This seems fairly needlessly petty:
Continue reading FAA denies Wally Funk her Commercial Astronaut wings?
Federal aviation regulators have made a rare change to the requirements for its Commercial Astronaut Wings Program, meaning Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos may not officially be recognized for his spaceflight this week.
The Federal Aviation Administration changed rules for the program on the same day Bezos, his brother and two others made their historic first commercial spaceflight on Tuesday.
It’s like the Internet, in miniature.
Looks like it all went without a hitch.
Points to Bezos for being on the first one, too. I’m not ashamed to admit that in his place I might have been more thoughtful about acquiring that particular honor. Although I’d like to think I would have gone for it, too.
It’s about NASA lunar lander contract: “The protest focuses on the decision to award only one company, SpaceX, the lunar lander contract from a three-way competition. Alabama-based Dynetics also had developed a lunar lander for the contest.” (Via Instapundit) …Look, I like Amazon just fine. Amazon Prime, affiliate revenue, it’s my publisher.
But… Blue Origins is a privately funded spaceflight research organization that brings payloads along for the ride, and SpaceX is an unmanned and manned orbital transport enterprise. I have no doubt (and some hopes) that Jeff Bezos will eventually have an extremely profitable company and a fleet of silver rocketships; it’s just that, in the meantime, we’re trying to get back to the moon before I die of old age. Well, that’s maybe not NASA’s specific rationale – but it absolutely should be. I’d have given SpaceX the contract, too: they’ve got direct experience at this point. That includes, again, manned missions.
I forget where I saw this first, but: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is setting up a shop at Rocket City. For those who don’t know, Huntsville Alabama is where a lot of our commercial rocket infrastructure ended up after World War 2. The 23rd century is going to romanticize the heck out of the place in their popular fiction, but for right now it’s a place where serious work is being done. The goal here is avowedly to re-acquire an American alternative to Russian rocket engines; Blue Origin’s engines will be the ones ending up in ULA’s Vulcan rockets. And, of course: the more American manufacturing infrastructure in place here, the better.
Allahpundit has a definite point about the Reusable Rocket Race going on right now:
Gotta say, in the long list of ways, salutary and otherwise, in which spectacularly rich people have attempted to one-up each other historically, a race between [Elon] Musk, [Jeff] Bezos and whoever else to normalize space travel must rank pretty high.
For one thing, we’re going to get something useful out of this grudge match. Possibly several useful things, since Musk and Bezos are working on similar but not identical concepts. Also: they’re giving the money to a class of people (aerospace engineers) whom I like*. So, you know, win-win and we should all egg on Bezos and Musk to keep upstaging each other.
*No, my wife isn’t in on this particular contest. But she could be, so I suppose full disclosure, and all that.
This is a genuinely big deal:
It’s not quite a rocket ship that goes up under its own power, and back down under its own power, just as God and Bob Heinlein intended; but that’s coming along. Also: Jeff Bezos is now a strong contender to be named God-Emperor of the Geeks. But you knew that already.
Or that he hires people who do – because Jeff Bezos’ paper (The Washington Post, for those following at home) seems to have a problem with them these days:
A prominent American Jewish organization is denouncing The Washington Post for posting an animated cartoon on its YouTube channel depicting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu beating a Palestinian infant.
You know, I was kind of hoping that we had gotten past this particular sort of old nonsense. Apparently not all of us have.
Oh, this should generate some hate mail for the Washington Post:
The White House released a third iteration of the “U.S. National Climate Assessment,” claiming it is “the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever generated of climate change and its impacts across every region of America and major sectors of the U.S. economy.” The report emphasizes the need for “urgent action to combat the threats from climate change.” Well, here are five reasons voters don’t believe what the White House says on climate change…
Continue reading Washington Post (!) editorial writer (!!) slams administration over global warming hysteria.
If Jeff Bezos treats Amazon’s customers’ secrets the way that the Washington Post treats the government’s, well. That should be a factor in determining whether to buy data storage from the man.
The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.
As the DNI noted, there’s a reason for that: “Our budgets are classified as they could provide insight for foreign intelligence services to discern our top national priorities, capabilities and sources and methods that allow us to obtain information to counter threats.”
Continue reading This is not a good reputation for Jeff Bezos to have. #nsa #snowden