How Space Tourists Will Benefit From No Government Regulation

astronaut-space-nasa
Source: TheDailyBell
March 30, 2017

Space tourism industry has a chance to show benefits of less regulation

If space truly is the final frontier, then it won’t be long until the first pioneers are making the journey, as several companies race to take paying passengers out of the Earth’s atmosphere and beyond. And true to form, right on its heels will be the regulators, red tape lassos in hand.

But like any brand new industry, the slight head start of the businesses will give them the opportunity to show the high standards that can be accomplished absent government control — and with any luck, they can do it in a way compelling enough to cast doubt on the “necessity” of regulation.

A March 20 article in Quartz about space tourism details the thus-far minimal regulatory burden on the burgeoning industry and questions how passengers will be protected without the “benefit” of tight regulations.

The first spaceflight participants will be guinea pigs in an experiment that asks: Just what does it mean to be safe in space when the government isn’t in charge?

The obvious answer, to those who believe in the power of market-driven incentives, is that space tourism will likely be safer with minimal government intervention than it would be with tight regulations and oversight, since the companies will police themselves, as Blue Origin Executive Erika Wagner says in the article.

Wagner recently told an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ‘ . . . in terms of us having a safe place in the market, we take that seriously, we want to put our own families on board, we take that very seriously. So we are holding ourselves to internal standards.’

The case for strict government regulation is built on some faulty beliefs about humanity and behavior. It assumes that people in business are at their core unconcerned about other people and are motivated solely by profit. It assumes in contrast, that those people in government are the complete opposite, motivated only by altruism and never by self-interest. On this questionable foundation is built the assertion that the people in government must regulate the people in business so that the interests of customers and the public at large are protected.

It is easy enough to strike down these arguments. First, this stark divide between the values of businessmen and politicians does not exist. Good or bad personality traits can be found within any group, and I would argue that you’ll actually find disproportionately more politicians on the self-interested end of the spectrum than in other career paths, because politics either attracts or creates those kinds of people.

In any event, there is not a neutral ruling elite that can sit above the fray, benevolently handing down edicts to keep the otherwise-evil businesses in check. Politicians and regulatory agencies have a dog in the fight too, be it money, connections, political pressure, or desire for power.

But for argument’s sake, let’s assume the worst of businesses and the best of government. Even in this case, the goal for both parties is the same: safe space travel. At their most altruistic, regulators want it because they don’t want people to die. At their worst, space travel businesses want it because death and injury is bad for business.

Any company, whether they are building and flying rockets or simply selling sandwiches, needs to have customers to stay in business. Blue Origin, SpaceX, Boeing and Virgin Galactic — all companies planning to fly people out into space — won’t be able to keep customers if people aren’t flying back to Earth intact.

And unlike the mistakes of a sandwich shop, which might never make the front page news, in a pioneering industry like commercial space flight, you can bet every potential customer on earth would hear about the company’s missteps. As safety risks increase, customers will decrease, and if that balance gets out of whack, the company will fail.

Not all customers desire the same level of safety. And that’s OK. When regulations are minimal, companies can cater to whatever customer base they want. Riskier or more expensive products or services will  have a smaller customer base than those that are safer or cheaper.

Perhaps each space tourism company will use this formula to choose a different niche; companies could advertise that they tested their spacecraft the most, or offer the least expensive weightlessness experience, or orbit the earth the fastest.  In this way, less regulation gives the consumer more choices, while regulation would restrict some of these options, eliminating the preferences of some customers while simultaneously crippling those niche businesses.

“Minimal” Regulation

What does “minimal” regulation look like in the space tourism industry? Right now, it’s governed by the Commercial Space Act, which establishes the Secretary of Transportation as the governing authority. The Secretary has the power to grant launch licenses to rockets, which can include requirements on crew training and medical standards.

The license holder must inform crew and passengers in writing about the risks involved in space travel, and let them know that the United States Government has not certified the launch vehicle as safe for carrying crew or space flight participants. The Secretary can also restrict rocket design features or operating practices that have resulted in serious or fatal injury or a high risk thereof.

By many standards, that amount of regulation is already too much. It’s not that these rules are especially onerous or illogical; it’s just that they are unnecessary. Crew members and paying customers are voluntarily participating in space flight — a non-essential service, moreover — through the company. Therefore, customers and employees should work directly with the company to ensure a satisfactory experience. The company can then meet those demands or lose those customers and workers. They can cut out the middleman of regulation because there is no one to protect; all parties are already satisfied, and customers are signing up in droves. According to the article, Virgin Galactic has accrued 700 paid passengers since 2005.

The article cites Uber as a close example of how the space travel industry could expect to pave its own way:

Because the slate is still blank for how the federal government will treat the space business, the earliest companies will be in a position to set the tone, much as Uber’s regulatory battles laid the groundwork for the still tetchy relationship between cities and ride-hailing apps.

