Space Review: The Destroy Everything Edition

A Titan rocket explodes just after liftoff. (Credit: USAF)
A Titan rocket explodes just after liftoff. Not a good day for the Air Force. (Credit: USAF)

This week in The Space Review

  • HLV! HLV! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again! That is basically Lou Friedman’s view of the job creating, budget busting heavy-lift vehicle that Congress has thrust upon a reluctant NASA.
  • Todd Neff looks at the vastly over budget and behind schedule James Webb Space Telescope, which threatens to scuttle and delay other valuable projects.
  • Jeff Foust reports on some the measures the US and other countries can take to make sure orbital debris, satellite collisions, and anti-satellite weapons don’t destroy space as a useful place to visit and do work.
  • Jeff Foust reviews a book by an astronomer who helped to obliterate Pluto’s status as a planet.
  • Dwayne Day continues his look at the long-since-canceled and little mourned TV show “Defying Gravity,” ABC’s valiant effort to wipe out the space science fiction genre once and for all.

The Space Review: Can NewSpace Meet All the Expectations?


In the The Space Review this week, a look at some things on the rise and others that have taken falls:

Taylor Dinerman questions whether the nascent NewSpace industry will be able to fulfill the hopes placed on it by the Augustine Commission.

Jeff Foust reports on the controversial end of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

Dwayne Day looks at how the TV series Defying Gravity fell to Earth before finishing its 13-episode run in the United States.

Jeff Foust reviews the latest book to examine the debate over Pluto’s demotion from planetary status.

NASA: Directionless and Brain Drained


Giving NASA a clear mission
G. Ryan Faith makes the case for giving NASA a straightforward mission—space exploration—and prioritizing its tasks accordingly.

Protecting the space workforce
Taylor Dinerman warns that DOD and NASA program cuts could lead to a brain drain like the ones seen after previous mass layoffs.

Is the near-Earth space frontier closed?
Much of what made the Space Age possible was driven by the development of ICBMs and related spacecraft systems. Andrew Tubbiolo argues that this legacy may make it more difficult for commercial and civil entities to expand their activities in Earth orbit.

Review: Pluto Confidential
The recent IAU General Assembly has come and gone without any changes in the definition of “planet” or Pluto’s classification. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that takes yet another look at the controversy surrounding Pluto’s status and how it compares to previous planetary controversies.

Venetia Phair, Who Named Pluto, Dies at 90

Pluto and its moon, Charon
Pluto and its moon, Charon (credit: NASA)

Venetia Phair Dies at 90; as a Girl, She Named Pluto
The New York Times

Frozen and lonely, Planet X circled the far reaches of the solar system awaiting discovery and a name. It got one thanks to an 11-year-old British girl named Venetia Burney, an enthusiast of the planets and classical myth.