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Battles of the Future: Elon Musk vs. The Envious Titans of Industry

🎵 Elon:

Yo, listen up, I got a story to tell,
About a guy who made rockets and electric cars as well.
I’m Elon Musk, yeah, you’ve heard my name,
While you’re stuck in the past, I’m in a different lane.

You say I’m dreamin’ ’bout Mars, well, that’s my mission,
While you’re still arguing ’bout fossil fuel emission.
I got a Cybertruck, what you got? A gas guzzler?
Your tech’s so old, man, it couldn’t be subtler.

Elon Musk rap battle

🎵 Envious Industries:

Hold up, Elon, don’t get too cocky,
Your tweets alone could make your stock rocky.
We’ve been in the game, while you were in diapers,
Our legacy’s long, like snipers to vipers.

You talk ’bout space, but we’ve been to the Moon,
You’re just a billionaire playboy, a real-life cartoon.
And let’s not forget, you’re not the only one in the race,
We’ve got electric cars too, tryin’ to save face.

🎵 Elon:

Ah, legacy, legacy, that’s all you speak,
But innovation’s what I seek.
You had your chance, now move aside,
It’s time for a future where we don’t have to hide.

You say you’ve been to the Moon, well, I’m going to Mars,
I’m shooting for the stars, while you’re stuck in your cars.
You can keep your oil, keep your coal,
I’ve got a renewable goal, that’s how I roll.

🎵 Envious Industries:

You think you’re so smart with your reusable rockets,
But remember, we’ve got the keys to the lockets.
You may have fans, but we’ve got the masses,
Your “bleepin'” dreams are just rose-colored glasses.

🎵 Elon:

Rose-colored or not, at least I can see,
A future that’s more than just a “bleepin'” decree.
I’m outta here, y’all, got a planet to save,
While you’re stuck here, rapping from the grave.

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The FAA’s Rocket Blockade: A Tale of Bureaucracy and Space

In a world where technology is advancing at the speed of light, it’s ironic that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—the agency responsible for regulating American airspace—is slowing things down. Recently, the FAA has been in the spotlight for delaying SpaceX’s Starship launch and preventing the re-entry of Varda’s research capsule. The reason? A lack of personnel to handle the surge in commercial rocket launches. Let’s take a quick look at this cosmic comedy of errors and bureaucracy.

What is the FAA and its Cosmic Duties?

Wes Anderson-style bureaucrat. / Denis Giffeler

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a U.S. governmental agency that oversees all aspects of civil aviation, including commercial and private flights. But its responsibilities don’t stop at the stratosphere; they extend into outer space. The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Operations is tasked with licensing commercial launch and reentry operations. In 2023 alone, the FAA has licensed a staggering 82 commercial launches. This is a tenfold increase over the last decade, largely driven by SpaceX’s ambitious launch schedule. The agency is clearly struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation, despite its requests for additional funding to hire more personnel.

The Starship Saga

SpaceX’s Starship has been a focal point of the new space race, aiming to make interplanetary travel a reality. However, its journey has been far from smooth. The first Starship flight, launched on April 20, 2023, faced several issues, including the failure of its two stages to separate as planned. This led SpaceX to engage Starship’s self-destruct system, destroying the rocket high above the Gulf of Mexico. The FAA conducted an investigation into the flight and identified 63 corrective actions that SpaceX must take to prevent similar mishaps. Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has completed and documented 57 of the required items, noting that 6 of the 63 items refer to later flights. Despite these corrective actions, the FAA has yet to award a new launch license for Starship’s second flight.

Varda’s Grounded Capsule

Varda Space Industries, a startup specializing in in-space manufacturing, has been waiting for an additional two months to bring its research capsule back to Earth. The FAA and the U.S. Air Force have declined to give Varda the green light to land its spacecraft in a remote part of Utah. According to the FAA, Varda failed to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and did not possess a reentry license when it launched its vehicle. The FAA’s decision is still pending reconsideration, leaving Varda’s mission in a state of limbo.

Parkinson’s Law of Bureaucratic Growth

Parkinson’s Law, first published in 1955 by naval historian C. Northcote Parkinson, posits that the duration of public administration expands to fill its allotted time span, regardless of the amount of work to be done. The law attributes this phenomenon to two main factors: officials wanting subordinates rather than rivals, and officials creating work for each other. In essence, Parkinson’s Law suggests that bureaucracies have an inherent tendency to grow, often without a corresponding increase in efficiency.

Interestingly, Parkinson even presented a mathematical formula to describe this growth:

x = \frac{2k^m + P}{n}

Where \( x \) is the number of new employees to be hired annually, \( k \) is the number of employees who want to be promoted by hiring new employees, \( m \) is the number of working hours per person for the preparation of internal memoranda, \( P \) is the difference between the age at hiring and the age at retirement, and \( n \) is the number of administrative files actually completed.

