Main Engine Cut Off

T+45: 2018 Air Force Launch Vehicle Contracts, and the Dim Future of Antares

As the award date approaches for the 2018 Air Force launch vehicle development contracts, we keep hearing from Congress about how they would like to see it go. And I discuss the future of Antares and the Next-Generation Launch Vehicle in light of the continuing flights of Cygnus on Atlas V.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 9 executive producers—Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, and four anonymous—and 42 other supporters on Patreon.

T+44: SpaceX and the Age of Reusability

SpaceX made history this week by launching SES-10 with a previously-flown first stage. I discuss implications of this achievement, the things we learned from Elon Musk in the post-flight press briefing, and the doubters, as always.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 8 executive producers—Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, Ryan, and three anonymous—and 41 other supporters on Patreon.

T+43: March Lightning Round

T+42: Blue Origin Introduces New Glenn

This week, Blue Origin shed some more light on New Glenn—by way of an animation, launch agreements, and a talk by Jeff Bezos at Satellite 2017—and the first fully-assembled BE-4 shipped to their test site in Texas for a hot firing. I discuss the new details we learned and how New Glenn will fit into the industry in the 2020s.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 6 executive producers—Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, and two anonymous—and 36 other supporters on Patreon.

T+41: EM-1 Follow-up, Dragon 2-Falcon Heavy to the Moon

This week is all about #hotdrama, with two surprise media briefings: one from NASA on a potential crewed EM-1, and one from SpaceX on a privately-crewed journey around the Moon—riding on a Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy—at the end of 2018. I discuss the implications of both, and go on a rant about SpaceX and “focus.”

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 5 executive producers—Pat, Matt, Jorge, Brad, and one anonymous—and 34 other supporters on Patreon.

T+40: The Potentially Infamous EM-1 Memo

T+39: Opportunities for Private Companies within Government Programs

This week, NASA officially announced that NanoRacks will be adding an airlock onto the International Space Station to add capabilities and capacity to their already-up-and-running business. That announcement, along with some early insight into NASA policy in 2017, got me thinking about commercial opportunities within government programs, beyond Commercial Cargo and Crew.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 4 executive producers—Pat O, Matt Giraitis, Jorge Perez, and one anonymous—and 28 other supporters on Patreon.

T+38: 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act Speculation

T+37: Government Subsidies, Private Capability, and the 2010 National Space Policy

Four members of the House of Representatives sent letters to DARPA and the Pentagon this week to file a complaint about a program in conflict with the 2010 National Space Policy. It’s a situation reminiscent of the debate over commercial use of retired ICBMs as low-cost launch vehicles, except this time, Orbital ATK is on the other side. I discuss the current issues and how their resolution may affect future policy decisions.

This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 4 executive producers—Pat O, Matt Giraitis, Jorge Perez, and one anonymous—and 28 other supporters on Patreon.

T+36: Falcon 9 Flies with New Fueling Procedures, and the NASA-Boeing-Soyuz Saga