpace’s recent success – what does this behavior accomplish? I predict that if the worst of what I’ve been saying takes place, that SpaceX & a couple others will survive just fine. But those that need that govt. cash stream? Won’t.
          Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • Maybe this will help you settle down. I can’t cite an example. But what does that statement really mean?

            What I am trying to point out is from my viewpoint I don’t know how any comments I make has an effect on whether SpaceX or any other “NewSpace” company gets a contract from the government for a product or service.

            You have put forth the supposition that it does have an effect, and I’m just asking for some sort of example that shows that. If it’s just your opinion, then that is one thing, but if it is a real world fact, that is another.

            My opinion is that no matter what you or I say on this blog or any other, the world of aerospace products and services will be unaffected.

            If you agree, then great. If you don’t, I’m just asking for some explanation of how our opinions affect the real world of commerce.

            • Ron,
              Yeah, I know, it’s a fools hope to think that anything we say here will change anything.

              Again, I don’t think the arena of space exploration is about commerce – yet. Ron, expressing a point of view isn’t a guarantee anything will ever change. It’s an expression of hope that it might help foment change. Marketing, public relations & branding are a huge part of any business. My opinion is that the NewSpace brand is being damaged by this type of behavior. You can’t quantify public & personal perception which is what you’re trying to do.
              Sincerely, Jason

              • Again, I don’t think the arena of space exploration is about commerce – yet.

                Well that will be news to the shareholders of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

                Look, aerospace companies don’t bid on contracts with NASA for the “glory” of space exploration – they are businesses. Sure they have employees and management that believe in the goals of the programs, but the Board of Directors and CEO’s don’t make their decisions based on whether doing space exploration tickles them personally. Their fiscal responsibility to their shareholders is to increase shareholder value.

                I can put a caveat on that though, but the caveat is that right now there is nothing really exciting going on in space. Going to the Moon? We’ve been there. Going flying past Mars, while new, is OK once or twice, but not for long. If we ever do find something truly exciting, then things may change, but as of today it’s business as usual.

                Space exploration is a luxury our government is allowing public money to be spent on, but not much. And that small level of funding is what constrains what we do, and frankly, causes a lot of the friction between different camps.

          • A great many in NASA want to show NewSpace the door. All they need is the opportunity.

            Having worked in government contracting, for large and small companies, this is no surprise. But we disagree on the reasons, since I see it as Boeing and Lockheed Martin supporters (and other large companies) being behind that, not because of “NewSpace” attitudes.

            But the opposite is also true, in that there are a great many in NASA that want to partner with “NewSpace”, including the people who are in charge of managing NASA’s programs.

            I don’t see how this changes anything, since to me these types of tensions are always there.

            But let me ask you something. What contracts do you see as being affected by all the obnoxious “NewSpace” stuff? Besides Commercial Crew is there anything else?

            • Ron,
              I don’t think commercial cargo will be impacted. I think Orbital stands a chance of being dropped if they don’t start launching soon – but that’s a milestone/time issue.

              Correct, the tensions have always been there. However, with the advent of the internet & social media, the shrillness, the bitterness of this division has become arguably worse.

              Primarily I think the biggest threat is to “C” crew & future efforts. I’m concerned that the progress made, much like Constellation, could be lost when the proponents of the “other” side are in control.
              Sincerely, Jason

              • I don’t think commercial cargo will be impacted.

                It’s already a success story that NASA management is using to promote future COTS-like efforts.

                I think Orbital stands a chance of being dropped if they don’t start launching soon – but that’s a milestone/time issue.

                Strictly a contractual issue – as long as they perform to contract, they get to stay on the contract.

                Apparently you missed where I gleefully advocated for a “NewSpace” company to have their contract terminated. That would be RpK when they couldn’t meet their COTS funding milestone. And that’s where I think you have a blindspot, in that you think that “NewSpace” blindly supports whatever company says they are “NewSpace” (which none of them do).

                Because my definition of “NewSpace” is based on “value”, not newness or some other arbitrary attribute, I am quite happy when a non-performing company is kicked off a contract and a (hopefully) better company replaces it.

