Author Topic: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX  (Read 22948 times)

Offline rpapo

How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« on: 07/01/2015 10:47 am »
Saturday morning (before the loss of CRS-7) I was doing my normal Google News scan for other people's takes on the SpaceX activity, and was appalled at a statement in the article posted on Quartz that morning: "While two previous SpaceX re-supply missions in 2015 had succeeded, the last re-supply mission of 2014 failed spectacularly."  We all know (on the NSF forums) that the spectacular failure was the Cygnus launch.  But your average person does not necessarily know that, and could interpret that statement to mean that that particular failure was of SpaceX.

I remarked to the air, "Why can't these guys proof-read what they write?"  At just that moment, my son came downstairs and overheard that.  His remark, "Now that was random."  So I explained what I meant.  His comment back was that he'd heard a lot about SpaceX failures lately.  What he'd heard about was certainly the landing attempt failures, so I clarified that to him.  He still sounded doubtful.  Of course, his opinion got reinforced the next day.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: Just how badly has public media, through misunderstanding the topic themselves, distorted the view that Joe Average has of SpaceX?  Joe Average probably doesn't care too much in general, but many of them vote, and that influences Congress to some extent.  More importantly, that same press coverage influences the perceptions of the members of Congress and their staff as well.

I would consider accusations of slanted coverage, or deliberate malice on the part of the press, to be off topic here and inappropriate for NSF.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline jtrame

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/2015 11:48 am »
I agree, it's ignorance not bias.  Monday morning HLN reported "this is the 3rd failure for SpaceX in 8 months."  NPR said "exploded on take-off."  Frustrating.

Offline WBY1984

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/2015 12:01 pm »
From what I've seen, there are two camps.

A lot of things I read around the internet tend to be along the lines of 'well that's what happens when the US government farms out NASA's work to corner-cutting commercial interests'. They see human spaceflight as something that is winding up since the retirement of the Shuttle. Hard to disagree with that assessment, uninformed as it is.

On the other hand, there is also that really annoying tendency in social media and news to latch on to whatever is eye-catching so that it can make waves for 24 hours and then get buried by whatever else is new. It's superficial and favours things like some flashy new gadget product launch. This group don't know how to reconcile launch vehicle failure with the glossy image that had been sold to them by Team Elon.

« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 12:02 pm by WBY1984 »

Online spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/2015 01:40 pm »

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #4 on: 07/01/2015 01:48 pm »
Which brings me to the topic at hand: Just how badly has public media, through misunderstanding the topic themselves, distorted the view that Joe Average has of SpaceX?

Of SpaceX?  How about of *everything*?

I stopped watching the public media more than 10 years ago once I got disgusted with the state of journalism, which has journeyed from non-fiction to, at best, "based on a true story".  There are so many mass media errors of fact that they just aren't worth listening to anymore.

Primary sources (i.e. L2 information or Chris' article based on such), or bust.  Forget Fox, CNN, Reuters, AP, etc.  They've long since degraded beyond the minimum level needed to be of any real use.

Online spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #5 on: 07/01/2015 02:12 pm »
BBC news and the Jerusalem Post are fairly accurate. 

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #6 on: 07/01/2015 02:21 pm »
Of SpaceX?  How about of *everything*?
After I posted the OT, I thought about broadening it to news about space efforts in general, of whatever nation or company, since though I follow SpaceX rather closely, I know better than to take them entirely as they want to be seen.  That is, I don't quite like drinking Kool-Aid in the figurative sense.

You're right, but ranting at the state of mass media in general won't get you (or me) anywhere.  I was mainly concerned with whether your common guy on the street was seeing things the way my son was, keeping in mind that he is as connected to Facebook as any twenty-something nowadays.  That is, too tightly connected.  But that, too, is a digression.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 04:15 pm by rpapo »
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/2015 02:22 pm »
BBC news and the Jerusalem Post are fairly accurate.
Good to know.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline wes_wilson

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #8 on: 07/01/2015 03:09 pm »
Lol then there's this thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37749.260

Where technews discusses how S1 made it to the station and Tesla & Nasa are investigating the explosion =)
@SpaceX "When can I buy my ticket to Mars?"

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #9 on: 07/01/2015 03:20 pm »
Quote
how badly the mainstream media understands spacex
Ha, this tickled me.

It's not a question of spacex. Its a question of the fact that the mainstream media is entirely and totally scientifically and engineering illiterate.

These people are emotional spin doctors bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Real journalism these days can only be found online, and even then it is rare (this site being an example). Modern big media "journalists", who really shouldn't call themselves journalists, a pretty much the cancer of the western world at this point. They do whatever they are paid the most to do and say, they make crap up, pretty much every single time something happens, and when it doesn't they invent something out of a non-issue, they lie cheat steal and lack any sort of ethics, and they have absolutely no idea how anything mechanical works at all, EVEN WHEN IT'S EXPLAINED TO THEM by the people who work there. They don't understand power-plants, or oil refineries outside of "oh god global warming!" They don't understand physics or nuclear engineering outside of  "oh god contamination, super science, a bomb!" They don't understand spaceflight outside of "Oh look rocket EXPLODED, HEY GUYYYYS LOOK LOOK IT EXPLODDDEEED OMG" and so forth.

The thing that irks me the most from the past few days is every major paper, news service, and more all reported this with bright big headlines "Spacex rocket EXPLODED!!! HUGE SETBACK CONGRESS CUTTING MONEIES", yet when huge milestone missions occur, or money is cut for mars, OR during the CXP debacle in 2011, not a god damn peep. Not one word. Nothing.

Because you see idiocy and misinformation, disinformation, this is what sells in 2015, not the truth, not facts, not reality. A fantasy crafted by infantile minds, for infantile minds, of infantile minds. And/or a fantasy designed to prey on un-educated people, of which there are many particularly in the U.S. right now where apparently "gender studies" and things like that are more popular than basic mechanical engineering.


And that in a nutshell, is why I hate the media, especially in the U.S. If they all went off the air and stopped printing papers tomorrow we would be better off. God only knows.


So the moral here is ignore them, boycott them, and don't read their crap, because it is just that: crap.

They have no idea what they are talking about, they never do, they never will. That is all there is to it.

It is not a question of "bad pr" or "bad press" it is a question of the press itself being a giant steaming pile. There is no such thing as good pr anymore. SpaceX will be fine as you can see, their satellite partners are not leaving them, nor is NASA cutting their contracts. I wouldn't worry. Worry instead about Congress who to often seems to be at the whim of media astro-turfing and ends up cutting funding to things as a result. Because federal subsidies for gender studies undergrads is more important than you know, colonizing other planets. Oops did I say that? Oh well.


/end rant
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #10 on: 07/01/2015 03:27 pm »
Oh. One more thing because this might be the biggest single thing I hate if I had to pick something, about the U.S. right now.

Quote
My son heard it and said he only hears of failures

THAT is why all of this is a bad thing. THAT is why allowing this idiocy to continue as it does, and not challenging these people at every turn on factual accuracy is a bad thing. Because they are quite literally filling people's heads with crap. And which people are the most vulnerable to this? Kids and young adults who don't know any better yet and are impressionable.

