Category Archives: Launch Vehicles

Random Thoughts: ACES/EUS Public Private Partnership Idea

A few years ago, I did a “Random Thoughts” blog post about synergies between the proposed ACES stage and the proposed SLS upper stage. Now, I’m still not the world’s biggest SLS fan, and I’m still not a fan of … Continue reading

Posted in Launch Vehicles, NASA, Random Thoughts, ULA | 9 Comments

SpaceX Amateur Business Case Study

There have been several times in recent weeks that people either in person or on the internet have speculated about SpaceX’s finances and business model. In some cases the speculations have been that SpaceX is pricing their Falcon 9 below … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Commercial Crew, Commercial Space, COTS, Launch Vehicles, SpaceX | 44 Comments

How Relevant is New Shepard to Orbital Launch?

With Blue Origin’s successful launches and recoveries of New Shepard starting just about six months ago, there have been many people questioning how relevant it is to future orbital launch vehicles. Some of this seems to be honest curiosity about … Continue reading

Posted in Blue Origin, Launch Vehicles | 18 Comments

ESIL-8 Elements of Lunar Commerce Presentation

I was invited to give a talk on lunar commerce at a Emerging Space Industry Leaders workshop last week hosted by ULA at their Centennial, Colorado campus, and put on by my friends at Advanced Space LLC and the FAA … Continue reading

Posted in Altius Space Machines, Business, Commercial Space, ISRU, Launch Vehicles, Lunar Commerce, Lunar Exploration and Development, MHD Aerobraking and TPS, NASA, NEOs, Propellant Depots, Space Development, Space Settlement, Space Transportation, SpaceX, Technology, ULA, Variable Gravity | 33 Comments

Random Thoughts: New Shepard for Pop-Up TSTO NanoSat Launch

Blue Origin’s recent successful launch, recovery, and re-flight of their suborbital RLV New Shepard got me thinking about an idea that I came up with back in late November shortly after their first flight. In an article written shortly after … Continue reading

Posted in Blue Origin, Launch Vehicles, Random Thoughts, Rocket Design Theory | 30 Comments

Summary of Some ULA Papers from AIAA SPACE 2015

ULA has often used the AIAA SPACE conferences as a venue for discussing technical ideas they were working on. In fact, I’ve written several blog posts over the years summarizing or commenting on previous versions of their papers. This year’s … Continue reading

Posted in Commercial Space, Launch Vehicles, Lunar Exploration and Development, Orbital Access Methodologies, Propellant Depots, Space Transportation, SpaceX, ULA | 19 Comments

Boomerang Air-Launched TSTO RLV Concept Part III: Carrier Plane Support Subsystems

Before getting into my thoughts on potential options for the carrier plane itself, I wanted to mention a few nice-to-have options for the carrier plane itself. I don’t know that any of these is strictly required, but all potentially help: … Continue reading

Posted in Boomerang TSTO RLV, Commercial Space, Launch Vehicles, Orbital Access Methodologies, Rocket Design Theory | 3 Comments

Boomerang Air-Launched TSTO RLV Concept Part II: Carrier Plane Gamma Maneuver Safety Considerations

In this post I would like to discuss some of the key considerations and options governing the carrier plane for my Boomerang TSTO RLV concept. Specifically I’ll be covering considerations relating to safely supporting the Gamma Maneuver, and useful support … Continue reading

Posted in Boomerang TSTO RLV, Commercial Space, Launch Vehicles, Orbital Access Methodologies, Rocket Design Theory | 9 Comments

RLV Markets Part IV: Why Small May Be Beautiful

With the progress SpaceX has been making with trying to recover their F9R first stage, and their concepts for Mars Colonial Transport, BFRs, and 4000 satellite constellations, a lot of the industry has been fixated on very larger RLVs. I … Continue reading

Posted in Launch Vehicles, RLV Markets | 8 Comments

Boomerang Air-Launched TSTO RLV Concept (Part I)

Back when I left Masten to start Altius, I originally thought I was starting a launch vehicle company focused on reusable nanosat launchers. While we pivoted away from that to focus on space robotics, I’ve continued to dabble with a … Continue reading

Posted in Boomerang TSTO RLV, Commercial Space, Launch Vehicles, Orbital Access Methodologies, Rocket Design Theory | 20 Comments