Main Engine Cut Off

T+87: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2

Rocket Lab announced that they’re in the final selection stage of their search for a US launch site. I break down the options they have, and discuss why I think they’ll pick Wallops Island.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 37 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, Stan, Mike, David, Mints, Joonas, and seven anonymous—and 173 other supporters on Patreon.

T+86: Falcon Heavy Wins AFSPC-52

Big news this week: SpaceX won an EELV contract for Falcon Heavy. I talk through what this means for the US launch market, how SpaceX and Falcon Heavy are set up to compete for the next few years.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 36 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, Stan, Mike, David, Mints, and seven anonymous—and 175 other supporters on Patreon.

T+85: Support and Criticism for the Lunar Gateway

ESA has all but given its full support to the (newly renamed) Lunar Gateway, and Terry Virts threw some criticism its way during the third meeting of the National Space Council. I break down what those things mean for the future of Lunar Gateway, and discuss why I’m (gasp!) supportive of the program.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 36 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, Stan, Mike, David, Mints, and seven anonymous—and 174 other supporters on Patreon.

T+84: The End of NASA Exploration Exclusivity

Last week, China opened up their future space station to other nations, and Blue Origin laid some hints about their lunar ambitions. Both of these stories are indicative of what I think the next era of exploration will look like, and it has interesting implications for NASA.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 36 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, Stan, Mike, David, Mints, and seven anonymous—and 166 other supporters on Patreon.

T+83: Falcon 9 Block 5, RL10 on Centaur V

Two events worth discussing happened while I was on vacation—the first Block 5 Falcon 9 took flight, and ULA selected RL10 for Centaur V.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 33 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, Stan, Mike, and six anonymous—and 164 other supporters on Patreon.

T+82: Jon Goff, Altius Space Machines

Jon Goff of Altius Space Machines joins me to talk about how he got to where he is today and what’s ahead for Altius—including satellite servicing with Bulldog, propellant depots, cryo couplers, and wet labs.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 31 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, and six anonymous—and 161 other supporters on Patreon.

T+81: Resource Prospector Cancellation

Last week, we heard news that the Resource Prospector mission has been cancelled. I spend some time thinking through my initial reactions to the news, and speculate about what the path ahead may hold for lunar development.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 31 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, Barbara, and six anonymous—and 161 other supporters on Patreon.

T+80: DARPA Launch Challenge

The DARPA Launch Challenge has been officially unveiled, so I spent some time breaking down the competition and speculating about who will enter and what DARPA wants out of it.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 30 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, Grant, and six anonymous—and 158 other supporters on Patreon.

T+79: Orbital ATK’s OmegA, NASA’s Bridenstine

Orbital ATK unveiled the name and additional technical details of their new launch vehicle, OmegA. Jim Bridenstine was finally confirmed as the new NASA Administrator.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 29 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, Jan, David, and six anonymous—and 157 other supporters on Patreon.

T+78: No Cost-Plus, But No Vision, Either

NASA had some interesting comments on the Lunar Gateway at a recent NASA Advisory Council meeting—the program is eschewing cost-plus contracting, but it’s lacking vision.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 27 executive producers—Kris, Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, Jamison, Nadim, Peter, Donald, Lee, Jasper, Chris, Warren, Bob, Brian, Russell, John, Moritz, Tyler, Joel, and six anonymous—and 153 other supporters on Patreon.