Monthly Archives: January 2020

Crested Saguaro

Crested saguaro

Today I took the morning off to do a hike with Diane and friend Susan. I did this mostly because other caving-related conservation work on recent and future weekends has made it impossible for me to go hiking with my wife. Since she hikes with Susan on Fridays, I decided to join them.

We went to Tucson Mountain Park, on the west side of Tucson, to do one of the more well known trails. The photo to the right, taken by Diane back in 2016, shows the spectacular crested saguaro she discovered in plain site on that hike but had gone unnoticed by us for years.

Everyone knows saguaros for their classic western look that makes it the state wildflower of Arizona. Normally they have a central post that sometimes has one or more arms extending from it. For normal saguaros the tops of the central post and the arms are almost always symmetrical and rounded.

However, in rare cases (about 1 in 10,000) something strange happens and a saguaro begins to grow wildly at its peak, or even along its entire length. Such freaks are called crested or cristate saguaros, and only about 2,200 have been found throughout the saguaro range in the southwest. When you find one it is always with a sense of triumph and wonder.

We began to look for crested saguaros during hikes around 2015, after a friend had shown us two on a nearby hike that we had done frequently without ever noticing this wonder of nature that was right before our eyes. Thus Diane’s discovery to the right in 2016. Today we went back on that same hike and found it again. It had not changed in any way in the past four years that I could tell when comparing pictures. Regardless, it is one of the wildest crested saguaros I’ve ever seen.

No one really knows why this happens. My theory today, in looking at this one, is that it was on drugs.

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A Martian avalanche: before and after

A Martian avalanche: before and after
Click for full resolution animation.

Cool image time! The science team for the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) today released a beautiful blink animation showing the before and after terrain at an avalanche site along the scarp of Mars’s north pole ice cap.

The animation is very cool, but it is also helpful to align the two images next to each other to carefully study what actually changed. The image to the right, cropped and reduced here, shows both photos. (Thank you to planetary scientist Shane Byrne for splitting the animation for me.). I have added the white bars to indicate the cliff section that broke off during the avalanche. That section was made of water ice, with probably some dust and rocks mixed in, and broke into the blocks that are now scattered on the ground below.

This avalanche itself is actually not unusual and as I noted in an earlier post, is part of an annual season of numerous avalanches that occur on this northern scarp of the polar ice cap each spring. As written by Dr. Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona,

Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and blocks break loose. When they reach the bottom of the more than 500 meter tall cliff face [about 1,600 feet], the blocks kick up a cloud of dust.

And as Byrne noted to me in an interview when I asked him how it was possible for MRO to image so many avalanches, as they occur,

“It is incredible. I think this is the most incredible thing about the whole process.” said Byrne. “If you fly over a mountain range on the Earth and take a picture, the chances catching an avalanche in progress are almost zero. But on Mars half of the images we take in the right season contain an avalanche. There’s one image that has four avalanches going off simultaneously at different parts of the scarp. There must be hundreds to thousands of these events each day.”

In an email exchange with him today, he also added that this is not the first before and after comparison images obtained. “We’ve been seeing these blockfalls for several years now. That’s partly why these scarps are being so intensively monitored by HiRISE.”

Do these avalanches mean that the Martian northern polar ice cap is shrinking? Maybe, maybe not. Right now scientists think the cap is in a steady state, neither growing or shrinking. These events are thus more likely comparable to the routine calving of ice sections from the foots of glaciers here on Earth, a common tourist destination in the waters of western Alaskan coast.

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Strange parallel grooves in Martian crater floor

Parallell ridges and ruts in Martian crater floor
Click for full image.

Full crater view
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The image above, cropped to post here, was taken on December 2, 2019 by the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of a crater in the northern lowlands of Mars. It focuses in on the strange lineated ruts and ridges found on the crater’s central floor, as indicated by the black box on the wide shot to the right.

The north-south alignment of these groves suggests to me that they are wind caused, as if dust and sand had ponded in the crater’s lowest point and was then shaped by the prevalent winds. They also appear solid and old, as if this shaping occurred a long time ago and they are now decaying with time.

