Apology About My RTM Rant

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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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
Jonathan Goff

About Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to Apology About My RTM Rant

  1. Adam Elkins says:

    Hello

    This is an excellent post John, and it hits the nail right on the head. We can sit here and discuss the whys and wherefores but unless we can create something of value up there and deliver it to our customers down here we’re not going anywhere.

    The ‘new continent’ argument just doesn’t do it for me. What’s wrong with the ones we’ve got at the moment? Besides, Antarctica doesn’t have anything we can’t get elsewhere except cryogenic cold, miles-thick ice and unending night. It’s also far from the major powers. On the other hand, I think colonising outer space will have a much more profound impact on our technology, our society and our future as a species. But we can’t take that to the bank.

    In fact I don’t think anyone can point to a single tangible reason why we must go into space. Life on earth is comfortable enough for anyone who can afford it, and we can already do here on earth almost anything that we might think of doing in outer space. Whatever changes that view, it is going to have to be something completely alien to our prevailing ways of thinking (due to the space environment) and which has a profound impact on our society in some way (to justify the cost). Something like a cure for cancer, the key to nuclear fusion or a lossless way of transporting energy.

    In my opinion the first priorities for a budding astronautics enterprise are to:
    1. Identify goods or services that can be produced in outer space that will have a substantial impact on the way people do things here on earth;
    2. Create a business ‘envelope’ in which the above can be repeated sustainably and reliably.

    Once we have these we will have a regular supply of reasons to keep going into space, and the argument will be settled, at least for the short term.

    Regards

    Adam

  2. john hare says:

    Adam,

    I agree with your comments with one question. Was this a reply to the Why post?

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