                You have never said anything about that definition, but I know other “NewSpace” supporters that feel the same way, and that is also the basis for why we feel the way we feel for other government funded programs – do they return enough value?

                If you saw the world through my eyes, then you would understand why what “NewSpace” supporters say doesn’t matter anymore than what “OldSpace”supporters say. All that matters is the value returned on the money spent. My world is pretty simple.

                • Ron,
                  I meant deep space exploration isn’t currently in their purview as LEO is starting to be. Also, you’re being disingenuous. Lock Mart & Boeing don’t conduct space exploration – NASA does.

                  Okay, this is the first I’ve ever heard of “future COTS-like efforts” – do you mean Bigelow? As you’ve done so often to me – where are you getting this from?

                  On Orbital, I believe that’s what I said. You’re picking the tiniest of nits. You even debate points on which we agree.

                  Ron, until you came on here? I’ve never heard of you before. I might be wrong, but it seems you have a high opinion of yourself. I try to be humble (but I fail sometimes) & admit my faults. Pride is a dangerous thing. NewSpace’s Challenger moment is coming. When that happens? You’re finally going to see the “value” of treating people with courtesy. All your number crunching won’t amount to much when that day comes. There’s a lot to be said for showing respect to those you disagree with. I think when that happens? You’ll finally learn to appreciate the grey.

                  Inexperience (Newness) isn’t “arbitrary” Ron – especially if you’re life is on the line. It’s disappointing that you don’t appreciate the value of a proven track record.

                  Where you & I appear to have a blind spot is that I’m willing to listen & consider another’s point of view & you state opinions as fact. Just because you think something is or isn’t a certain way doesn’t make it so. Just because you use a black or white philosophy doesn’t mean the rest of the world should too.

                  I like what you have to say about return on value. It makes good sense. However, it seems you’re being unnecessarily antagonistic. I think you make a number of sound arguments. However, people will tune them out if you phrase them in the manner you have been.
                  That’s what I’m saying Ron. I’ve considered what you have to say & even see where a good portion of it makes sense. Can you return the favor and do the same for me?
                  Sincerely, Jason

                • Ron,
                  I’ve spent the better portion of this week detailing my opinions & perceptions. Again, that means they aren’t hard & fast facts, so if you feel that makes them easy to ignore – feel free. However, I’ve said (too often) what I had to say. I ask you to review the overall gist of what I was trying to convey, show me some courtesy & respect and rather than just dismiss it as not meeting with your personal standards – give it some thought.
                  Wow, “Tito will break this.” For someone that demands that I prove every last thing I say to have such unearned faith in what was released in a press conference & to not offer a shred of data as to how they’re going to pull this off? Wow. So, because I support NASA I have “space fantasies” – all the while you post comments highlighting your blind faith, about things that haven’t yet happened from a company that hasn’t done a single thing? How arrogant do you have to be to even try something like that?
                  You’ve spent the better part of this week talking down to people. Sorry Ron, given this, I don’t see in value in talking to you. The only point of view that matters to you is your own.
                  Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  12. Part 2:
    NASA is a very large organization, and the official voice of NASA is the NASA Administrator. However, whoever the President currently is really calls the shots, as the Administrator signs on to the President’s “vision” for NASA, whatever that me be, and sometimes the Administrator gets to help shape that.

    But being a government agency, Congress creates the funding laws that provide general and specific money for NASA, some which they can allocate as they want, some they can’t.

    The bottom line here though is that NASA employees really don’t have the ability to decide much of what they do. They are employees, guided by the President and the relevant laws.

    I love NASA, and I consider it “my” NASA. You may feel the same. Some actually have more contact with people in NASA than I do (which is zero), but that doesn’t matter. Since NASA is over 18,000 employees across many states and facilities, there will be different perspectives about it, because it does so much. And it does somethings well, and others not so well.

    People within NASA are, on balance, a pretty enthusiastic bunch, but they can only do what the President and the Congress allow them to do. For instance, some may think that we should return to the Moon using an HLV. But the President and Congress have not stated that as a goal, nor that an HLV would be used for that.

    So it’s important to separate fact and opinion in any conversation about NASA, since opinion cannot be rationally adjudicated, but facts can (but arguments till abound).

