Author Archives: David W. Brown

In a Space Race, the Idea Is to Do It First

NASA has little to gain from a race back to the Moon, and would probably be beaten there by China. On the other hand, they’ve mastered Mars and need only the support to make it happen. Why are some obsessed with replaying a 50-year-old achievement?

The Mars Mission That Never Was, and What Happens Next

Before the #journeytomars and Constellation, there was the Space Exploration Initiative of 1989–the first major presidential commitment to human space exploration since Kennedy’s moonshot.

Our Celestial Trinkets, and What They Say about Us

There is poetry in the things we leave on other planets. Golf balls, a family portrait, a cheeky postage stamp whose caption was thwarted: our humanity can be found in these little items. What do they say about us?

Interview with Margaret Hamilton, Who Landed the First Man (and First Code) on the Moon

Margaret Hamilton led the team responsible for the on-board flight software for the Apollo command module and lunar module. The computer science pioneer discusses with now.space the moon landing, women in STEM, and her legacy.

If You Build It from Low Earth Orbit, They Will Come

When NASA pivots to the Moon and Mars, private enterprise will inherit low Earth orbit. With reusable launch vehicles and private space stations, an off-world manufacturing industry is in the making. Here are the companies making it happen.

Congress Routinely Calls for a Space Force, but This Time They Mean It

A prominent U.S. House representative is calling for a Space Force. This isn’t the first time Congress has asked for such a thing, but it might be time to take the call seriously.

The Rocket Engine’s Unlikely Role in Shaping Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

As instruments of war and exploration, rocket engines have not only shaped history but revealed the values and priorities of the nations that build them. They intensified the Cold War, shaped the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, and govern our Russia policy today. As New Space stacks success atop success, they might herald the decline of NASA as the preeminent organization for landing humans on other worlds.