They are being taught that when there is a fire, the proper response is to run around with your hair on fire until the media tells you otherwise, or some other authority figures puts the fire out for you, and then retreat to your happy place as normal. Not how to fix things, not how the world really works, not what the scientific challenges facing humanity this century are. No instead its, "why you should question your race" or who you were born as, ect, and anytime something happens: "OH GOD PANIC PLEASE CALL THE GOVERNMENT HEEEELP ROCKET EXPLODES OH WOE IS ME". Every time.

So yea, I really hate this fact, that is the fact that it gets to the kids first and makes it that much harder for us to raise them and correct this crap.

/end rant 2
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #11 on: 07/01/2015 04:04 pm »
I have to disagree. True that reporting is often not as good as it should be. But if you read the whole article they usually are not that alarmist and get most of the facts correct. The problem is as much on the receiving end as on the producers of news. They read the headline and don't try to get the full picture as provided in the body of the article.

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #12 on: 07/01/2015 04:09 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision. It needs to be done in 3 different streams for main stream media:

1) corrections to the authors and editorial staff of articles, this must be diplomatic but firm, and it must be as full of fact as possible and carefully constructed to be readable and understandable based on the level of writing of the original article;

2) to the management of the particular media outlet, less priority on detail and diplomacy, high level of writing skills, high level of urgency on the accuracy needed;

3) wherever a media outlet allows comments careful presentation of accurate data in the comments, here diplomacy with respect to the original articles author, and diplomatic but firm responses to the others commenting, exceptional language skills and simple but technically accurate corrections that are neither overly verbose or terse.

There are a few reasons this should be a co-ordinated effort, besides keeping from wasting effort we could in fact work on sharing writing resources however the major reason is to achieve an even coverage of the media outlets instead of overwhelming some (which might even work against our purposes making them think their misinformation was more popular than accurate information) and skipping others.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline david1971

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #13 on: 07/01/2015 04:33 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Post of the year.

Offline AndrewM

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #14 on: 07/01/2015 08:08 pm »
Following the CRS-7 incident, I posted a very lengthy message on Facebook as the majority of my friends and family that are on it are not that informed about missions but they know I keep up to date and am a good source. I am hoping the majority of people who read it realize that this was the 1st complete failure for SpaceX and that the ISS is still in good shape.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #15 on: 07/01/2015 08:33 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Or favoritism.  There are many organizations and companies involved in spaceflight.   Just like pop music tends to over shadows other good and relevant musicians, there is no need to focus on current "pop" company exclusively.*


*I have a had a distain for pop radio/music,  going back to my teens.  AOR was my choice.  I bought LP and cassettes and not 45's and 8 tracks.  I got my first CD player in 83.  My current choice is ripping concert DVD/Blurays.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 08:33 pm by Jim »

Online spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #16 on: 07/01/2015 08:53 pm »
Average Joe really doesn't keep up with spaceflight.  On another note, the business news do not like Elon Musk.  They tell people not to invest in Tesla for instance.  Musk throws all the profits back into the business, but most investors are not in the market for the long run, only the short run.  They like it when SpaceX can't land on their ship.  They know eventually SpaceX will go public and offer stock.  They think it will be just like Tesla, and not turn a profit.  So, that leaves companies like Google investing in SpaceX but not the large financials. 

SpaceX will work out this problem.  Just like any other company such as Orbital, ULA, Boeing, or Lockheed.  They need the revenue from satellite launches and NASA supply missions if they are to achieve their goal of the BFR and MCT. 

I'm surprised ULA never tried to retrieve the old Atlas II booster engines that drop off.  Now because of SpaceX they are going to try with Vulcan.  Hope they succeed in spite of congress.  Hope both SpaceX and ULA succeed because we need lower cost space flight to increase human presence in space. 

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #17 on: 07/01/2015 10:02 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Or favoritism.  There are many organizations and companies involved in spaceflight.   Just like pop music tends to over shadows other good and relevant musicians, there is no need to focus on current "pop" company exclusively.*


*I have a had a distain for pop radio/music,  going back to my teens.  AOR was my choice.  I bought LP and cassettes and not 45's and 8 tracks.  I got my first CD player in 83.  My current choice is ripping concert DVD/Blurays.

I couldn't agree more Jim, and I specifically want to point out that attitudes like this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37902.msg1398452#msg1398452


are not what is needed in this effort

However just because one is a fan doesn't mean that you are going to riot against the other team (soccer, rugby, hockey) or have armed and violent clashes with groups who have different tastes in music and vehicles (mods and rockers). I do think the group of people who would want to participate in an activity to correct and clarify misreporting of SpaceX in the media would be far larger than the one volunteering for ULA. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do either.

I was a very hopeful fan of DC-X, not so much Rotary Rocket.

As a biographical aside I was a fan of pop as a pre-teen but then as I gradually matured my tastes in music flowed backward from the popular music of the times because I was a fan of certain musicians with pop hits and as I learned more about those musicians I learned more about what influenced them musically and came to appreciate that, jazz particularly. Now much later in life I like some music because of the dances one can do with it and grew to appreciate a whole different path to much the same Jazz (via latin music that was a mix of Big band pop, Jazz, blues and the folk/traditional music of latin America).
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #18 on: 07/01/2015 10:09 pm »
Average Joe really doesn't keep up with spaceflight.  On another note, the business news do not like Elon Musk.  They tell people not to invest in Tesla for instance.  Musk throws all the profits back into the business, but most investors are not in the market for the long run, only the short run.  They like it when SpaceX can't land on their ship.  They know eventually SpaceX will go public and offer stock.  They think it will be just like Tesla, and not turn a profit.  So, that leaves companies like Google investing in SpaceX but not the large financials. 

SpaceX will work out this problem.  Just like any other company such as Orbital, ULA, Boeing, or Lockheed.  They need the revenue from satellite launches and NASA supply missions if they are to achieve their goal of the BFR and MCT. 

I'm surprised ULA never tried to retrieve the old Atlas II booster engines that drop off.  Now because of SpaceX they are going to try with Vulcan.  Hope they succeed in spite of congress.  Hope both SpaceX and ULA succeed because we need lower cost space flight to increase human presence in space.

Mainstream media including most business oriented specialty news media is just as illiterate and innumerate on the topic of business, economics and finance as mainstream media is on space, climate change, cloning etc.

And like the coverage railed against here, the headlines are the worst. A daily, flagrant example is headlines that read something like: "A strong jobs report rallied the market today".  In actual fact the markets rallied and the jobs report was strong and the only connection is in the wording of headlines. There have been several great and popular books about the lack of connection there (Fooled by Randomness, A random walk down wall street, etc.) yet media continues to invent connections in just about every business headline.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Nomadd

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #19 on: 07/01/2015 10:24 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision. It needs to be done in 3 different streams for main stream media:

NSF is pretty much already doing that. Any person or any media outlet with the slightest interest in the truth has all the resources they need. The problem is, you can't supply them with the desire for knowledge or pride in their job. Ignorance isn't the problem. Lack of desire to be any other way is.
 You can't counter Bravo Sierra with more Bravo Sierra. You counter it with the truth, and the truth is there for anybody who wants it. Media isn't inaccurate because they don't have access to accurate information. Articles are stupid because the people writing them simply don't give a damn if the articles have anything to do with reality.