This is a fitting analogy, but frustrating if space tourism goes the way of ride-hailing apps. Because Uber and others like it are another example of a business in which regulators tried to fix problems that didn’t exist. Everyone involved was already happy. And yet because of pressure from the highly-regulated taxi companies, politicians implemented regulations to handcuff ride-sharing companies as well, under the guise of consumer protection.

In my home state of Massachusetts, for example, a bill regulating ride-sharing companies required Uber drivers to complete a two-part background check, carry insurance coverage of at least $1 million, and have their vehicles get a second safety inspection in addition to the annual inspection required of all registered cars. And—perhaps the biggest affront— the law required the companies to pay 20 cents per ride to the state, which will fund public transportation, including the taxi industry. The bill was signed into law last August, adding Massachusetts to the long list of states that punish and restrict the ride-sharing app companies while buoying their competitors.

Yet Uber and other ride-sharing app companies have largely survived the onslaught of regulations because the service they offer is so attractive, not only from a practical standpoint, but also a symbolic one. It gives both customers and drivers freedom and self-determination, the ability to set their own hours, choose their own route.

And that’s just ground transportation. It’s hard to imagine a more freeing experience than blasting off in a rocket to outer space, quite literally extricating oneself from earthly cares. So while we will likely see a shorter leash on space tourism companies as the industry matures and regulators catch up, these pioneering companies have a chance to demonstrate that they can be self policing. They can prove that private industry can safely, astonishingly, and beautifully launch people into the final frontier — and bring them home again.

Read More At: TheDailyBell.com

….Oh, By The Way, Boeing Has A New Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon [EMP] Weapon…

North Korea obtains EMP weapons from Russia, could now melt most of ...
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
January 6, 2017

A few days ago I blogged about an article from Israel which cited Russian sources that believe the crash of its airliner at Sochi last Christmas was a deliberate take down brought about by some sort of special “radio” means. Before you dismiss that idea entirely, consider this story shared by Mr. J.H.:

Boeing unveils electromagnetic pulse weapon

Granted, this story appeared in 2015, but in the context of my speculations about a new “international Mafia War” hypothesis that I advanced in last year’s Dec 29th News and Views from the Nefarium and this week’s earlier speculations regarding the crash of the Russian Tu-154 outside of Sochi, this is a story worth revisiting here. Consider the implications of the following statements in the article:

The weapon in question: Boeing’s “CHAMP,” short for Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It’s essentially the old nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon that we used to worry so much about — but without the nuclear part. CHAMP carries a small generator that emits microwaves to fry electronics with pinpoint accuracy. It targets not nations or cities but individual buildings, blacking out their electronics rather than blowing up physical targets (or people).

What makes CHAMP even more interesting is that, unlike a nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon, which fires once, blacking out entire nation-states, CHAMP can fire multiple times, pinpointing and blacking out only essential targets. This would permit, for example, taking down radar defenses in a hostile state while saving the electrical grid that supports the civilian population. In a 2012 test flight in Utah, a single CHAMP was reported to have blacked out seven separate targets in succession, in one single mission.

And then there’s this even more relevant admission:

Even back then, a Boeing representative was able to boast: “We hit every target we wanted to,” predicting further that “in the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive.” Four years later, that future has arrived. Air Force Research Laboratory commander Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello says CHAMP is “an operational system already in our tactical air force.”

It takes little imagination to envision that this technology could be mounted on almost anything, from drones, to ships, trucks or vans, and so on, and even in manueuverable space satellites, and that it could be modified to track and target moving targets, such as aircraft.

All of this raises the possibility that those Russian sources speculating that their aircraft was brought down by “radio” means – i.e., something operating in the microwave frequency range of the spectrum – are in all likelihood basing their analysis in part on a knowledge of American electromagnetic weaponry capabilities. In other words, the article raises the possibility of a deliberate downing of the Russian aircraft out of the range of fiction and speculation into a very real world possibility. Similarly, it suggests a similar technological capability on Russia’s part may lie behind the USS Donald Cook incident.

If my ‘International Mafia Wars” scenario be true, then one may also expect that certain “extra-national” players may have a similar capability, and this means that…

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

 

Joint Russo-American Space Projects Are Becoming More Detailed

JOINT RUSSO-AMERICAN SPACE PROJECTS ARE BECOMING MORE DETAILED
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
August 3, 2016

Recall that yesterday I blogged about an article that was sent to me by Mr. T.M., and about my hypothesis that with nationalist trends on the rise globally, that Mr. Global might be signaling shifts in the strategy, from a bottom-up Earth-based approach, to a top-down space-based approach. Well, with that in mind, consider this article, also shared by Mr. T.M.:

Russian and US engineers plan manned moon mission

In the light of my hypothesis, consider the following statements :

Both American and Russian organizations are considering ways to return to space together, as long as the political relationship between the two nations doesn’t deteriorate. The countries had been preparing to part ways after the ISS ceases operation in 2024.

NASA is developing its Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a super-heavy rocket to be used for manned missions into space, possibly as far as Mars. NASA is also giving funds to companies like SpaceX to make excursions into orbit with reusable rockets.

