Starlink is a global ISP built at ZERO COST to SpaceX, enabling NASA’s Artemis launch

There is lots of good news lately for SpaceX, especially NASA choosing the Hawthorne, CA-based company to build a $2.89 billion lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis Moon landing slated for 2024. Key to that single-source contract, which eliminates two competitors including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, was SpaceX’s willingness to restructure payments to fit the $750 million appropriated by Congress this fiscal year for the project. Already the lowest Artemis bidder, Elon Musk’s company was willing to make the deal work for the customer, which is unusual thinking for space contractors, with many asking, Where did SpaceX get the money?

They got the money from your phone bill.

This Artemis win for SpaceX […]

2021 Prediction #5:  Apple (and maybe Google) saves the world

Back on January 23rd, the New York Times published an Op-Ed piece by Kate Murphy titled America Has a GPS Problem, citing fear at the highest levels of government and industry that international bad actors might bring down the Global Positioning System satellite network, running your Tesla into a guardrail in the process. It’s just the sort of story you’d expect to read here, rather than in the Times, but what the heck. And the story is absolutely correct: we are all in danger. But Ms. Murphy, beyond wringing her hands, doesn’t say how the crisis will be averted or who will do the averting. I predict that Apple will fix the problem […]

Not dead yet! What Bob Cringely has been up to…

A few days ago I tweeted something and a reader reacted, saying about Cringely, “I thought he was dead!” Not dead yet, but I should probably explain my disappearance a few months ago from life in print. I’ve just been too busy working for a living. How does a 67-year-old hack with three minor children recover from going blind, losing his home and business in a horrible fire (like 2,000 others, we are still fighting with insurance companies), while appeasing an angry crowd of Kickstarter supporters armed with pitchforks and shovels? In my case, I went looking for venture money to recapitalize MineServer and I simultaneously started a satellite launch company to fund […]

The space race is over and SpaceX won

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently gave SpaceX permission to build Starlink — Elon Musk’s version of satellite-based broadband Internet. The FCC specifically approved launching the first 4,425 of what will eventually total 11,925 satellites in orbit. To keep this license SpaceX has to launch at least 2,213 satellites within six years. The implications of this project are mind-boggling with the most important probably being that it will likely result in SpaceX crushing its space launch competitors, companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Launch Alliance (ULA) partnership as well as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. 

Starlink is a hugely ambitious project. It isn’t the first […]

The Google Lunar X-Prize wasn’t extended, it was ENDED

Google recently extended its Google Lunar X-Prize deadline to March 31, 2018, apparently giving the five remaining teams a little longer to vie for the $20 million top prize. But there’s a mystery here that suggests two vying reasons for the change — one sincere and the other cynical. The final answer may turn out to be a combination of both.

The Google Lunar X-Prize was announced in 2007, giving teams five years to put their landers on the Moon and drive around, sending back live HD video of the action. Though 30 teams eventually signed-up, none of them made it to the Moon by 2012. Or 2013, […]