 *This auto-censor is starting to annoy me. Some things just can't be described using Mary Poppins terminology.*
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 10:26 pm by Nomadd »
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #20 on: 07/01/2015 10:38 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Or favoritism.  There are many organizations and companies involved in spaceflight.   Just like pop music tends to over shadows other good and relevant musicians, there is no need to focus on current "pop" company exclusively.*


*I have a had a distain for pop radio/music,  going back to my teens.  AOR was my choice.  I bought LP and cassettes and not 45's and 8 tracks.  I got my first CD player in 83.  My current choice is ripping concert DVD/Blurays.

I couldn't agree more Jim, and I specifically want to point out that attitudes like this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37902.msg1398452#msg1398452


are not what is needed in this effort

However just because one is a fan doesn't mean that you are going to riot against the other team (soccer, rugby, hockey) or have armed and violent clashes with groups who have different tastes in music and vehicles (mods and rockers). I do think the group of people who would want to participate in an activity to correct and clarify misreporting of SpaceX in the media would be far larger than the one volunteering for ULA. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do either.


The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 10:40 pm by Jim »

Offline M_Puckett

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #21 on: 07/01/2015 10:39 pm »
Joe average doesn't even know SpaceX exists and likely won't till they do something really headline-grabbing.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #22 on: 07/01/2015 10:44 pm »
Joe average doesn't even know SpaceX exists

quite the opposite. Spacex Q score is higher that ULA or OSC's.  It's "Spacex, oh aren't they the one trying to land a rocket somewhere?"  Where as ULA and OSC are overshadowed by NASA and the USAF for launches.

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #23 on: 07/01/2015 10:54 pm »

The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.

I disagree there, the party threads here (and on other sites) are about the fan base and by the fan base. I was speaking about the main stream media and that in correcting it, dealing with it, those of us who are enthusiasts for this whole area, need to take that sentiment out and simply try to bring people to a neutral truth rather than an enthusiastic support of something.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #24 on: 07/01/2015 11:24 pm »

The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.

Now I've been on music fansite forums (I'm also a music fan) and I've been on NSF, the fanpersoning in both sites are of very different breeds.

Quite often music fans do not have a driven understanding of how their favourite subgenre of music works mechanically, and indeed, a drive to understand why something works is not all that critical to Joe average music fan.

Rocketry requires a more in-depth awareness as to how rocketry functions in order to be enjoyable - the differences between various LVs and their functions are more subtle to the untrained eye and ear (and thus, require a greater degree of specialisation) than those between a Classical piano trio and 'The Jimi Hendrix Experience', despite both music and aerospace being fields dominated by small pockets of none-mainstream experts, who devote their entire academic and practical working lives to their craft. People who find rocketry interesting; who may be fans, but the majority of who are not going to be experts like yourself, are fairly likely to know than an orbit is not an altitude, for example, what on earth the symbol Δv stands for, along with other basic rudiments. Yet being more informed about an individual field is not necessarily a ground for objectivity.

I adore baroque music, but can't stand Handel, especially vocal music by Handel. Now Handel was an extremely competent composer who was praised for his competence, but he is not what gets me up in the morning, simple as. I am not a Handel fanperson, I am a Zelenka fanperson. The fact I know a considerable amount about Handel's music changes nothing - his music is not the part of the field I find worthy of personal study.

SpaceX is my Zelenka when it comes to aerospace, and yes, I do treat it with favouritism. This favouritism isn't necessarily deserved - ULA, OrbitalATK and Arianespace are all great companies and I do avidly read up on what they do, but they're not the most delicious chocolate on the tray for me. SpaceX sparked my fascination with aerospace, simply because (as you have mentioned), SpaceX has a big Q score and that suckered me in - this is no bad thing, they are poster boys for the industry because of it, and get the public caring about it and by extension Space in general and NASA (and some of that public pays US taxes).

I reserve favouritism for Zelenka because his use of counterpoint interests me heavily. I reserve favouritism for SpaceX because their mission statement is highly desirable to me and compatible with the sort of events I believe should be rightfully happening in this century.  This is no bad thing, everybody has there own team they are rooting for: there are people rooting for ULA because they do a darn' good job of getting satellites for the US defence sector up into their target orbits, have for a long time, and will continue to do so for a long time. That is an invaluable role nobody else is sufficiently qualified to equal them in. Yet there will always be things that tantalise people (and thus, galvanise curiosity) more than others.

Remember, mankind only landed on the moon because two superpowers and a great number of smaller nations played favourites against each other - favouritism is entirely in the spirit of enterprise and can occur in well informed individuals without distorting the truth. Spin doctoring isn't a predicate of favouritism.
 
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 11:27 pm by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline mr. mark

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #25 on: 07/01/2015 11:56 pm »
I don't think the average person is interested in spaceflight period! They seem to be more interested in their person gadgets like getting the newest cell phone ect. Tech is turning inward toward personal usage. That said, I think the public in a vague way supports spaceflight in general. Most have no clue though. A subject like GPS comes up and I tell my friends their GPS bearings comes from satellites and they had no idea. Technology usage with any knowledge of how it works.

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #26 on: 07/01/2015 11:58 pm »
Joe average doesn't even know SpaceX exists

quite the opposite. Spacex Q score is higher that ULA or OSC's.  It's "Spacex, oh aren't they the one trying to land a rocket somewhere?"  Where as ULA and OSC are overshadowed by NASA and the USAF for launches.

It is not that ULA and OSC are overshadowed.  It's that they are not doing anything interesting.  They have been around for a long time doing exactly what they are doing now. 

Offline Newton_V

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #27 on: 07/02/2015 12:15 am »
It's that they are not doing anything interesting.  They have been around for a long time doing exactly what they are doing now.

Designing missions to 1, 2, and 3-burn LEOs, 2-burn GTO's long and short coast, 3-burn GTOs, GSO's, 2 and 3-burn to GPS orbit, missions to the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, asteroids, Molniya orbits, de-orbit burns of the upper stages, all with about 15 different launch vehicle configurations.
This is not doing anything interesting??
Currently working on a new launch vehicle.

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #28 on: 07/02/2015 12:19 am »
Joe average doesn't even know SpaceX exists

quite the opposite. Spacex Q score is higher that ULA or OSC's.  It's "Spacex, oh aren't they the one trying to land a rocket somewhere?"  Where as ULA and OSC are overshadowed by NASA and the USAF for launches.

It is not that ULA and OSC are overshadowed.  It's that they are not doing anything interesting.  They have been around for a long time doing exactly what they are doing now. 

ULA has, what, 95 mission successes in a row?  (I'm not sure of the exact number, but it's close to that).

Failures are undoubtedly more interesting, but I'll take uninteresting successes any day.  Especially right now when the ISS could really use supplies.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #29 on: 07/02/2015 01:08 am »

It is not that ULA and OSC are overshadowed.  It's that they are not doing anything interesting.  They have been around for a long time doing exactly what they are doing now. 

