Monthly Archives: January 2018

Sea Launch aims to resume flights by the end of 2019

Capitalism in space: S7 Group, the Russian company that now owns Sea Launch, has published a planned launch schedule beginning the end of 2019 with twelve launches planned through 2022.

They have also set up a permanent office in Long Beach, California, where the Sea Launch platform is based.

We shall see if this schedule holds. The successful launch last week of a Zenit rocket indicates that the company’s rocket is viable. The question is whether they have any customers yet.


The state of the worldwide rocket industry at the start of 2018

In January 2017 I posted a graph that showed the total successful rocket launches, by company and nation, from the years 1998 through 2016. That graph allowed me to note some interesting trends, of which the following were the three most significant:

First, 2016 was the worst year for the Russian rocket industry in decades. In fact, their launch total of only 18 might be the fewest Russian launches in a year since the beginnings of the space race.

Second, China has been aggressively ramping up its launch rate, and in 2016 moved clearly into the top tier of space-faring nations. Their prediction that they are aiming for 30 launches in 2017 is further evidence that this effort is not a temporary thing.

Third, the United States is clearly transitioning away from a government owned and operated rocket industry to one owned and operated by the private sector. Since the retirement of the space shuttle, the federal government has not launched a single rocket that it designed, built, and owns. Instead, every payload put in space by the U.S. has been put there by a private sector rocket.

Below the fold is a new graph. It now includes 2017, but also goes back to 1980, which I think makes a good starting point for the true beginning of the modern the rocket industry. In December 1979 Arianespace successfully completed the first launch of Ariane 1, beginning its effort to build a commercial rocket that would capture market share in the communication satellite industry. In 1980 India launched its first rocket. And in 1981 the space shuttle began flying.
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An educated perspective on on the Iran protests

Link here. The author is a writer who has lived in Iran and seems very knowledgeable about the country and the specific cities where the protests are occurring. His comments about the city where the protests began, Mashad, are very revealing. They suggest that the Islamic mullahs that have been controlling Iran for the past few decades might have forgotten their base, and thus their base is now revolting.

He also notes this detail:

Now, there’s rioting in Qom. Qom is THE religious center for Shia Islam. Rioters burned a SEMINARY. Anti-mullah riots in Qom is a VERY BAD SIGN. That’s comparable to anti-Catholic riots in Vatican City. If you’re burning pictures of Khomeini and Khameini (two different people) in the religious center of Shia Islam… The Mullahs have lost their base and not just on the subject of payments.

So, this is, yeah, a very serious revolt. Not just some minor anti-government protests or some people arguing for better pay-offs. Posters weren’t being burned in Qom in the Green Revolution. (Which was very much centered on the middle class and students.) ‘Blue-collar’ protesters are chanting in favor of Reza Pahlavi, the guy who reestablished the Peacock Throne.

He also concludes by saying that if the mullahs do not stamp this revolt out soon this could very well end up to be a fight to the death.

Hat tip from reader Geoffrey Carman.

Update: More information here, including some details about why our mainstream press seems incapable of reporting on these protests with any knowledge or depth.

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