    • Ron,
      While you’re technically correct. We have seen how detrimental a presidents vision can be. Bush’s vision was VSE – but then Congress didn’t fund it properly & he didn’t defend it at all. Then Obama came in & cancelled everything – wasting 7 years worth of work & billions. He could have just modified VSE/Constellation as suggested earlier & direct the agency to scrap certain elements & include most cost-effective ones.

      Ron, coming from someone who actually has worked for the agency, I’d suggest you review Wayne Hale’s comments as to what NASA is (I can’t think of what the second word he used was, but it’s “benevolent…”). So, let me say that your comment on what NASA employees can & can’t do – isn’t accurate. You’ve forwarded the opinion that SLS was “forced” on NASA when it is closer to the truth to say that after Obama’s repeated attempts both Congress & NASA decided to take another path.

      You also should probably get away from the concept that NASA needs a “mandate” i.e. – VSE. I believe the mandate you’re looking for is in current & subsequent Space Authorization Acts. Part of the problem with the online media forum is that when some don’t like what they’re hearing, they will modify the facts in such a way that they believe proves a point. You can spot these because of their rigidity & the fact that they ignore evidence to the contrary. From one perspective certain aspects of what you’re saying is correct – but from others it doesn’t represent what is currently being done by NASA as well as what those within the agency have publically posted & stated.

      I tell you what, I think that this “NASA doesn’t want or have a mission for SLS” story has some legs – because it isn’t just you saying it. Therefore, I’m going to get to the bottom of it & produce an article on it. How does that sound?
      Sincerely, Jason

  13. Part 3:
    Congress creates laws, the President can either sign them or veto them, and Congress can override a veto with enough votes.

    Congress as a whole is not very well thought of, and Congress is rarely fully engaged on small issues like NASA and “space”. But there are a few in Congress who are interested in what NASA does, for many reasons. Some may be because they are truly interested in space-related stuff (science, exploration, observation, STEM, etc.), and others because they have constituents that are affected. Those constituents could be citizens in their district, or they could be companies that have a vested interest.

    The only facts that we can track Congress on are what they put in writing, since politicians by nature are lying when their lips are moving… 😉

    People in Congress can and do say many things, and even contradictory things. While it may seem like they are leaning one way on a subject, they could vote another. While they may say they support something because of “X” reason, that may be a cover for really supporting it for “Y” reason. That’s why it really doesn’t matter what politicians say, it only matters what they do.

    • Ron,
      It’s important to note what you left out. To promote the agenda that any given president wishes to – he has to work with Congress. If a president’s actions hurt the home districts of various senators – he will find that he has a harder time getting what he wants & possibly winning re-election. My point is, you’ve pointed out the black & white – & ignored the sea of grey that constitutes our government. That is why certain aspects of what you have been saying don’t bear out on what is actually taking place.

      Correct Congress isn’t very well thought of – however, they’re powerful. I think the real thing that we’ve been saying is that you don’t like Congress because it’s impacting commercial & I don’t like the president because he impacted space exploration.

      Again, you’re only opting to look at things in black & white. The real NASA “world” isn’t so clearly defined. You quoted a movie earlier, allow me to do the same: “Only a Sith sees things in absolutes.”

      My take on what you have been saying is that you’re looking at the strictest sense of what has been said. That’s great in mathematics, science & business – but it’s nearly useless when it comes to politics. And despite how we all wish it were otherwise – space efforts are mired in politics. Therefore, trying to quantify “X” & “Y” when it comes to political decisions, doesn’t work. You’ve denied that perception, opinions, grudges & other human traits play a role at all in this – I couldn’t more strongly disagree. Dick Morris spent a good bit in the lead up to the recent presidential election crunching the numbers. He predicted that Romney would win in a landslide. He didn’t bother to add to his equation the changing face of America or what it was they wanted. Can you see what I’m saying?
      Sincerely, Jason

      • My point is, you’ve pointed out the black & white – & ignored the sea of grey that constitutes our government.