MSL, MER, Dawn, PNH, etc were all launched by ULA or the parents

Offline M_Puckett

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #30 on: 07/02/2015 01:24 am »
I think you and I have a different idea of who constitutes Joe Average.


The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.

I disagree there, the party threads here (and on other sites) are about the fan base and by the fan base. I was speaking about the main stream media and that in correcting it, dealing with it, those of us who are enthusiasts for this whole area, need to take that sentiment out and simply try to bring people to a neutral truth rather than an enthusiastic support of something.

Offline Halidon

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #31 on: 07/02/2015 01:30 am »
The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.
I don't spend enough time on pop star forums professing my love for boyband members to be able to fairly compare the two, but I generally don't find the party threads to fit that description. They more resemble live threads for sports and other live events elsewhere, with participants joking and generally hoping things turn out well in a manner similar to how people intact at such events in person.

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #32 on: 07/02/2015 01:34 am »
I think you and I have a different idea of who constitutes Joe Average.

Undoubtedly, but I am quite intrigued by how what you quoted is related to that statement. I was speaking about media and the enthusiasts here, not Joe Average, in the quote you posted.

Also, as a personal preference I prefer naming the stereotypical American male as 'Joe Sixpack' and the typical American female as 'Molly Treehugger' it harkens back to my days on the space and SF forums of compuserve, then later on some Usenet groups including the one Henry Spencer moderated.



The party threads don't help either.  They are much like threads on pop star forums, where girls profess their love for boyband member.

I disagree there, the party threads here (and on other sites) are about the fan base and by the fan base. I was speaking about the main stream media and that in correcting it, dealing with it, those of us who are enthusiasts for this whole area, need to take that sentiment out and simply try to bring people to a neutral truth rather than an enthusiastic support of something.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 01:35 am by nadreck »
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline darkenfast

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #33 on: 07/02/2015 03:26 am »
If you don't like the party, stay out of the Frat House.

Offline Ludus

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #34 on: 07/02/2015 04:04 am »
Most people aren't very interested in space. I think Jim is right that SpaceX is likely better known than anybody else, that just makes it the least obscure.

In the origin story of SpaceX which has been repeated more than usual lately because of the Musk biography, Elon had 180 million burning a hole in his pocket and wanted to do something to revive interest in space. After looking at the NASA website and googling around he was shocked to find that there was no real NASA plan to go to Mars.

This is not "Joe Average", this is Elon Musk of the Pay Pal (sorry, need to stop here for a second and just say that I have to use stupid words to get my point across. I know that means I must have a weak argument, but that's why I use bad words). less than 15 years ago. He's in his late 20's. He's a nerdy sci fi fan. He spent his whole youth reading. He has no idea what's actually going on in manned space other than that they launch Space Shuttles pretty often. He's got a physics degree from an Ivy League school and he certainly could understand the field but he hasn't paid it much attention.

If Elon hadn't paid it much attention it suggests something about how much attention Joe pays to it.

When he eventually decides to start SpaceX and build rockets himself it's because he's come to 2 conclusions. One is that the problem is not that the public isn't sufficiently inspired or informed, it's that getting into Space is simply too expensive. The second is that in terms of the "first principles" there's no fundamental reason it has to be too expensive.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 04:14 am by Ludus »

Offline catdlr

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #35 on: 07/02/2015 04:30 am »
Here is one very poor example and NHK used the same on their world news segment on Sunday

http://www.techworm.net/2015/06/spacex-explodes-after-take-off.html
Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #36 on: 07/02/2015 04:33 am »
Tony De La Rosa

Offline woods170

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #37 on: 07/02/2015 06:39 am »
Joe average doesn't even know SpaceX exists

quite the opposite. Spacex Q score is higher that ULA or OSC's.  It's "Spacex, oh aren't they the one trying to land a rocket somewhere?"  Where as ULA and OSC are overshadowed by NASA and the USAF for launches.
Depends what country you're in. At this side of the big pond most people have never heard of SpaceX or ULA, let alone OSC. They have heard of Tesla and NASA though.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #38 on: 07/02/2015 06:52 am »
Here is one very poor example and NHK used the same on their world news segment on Sunday

http://www.techworm.net/2015/06/spacex-explodes-after-take-off.html
"ZOMG LIKE IT TOTALLY EXPLODED GUYS AND NOW NOW DEM CONGRESS PEOPLE THEY ARE FOR SURE GONNA CUT IT. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS  [insert political hack comment here] B-B-BUT WHAT ABOUT THE POLLIIITTTTICCS FROM THIS AM I RIGHT?"

This is why MSM is trash. The blogosphere tabloidy/clickbait clones of MSM are even worse that site being a prime example. See gawker and its subsidiaries for more examples if you want to see just how low these people can go.
Disgusting trash.
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Offline rickyramjet

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #39 on: 07/02/2015 03:26 pm »
MSM is in business to make money.  They make money by getting ad hits.  Period.  How do they do that?  By writing articles that grab people's attention.  Mostly stupid, pointless, inaccurate articles with distorted shocking titles.  All they care about is making money.  Just ignore it, filter them out.   This is the way it's always been, right back to the very first printed newspaper that had the first ad in it!!  Case in point: theonion.com.  The articles are blatantly preposterous, yet they are making money doing it.

So, if you want your kids to be smart and to be able to think, then that's your job, no one else's.

As far as average Joe goes, he is part of the bell curve distribution of types of people on planet Earth.  If the bell curve is showing the percentage of people that can connect facts with knowledge and come to a valid conclusions I suspect the bell curve chart is an extremely narrow spike.  However without the teeming masses of average Joe, there would be no market for all the consumer products (high and low tech) that allows tech and the need for it to advance.  It behooves the tech world to keep finding gadgets (and advancing the tech) for Joe.  Joe contributes to advancing technology without realizing it!

I say it doesn't really matter if average Joe knows much about space, to him it's entertainment.  Something different to occasionally hear about in his everyday life.  Don't get me wrong.. I'm not dissing average Joe, some of the most amazing and beautiful things come from people that don't have a clue (or care) how things work.  Average Joe is just as important an any other human.

The only thing that matters to most of us is if the folks that fund space keep believing it's important and necessary!!  If you can convince a Congressperson that funding a warp drive space craft will bring money to his or her state, you're good to go!!

Anyway, just my 2 cents on the matter!   :)  Meant as lighthearted comment!

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #40 on: 07/02/2015 03:38 pm »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight. 

Offline starsilk

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #41 on: 07/02/2015 04:28 pm »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

that's a pretty mean statement Jim.

just because SpaceX is what got someone interested in 'space', doesn't mean they're 'not really fans of spaceflight'. how people get interested in something does not determine whether they are a 'true fan' or not.

even you must have noticed that there is a lot more public interest in space than there was say 10 years ago, and a big chunk of that interest is down to SpaceX. and that's good for all of us 'true fans', because government $$$ don't get reallocated elsewhere.