This location is at the same latitude as the plains around Erebus Montes, the prime candidate landing site for SpaceX’s Starship, and a region where a lot of shallow subsurface ice has been detected. It lies due west of that region, separated by the north-south Phlegra Montes mountain chain. At this latitude, 36 degrees north, scientists have found ample evidence of water ice, though some regions have more than others. This crater sits on the edge of this particular rich area, which might explain why the crater looks more solid and dry than others at similar latitudes. There simply might be less ice here, or the ice lies deeper below the surface.

I am off with Diane on a hike this morning, so this cool image fills in for my normal morning news posting. I should catch up this afternoon.

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Rocket Lab successfully launches U.S. reconnaissance satellite

Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab today successfully launched a U.S. reconnaissance satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

They also had the first stage do a guided re-entry after stage separation, continuing their testing which they hope will eventually lead to the recovery and reuse of these stages.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

3 China
2 SpaceX
1 Arianespace (Europe)
1 Rocket Lab

The U.S. and China are now tied 3-3 in the national rankings.

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You Use a Cartridge Razor? Dump it!

An evening pause: Recently my cousin Ken Kueny, a former software manager at Orbital ATK and now the owner of Karn Custom Woodwork, a major carpentry company in Virginia, made me aware of a new example in the movement to buy dumb (rejecting modern hi-tech for older technology developed in the 20th century), this time related to shaving utensils. Apparently, men appear to be abandoning the modern expensive cartridge multi-blade razors for old-fashioned safety razors and double-edged blades.

I, who hate shaving and have a beard partly so that I only have to do a trimming about twice a week, was astonished. The video below gives a quick lesson on how to shave with a safety razor, for those too young to remember these tools. It also gives a sense of why it is better to do it this way. This video shows just a sampling of the many different types of available safety razors, and the engineering differences for each. Do a search on youtube and you will see numerous similar videos touting the advantages of going retro when shaving. All are quite convincing.

This new trend won’t make me shave my beard, as I also like it very much, but it does illustrate once again that while new designs can certainly improve things, newer is not always better.

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NASA signs agreement with private company to train private astronauts

Capitalism in space: A private company based in Houston, KBR, has signed an agreement with NASA to train private astronauts for flights to and from ISS.

It appears that KBR has been providing NASA support services for quite awhile, such as some ISS command and control operations. This agreement appears to give them some NASA support, such as access to NASA training facilities, as they start offering their astronaut training services to private customers.

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Update on coronavirus spread

Link here. As expected, the situation in China continues to be serious and somewhat out of control. The key data point however is this:

The number of confirmed infections across China has risen to 7,711, resulting in 170 deaths. By comparison, there were 5,327 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China during the 2002-2003 outbreak, although that virus was more deadly, claiming 349 lives.

In about a week the number of those infected has grown exponentially, far far faster than the previous SARS epidemic. In one week it just about passed SARS, which took a year to accumulate the same numbers.

At the same time, coronavirus still appears relatively mild, having produced half the deaths, about 2% of all those infected. This number however can easily rise, as the disease is still in its early stages for the majority of those infected.

So far the detected cases outside of China remain small, but they are also on the rise, including the first detected human-to-human transmission entirely within the U.S.

Once again, it is essential that no one panic over this virus. Its potential danger should also not be poo-pooed. Until we know more, it poses a threat that must be faced.

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Honoring Churchill on anniversary of his funeral

On this date in 1965 the United Kingdom buried Winston Churchill in the first state funeral for a non-royal family member in thirty years, and one that lasted four days.

Below is a short video of that event, possibly the largest such funeral in the twentieth century. And it was so large for good reason, as noted by then Australian prime minister Sir Robert Menzies:

In the whole of recorded history this [the Second World War] was, I believe, the one occasion when one man, with one soaring imagination, with one fire burning in him, and with one unrivalled capacity for conveying it to others, won a crucial victory not only for the Forces (for there were many heroes in those days) but for the spirit of human freedom. And so, on this day, we thank him, and we thank God for him.

I wonder, who are our Churchills today? Who is willing to stand against tyranny, either within or without our country, and fight for freedom?

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More Martian pimples

More pimples on Mars
Click for full image.

In a captioned image release last week from the science team of the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), planetary scientist Alfred McEwen describes a string of mounds aligned and deformed by a fissue.

