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DISCLAIMER: I have worked twice as a contractor for NASA, once during the Spacelab era and then with commercial space development activities. My views are my own, and do not reflect anyone or anything else. See full disclaimer for more

My thoughts on Artemis and the new Space Launch System (SLS) are mixed. I am glad it finally got off the ground, as it is the first “new” system NASA has developed and launched since the mid-70s. Yep, that’s right, it was then that the Shuttle/original SLS was developed. Until now, nothing made it through to launch. Of course, Artemis/SLS are Shuttle-derived technology, so it’s hard to call it truly new.

As I noted yesterday, I agree with Stephen Green that I really don’t expect to see this system really used for cargo or much of anything else. At its current rate of development and flights, I fully expect a much better and reusable commercial system (hopefully several) to be available well before it completes development.

I’m really glad to see it launch because of the secondary payloads onboard. One of those cubesats will be using a solar sail to go explore Near Earth Asteroids and rendezvous with one, which is something I think will be useful on several levels. This is a great test of solar sails and we need all the info we can get on NEAs and linking up with them for potential commercial activities. Disclaimer: I know, like, and respect the Principal Investigator, Les Johnson.

I do hope all of the mission is successful. I just don’t see the system as a viable means forward.

I need to do a post one day soon looking at some of the reasons why NASA went from being the “can do” agency to a bureaucracy that when they considered a new logo a former supervisor suggested ‘a hiney sitting on a laurel wreath.’ I also need to do a post on the elephant in the room for long-term missions in orbit or to planets: human reproduction.

More soon.