Offline miscme

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #42 on: 07/02/2015 04:41 pm »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

I'm going to make my first post and refute that statement. After watching a SpaceX video on youtube I became very excited at the idea of actually sending humans to Mars in my lifetime. Trying to learn more about SpaceX led me to this forum which I read daily and though discussions here I follow many other aspects of spaceflight.


Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #43 on: 07/02/2015 04:49 pm »
Rovers and landers on Mars was already happening.  Much more interesting than a cargo mission to ISS or a stage landing.  Can watch videos of DC-X to see something similar.

And I don't buy the Mars in mine or anybody's lifetime.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 04:51 pm by Jim »

Offline te_atl

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #44 on: 07/02/2015 04:54 pm »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

I know a number of people who were disinterested in all aspects of spaceflight until SpaceX got them excited.  Now they will talk about New Horizons, Rosetta and ISS.  They follow the commercial crew and commercial cargo news.  Before they couldn't tell you anything about Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, or the Shuttle, but increasingly they are learning more about them.   I'd definitely call them fans of spaceflight now, and SpaceX got them started.

Perhaps you meant "If somebody claims they are a fan of spaceflight and only follow SpaceX, then they aren't really fans of spaceflight."

Offline sittingduck

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #45 on: 07/02/2015 05:09 pm »
Quote
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single.  There is a reason most people are very hostile towards that attitude, because they find it pretentious and needlessly mean-spirited.

SpaceX has a media presence unlike any other launch service provider or space agency.  They've managed to present spaceflight in a way that makes it appear exactly as "cool" as it really is.  NASA on the other hand needs to go out of their way to hamfistedly generate "inspiration" rather than just doing the spaceflight that naturally inspires.

Quote
Rovers and landers on Mars was already happening.  Much more interesting than a cargo mission to ISS or a stage landing.  Can watch videos of DC-X to see something similar.

Everyone's heard about Mars landers because they've been landing at a fairly regular pace since 1997.  They *haven't* been performing rocket landings on boats with such regularity in that time period.  Try to understand how the uninitiated mind approaches these things that to them may already seem routine (personally Mars landers will always be cooler than landing rockets, but that's just me).

There was no comparable hype for DC-X because there was no Youtube/Twitter or associated flamboyant persona like Mr.Musk and it quickly disappeared as well. 
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 07:05 pm by sittingduck »

Offline dcporter

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #46 on: 07/02/2015 05:21 pm »
I've been interested in space for years. SpaceX got me into rocket launches.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #47 on: 07/02/2015 06:41 pm »
I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single. 


That is usually when the bands go downhill.  They were better when they were lean and mean.

I will fully admit I am a band snob (hipster has a different connotation for me).  I lost interest in many bands when they went mainstream.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 06:45 pm by Jim »

Offline wolfpack

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #48 on: 07/02/2015 06:55 pm »
Spacex Q score is higher that ULA or OSC's.

Perhaps ULA should get in on the microbrew craze. I'll bet those unused Delta II tanks could ferment quite a bit. That would get Joe's attention! :)

Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #49 on: 07/02/2015 07:01 pm »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight. 

Presumably you're not including those who were too young to become fans of spaceflight before SpaceX as the company predates them or at least their awareness! Say, anybody under 16.

Offline Dudely

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #50 on: 07/02/2015 07:19 pm »
I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single. 


That is usually when the bands go downhill.  They were better when they were lean and mean.

I will fully admit I am a band snob (hipster has a different connotation for me).  I lost interest in many bands when they went mainstream.

Yeah this explains a LOT.

I especially love the linguistic gymnastics. "band snob" Is a term used by exactly 5 people, all of them hipsters.

Your confirmation bias is showing.



And just so it can't be said I didn't add anything to the discussion:

I was sorta into space stuff. But I was never interested enough to do something like watch a space shuttle flight live. Why? Because it's freaking boring and I don't have any time for that. College, marriage, kids, job; I just don't care if a government organization is sending up a new segment of some space station, or a new space telescope, even if I might be really interested in space, because hauling stuff into orbit is lame. I will marvel over the science done on the space station once it is there or the pictures sent back from the space telescope because I really am interested but I have no interest in following the nuts and bolts of how it all gets up there.

With SpaceX it is different. If your job is to put a satellite into orbit and use it to take cool pictures than the interesting part is always going to be the cool pictures. But if your job is JUST to put the satellite into orbit, and you are doing it with some sort of unique flair (the rockets has fins, it lands itself, the company is owned by some weird geek) then so long as you don't actively make it difficult for people to find information and follow what's going on then that's exactly what they are going to do.

Living organisms are attracted to novelty. The rise of SpaceX is no different. SpaceX is novel, so people pay attention. Humans respond to precedence and superlative. Loud noises and fire and all the other "cool" bits people think of when they think of rockets (and in this way SpaceX is no different than anyone else) have little effect on the actual number of eyeballs that look at it- it's all about novelty (and availability; Blue origins makes it difficult, so they have less fans as a result even though they are doing basically the same thing as SpaceX).

Offline mme

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #51 on: 07/02/2015 08:45 pm »
I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single. 


That is usually when the bands go downhill.  They were better when they were lean and mean.

I will fully admit I am a band snob (hipster has a different connotation for me).  I lost interest in many bands when they went mainstream.
Did you happen to run into Maynard James Keenan in the early 90s?  Sometime between the release of Undertow and ∆nima?
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 08:53 pm by mme »
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #52 on: 07/02/2015 08:46 pm »
"band snob" Is a term used by exactly 5 people, all of them hipsters.


I am too old to be a hipster, not to mention that it wasn't my type of lifestyle.  The 70's Show described my adolescence closely and I lived in LA in the 80's and was more into metal and hair band scene but without the hair (I was in the USAF)
« Last Edit: 07/02/2015 08:46 pm by Jim »

Online Llian Rhydderch

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #53 on: 07/03/2015 12:51 am »
Data on Google Ngram viewer shows that as of 2008, SpaceX had not achieved a popularity above the use of the word FORTRAN.  Very likely SpaceX is more frequently used in 2015.

Interesting.  Google ngram data is awesome but a bit old (currently, 7 years ago more) and only looks at word uses in published books.  So it misses a bit of the on-the-internet news cycle word usage.

Having said that, the use of the word "SpaceX" was beating "YouTube" through 2008, and both were just a few years old then.
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Offline philw1776

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #54 on: 07/03/2015 01:51 am »

I am too old to be a hipster, not to mention that it wasn't my type of lifestyle.  The 70's Show described my adolescence closely and I lived in LA in the 80's and was more into metal and hair band scene but without the hair (I was in the USAF)

Let me be the first to welcome you newbies to spaceflight
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #55 on: 07/03/2015 02:29 am »
I don't think this is the right place to continue pop band discussions - the party is still in action next door even with the fireworks so please move your feet to there if you like.  ;)
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline john smith 19

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #56 on: 07/03/2015 07:38 am »
How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX?
Don't know.

So I'd find out by doing some kind of poll (with some basic questions  on age and sex to see how the story changes) listing various statements and asking them a)Do they think a statement is true or false and b) Do they know the statement is true or false or are they guessing.

BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline jzjzjzj

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #57 on: 07/03/2015 01:52 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision. It needs to be done in 3 different streams for main stream media:

1) corrections to the authors and editorial staff of articles, this must be diplomatic but firm, and it must be as full of fact as possible and carefully constructed to be readable and understandable based on the level of writing of the original article;

2) to the management of the particular media outlet, less priority on detail and diplomacy, high level of writing skills, high level of urgency on the accuracy needed;

3) wherever a media outlet allows comments careful presentation of accurate data in the comments, here diplomacy with respect to the original articles author, and diplomatic but firm responses to the others commenting, exceptional language skills and simple but technically accurate corrections that are neither overly verbose or terse.

There are a few reasons this should be a co-ordinated effort, besides keeping from wasting effort we could in fact work on sharing writing resources however the major reason is to achieve an even coverage of the media outlets instead of overwhelming some (which might even work against our purposes making them think their misinformation was more popular than accurate information) and skipping others.

Is there any platform these kind of activities could be organized with? Since different people have different strengths, I can't see the work being done by scattered individuals.

IMO, the platform should be able to:
- track specific articles/comments (maybe just a simple user-defined list);
- host the unpublished effort (comments, emails etc.);
- make collaboration easy (think GitHub, Google Docs?);
- group users into roles (locating, writing, editing, publishing etc.);
- allow (encourage) for a rapid life-time of an "issue".

Basically, what I have in mind is similar to what certain governments/organizations do to "troll" the internet. Highly distributed troll farm with the hats being white.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2015 01:58 pm by jzjzjzj »

Offline kerogre256

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #58 on: 07/03/2015 02:08 pm »
You can notice how mass media are completely useless as source of information when they start talking in field in which you are well informed, there is no reason to believe that "any" information presented in mass media are better quality.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #59 on: 07/03/2015 02:08 pm »

And I don't buy the Mars in mine or anybody's lifetime.

A tad drastic. The future is infinite and we've barely had a hundred years of air travel, let alone space travel. Look at the incredible things we have achieved in the tens of thousands of years of water travel. To say Mars will never happen in "anybody's" lifetime is to predict the extinction of humanity before humans set foot on Mars, which is a little impractical as we have past experience of landing multiple terrestrial objects on Mars, and zero experience of rendering ourselves extinct. :p

Edit:

Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

A bit dismissive of my point, Jim, oww! :)


The two space missions which I find personally interesting are Apollo 13 and Soyuz T-13. Mathematically, they were not the most complicated space missions executed ever and the actual trajectories involved were rather dull, so from that angle you could find some meat for your argument in calling me not a "real" fan of spaceflight. However, that is not what Apollo 13 and Soyuz T-13 are remembered for, and why they are referenced near-constantly.

You will note both of those missions have nothing to do with SpaceX - there's not even a loose connection.

You may also note that SpaceX is a company which flies stuff into space, and thus an interest in SpaceX = an interest in spaceflight, whichever way you shake it.

Edit edit:

I was drawn into spaceflight by a fascination with capitalist philanthropy, private enterprise, aerodynamics and model rocketry. SpaceX enticed me into a wider fascination with aerospace because it showed me the parallels. Not a fan, my proverbial.

Edit edit edit: And as Joes go, I'm as average as they come. No engineering background.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2015 02:23 pm by The Amazing Catstronaut »
Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Offline Tuts36

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #60 on: 07/03/2015 03:40 pm »
As a child, I was a fan of spaceflight.  Then I grew up, and moved on to other interests.  This was about the same time the Berlin Wall came down, so you can't really begrudge me that.  Watching an LEO space station get assembled at a glacial pace is just not that compelling.  Actual humans on Mars or any other new place was always "just 20 years away!  Ok maybe 30.  30-ish.  Definitely."

SpaceX has gotten me interested in space flight all over again.  They are openly pushing to put actual people on Mars, and are willing to try a bunch of new things to get there.  Say what you want about them, nobody here can accuse them of being all talk.

To draw a very simple analogy (since we are talking about the average person's attitudes towards space flight):

The US government and its mainstay launch provider (sorry, they are pretty inseparable in my mind) are the workaholic husband who has been promising you that european vacation since you were newlyweds.  He did take you to Epcot Center that one time, but other than that it's always "maybe next year".  Somewhere along the way you realize it's never going to happen, at least not until you're too old & sick to enjoy it. 


Offline chipguy

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #61 on: 07/03/2015 04:45 pm »
I am a child of Apollo. I was 7 and closely followed every scrap of space news leading up to the first landing. I had a Saturn 5 model nearly as tall as I was. I knew with certainty back then that I wanted a life in science and technology (i.e. magic that works). Growing up I considered aerospace but the opportunities looked far better and closer in EE and semiconductors. I continued to be a big space fan into middle age but the problems with the shuttle and shrinking NASA budgets and vision made me increasingly depressed to think about it. The appeal of SpaceX (besides Musk doing what I would want to do with a similar personal fortune) is that it represents the potential to shake up the hidebound and bureaucratic cost plus old boys club that space has degenerated into, lower the cost barrier to space, and try out new ideas to achieve that (vertical manufacturing, smart COTS, vehicle recovery and re-use etc.). It will never be like the 60s again but perhaps we can regain forward movement to advance *both* manned and unmanned space flight. I would like to see more progress over the rest of my life towards mankind becoming a space faring species and SpaceX today seems like an key element in achieving that. I know many of my engineer colleagues share that general sentiment.

Offline aameise9

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #62 on: 07/03/2015 05:19 pm »
I am a child of Apollo. I was 7 and closely followed every scrap of space news leading up to the first landing. I had a Saturn 5 model nearly as tall as I was. I knew with certainty back then that I wanted a life in science and technology (i.e. magic that works).

I can second all of the statements above.  I did become a scientist.  I spent 8 years at Caltech, got to know JPL and several NASA sites.  Understood that HSF (not planetary science) had been left to languish in a government bureaucracy.  SpaceX (and other new space outfits) made me hope that space might finally be brought into the human economic sphere, as Heinlein intended.

So I would consider myself a 'fan', though hardly a 'boy'.

More on topic: public perception in Germany is quite positive.  Quality and not-so quality press cover SpaceX on front page and main news.  Coverage is knowledgable and tone is hopeful anticipation of more good things to come.




Online llanitedave

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #63 on: 07/03/2015 06:30 pm »
I'm not sure that's fair to say Jim.  It also happens to be an attitude regularly ascribed to musical "hipsters", people who look down upon other fans of their favorite performer because they only became fans after a surge in popularity.  Think of spaceflight as the band and SpaceX as their new hit single. 


That is usually when the bands go downhill.  They were better when they were lean and mean.

I will fully admit I am a band snob (hipster has a different connotation for me).  I lost interest in many bands when they went mainstream.

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #64 on: 07/03/2015 08:06 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft

Offline davey142

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #65 on: 07/03/2015 11:23 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
As an all-around aviation enthusiast, I take offense to that statement!  :)

Online llanitedave

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #66 on: 07/03/2015 11:59 pm »
My favorite place to take a date used to be to the runway parking area at the municipal airport.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Online tyrred

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #67 on: 07/04/2015 09:30 am »
I guess you could say that I'm a "Joe average".  That's how I feel anyway.