        I’m balancing time and space, for both you and me, when I’m writing. And since that sea of grey is so huge, I could have written about it for days and not been done. Besides, if we don’t agree on the black & white, there is not point in continuing.

        Therefore, trying to quantify “X” & “Y” when it comes to political decisions, doesn’t work.

        Which is why all that matters is what getting written into law and signed. I don’t care about the sausage making, I really care about the sausage. Which in this case means who got what money.

        Dick Morris spent a good bit in the lead up to the recent presidential election crunching the numbers…

        I didn’t believe Dick Morris, but I did have faith in Nate Silver. In this case, math won out over political posturing.

        • Ron,
          You’re not addressing the point. Which is this. You’re only considering black & white – which leaves a huge part of the equation out. Therefore your calculations & deductions are bound to be rife with errors. To save you the time, no one can parse through all of that “grey” – but to ignore it exists, can only lead to errors in the conclusions you draw.
          Actually Ron? What is signed into law – can be signed out of law – just as fast. Constellation?
          The point is Morris “Crunched the Numbers” & was flat wrong. It doesn’t matter if you believe in him or not.
          Anyway, I appreciate what you’re saying, but I’m seeing a lot where we don’t agree & this has taken up a massive amount of my time. So, I hope you will understand if I opt to get back to work.
          Sincerely, Jason

          • What is signed into law – can be signed out of law – just as fast. Constellation?

            But you have to understand WHY it was allowed to be cancelled. Constellation was a massive program that touched a lot of Congressional districts, so why would Congress agree to cancel it?

            Because it was unaffordable. No emotion there, just a lack of money. In fact, the normal political inertia is to let programs that aren’t in trouble continue, so the program had to be perceived as being in bad condition for Congress to even consider a change or cancellation.

            The SLS was cobbled together out of the Constellation program, but Congress did not address the funding issues that caused the Constellation program problems. The lack of any mission payloads for the SLS is an indication of money issues, not necessarily a lack of ideas in NASA on how to use the SLS. There is just no money in NASA’s budget to start building a constant stream of SLS-sized payloads.

            This has nothing to do with “NewSpace”. The only “NewSpace” program of contention today is the Commercial Crew program, but that funding is not enough to start building an SLS-sized mission payload. The funding issues the SLS has are a magnitude larger than that.

            The result, if the SLS makes it out of development, is that it will sit for years. This is the result that people like me don’t want to see, since all that money will have been spent too far in advance of any true need.

            What happens if the Commercial Crew program is cancelled? SpaceX keeps launching rockets, ULA keeps launching rockets, Sierra Nevada keeps doing what it’s doing… life goes on. No one goes out of business. In fact SpaceX has said they will continue with crew development no matter what, but it just won’t be NASA certified. NASA will have to buy more rides to space on the Soyuz, while SpaceX and Bigelow could be waving to the ISS from a nearby orbit.

            Which brings me to this supposed demarcation line of LEO and beyond LEO. It doesn’t exist. Even if it did, Dennis Tito will be breaking in 2018.

            NASA is budget limited, and despite it’s budget being so much bigger than every other countries NASA equivalent, space is pretty expensive. Regardless who is President, if we can’t afford to do space exploration, then we’re not going. And according to the actions of Congress, they are not in the mood to fund any human exploration beyond LEO at this point, with or without the SLS.

            • Ron,
              I already highlighted Constellation’s woes earlier. So, not sure why you’re spelling it out in such detail unless you think I’m ignorant of the facts?

              As to your “no one goes out of business” comment, what about the smaller firms that don’t have the footprint of SpaceX & SNC? They need to be able to gain government contracts. If there isn’t a venue to do so? They will fold. Look at how many of these smaller companies have come, withered for lack of support & gone. Ron, now you’re just ignoring basic facts to support your personal view.

              Also, here’s something I haven’t said yet. Both sides have issues. The types of problems you detail with Constellation are starting to crop up in commercial (budgetary). The issue here is, this concept that one philosophy is better than the other – is a falsehood. It’s more apt to say both sides have pluses & minuses. What you have been doing is highlighting all the good & ignoring all the bad. In fact, on several occasions I’ve highlighted “bad” things within NewSpace & you’ve ignored it or downplayed it. Moreover, on one occasion you highlighted my example of Kistler as a “thin” argument as it was only one example. Shortly thereafter you only highlighted one example (SpaceX) to bolster your point.