The image, cropped and reduced to post here, is to the right. As McEwen notes,

A possible geologic interpretation is that as the rift began to open, subsurface material (perhaps mud) erupted to create the mounds, which were then deformed as the rift continued to spread.

Located in Chryse Planitia, the region of the northern lowland plains just north of the outlet from Valles Marineris, these mounds and their probable geological origin seem very similar to the pimple mounds I highlighted in a cool image only last week. The only difference is that the earlier posted pimples were not aligned with any obvious fissure or rift.

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A new Juno flyover movie above Jupiter

Citizen scientist Brian Swift has created a new movie from images taken by Juno during its December 25th close pass of Jupiter, the 24th such flyby of the spacecraft’s mission.

I have embedded the movie below. While it isn’t as spectacular as previous movies (see here, here, here, and especially here and here), as it appears that either Juno did not get quite as close, or Swift did not shape it to give that impression, it is still most breathtaking.

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Why Bigelow passed on NASA bid for new ISS module

Capitalism in space: In an interview this week, Robert Bigelow provided his reasons for not bidding on the NASA agreement to build additional modules for ISS, won by passed on NASA bid for new ISS module, won by Axiom this week.

In a Jan. 28 interview, Robert Bigelow said his company decided not to bid on a NASA competition for access to an ISS docking port for a commercial module because the funding NASA offered for doing so was too low. NASA announced Jan. 27 it selected Axiom Space to use the port through its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program.

When NASA issued the request for proposal in June for the docking port, NASA said it projected making $561 million available for both the docking port solicitation and a separate one to support development of a free-flying commercial facility. “That was asking just too much” of the company, Bigelow said. “So we told NASA we had to bow out.”

NASA now appears willing to separate the free flyer from the program, meaning that it wishes to make more money available to both, something Bigelow says is necessary because at the moment he believes there are not enough customers outside NASA for any orbital space business to make a profit.

On this last point I think Bigelow might be wrong. I also think it will be a mistake for NASA to provide these companies too much money. Keep them on a tight lease, force them to work efficiently so that they lower costs. This will make it easier for them to charge less to outside customers, thus widening their customer base more quickly.

If NASA gives them a blank check, it will remain the only customer, as the companies will then end up spending too much building their facilities, making it impossible for any other private customer to afford using it.

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Boeing budgets for extra unmanned Starliner test

Capitalism in space: Boeing has put aside $410 million in its next budget to pay for a possible second unmanned Starliner test, just in case NASA demands it.

The company said in its fourth quarter earnings release Jan. 29 that it was taking the charge “primarily to provision for an additional uncrewed mission for the Commercial Crew program, performance and mix.” It noted that NASA was still reviewing data from the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) mission in December that was cut short, without a docking at the International Space Station, by a timer problem.

“NASA is in the process of reviewing the data from our December 2019 mission,” Greg Smith, chief financial officer at Boeing, said in an earnings call. “NASA’s approval is required to proceed with a flight test with astronauts on board. Given this obligation, we are provisioned for another uncrewed mission.” Neither he nor Boeing’s new chief executive, David Calhoun, elaborated on that during the call, which was devoted primarily to issues related to the company’s 737 MAX airliner.

It might be too early to say, but my instincts are telling me that this decision, made very quickly, is a very good sign for Boeing. It suggests that Calhoun doesn’t fool around, that he takes very seriously the need for Boeing to serve its customers. In the past Boeing would have lobbied NASA, its customer, to pay for a possible additional flight (something NASA is not required to do according to the contract). Now Boeing instead makes it clear that it has accepted the responsibility of that additional flight, right off the bat, something that any good and healthy company should do.

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Parker completes fourth solar flyby; sets new record

The Parker Solar Probe yesterday completed its fourth orbital close fly-by of the Sun, setting a new speed record.

The spacecraft traveled 11.6 million miles from the Sun’s surface at perihelion, reaching a speed of 244,225 miles per hour. These achievements topple Parker Solar Probe’s own previous records for closest spacecraft to the Sun — previously about 15 million miles from the Sun’s surface — and fastest human-made object, before roughly 213,200 miles per hour.

Parker will continue to break these records with each orbit.