I have no degrees and little technical knowledge.  I work hard and I play hard.  I struggle to make ends meet.  I have failed at more things than I care to admit.  I begin far too many sentences with "I".

Rocket equations give me headaches.  Maybe I'm an idiot.  There is little meaningful contribution that I can make to these excellent forums.  Others far more qualified and dedicated than me handle that.

Yet here I am, posting my contribution anyway.

Day after day I find myself on this site, reading page after page of ridiculously, tediously interesting information about... spaceflight!

Why? 

As a kid I watched the Challenger disaster in horror with the rest of my class on my elementary school television... They later named one of the elementary schools in my hometown of Auburn after Dick Scobee.  It seemed like it was something that touched everyone.  From that day onward, I desperately wanted to be an astronaut. 

Why?

I grew up (a bit) learning that the more I learn, the less I know.  "The Government" was really a bunch of different factions that try to obstruct each other from getting my money first.  I watched NASA seemingly bungle the "manifest destiny" of people conquering space.  The coolest projects (NASP, DC-X, VentureStar) became the butt of jokes.  Columbia was lost.  I learned that "Space is Hard".  America couldn't seem to keep it up.  I lost interest.

Then I remember reading about this crazy contest called the "Ansari X Prize".  I saw a rocket plane go for the gold.  There was talk of the "losers" continuing onward to other things.  I heard about a company called Spacex launching a rocket and it blowing up.  My first question was "Space Sex, is that a company trying to make a porn film?"  And then another rocket failed.  And another.  And then something happened.  A private American company founded by the dude who invented the payment pal got their sh*t together, just as it was all about to unravel.  For some reason I started to care again.

Why?

It's sexy.  It's intriguing.  It's vehicles that ride barely controlled explosions... hurtling devices that are fractions of their own mass out of the air... fast enough that they don't come back down!  And they can do it with people... It's not magic... It's rocket science!  What's cooler than that?  Smart people did that!  I should learn more about how that works...

And what has worked in the past isn't always going to move us forward.  Other paths can be taken.  Underdogs can come up.  Revolutions can happen.  Sometimes, when people "in the know" tell you that it can't be done, that you don't know what you are talking about... they can make mistakes. 

Maybe these guys at SpaceX don't know everything... but they sure as hell know how to keep me hanging on to the edge of my seat now every time they launch a rocket. They make me excited about the future.  Maybe they will even put men and women on Mars... 

To make XXX?


Offline mme

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #68 on: 07/04/2015 07:52 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
And some of us find a company openly trying to make a rocket land and be reused more interesting than companies that aren't interested in making rockets that can land and be reused.  Even though they are not doing anything truly new.

P.S. Everything is a remix anyway.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Ludus

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #69 on: 07/05/2015 03:02 am »
Hacking stopped being interesting after folks could use google and a series of tubes to find out about it instead of reading 2600 magazine like God intended.

Offline ClaytonBirchenough

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #70 on: 07/06/2015 12:56 am »
I don't consider myself an average joe. I do like SpaceX. I do like literally everything spaceflight related.

For me, SpaceX is new, fast, exciting, and innovative. They get stuff done, at a seemingly faster pace than anyone else! And CHEAPER! They have the potential to do very big things, especially with Elon at the helm. They lowered and are lowering the cost of spaceflight. They talk of colonizing Mars... IN A REASONABLE TIMELINE!

I can't help but feel excited. Spaceflight is the pinnacle physics, engineering, technology, and exploration.

I love SpaceX. What's not to love!?
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Offline intrepidpursuit

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #71 on: 07/06/2015 05:36 am »
The important thing about how the Average Joe perceives SpaceX is that they perceive them at all. The important thing about what SpaceX is doing is that they are taking a first principles approach different enough that they appear to be pushing forward progress. So far they've made a cheaper rocket than anyone else stateside, not exactly revolutionary. SpaceX promises getting to mars in about the same time frame as NASA, they just haven't already been saying that for 30 years so people are more inclined to believe them.

If they can get the public excited again and get the public to trust them, and then further, get the elected officials to vote that way then they are doing good work. That improved public image will hopefully rub off on the whole industry and be good for everyone.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #72 on: 07/06/2015 06:17 am »
Not an average Joe, a few of those I know have heard of SpaceX, not many though.

Me, I've been keen about spaceflight all my life, always will be.  I don't get the the frenzy  over Musk and SpaceX, although I respect what they do.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline JBF

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #73 on: 07/06/2015 10:49 am »
 :) Much as a hate to burst any bubbles, if you are reading this site you are not an Average Joe with regards to spaceflight.
"In principle, rocket engines are simple, but thatís the last place rocket engines are ever simple." Jeff Bezos

Offline woods170

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #74 on: 07/06/2015 10:55 am »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft

Jim's great-grandson: "Spacelines to Mars are boring compared to warp-driven ships to Alpha Centauri".

Oh well...
« Last Edit: 07/06/2015 10:57 am by woods170 »

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #75 on: 07/06/2015 12:13 pm »
:) Much as a hate to burst any bubbles, if you are reading this site you are not an Average Joe with regards to spaceflight.
That may be true, but was not the point of this topic.  The impression that Joe Average has of SpaceX, or ULA, or ESA, or any space agency or company, has an effect on that entity, especially in the political arena.  And given that politics has a direct bearing on a very significant portion of the launch business, it matters.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline deltaV

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #76 on: 07/06/2015 01:05 pm »
Here's what an average person would say if asked about SpaceX: "Sorry me no speak English".

What's that, you meant an average American? OK then, "Space-who? Are they one of those companies that'll store your stuff if your apartment is too small?"

Offline Mader Levap

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #77 on: 07/06/2015 04:06 pm »
Joe Average do not know what SpaceX  is.

Rest is just delusion of self-importance of your hobby/interest.
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Offline vt_hokie

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #78 on: 07/06/2015 07:05 pm »

Would you lose interest in spaceflight if it were mainstream, as well?

Airliners are boring compared to X-planes or military aircraft
As an all-around aviation enthusiast, I take offense to that statement!  :)

Me too!  I find commercial aviation to be exciting.  And the more accessible and routine it is, the more I feel like it impacts me personally.  I'll never get to fly in space because humanity has progressed too slowly, but I am kicking myself for not flying on the Concorde before the unfortunate 2003 retirement.  Mach 2 at 60,000 ft is something I could have seen personally - it was right there, leaving daily from JFK, and I blew it!  (Though really I couldn't afford it, but I could've pulled it off as a one-time experience between, say, '01 and the retirement in '03.)
« Last Edit: 07/06/2015 07:06 pm by vt_hokie »

Offline Hotblack Desiato

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #79 on: 07/16/2015 11:50 am »
Something else that alters average joes perception:

I usually read an online newspaper "derstandard.at"

Here some links to their articles:

http://derstandard.at/2000011604371/Start-von-Satellit-DSCOVR-geglueckt-Raketenlandung-nicht

http://derstandard.at/2000014313913/Raumfrachter-Dragon-unterwegs-zur-ISS

http://derstandard.at/2000014475915/Traegerrakete-zerstoert-aber-Dragon-erreicht-die-Raumstation

The articles are in german, please use a translator of your choice...