              In short Ron, I want to reassert that you haven’t given much (practically nil) in this week-long debate, while you’ve all but demanded I agree to everything you say. So really – what’s the point in this discussion? You’ve ignored or dismissed virtually everything I say. Ron, this isn’t how adults have a conversation. This is one person insisting he knows better than the other.

              I leave with this. For a week I’ve stated that both sides have merit. To date, your overwhelming response has been – only my side has any merit. That’s not a discussion Ron, that’s a “I’m always right & your always wrong” viewpoint. You won’t even consider the points I raise, you just divert to some other point.
              Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

              • As to your “no one goes out of business” comment, what about the smaller firms that don’t have the footprint of SpaceX & SNC?

                Who would those be? I’m not aware of any company that solely relies on NASA. Who?

                What you have been doing is highlighting all the good & ignoring all the bad.

                And I’ve felt the same about you. But isn’t that the essence of debate, that people take stands on what they believe?

                I’m not here to debate you about things we both agree upon, which is why you don’t hear me talking about what we agree upon. That bothers you, but it doesn’t bother me. People are different.

                Moreover, on one occasion you highlighted my example of Kistler as a “thin” argument as it was only one example.

                I have been asking for more examples. This is part of my frustration, in that I feel you point to Kistler as the foundation of your whole NewSpace argument, but as I’ve pointed out, only $32.1M of taxpayer money was ever doled out to them, and I applauded NASA kicking them off the contract for non-performance.

                Where are more examples of bad behavior? Let’s pull them apart and see why the happened – that’s the only way to learn.

                And I’ve never said private companies never make mistakes, in fact I’ve said that companies that take risk do fail. I’m a business guy, it’s a given.

                And give me some credit here, because if we want to talk about failure, stuff that has cost the U.S. Taxpayer $Billions, then we all know where to look, right? Not NewSpace. So though the taxpayer in me has been calling to be let out so we can talk about REAL money issues, I have tried to stick with your topics.

  14. OK, that’s a lot, but I wanted to provide a foundation of understanding. We don’t have to agree, but if you don’t, then let’s understand the differences.

    So before we go on, are there any questions, debates, disagreements?

    • Ron,
      Exactly. I’ve addressed the key points I disagree with you on & why. I understand where you’re coming from, however, I think that you’re not looking at other elements. I too am probably doing the same thing. I do like the fact that you’re trying to base your argument off of quantifiable data. More importantly, I appreciate how you have been posting it today. Thanks.
      Sincerely, Jason

  15. Ron is a Sith Lord? I knew it! 😉

    The closest I’ve been to government is an FAA contractor (they renewed my contract four times.) It’s a lot different from the private commercial world. The economic rules of business still have some application but you have to look very hard to see it.

    We had to buy everything off a contract (w/ acronyms like OATS and CORN) which was five times the cost of the same item if we’d bought it any any store on the corner.

    The same process that bought a $20k computer ($4k anywhere at the time and less powerful that a $500 model today) was used to buy a million dollar radar installation (the engineer in charge of that had to have me hold the check. It was kind of fun.)

    But none of the people in charge had to worry much about a bad spending decisions or putting the government out of business as a private owner would about their company.

    Instead, they played budget games where they would deliberately ask for more than they really wanted so they’d be happy to get only 20% of their requests. It was the land of Oz.

  16. I stand by my assertion that this type of behavior is unacceptable & feel that way – no matter who is doing it.

    I know you put up a definition of what an internet troll is at the beginning of this series, but the actions of those that you have called a troll (including me) don’t seem to rise to that definition. I know of a number of internet trolls (Gaetano Marano comes to mind), so I do have a point of comparison.

    You and I, Jason, apparently have different sensitivity settings too, since you have expressed many times that I was either attacking you, being condescending, being a troll, or lying. I have never been called a liar in my whole life as much as you have called me a liar, and if I hadn’t seen how you treated people like Ferris and Doug, I would have taken offense. Those types of words are very inflammatory, and should only be used in very rare occasions, not as part of your every day vocabulary. Not if you want people to listen to you.

