Jason Rian at the blog Americaspace just ran a series on Newspace trolls and the damage they do to the industry. There were four posts total with Newspace hatred starting and newspace troll tactics for the next three. His theme seems to be that Newspacers hate NASA and Oldspace so much they can’t see straight and constantly indulge in troll tactics. Apparently if you comment on technical or financial matters, you were changing the subject, and if you answered his troll points you were being rude. I only tried a couple of comments before realizing that whatever I said would be wrong. Apparently I have severe trouble with reading comprehension.
There are plenty in Newspace that are rude, wrong or arrogant. I have seen just as many in Oldspace that are as bad with an additional level of arrogance based on accomplishment. Much of that accomplishment seems to be a generation or so back with a circular reasoning on the effectiveness of NASA and company. One difference seems to be that Newspace activists get it that if something is unaffordable, it will end, usually badly.
Jason seemed to think that the message itself must always be polite by his personal definition. His personal definition seems to be that no criticism is allowed unless he does it himself. He talked down to several of us in the course of a few hundred comments accusing several of lying, selective quoting, changing the subject etc…Comment behavior that is accepted in other blogs will not be tolerated here and so on. Selenian Boondocks is a fairly focused and polite place in my opinion. I think that that is because we are interested in accomplishing something like shredding bad ideas and developing good ones. We don’t accuse each other of trolling and hating when we have a difference of opinion. If you look for something to agree or disagree with, you will find it. By Jason’s definition, we would all seem to be rude, trolling, haters. So be it.
The theme that we are killing the industry with our behavior was constant. “I can’t wait to see Newspace screw up and get somebody killed and then pay for its’ behaviour.” is not an exact quote but captures the flavor of fifty or more variations. I think he is incapable of understanding that rude behavior is partially in the eyes of the beholder, or that the behavior of the fan base has little impact on the working industry. I have been POed at Rand, Pat, Ed, and others from time to time, and still consider them friends and read what they write for the information content. Jason, welcome to the group, but get your butt off your shoulders.
Compromise is a totally different concept than work the issues and find the answers. One complaint is that Oldspace gave a bit on SpaceX and therefore Newspace should give a bit on SLS. I don’t mix chili peppers and chocolate ice cream. Each has their place and compromise is not ever it. If the mission is a Mexican dinner, chili peppers, if desert the ice cream. Mix them together on my plate and you will wear them both. Either the chilis or the ice cream can be replaced if cost, quality, or taste dictates. SLS is jalapeno on an ulcer.
Newspace hasn’t demonstrated capability yet? How long since NASA has developed a space launch vehicle? No respect until the rocket has a track record? Yes I am disappointed in Newspace slow progress. I am even more disappointed in Oldspace posturing as if they had the answers when it is their grandfathers that developed the systems they use for the most part.
SLS at the heart of the discussion needs to be addressed constantly and with intensity. No Newspacer I am aware of believes that SLS is affordable. Billions per year for development for a decade or so until flying a couple of missions a year at a billion each is not a realistic plan in the current economic climate. Anyone that cares to address this in a manner that makes sense is welcome to try. Don’t do the stupid percentage of our GNP or national budget though. A hamburger at 1/100 of 1% of my personal budget will rot if the price doubles.
The technical issues with SLS must be addressed if anyone wants a serious discussion. Friends of mine have kept up even if I haven’t on issues of overweight and escape among others. A serious discussion of these issues does not include any variation of take my word for it regardless of the source.
SLS must make a business case for itself if it is to move forward. Government systems not making an honest business case are a strong part of the financial mess the country is in today. Soundbites of commercial to LEO and SLS beyond divide by a negative number and get nonsense. Make the case that SLS is worth the money or leave it alone. It is arrogant in the extreme to claim that SLS is the only way to get manned missions beyond LEO not to mention wrong.
The mission of SLS, if it actually had one of course, could be duplicated by any number of variations of current hardware. A propellant depot in LEO and another at L1 filled by whoever shows up can refuel the upper stage of an Atlas, Delta, Falcon, or other manned vehicle to increase the BEO throw weight by an order of magnitude. Less mission risk as mentioned here hundreds of times as the only mission critical flight is the last one by the most experienced and dependable rocket available at that time.
The safety of SLS is questionable to say the least. Minimal full up testing before putting humans on it sounds like a game of Russian roulette. A virtually untested rocket that probably hasn’t outgrown infant mortality doesn’t seem like a good transportation system six decades into the space age.
Prove me wrong and I back off. Until then, it’s just Oldspace trolling.
Newspace, Oldspace, or just Space fan behavior has virtually no effect on operations, investigations, or even future contracts in this industry. My opinion of SLS has no more effect on the program than my opinion of SpaceX or XCOR has on their operation. This lack of direct effect extends to many of those with far better connections than mine. I posted this one because I was annoyed, which is a terrible reason. Also because many of us need a bit of humility to understand that any effect we have is mostly second or third order in that someone that does do real work might grow a seed from these discussions into a viable plant. We need enough tolerance in our communications to work together, and enough care to dispute points that should not be left standing without argument.
There are a lot of people in NASA that are exceptional. There are a lot of people in the Oldspace companies that are exceptional. Newspace has lower numbers of exceptional people mainly due to the fact that they have far far less people total. Let us honestly evaluate the people, equipment, and systems we consider important without honoring any of them for fictitious performance.