A few years ago, the European Space Agency, (ESA) joined with NASA in a maintenance agreement to service the Orion propulsion module. But Russia, the second largest contributor to ISS, hasn’t made any commitments beyond the time when its current obligations to the station are complete.

Russia’s recent economic issues are said to have somewhat stymied the nation’s space ventures, but the largest obstacle to space cooperation may be Moscow and Washington’s current contentious relationship. Engineers at Roskomos (the Russian space agency) and NASA are working together, while traversing the problematic political terrain of their respective governments.

Russian space contractors, such as RKK Energia and GKNPTs Khrunichev, along with American companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, are developing several tentative missions in which both nations cohabitate in cislunar space near the Moon. Such missions may lay the groundwork for mining missions to asteroids.

Russian technologists are known to be deft at operating and developing space modules designed to sustain propulsion, as well as creating house crews, exactly the expertise the US needs. That sort of module would increase the Orion crew’s living capacity beyond the small one-room compartments currently in use.

When consulting with their American counterparts, the Russians showcased hardware that will soon be available for building deep-space living quarters. For instance, ISS’s small docking compartment, built by RKK Energia, could be adapted as a 10-ton addition to the habitat, and would include cargo space, sleeping quarters and a discrete life-support system. (Emphasis added)

But now I want you to perform a thought experiment: take that line in the first paragraph that I have italicized, and change it to this: “Both American and Russian organizations are considering ways to return to space together, because the political relationship between the two nations continues to deteriorate.” With that change in mind, read the remainder of the quotation above, and you get the idea: major global corporations like Lockheed Martin and Boeing are teaming up with their Russian counterparts Energia to design a permanent space station in orbit between the Earth and  the moon as a large-scale permanent human presence and as a steppingstone  to permanent human colonies on that planet.

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com
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Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

A Strange Week Of Space News [Part 2]

A STRANGE WEEK OF SPACE NEWS: PART TWO

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
June 30, 2016

Yesterday you’ll recall I blogged about several space-related stories that surfaced this past week. A brief review is in order before we get to today’s high octane speculations. You’ll recall that Russia’s Roskosmos annouced plans for a permanent human base on the Moon, to be partially constructed by robots. In the same article however, Mr. Dmitri Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, also stated that it was unlikely Russia would ever catch up with NASA and the various private US space ventures, mentioning specifically Mr. Elon Musk. On the same day, you’ll recall, an article was released about the European Space Agency’s plans for a space station in orbit at the quigravisphere(the neutral point of gravity between the Earth and the Moon, where the gravitational attraction of each body is the same). Needless to say, this means such a station would be closer to the Moon than to Earth. Given the fact that this project is an ESA project, means that it is an international one, with certain nations being the key players(think Germany here).   This story about a base between the Earth and the Moon has appeared before, and I have blogged about it before, but the story appeared again on June 22, the same date as the Roscosmos story. Timing, in other words, suggests “something is up”, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

But also recall that it has been a whole year of strange space news, not the least of which have been the remarks of US General Kinney about “fighting little green men” – and sorry folks, I’m simply not buying that he was simply using military code and slang jargon to refer to Russian Spetznaz in the Ukraine!  He knows full well what the phrase colloquially means. It has also been a year in which we’ve seen NASA recruitment posters about “signing up for Mars” and US army recruitment videos referencing combat with aliens and the new Independence Day movie, and Boeing commercials of a similar nature during the stupor bowl. Recall also that the Russian Sputnik coverage of US space command activities and papers gave titles and subtitles emphasizing something far different than the actual terrestrially-preoccupied contents of those studies themselves. We can also throw into this mix the stories we’ve seen about Russian asteroid detection systems being up and running, and for that matter, those strange statements of Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev about Russia needing to build an asteroid defense system, with or without international cooperation, remarks he made, you’ll recall, almost exactly a month prior to the Chelyabinsk Meteor incident.

So what’s going on?

Herewith my high octane speculation of the day: I think the timing of yesterday’s stories is perhaps significant, as is the steady trickle of such stories in the past two years or so. What we’re seeing, I suggest, is the careful (perhaps orchestrated) attempt to create an internationally agreed-upon order in space, including any commercial and military means to protect commercial assets in space.

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com

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Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

The Pentagon Wants Reusable Space Plane At Top Of Budget

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
March 10, 2016

This story is important in the context of the story about the successful testing of high energy laser sublimation of basalt a couple of days ago, a proof of concept experiment necessary if the plans to build an asteroid-zapping weapons platform ever is to see the light of day.

You’ll recall, though, that in the blog the principal problem to be overcome was not the concept but the scale. To zap asteroids with lasers (or for that matter masers or grasers) is to have a sufficient scale in order to zap small to medium sized asteroids, and that requires a large energy source to pump the weapon itself.

Then, assuming these hurdles can be overcome, then it would have to be built, and all those new-fangled propulsion systems would have to be added to it to move it around to be able to target different asteroids (or whatever else).

Continue Reading At: GizaDeathStar.com