    You may feel that this post is an attack (it’s an explanation of my views), but I wanted to provide a summary to you, since I’m not sure if I’ll be coming back. Not because of you per se, but because there are so many other space-related sites that I prefer to frequent. I’m news biased, and for discussion and debate the audience at Space Politics is much larger and more engaged. I only found you because Clark Lindsey at NewSpace Watch posted a link to the Sunday story (before your troll series), but I’m not sure if he’ll be posting more – or if you even want him to if people like me show up… 😉

    Lastly about NASA. I wish I had the chance to hang out at NASA like you have. I love tours, and I have had the chance to be invited to tour a rocket factory a number of years ago (and hot tub factories, sprinkler factories, etc.).

    But being that close to NASA, both physically and with NASA employees also opens you up to being biased – you might take on the characteristics of those few within NASA you interact with, but what they feel is not necessarily representative of NASA as a whole – your comment about some in NASA wanted to dump NewSpace does not jive with what senior management says. My praise and critical comments about NASA are from an outside perspective. Both have advantages and disadvantages – just something for you to keep in mind when interacting with your audience.

    Good luck with the blog.

    • Ron,
      You slam NASA & laud Inspiration Mars. What you call putting words in your mouth, I call reviewing your utterances as a whole. You don’t like it because it’s inconvenient & accurate. Every single time I point out something that shows how bad you’re words are – you just say: “No I’m not!” “I didn’t say that!” “You’re putting words into my mouth!” I could show you proof until the cows come home – but why bother? You’ll just ignore it.

      Ron, if that makes you feel taking people’s words out of context is acceptable – have at it. You hold the “opposition” to the highest standards while giving a pass to all sorts of bad behavior from your “side.”

      In case you’re wondering, you seem to suffer from the “last word” disorder – which is why I posted this to your previous comment. I’m all too happy to give you the last word.

      Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • Thanks for the invite… 😉

        And thanks for the opportunity to discuss on the whole series.

        Earlier, in a discussion with Ferris, you said:

        I served in the United States Army for 7 years & in law enforcement for an additional 7. Perhaps knowing a smidge more about my background might better explain my adherence to these principles.

        That does provide good perspective on your expectations from those who participate. The challenge going forward (i.e. after I leave) is how people that are new to the site will know that, and will it matter? Are your expectations too high?

        Sometimes in business we find out that the customer won’t come to us, and that we need to go to the customer.

        I look forward to reading your piece on the SLS, but I don’t plan to comment. I do hope you raise the issue of the large funding gap that exists in order to finish it and use it.


  17. All,
    There has been the effort in some circles to willfully ignore this behavior or to pretend it doesn’t exist. As with our “NewSpacers Need to Stop Hating Op-Ed” – we received emails thanking us for highlighting this ugly fact – this Op-Ed was no different:

    “…just wanted to congratulate you and your team for your EXCELLENT series on NewSpace trolls. I think everyone is grateful someone has finally done a piece detailing how obnoxious and counterproductive they are.”

    It’s natural for supporters of this effort to willfully ignore it, to do & say whatever they can to silence us. However, it hasn’t gone unnoticed & won’t go away. Moreover, the implied threat that by us highlighting this behavior will hurt AmericaSpace – has proven to be totally false. The NewSpace Troll series has received high numbers & more responses that most of our other stories combined. There is something here – pretending there isn’t is tantamount to “sticking one’s head in the sand.”

    We don’t want people who find this behavior acceptable here – they aren’t an audience worth talking to.

    Those that have been on the receiving end, who have been forced into silence for fear of retribution greatly appreciate our efforts – those that have been called on this have either worked to improve their behavior or haven’t. For those that have opted for the former – thank you.
    Sincerely and with regards, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  18. You may feel that this post is an attack (it’s an explanation of my views), but I wanted to provide a summary to you, since I’m not sure if I’ll be coming back

    Good riddance Ron.

    The waste of bandwidth from you is immeasurable. As much as you discuss “value”, your “value” to this entire conversation was pretty much nil. Nada, zero, zilch.

