I want to make an apology about the tone of voice I took with regard to the RTM conference in my previous post. I know the organizer of this conference, Jeff Feige, and have a lot of respect for the guy. He’s definitely in the commercial space crowd, and is definitely trying to put on an excellent program that should have much in it that anyone from the commercial side of the space community should enjoy. He’s asked my MSS collegue, Michael Mealling, to chair a panel or two, one of which will highlight private lunar hardware/service providers. He’s currently requesting any such providers to please contact him so he can put together a high-quality panel.
I accused SFF of being too NASA-centric with their RTM announcement. However, much like the fact that NASA can’t be faulted too bad for not awarding the CEV contract to an alt.space company since none of them even tried to apply, Jeff and the SFF can’t really be faulted for having a bunch of NASA guys speaking at the conference if there aren’t enough people from the private sector actually doing anything or willing to talk about it. Even if I disagree with the wisdom of how they are going about some things, they are doing something, and they have a right to talk about it. Unlike the suborbital market, there are a lot less private groups currently working on lunar related products/services, and there’s still a lot of people out there who don’t yet realize there’s an alternative to the NASA status-quo. To badly paraphrase/mutilate a verse from scripture, “they are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it”. They’re more likely to become interested with and open to private developments if we use a bit more friendly persuasion instead of vitriol. They also can’t be faulted as much for ignorance of private lunar ventures if those of us who support such things decide to boycott one of the best venues for giving them such enlightenment.
So, it looks like I’ll be going this year to support Jeff’s good work, to see what Michael’s able to whip together, and to generally get to know better the people in this field that I want to be part of.
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