The FAA’s current predicament seems to be a real-world manifestation of Parkinson’s Law. Despite the surge in commercial space activity, the FAA has not scaled its operations efficiently. Instead, it appears to be mired in its own bureaucratic complexities, leading to delays and inefficiencies. This is particularly concerning given the rapid advancements in space technology and the increasing number of commercial players entering the field. The FAA’s inability to keep pace not only hampers current missions but also casts a shadow over future endeavors in commercial space exploration. Source


As humanity sets its sights on the stars, it’s disheartening to see that we are still entangled in the cobwebs of bureaucracy here on Earth. Companies like SpaceX and Varda are ready to push the boundaries of human achievement, but they find themselves grounded by administrative red tape. It’s a cosmic irony that as we aim to conquer space, we’re still wrestling with age-old terrestrial issues.

So, the next time you look up at the night sky, ponder this: the stars may be the limit, but only if the paperwork down here allows it.

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The Tale of Two Satellites: Kalamsat and TerreStar-1

In the realm of space exploration and technology, size often matters. Whether it’s the gargantuan rockets that propel astronauts into orbit or the tiny satellites that gather crucial data, size plays a pivotal role in the success of a mission. However, two satellites defy the norms and stand as remarkable examples of what can be achieved at both ends of the size spectrum: Kalamsat, the world’s smallest satellite, and TerreStar-1, the largest commercial satellite ever built.

Kalamsat: The Pinnacle of Youth Innovation and Technology

The Genesis of Kalamsat

Kalamsat vs. Terrestar / Denis Giffeler

Kalamsat is not just another satellite; it’s a symbol of youthful ingenuity and a testament to what can be achieved when young minds are given the right platform. The satellite was designed by Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old student from Tamil Nadu, India. His design won a competition called “Cubes in Space,” hosted by an organization named I Doodle Learning and sponsored by NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. The competition’s primary challenge was to design an experiment that would fit into a four-meter cube and weigh no more than 64 grams.

The Technology Behind Kalamsat

What sets Kalamsat apart from other satellites is its groundbreaking technology. It’s the world’s first 3D-printed satellite, a feat that has opened new avenues in the field of space exploration. The satellite is equipped with a new kind of onboard computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors. These sensors are designed to measure various parameters like acceleration, rotation, and Earth’s magnetosphere.

Key Facts and Figures

  • Weight: 64 grams
  • Launch Date: June 22, 2017
  • Cost: Part of a student competition, so cost was minimal
  • Mission Duration: 4-hour sub-orbital mission
  • Sensors: Eight indigenous built-in sensors

The Mission and Objectives

Kalamsat was launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and embarked on a 4-hour sub-orbital mission. During its brief journey, the satellite spent about 12 minutes in a micro-gravity environment. One of the primary objectives was to test the durability of its extremely light casing, made from 3D-printed reinforced carbon fiber polymer. The mission aimed to demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fiber in space. The success of this could lead to the development of similar lightweight and cost-effective payloads for future NASA missions.

A Milestone for India and the World

The launch of Kalamsat was a significant milestone not just for India but for the global scientific community. The satellite was chosen at an international competition among 80 models submitted by young contestants from 57 countries. It was launched by a NASA sounding rocket from the Wallops Island facility and studied radiation levels during its brief flight.

The Legacy and Future Prospects

Kalamsat has set a precedent for future space missions, proving that size and budget are not the only determinants of success. It has shown that with innovative thinking and the right use of technology, even a small team of students can make a significant contribution to the field of space science. The satellite has received several awards and recognitions, further solidifying its status as a marvel of modern engineering.

TerreStar-1: The Heavyweight Titan


On the other end of the spectrum, we have TerreStar-1, the largest commercial satellite ever built. Launched on July 1, 2009, this behemoth weighs an astounding 15,233 pounds (6,910 kg). Unlike Kalamsat, which was a student-led initiative, TerreStar-1 was a commercial venture aimed at revolutionizing telecommunications.

Technological Marvel

TerreStar-1 was equipped with a 60-foot (18-meter) antenna, the largest of its kind for commercial use. This massive antenna allowed for unprecedented data transmission capabilities, making it a game-changer in the field of satellite communications. The satellite was designed to provide mobile voice and data communications over North America, bridging gaps in coverage and offering enhanced reliability.

Key Facts and Figures

  • Weight: 15,233 pounds (6,910 kg)
  • Launch Date: July 1, 2009
  • Cost: Estimated at around $300 million
  • Antenna Size: 60-foot (18-meter) antenna

Mission Challenges

The sheer size and weight of TerreStar-1 presented unique challenges, especially in terms of launch and deployment. Specialized rockets were required to propel this massive satellite into its geostationary orbit. Despite these challenges, the satellite was successfully launched and has been operational, providing critical services and setting new standards in satellite communications.

Contrasting Legacies

While Kalamsat and TerreStar-1 may seem worlds apart, they share a common thread: innovation. Kalamsat represents the potential of young minds and new technologies like 3D printing, proving that even small, low-cost projects can make significant contributions to science. On the other hand, TerreStar-1 embodies the pinnacle of commercial engineering and serves as a testament to what can be achieved with sufficient resources and expertise.


The stories of Kalamsat and TerreStar-1 serve as inspiring examples of human ingenuity and the limitless possibilities of space technology. Whether it’s an 18-year-old student in Tamil Nadu using 3D printing to revolutionize satellite construction or a team of seasoned engineers building a commercial behemoth, these satellites prove that in the realm of space exploration, size is but a number. What truly matters is the spirit of innovation and the audacity to dream big, regardless of how small or large those dreams may be.