Recent Posts

Apollo 11: 50 Year Anniversary

"It doesn't seem right," said one veteran of Apollo, who I won't quote directly because I didn't ask permission. He continued, "That it's been 50 years, and we're putting the blocks together, and they're mostly the same blocks."

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The Outer Space Treaty at 50 - Property Rights

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is now 50 years old, having entered into force on October 10 1967. The treaty prohibits weapons of mass destruction in space, tells nations to supervise their space activities, and declares that no sovereign nation may claim any celestial body, and other things. The State Department's website contains the full text of the treaty. In this post we'll discuss the ways that countries approach property laws in space while still abiding by the Outer Space Treaty's rules.

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Simulating Project Echo

On Github I posted a tutorial that shows you how to use GMAT to simulate Echo I, one of the largest inflatable satellites ever flown. This post has some working javascript charts to show off. You can click and drag and zoom and even take screenshots.

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Big Dumb Booster

The "big, dumb booster" concept was introduced in the 1960's by Bob Truax. “Make it big, make it simple, make it reusable” was his motto. Now that reusability is back in style, is it time to give the big dumb booster another look?

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Humans to Mars Conference 2017

I attended the Humans to Mars conference in Washington this week. It was fun to meet attendees from all over the country and the panelists were great.

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Alliance for Space Development's March Storm

Last week I had the opportunity to promote the "Citizen's Space Agenda" as part of the Alliance for Space Development's "March Storm" project. It was a well-organized initiative with clear legislative objectives. Here's what we were trying to accomplish:

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Space Resources

Right now the most valuable and scarce resources in space are the RF spectrum and geosynchronous orbital slots. In this introductory post, I'll talk about other resources found in space which companies have yet to profit from, such as ice and solar energy.

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Why Space?

The perennial question: Why space? Why do we spend money on NASA? Why should we go to the Moon or Mars? To get to the right answer, we'll first eliminate some of the wrong answers people often give.

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Space in the 2016 Election

The 2016 presidential race is getting a little tight, so I thought that I should do what bloggers do best and apply my specific, niche knowledge to a totally unrelated topic. Clearly, space is not the #1 issue on the table when you're choosing between Clinton and Trump, but in this post I will tell you what space has to do with your decision.

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GOLD RUSH

Is there a space gold rush happening? Should we take to heart the old adage that if you want to make it rich during a gold rush, sell shovels? In this post, I'm going to convince you otherwise.

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Mars Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, instead dissolving nutrients in water and feeding that solution directly to the plant roots. In this post we will discuss the technical challenges presented when designing a hydroponics system for use on Mars. By the end of this post, we will have decided which type of hydroponics system currently in use on Earth is best suited for Mars.

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The Secret Strategy Behind the Asteroid Redirect Mision

Though a lot of people in the space community criticize the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) as an unhelpful distraction, I think that there is a secret strategy which keeps it on the books. My theory is that ARM is a sacrificial lamb presented to appease the next administration's team who will be tasked with cutting old programs to make room for new programs. In the upcoming year, the incoming administration will cut ARM and crystalize the amorphous Evolvable Mars campaign into a more substantive plan. Whether or not this plan involves Mars is not important, what is important is that it still involves SLS and Orion.

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We Are Not in a New International Space Race

After reading "The “Asian Space Race” and China’s solar system exploration: domestic and international rationales", written by a space policy student at GW, I decided that I needed to write a response refuting this and all similar articles on the net.

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Virtual Reality for Space Exploration

Yesterday I was able to attend a panel discussion on virtual reality at the Humans to Mars conference in Washington, DC. This post will summarize only the technologies discussed in the panel, so there are sure to be some other things out there not mentioned in this post.

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Commercial Space Strategy of Bigelow-ULA Partnership

The big news today was that Bigelow and ULA announced an alliance of sorts. Wait, the A in ULA already stands for Alliance, so this must be a non-official partnership that's not even signed on paper yet. What could it mean? The purpose of this post is to probe the strategic future of the following companies: Bigelow, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada.

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Lunar South Pole and Leaflet.js

In this post I'll show you how to make your own map of the lunar south pole with Leaflet.js and the tiles available from ASU's Lunaserv WMS server.

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Modern Maps of Mars

Finding a good map of Mars is no easy task. There’s one really good map from NASA, but it doesn’t show up on the first page of google results for "map of mars." The first thing you’ll notice is that there are a lot of red/green/blue topographical maps like the one pictured below. The reds are the high elevations, and the blue the low elevations. The maps are cool and interesting, but they don’t really answer a lot of the questions you have about Mars.

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© Peter Brandt 2019 | all images in public domain unless otherwise stated