Capitalism in space? Momentus, aiming to provide satellite makers a tug that can move satellites to their preferred orbit, has delayed its first mission because the many bureaucrats in the federal government need more time to review the paperwork.
In a Jan. 4 statement, Momentus said the flight of its first Vigoride tug, which was to be part of the payloads on a Falcon 9 dedicated rideshare mission launching as soon as Jan. 14, will be delayed to later in the year because it was unable to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for the mission. “This move will allow for the additional time necessary to secure FAA approval of Momentus’ payloads, including completion of a standard interagency review,” the company said in a statement.
The company did not elaborate on that review, but part of the FAA commercial launch licensing process is a review of the payload that the agency describes as intended “to determine whether its launch would jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States.” That process can include consultation with other government agencies.
In a Jan. 5 document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the form of an interview, Fred Kennedy, president of Momentus, said there was no specific issue that was delaying that review. “The FAA did not express any specific concerns of its own, but rather indicated that more time was needed to complete its interagency review of Momentus’ payload,” he said. [emphasis mine]
The highlighted words reveal the truth. There is nothing wrong with the payload or its tasks. The problem is that several government agencies have not completed the paperwork, and so Momentus must wait. I imagine that there is a thick application sitting on some bureaucrat’s desk, requiring a signature, and that bureaucrat has been too busy collecting his or her paycheck at home because God forbid he or she might get the cororavirus by coming into work.
This is modern America. You don’t have the real freedom to do what you want. You must sit, twiddling your thumbs, while your betters in Washington decide whether they will allow you to do it. It doesn’t matter they know little or nothing about your goals. All that matters is that they are in charge, and can boss you around at their whim.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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