    Keep up the good work, Jason, with your fair and balanced site.

  19. I can provide [links] where I laud SpaceX. Things do change over time. … I gave SpaceX hell before and shortly after their first F9 launch. …SpaceX has won my respect.

    Would you agree that for different people, that respect comes sooner, but for others later? Some people still don’t give that company any respect. I personally saw their potential the first year they were in business, including the fact that they had a prototype of the Dragon under cover on their factory floor before they ever got involved with NASA or government contracts.

    In their early failures, SpaceX repeatedly said they were learning from their failures and many people ignored that. Others were impressed by that humility. An example of which is Elon saying just recently, “We really did not know what we were doing.”

    Now imagine you and I had met in the days you were giving them hell and I was being ignored regarding what I saw them doing right. Might that have spilled out from a discussion of the facts to emotional heated exchanges where we each questioned the motives of the other?

    Would that have made us bad people? Would that have made us trolls?

    I think you could answer either way, but you get my bigger point, right?

    • Hi Ken,
      Sure, I’d agree to that. Here’s what I think – some people will trust what folks say, others will require they demonstrate their capabilities first. Check out the section of the story called “Cloning” – a large number of companies make “announcements” – but only one has sent spacecraft to the ISS three times. I’ve been doing this for a while now Ken, I’ve seen all kinds of “companies” come & go. I’m a lot more skeptical of folks making claims. However, once they start showing they can do what they say? That skepticism fades. I hope that makes sense & doesn’t sound too harsh. When one considers that people’s lives will one day be on the line? I don’t think it is.

      It depends how we express that emotion. Ferris & I don’t always agree. However, he doesn’t talk to me like I’m five years old, he doesn’t twist what I say around (“Be nice into Bribery”) he doesn’t lie, he doesn’t SPAM us with porn sites (at least I hope he doesn’t). Again, it’s really a very simple concept Ken – It’s not what you say – it’s how you say it. If people do those types of things? Yeah, I’d call them “bad.”

      That’s where acting like an adult comes in. You yourself highlighted it. I point out the pros and the cons. It’s called being fair. Read the posts of those who, shall we say have been “confrontational.” Do they ever admit flaws? Do they listen to the entirety of what someone is saying? Or are they willing to cut a sentence in half & harp on it?

      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

    • Hi Ken,
      BTW – I’m working to interview (some, perhaps all) William Gerstenmaier, Dan Dumbacher & Todd May with NASA regarding the SLS comments we talked about. So as soon as I sit down with them & transcribe it, I will run it on our website.
      Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

      • I’m looking forward to it (I’m working to interview.)

        some people will trust what folks say

        I hear you, but I see you’re missing my meaning. It takes little talent to look at what has been done and say, “see they did it” and it would be gullible to take somebodies word before they’ve done it.

        But there is a middle ground, that is the most important and does take talent and discernment. It is to predict the future from insufficient data in the present and it’s not about simply what people say or boast. Some people can’t do that at all and the ones that can are certainly imperfect.

        But you can check their record. We haven’t seen anything yet from SpaceX. In a few years you will not recognize that company. They are still just doing the groundwork.

        • Hi Ken,
          NASA got back to me fairly quickly. Todd May should be easy. However, Gerst & Dumbacher deal more with policy – but are much harder to nail down. They’re going to be asked about SLS’s: Mission, Up Mass Requirements, Costs & NASA’s interest in SLS (does the agency want it).

          You’re asking me to be a prophet. I’m not. I just report on the events. However, I’ve seen an ocean of promises that never went anywhere. So, while it might not be sexy to rely on one’s accomplishments as a guide – it also prevents one from looking naive.

          I disagree with your last statement (perhaps you meant we haven’t seen just how much they’re capable of?). SpaceX has launched to the ISS & into the history books – three times. Of the crop of new contenders – they’re the champs. The rest? Orbital has a somewhat spotty record (with some successes and some failures) – but outside of Bigelow? Who else has done much of anything?
          Sincerely, Jaspn

          • I have to tell you I’m not really a fan of suborbitals. The thing I’ve always liked about SpaceX is, if you’re going to orbit, go to orbit.