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Trump’s Mideast peace plan: What it really reveals

This week President Trump unveiled his proposed comprehensive peace plan for settling the differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The plan has not garnered a lot of press attention, partly because of the media’s general bias against Trump, but mostly because no one expects it to be adopted. The plan is crucially important, however, not because it might become reality but because of what it reveals about the various players involved, telling us everything we need to know about them as well as what they really stand for.

The details of that plan, discussed here at great length, suggest that it offers a mixed bag to both sides. While it will give billions in aid to the Palestinians to help jump start their own sovereign state, carved out of the territories they presently hold, it also recognizes Israel’s hold on the parts of the West Bank it presently occupies.

It also demands the following from the Palestinians:

Before Palestine can unlock any benefit, the Hamas government in Gaza must be removed from power and replaced with the Palestinian Authority. If Hamas wants to remain in power, the group must renounce violence, fully disarm, and accept the existence of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. That’s a non-starter. Hamas faces political and economic pressure, but a capitulation of its ideology or its power is unlikely. The plan also requires the new State of Palestine to safeguard freedom of speech and religion and promote financial and government transparency. [emphasis mine]

The responses to this plan are, as I said, quite revealing.
» Read more

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Two defunct satellites barely miss each other

Missed it by that much: According to the US Space Command, two defunct satellites, one the first infrared space telescope ever launched and the other a military technology test satellite, apparently did not collide tonight, barely missing each other.

Prior to impact it was estimated they could get within as little as 40 feet. Since the military satellite had booms 60 feet long, the possibility of impact was quite real, especially because there was also a margin of error in the calculations and the two satellites were traveling almost 33,000 mph relative to each other. Had they hit each other the cloud of debris would have caused enormous problems, as the pieces would have been a threat to many other satellites presently in orbit.

Fortunately they missed each other. The problem of many such defunct satellites and upper stages and general space junk still exists however. Someone could make some good money providing a service to clean this stuff up. I suspect governments would be willing to pay to have it done.

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First images from Inouye Solar Telescope

Close-up of the Sun by Inouye Telescope

Scientists have released the first images of the Sun taken by the new Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

The image to the right, cropped to post here, is today’s released image, a close-up of the Sun’s surface granular structure, with each cell about the size of Texas.

Right now most of the telescope’s instruments are not yet on line. It is expected the telescope will become fully operational in July.

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GAO warns of more Webb delays

The race to the bottom between Webb and SLS continues! A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warns that there is high likelihood that NASA will not meet its March 2021 target launch date for the James Webb Space Telescope.

The report noted that the program performed an updated joint confidence level analysis of the mission’s cost in schedule in October. “Because of schedule delays resulting from technical challenges coupled with remaining risks faced by the project, the analysis assessed only a 12 percent confidence level for the project’s ability to meet the March 2021 launch readiness date,” the report stated.

NASA missions usually set cost and schedule estimates at the 70% confidence level. Using that metric, the launch would likely take place in July 2021, a delay of four months, according to the report.

Webb is now more than a decade behind schedule, with its budget ballooning from $1 billion to just under $10 billion. These facts essentially wiped out almost all new astronomical projects in the 2010s.

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Voyager 2 in safe mode

After forty years of operation and successfully leaving the solar system, Voyager 2 has experienced a technical issue that caused it to go into safe mode.

According to NASA, Voyager 2 failed to perform a scheduled maneuver on Saturday January 25. The craft was due to rotate a full 360 degrees to calibrate its magnetic field instrument, but for some reason the action was delayed. That in turn meant that two particularly power-hungry systems were left running at the same time, which overdrew the available power supply.

…As of January 28, the team managed to turn off one of those high-power systems, allowing some scientific instruments to be switched back on. Engineers are currently analyzing data to figure out the status of the rest of the systems, to work out how to turn off the second one and return the craft to normal operations.

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SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites, bringing the size of the constellation to 240 satellites.

They also successfully recovered the first stage, which was making its third flight. They also caught one of the two fairing halves in the ship net, recovering the second half out of the ocean.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

3 China
2 SpaceX
1 Arianespace (Europe)

The launch replay is embedded below the fold.
» Read more

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Another two hard radical Sanders campaign field workers

Project Veritas has released its fourth expose on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, once again showing us two more radical hard left campaign workers, both field organizers, who seem willing to accept the idea of “destroying property” and using force to obtain power, regardless of whether Sanders is elected.

