SpaceX and Blue Origin are two examples of modern definite optimistic thinking

Long before they talked publicly about landing rocket, SpaceX designed its Raptor engines so they could reignite after turning off. This feature both makes them more expensive and is completely worthless … unless you want to use them to land.

Blue Origin’s rockets are all designed to run on hydrogen. As a fuel hydrogen is annoying - it has to be kept very cold and has a nasty habit of leaking through solids. Every other rocket builder has chosen to use hydrocarbons like hydrazine or hydrogen peroxide. Avoiding hydrogen is a great idea if you just want to take the next step of getting to space. However, of all these fuels, H2 is the only one that can easily be manufactured from materials found on the moon. Because Blue Origin’s goal isn’t just aiming to get to space, or even just to the moon. It has a roadmap to a world where the Moon is a stopping off point to the Asteroid belt and then the rest of the Galaxy.

These design decisions are also examples of how Long term plans often involve decisions that look stupid over shorter time horizons

Web URL for this note

Comment on this note