My main concern is: all articles dealt with the crash-landings of rockets. And many readers expressed their point of view that it was all about the landings, where spacex has failed. And those were people who are at least interested in space. Average Joe reads about exploding rockets and forms an opinion about the reliablility of the rockets. News and media need to explain in detail what has happened and why this is not a mission critical failure, even if it explodes (at CRS-6, dragon happily reached ISS, although the first stage exploded, because by the time when it exploded, the second stage + dragon was far away).

Additionally it doesn't really help, that derstandard.at mixes up numbers (the barge isn't 170m long, and falcon 9 isn't 30m wide... although they edited that).

Offline mfck

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #80 on: 07/17/2015 01:27 am »


Joe Average do not know what SpaceX is

I share this view. A globally average person nowadays hardly knows anything about spaceflight. It is a topic that only starts to be interesting if one is inquisitive about it and puts in quite some time into it.

Most of the people are just too busy with more pressing issues varying from just staying alive to keeping up with social pressure their society puts on them.

For others it is just too complex a topic. Yet another group puts their comprehension in other fields, not less complex, but far removed.

Joe Average does not understand spaceflight and thus his perception of SpaceX, be it positive or negative, is inadequate if at all present.

(Heck, statistically speaking the worldwide Joe Average is no Joe at all, but Muhammad)


Offline ClaytonBirchenough

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #81 on: 07/17/2015 03:04 am »
I'd also like to add a terrifying amount of relatives who found out I'm going to be an aerospace engineer and build rockets ask, "But isn't there no more NASA?" or "But isn't there no Space Shuttle?" It's scary haha.

Not sure if people are really that un-educated on spaceflight, or if they're just looking for any possible way to relate to me haha.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2015 03:04 am by ClaytonBirchenough »
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Offline msat

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #82 on: 07/17/2015 06:38 am »
Yeah, most people have no idea what SpaceX is. "Richard Branson's rocket" is probably better known. But mostly, NASA is pretty much the only universally recognizable name as far as spaceflight goes.

On the few occasions I mentioned rockets to people, they initially thought I was talking about missiles and bazookas. On their radar, SpaceX might as well be an F-117A.

Offline MP99

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #83 on: 07/17/2015 07:11 am »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.
I'd say many of them would say the "regression" in spaceflight "since the Moon landings" was a bit pathetic, with the Shuttle the one thing keeping any level of interest going.

A lot more people would be fans if they had something to inspire them. As much as you dismiss it, that means people. Human spaceflight.

Cheers, Martin

Offline MP99

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #84 on: 07/17/2015 07:31 am »


To draw a very simple analogy (since we are talking about the average person's attitudes towards space flight):

The US government and its mainstay launch provider (sorry, they are pretty inseparable in my mind) are the workaholic husband who has been promising you that european vacation since you were newlyweds.  He did take you to Epcot Center that one time, but other than that it's always "maybe next year".  Somewhere along the way you realize it's never going to happen, at least not until you're too old & sick to enjoy it.

I like this, but I think it's more someone who was very successful in the beginning of their career, and has slowly been passed over ever since, hanging on by their fingernails trying to make it to retirement. Forever promising "if I can just finish *this* training, I'll be back on the up".

Again, "Joe Public".

Cheers, Martin

Offline Jarnis

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #85 on: 07/17/2015 08:40 am »
Also, if somebody is fan of spaceflight because Spacex and not before, means they aren't really fans of spaceflight.

Once NASA stopped having actual goals beyond "running this station in LEO and begging for Congress to give funds for something else, which they never do", with no long term plans, goals or, heck, even hardware, I kinda lapsed. I understand the benefits of ISS as a testbed for in-space hardware, but it feels like NASA got that testbed, then stopped dreaming and is instead just busy trying to find something useful to test there.

Yes, NASA has a couple of really cool robotic missions (New Horizons, Dawn, Curiosity, Juno etc.) but beyond that it feels like their only real plan right now is to build a massive and uneconomical rocket simply because, well, they need to build a massive rocket. Because, well, Congress asked us to do it.

SpaceX on the other hand... first time in decades someone is actually flying to Space with a long-term goal of doing something new. And I'm not talking even Mars - I consider that to be "future dreams" until someone rolls BFR onto a test stand first and presents actual plans how to get there.

No, instead I'm mostly talking about making rockets that have sane price tags, plans for first stage re-use and building new space hardware that isn't "tried and true" (what old space guys seem to love) but instead actually attempts to improve the state-of-the-art in their own field (not using 20 year old electronics that costs megabucks etc.)

Compared to that, SLS feels like someone is gluing together old leftover Shuttle bits while scamming Uncle Sam for massive moneys, in order to fly a capsule that is overkill for LEO taxi, yet kinda weaksauce for missions beyond Earth-Moon system, and doing all that while having absolutely no plans what to use it for. Hard to be a fan of that, beyond the fact that hey, if you are going to launch a big ass rocket, I'm interested to watch how it goes.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2015 12:36 pm by Jarnis »

Offline Semmel

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #86 on: 07/17/2015 07:23 pm »
Once NASA stopped having actual goals beyond "running this station in LEO and begging for Congress to give funds for something else, which they never do", with no long term plans, goals or, heck, even hardware, I kinda lapsed. I understand the benefits of ISS as a testbed for in-space hardware, but it feels like NASA got that testbed, then stopped dreaming and is instead just busy trying to find something useful to test there.

Yes, NASA has a couple of really cool robotic missions (New Horizons, Dawn, Curiosity, Juno etc.) but beyond that it feels like their only real plan right now is to build a massive and uneconomical rocket simply because, well, they need to build a massive rocket. Because, well, Congress asked us to do it.

SpaceX on the other hand... first time in decades someone is actually flying to Space with a long-term goal of doing something new. And I'm not talking even Mars - I consider that to be "future dreams" until someone rolls BFR onto a test stand first and presents actual plans how to get there.

I agree with you on that. NASA has really cool projects. I want to put that first because its something no one else does. Yes, ESA and others do some cool stuff, but not on the scale and determination as NASA with its planetary probes. Alone, it is not enough as a long term plan.

The ISS was meant to be a major advancement in engineering and technology as well as a science lab in microgravity. A science lab it is. But the hope was also to use the experience of the ISS to develop interplanetary travel and ultimately human boots on other planets. Despite NASA showing advertisement for such a plan, it has no weight because it is not backed up by political will and determination. The US government does not show enough interest in interplanetary human travel.

Then there is SpaceX and picks up the ball that NASA lost some time after ISS was build: They have the goal to colonize Mars and do what ever is necessary to achieve that goal. Including making space travel cheaper, developing reusable rockets as an enabler and other stuff like modern space suits (lets hope its successful). SpaceX does what really NASA should be doing. At least that is my perception. And it also aligns whith what Elons motivation is I guess. Initially he wanted to make projects in order to raise money for NASA. When he realized that this attempt is futile, he made his own NASA.

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