I’ve embedded the video below the fold. Unlike the radicals exposed in the earlier videos, I find these guys more absurd and intellectually empty than frightening. I do not see how they will be able to achieve a violent overthrow of the American people, especially since their opposition of Trump supporters are also avid and trained gun users who will not take kindly to any attempts to directly oppress them with force.

Regardless, these two Sanders workers do illustrate well the empty-headed policy ideas of Sanders and his campaign. If you jump to 12:00 minutes into the video, watch how Mason Baird struggles when asked how Bernie Sanders is going to carry out his policy. As he admits,

Like, we we get really nuts and bolts stuff, that’s what I really struggle with thinking about is — My answer is kind of like vague. It’s just like the, you know, having the movement and having, and snowballing that movement, and, and thinking more explicit, maybe thinking less about mobilize, or thinking about persuading people and more about mobilizing the people we already have.

He goes on to imply that the use of force against any one who opposes them would likely be the best approach, but he certainly seems very unclear how he and his ilk could do that.

I repeat and beg my Democratic readers, watch and learn. The Democratic Party is not the party you think it is. It is instead becoming a carbon copy of the Communist Party of the early Soviet Union, designed with only one purpose in mind, obtaining power. And we know this by the reaction of the Sanders campaign to these videos, which is to do nothing, to poo-poo what they reveal, and to fire no one.

» Read more

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Inexplicable ridges on Mars

Inexplicable ridges on Mars
Click for full image.

Don’t ask me to explain the geology on today’s cool image, rotated, cropped and reduced above. Taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on August 16, 2019, the image’s uncaptioned website merely calls these “Convergent and Overlapping Narrow Curved Ridges.”

I don’t know why the sand in the hollows appears light blue, or even if it is sand. I don’t know what created the ridges, or why they seem to overlap each other randomly, or why they seem to peter out to the south.

I am sure there are planetary scientists out there who have theories that might explain these features. I also know that they would forgive me if I remained skeptical of those theories. This geology is a puzzle.

Hellas Basin, the basement of Mars

The location of these ridges is in the southeast corner of Hellas Basin, which I like to call the basement of Mars as it is the equivalent of the United States’ Death Valley, having the lowest relative elevation on the planet. As I have noted previously, the geology in this basin can be very strange. To my eye it often invokes a feeling that we are looking at Mars’s “uttermost foundation of stone” (to quote Tolkien), frozen lava that flowed in many ways and then froze in strange patterns.

Or not. Your guess is as good as mine.

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Two abandoned satellites might collide

According to a company that monitors objects in low Earth orbit, two abandoned satellites might actually collide on January 29..

The two satellites, NASA’s IRAS space telescope and the experimental U.S. Naval Research Lab satellite GGSE-4, will swing past each other at 6:39 p.m. EST at an altitude of about 559 miles in the skies above Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They’ll be hurtling along their orbit at a relative velocity of about 32,880 miles per hour and could swing within 50 feet of each other.

LeoLabs noted that, at the time of the tweet, the odds of a collision were about 1 in 100 and said the relatively large size of the two spacecraft increased the risk of a collision.

IRAS was the first infrared space telescope ever launched, and operated for ten months after its launch in 1983. The other spacecraft was a National Security Agency test satellite of surveillance technology.

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More evidence Iran is about to launch a satellite

Images from space of Iran’s rocket launch site appear to confirm their recent claims that they are about to launch a satellite, showing the kind of activity that usually presages a launch.

Satellite photos taken on January 26 by the San Francisco-based commercial company Planet Labs Inc. and shared via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey show work at a launchpad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center.

The images also show more cars and activity at a facility at the space center, located about 230 kilometers southeast of Tehran. “It looks pretty clearly to us like Iran is going to try and put a satellite into space,” Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute who tracks Iran’s space program.

If they do launch and successfully get their satellite into orbit, it will be their first such success since 2015.

