Michael Belfiore is an author, journalist, and speaker on the
innovations shaping our world. He has written about game-changing
technologies for the New York Times, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics,
Smithsonian, Air & Space, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and
other outlets. He is an International Aerospace Journalist of the Year
Michael has appeared as a commentator on the Fox Business Network,
Bloomberg Radio and TV, CNN, CTV’s Canada AM, NPR’s Marketplace and
Morning Edition, Showtime’s Penn & Teller: BS!, and C-SPAN. He has
delivered his message of change to audiences at Noblis, Medtronic, the
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Rutgers University, and
Michael’s Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space is the first book to chronicle the birth of the commercial space age
and show how innovative companies are radically changing how we reach
space and creating potentially vast new markets in the process.
His book The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs is the first book to go behind the scenes at the Pentagon agency that
gave us the Internet, the first satellite positioning system, and many
other game-changing innovations.
Michael lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with his two daughters.
Here's my latest blog post on the DARPA Robotics Challenge that I attended in December:
Projects that I'm tracking right now:
-DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program. $140 million for spaceplanes that can launch on a daily basis.
-SpaceX Grasshopper. Reusable booster rockets taking off and
landing on their tails "the way God and Heinlein intended." Could become
the iPhone of rockets.
Space Station cargo mission planned for March 16. Possible demonstration
of Grasshopper technology on the return from orbit.
-XCOR Lynx spaceplane nearing completing; possible first flight this year.
-Virgin Galactic first commercial spaceflight possible this year.
-Robots getting ready for the next DARPA Robotics Challenge, late this year or early next year.
-Bigelow space stations getting ready for launch in 2016.
BOOKS (click on image to buy book on Amazon Now!):
Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots is Boldly Privatizing Space
The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
Landing legs on SpaceX’s next mission
in November, following SpaceX’s first launch of a geostationary
satellite, CEO Elon Musk said in a call with reporters that his company
would attempt to bring back the first stage booster rocket on its next
International Space Station supply mission.
SpaceX had successfully restarted the Falcon 9 first stage and
steered the booster rocket through a controlled reentry into the
atmosphere, an industry first. The rocket made it most of the way back
to a soft landing in the Pacific Ocean, before instability caused by a
lack of aerodynamic control caused it to crash, Musk said.
Controlled reentry, coupled with the kind of stabilized landings that
SpaceX has demonstrated in flight tests closer to the ground, said
Musk, would enable a successful safe return of the rocket in the next
Reusable booster rockets are the Holy Grail of space flight.
Currently booster rockets worth tens to hundreds of millions of dollars
are simply discarded after launching their payloads. Imagine ditching an
entire 747 after each transatlantic flight, and you’ll see why
spaceflight is so expensive.
Musk and SpaceX flight want to change that equation with rockets that
can be refueled and launched again. On his Twitter feed, he posted this
picture of the Falcon 9 being fitting with landing legs for the ISS
cargo delivery flight scheduled for March 16. He also tweeted that the
rocket will land in the ocean following the flight, rather than on land
as intended in the future.
“F9 will continue to land in the ocean until we prove precision control from hypersonic thru subsonic regimes”
Reusable booster rockets could change everything. Already SpaceX
provides the lowest launch cost per pound to orbit, sending satellites
to geostationary orbit for around 25% of competitors’ prices. A reusable
vehicle could drop the price to as little as 90% of historical prices.
It’s all in service of Musk’s ultimate vision: enabling the human
settlement of Mars.
To keep up on current news and updates to the private space race, type in Newspace into a google search and you will get a lot of current information