04 March 2011
Space Shuttle launch seen from a passing airplane – science in space
Brian Micklethwait


“We don’t want anybody to complain that we were late …”

I don’t know quite what “late” means.  Was that the pilot speaking, and did the pilot himself offer everyone free drinks?  Feels more like a private jet with a dozen business execs on board than an “airliner”.

Anyway the upshot of this lateness was that all on board got to see another upshot, in the form of the latest Space Shuttle launch.  The very last one, I think, yes?  Anyway, one of the passengers did a vid.

The latest NASA effort, however, was not so good.

Further to that talk by James Bennett that Michael and I attended, I was reminded that Bennett also focussed on the contribution of private sector near earth orbit flights to scientific research.  It turns out that experiments work a lot better if there’s a guy up there with the experiment.  Private sector space travel doesn’t stay up there as long as clunky old government space rockets, but it is much cheaper.  Think about it.  Little and often and cheap probably makes a lot more sense than one big expensive Hail Mary, have-to-get-everything-right-first-time mega-project.

  1. Last mission of the Discovery. There is one more mission to go for Endeavour (commanded by Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords), and almost certainly one more mission for Atlantis (although that is tied up in a certain amount of bureaucratic red tape, so isn’t officially confirmed at the moment).

    Posted by Michael Jennings on  07 March 2011 at 02:30 am

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