            Bigelow picked a niche and currently has two small habitats in orbit. They may not close their business case, but at least they’ve made one that doesn’t rely of a very iffy tourist model.

            But there are a lot of companies that are serving various niches that will be subcontractors to others. I look at each company individually to decide if I agree with their management. Usually I don’t because the fact is most companies don’t make it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see many try.

            I don’t think we are that far apart in some of our views.

            • Ken,
              I see suborbital as a niche market – space tourism.

              I think you misunderstood me. It’s not that I don’t want them to try – quite the opposite. It’s that I don’t put much stock in what they say. I wait until I see them doing what they said they would.

              I don’t think we are either. Chat/comments/email – is also my weakest form of communication.
              Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

          • You’re asking me to be a prophet. I’m not.

            Actually you are or should be. The word ‘prophet’ means teller of truth. We humans fixate on telling the future, but it also refers to the past and present.

            As far as predicting the future, we should all attempt to do that as well, because that’s the one place we are all going to live. We do it all the time in every choice we make.

            It’s just that fortune telling, which we should never do, gets all the press.

            • Ken,
              While I take that as a compliment – I prefer to stay humble. I’m just happy I get to do what I do.
              Sincerely, Jason Rhian – Editor, AmericaSpace

  20. Jason,

    2 ongoing series pieces might be worthwhile to consider

    1) What is the definition of NewSpace? What is its philosophy? Its justifications? And don’t make this somehow the all ending, but rather, from multiple different people and positions (engineers, technicians, lobbyists, businessmen, managers, civil servants, military people, etc….) I’d keep the comments closed for these pieces, but obviously I am not the editor.

    2) The tactics of online activism – what they are, whether they are effective, etc. Don’t limit it to JUST space though.

    Just some constructive thoughts..

    • Ferris,
      I got your email & ask that you bring it up in a a week. There’s a launch Tuesday & I got the SLS piece that I promised I’d do (research heavy). I’d still feel better if we had you participate in the Op-Ed’s production. That way? Both views get heard (kind of a point-counterpoint piece).
      Sincerely, Jason

  21. The HLLV bashing is really overdone. Not having as much assembly or depots eliminates the Rube Goldberg element

    It was on page 30 of the Oct 15 2012 of Aviation week that we learn that the second stage of H-IIA will stay with the sat-load for a 5 hr coast, and may need a white reflective coating to minimize hydrogen evaporation. And that is for just five hours.

    Patrick R. Chai and Alan W. Wilhite of the Georgia Institute of Technology presented a study earlier this year estimating that depot tanks would lose about $12 million worth of propellant per month in low Earth orbit if protected only with passive insulation.

    If you must have depots the wider SLS which fits on a core made to use LH2 gives you greater volumetric efficiency than Falcon

    I’ve locked horns with folks from JPL who say they are not anti-HLV, and yet the contracts for SLS are very general in that they deal construction welding, etc than any HLLV would have. It’s how the F-1 was brought to life.

    The anti-HLV lobby can be split into several groups:

    EELV apologists, like THE JIM and his budswho got me kicked off nasaspaceflight even though I proved him wrong on space-based radar with an article from SPACE NEWS (Bad Astronomy got rid of him for his rudeness

    The anti-human spaceflight crowd who want to raid HLV budgets and, of course

    The alt.spacers, like Rand Simberg and his safety is not an option nonsense

  22. I’ve noticed that this series has continued to have a trickle of comments, and that made we wonder…

    So Jason, after 5,732 words of editorial content, and many, many comments debating the points you raised, you closed the 3-part series by saying:

    One of the reasons I penned this Op-Ed was to stop doing what I spent all day yesterday doing. Getting bogged down in arguments with people who, bully, insult, distract from the topic at hand, drag people into never-ending back and forths, lie and attack others for doing what they themselves are guilty of.

    Would you say you succeeded?

    Did you change anyone’s behavior?

    And I think most importantly to you, did you get acknowledgement from those that were the focus of this series that they now understand why you are correct in saying that they engage in the behaviors you have identified?

    I’m not soliciting comments – just reflection.

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