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More evidence of ample shallow ice in Martian mid-latitudes

In a new paper released this week, scientists using instruments on both Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have found more evidence that there is a large amount of widespread ice close to the surface in the Martian mid-latitudes. As the scientists note in their abstract:

We show that water ice is present sometimes just a few centimeters below the surface, at locations where future landing is realistic, under mobile material that could easily be moved around. This ice could be exploited on‐site for drinking water, breathable oxygen, etc., at a much lower cost than if brought from Earth.

They deduced this by looking at how that ice would change the seasonal temperatures in the atmosphere directly above. Cooler regions suggested more ice close to the surface, while warmer regions suggested either no ice or ice deep below the surface. While this approach is indirect and did not directly detect ice, their conclusions match perfectly with all previous research. Below is a global map of Mars taken from the paper’s the supplementary material [docx file], reduced and annotated by me, showing the regions that seem to have ample shallow ice. Regular readers of Behind the Black will instantly recognize these locations.
» Read more

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NASA picks Axiom to build three private commercial modules on ISS

Capitalism in space: NASA today picked the new space station company Axiom to build three modules to ISS, designed to operate as a private commercial operation.

The first segment launch is targeted for 2024. The three segments will include a node with multi-ports, a crew module, and a research module, and will be the “hotel” for private tourists that Axiom hopes to send to ISS two or three times per year. The entire section will also be designed to eventually separate from ISS when that station is retired and operate, with more additions, as an independent station.

This decision did not include the actual contract, only the choice of company to build this new section of ISS. Later negotiations will determine the fixed price amount that NASA will pay.

Why did NASA pick Axiom, which has not yet launched anything, and bypass Bigelow, which has launched two independent test modules and one that has been attached to ISS and working successfully now for several years? This quote explains:

Although Axiom is a relatively young company, having been formed only four years ago in 2016, there is no lack of experience within the company’s ranks.

Axiom’s Co-founder and CEO is Micheal Suffredini, who formerly worked at the Johnson Space Centre (JSC) as the program manager for the International Space Station project.

The Axiom team also includes Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut who flew on the space shuttle three times and commanded the 14th Expedition to the ISS, as well as former shuttle commanders Brent Jett and Charles Bolden, the latter of whom served as NASA’s 12th administrator from 2009 to 2017.

Axiom is also working alongside several companies with extensive experience with the ISS program, this includes Boeing, who has made several of the modules that make up the US Segment, including Node 1 and the US Laboratory Module. Axiom is also working alongside Thales Alenia Space, Maxar Technologies and Intuitive Machines to get this project off the ground. [emphasis mine]

In other words, it appears it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This is not to say that the individuals and companies listed above do not know much, but that the company’s real experience with building private modules is lacking. Boeing has built NASA’s modules, but those were for the government and were therefore costly. I have grave doubts they could do this inexpensively, though I could be wrong.

The key will be whether they aim to make their profits from their commercial customers, or use NASA (and the federal government) as their cash cow. The track record of most of Axiom’s partners suggests the latter. For example, Bigelow built and launched its BEAM module to ISS for $17 million, and got it done in three years. We don’t yet know the cost of Axiom’s modules, but their target build-time is already longer, at four to five years

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud NASA’s approach here. They are ceding ownership and construction to a private company, and allowing its work to be commercialized for profit, something that NASA routinely opposed for decades. I just worry that the company it has chosen will be not up to the task, and is not focused on making those profits.

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Chris Pritchard – World way: The City of LAX

An evening pause: From the website:

The impetus for “WORLD WAY: The City of LAX” was born in 2013 as I sat on a rooftop in El Segundo, waiting for a shoot to begin and looking out over LA. The incoming planes looked like a highway, evenly spaced and spread across multiple lanes. This led my eye to the end of their path – LAX. I realized I had a fully unobstructed view of the airport, and immediately started capturing timelapses of it. I became fascinated with the many layers of movement that were visible – planes taking off and landing, planes taxiing, ground support equipment moving on the ramp and throughout the airport, passenger vehicles on World Way, passengers on foot outside and inside the airport – all moving at their own unique pace. It made me realize that LAX is a city unto itself, with so many moving pieces and individual people all doing their part to keep it moving.

Hat tip Edward Thelen.

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