56 votes
Accepted

Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

It is still way too early to make such a judgement. It's easy to be overly optimistic about the cost of a program. The Space Shuttle was supposed to have dozens of flights each year and be super-...
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15 votes

Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

Eh, to begin with this statement isn't accurate. SpaceX ... has the same capabilities if not better? Falcon Heavy as stands can't replace SLS and launch Orion on the required orbit without ...
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13 votes

Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

All the answers are right in their own way. One thing that is not addressed: The Falcon Heavy is not even remotly on par with the SLS in terms of rocket diameter and payload mass. According to ...
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  • 536
12 votes

How to respond to the case against space?

Because, first, we will never fix everything. Humans are always naturally dissatisfied with their state of affairs, no matter what those are. Reference "first world problems" (see image). Compared ...
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12 votes

Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

Part of it is leveling employment. The government is fond of large projects that require multi-year ramp-up and ramp-down and massive up/down swings in employment need. Suppose in 2019 you're hiring ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Can the Indian government ask SpaceX to pay for bandwidth usage in its airspace?

In order to transmit from a country, one must have a license to do so, with the exception of some spaces without specific owners, like WiFi's 2.4 GHz that allows small narrow transition can work. It ...
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  • 118k
11 votes

Is there such a thing as a "rocket license" in the US?

In the USA you must be at least 18 years old for the following, so that video may be incorrect. For example HPR Level 1 Certification by the National Association of Rocketry or NAR provides ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How many politically appointed positions are there at NASA in toto?

There are four positions in NASA that require Senate confirmation: Administrator, Deputy Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, and Inspector General. Even though Inspectors General do need ...
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10 votes

Can the Indian government ask SpaceX to pay for bandwidth usage in its airspace?

The answer is No, largely based on the fact that India is a signatory to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. If you pick a country that didn’t sign any of the patchwork of treaties covering space, it could ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Does Jonathan McDowell access U.S. military tracking network data? If so, how? Is a security clearance involved? (Can I too?)

I'm assuming the reference is to http://space-track.org, where the US government publishes its information on satellite locations to the world. I just checked, the plane is on the site. So far as I ...
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  • 118k
7 votes
Accepted

During a government shutdown, is it possible for US rocket companies to launch from outside the US?

No. There are at least 2 government agencies that must approve of a launch under normal circumstances, the FCC and the FAA. Per FCC guidelines Satellites authorized by an administration other ...
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  • 118k
7 votes

What's the purpose of space exploration to humans?

You claim that space agencies around the world "spend enormous amounts of money" and seem to imply that this money is wasted. Factually though, this is untrue. NASA's budget per year is ...
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6 votes

How to respond to the case against space?

During a congressional debate regarding Fermilab's very first particle accelerator, Senator Pastore put the following question to the physicist Robert R. Wilson, Is there anything here that ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Are SpaceBEEs actually hard to track?

I think the answer to this is basically no or at least not any harder than other 1U CubeSats. I base this answer on two lines of argument. Also your data above more or less proves what I am about to ...
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6 votes

Demonstrative examples of NASA "programs that go too long, that cost too much... end up getting cast out later"?

The Constellation program is the first that comes to my mind. It was started in 2005 with the ambition of crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. A crewed mission to a near-Earth asteroid was also ...
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  • 11.9k
5 votes
Accepted

What just happened? What does this satellite breakup announcement mean? What does it suggest?

Not the end of the world this time! This appears to be one of a pair of Ullage Motors (#36406 and #36407) from the Block DM upper stage of a Proton-M launch vehicle. The Kosmos 2459, 2460, 2461 ...
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  • 9,834
5 votes

How to respond to the case against space?

Space has always been important for improving life conditions on Earth. The astronomical invention "the calendar" was not only necessary for agriculture, but even before that for migrating hunters and ...
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4 votes

Why does the government still fund SLS while SpaceX is cheaper and has the same capabilities if not better?

The answer is that SLS's prime purpose isn't a launch system, it's a jobs project. NASA was required to use 45 year old engine technology to ensure that jobs and contracts were funneled to Old Space ...
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4 votes

Did specific changes to DSCOVR's mission or design produce the change from "may not represent the best expenditure " to "strong and vital"?

Were there any specific changes to the spacecraft's mission or design that led to the change from "...may not represent the best expenditure of NASA's limited science funding" to "...
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4 votes

Has anything "changed" about the way that NASA will procure technology for the Artemis program?

This applies to the HLS elements as well, but NASA has recently been requiring Firm Fixed Price Contracts (To avoid ballooning costs, like on SLS) alongside the result of the contract being NASA ...
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  • 968
4 votes
Accepted

Most recent launch of a nuclear reactor, and current barriers to launching the next one?

From the Wikipedia list, the most recently launched nuclear reactor appears to be a TOPAZ-I on Kosmos 1867, launched by the USSR in 1987. It's parked in a 800km orbit at 65º inclination and appears ...
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4 votes

During a government shutdown, is it possible for US rocket companies to launch from outside the US?

The government shut down did not stop SpaceX from launching an iridium satalite. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/spacex-launches-falcon9-rocket-iridium-next-satellites-live-stream-today-2019-01-11/ ...
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4 votes

During a government shutdown, is it possible for US rocket companies to launch from outside the US?

Violation of trade restrictions In addition to @PearsonArtPhoto ‘s answer of the FAA and FCC regulations, launching from another facility would violate the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ...
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  • 359
4 votes

Is there such a thing as a "rocket license" in the US?

According to Estes, model rocketry is a legally permitted activity in every state in the US. However, four states have laws and regulations that specify certain age or permit requirements. It could be ...
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  • 1,034
4 votes
Accepted

How did the UK "intentionally self-nuke its space exploration capabilities in the 1970s"?

On October 28, 1971 the UK launched Prospero via a Black Arrow rocket from Woomera, in South Australia. When the Prospero spacecraft was launched atop a Black Arrow rocket on 28 October 1971, it ...
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  • 10.5k
3 votes

During a government shutdown, is it possible for US rocket companies to launch from outside the US?

A launch pad with a launch tower suitable for that specific rocket would be neccessary. Also a launch control center with all those computers and terminals. Antennas and receivers for the telemetry of ...
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  • 46k
3 votes
Accepted

What just didn't happen with NASA's Moon-to-Mars directorate?

A Directorate is a high level branch that reports to an associate admin who reports to the administrator. Here's a NASA org chart showing the Directorates at center If it had happened, there would ...
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3 votes

Challenges that "missile mail" would have to overcome? (Aerophilately)

The main technical challenges I see are accuracy, survivability, and range. All of these drive cost, since better performance usually requires higher technology, which can get very expensive. On the ...
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  • 5,197
3 votes

Demonstrative examples of NASA "programs that go too long, that cost too much... end up getting cast out later"?

The VentureStar SSTO qualifies. It was intentionally set up to develop risky new technologies such as composite liquid hydrogen propellant tanks and aerospike engines, and get them flying in an ...
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3 votes

Demonstrative examples of NASA "programs that go too long, that cost too much... end up getting cast out later"?

Consider the XS-1 An experimental reusable flyback first stage. Boeing collected several grants to build this vehicle from DARPA. However, in 2020 Boeing announced it was ceasing its role in the ...
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