The Explosion of Falcon 9

Greece is a long way from  Australia. It looks even more distant from outer space, if you happened to be  looking from the International Space Station.

There are  people actually doing that, and they have bigger concerns than the state of the  Greek economy. They’re wondering when their next delivery rocket carrying  supplies is going to arrive. We can only hope the poker cards and bourbon are  already on board, alongside a feed to Wimbledon.

The reason  they’re waiting on supplies is because the next supply rocket just blew up over  the Atlantic Ocean, 139 seconds after launching.

The Financial Times reports,

The explosion comes barely a  month after SpaceX achieved clearance from the US Air Force to become the  second provider for US national security launches after ULA, a joint venture of  Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Nasa, the US civilian space  agency, and the Air Force have encouraged competition to bring down the cost of  space launches from around $164m to the $60m that SpaceX charges some of its  commercial customers.’

This is  going to rattle a few plans, both on the ground and up in orbit. SpaceX has  some explaining to do, not to mention some work. But the problem of space  exploration looks a lot more challenging for human beings than what to do about  Greece.

For our purposes  today, it’s enough to suggest that in a year the Greek crisis will be a distant  memory in the same way everybody has forgotten about Cyprus. Space technology  will be investable for the next few centuries.

Take the  news that also came out of NASA last week. They’re already trying to figure out  where to land astronauts on Mars. Two decades before they’re due to actually  arrive, NASA are plotting out the best sites.

But they’re  not just trying to figure out the easiest place to reverse park the spaceship  without scratching the taillight. They want to know where the resources are.  It’s an old-fashioned land/gold rush. reported on this and talked to Jim  Green, head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

They  reported on 26 June:

    ‘Over the next few years, NASA  plans to study the most promising exploration zones in depth using the agency’s  Mars Odyssey spacecraft and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which  began circling the Red Planet in 2001 and 2006, respectively

“The two venerable orbiters won’t  last forever, so it’s important to get the ball rolling on the site-selection  process now,” Green said…

“Detailed information about the  potential exploration zones’ mineralogy will also be crucial to mission  planners, providing clues about what resources the sites may harbor,” Green  added.’

Colleague Phillip J Anderson over  at Cycles, Trends and Forecasts likes to point out  why this process will see humanity take our wars into space. But there’s still  plenty of the old fashioned action like this happening down on Earth if you care to look here.

Before we  get to war in space though, it seems there’s enough happening up there already.  But it’s not a war zone, it’s more like a junkyard.

In the latest issue of Australian Small-Cap Investigator, Editor Sam  Volkering goes as far as to say space is something like a rubbish dump right  now.

That’s not  the impression I get when I look up at the beauty of the night sky. But Sam  says what we don’t see is the debris from old rockets, abandoned satellites and  missile shrapnel floating around.

That’s  becoming more and more of a problem for the increasing level of expensive  hardware companies and countries are sending up there.

New  satellites cost a lot of money. Launching them into this environment is kind of  like running across a busy highway instead of a country lane. The odds of  getting hit get higher and higher.

The good  news is there’s an Aussie company doing something about it. Sam says the potential  contracts could see the stock rise 1378% over the next three years. Space is  big and so is the money involved.

We’ll have to wait and see on  that (you can check out Sam’s research here) but there’s one thing we can know  before we begin. We in the public won’t get to hear half of what is really  going on up there in the cosmos.

I’m currently reading a  fascinating book called Operation Paperclip,  by Annie Jacobsen. It shows the systematic recruitment of Nazi scientists by  the US government at the end of the Second World War.

Germany  might have lost, but even in 1945 she was still leading the way when it came to  chemical and biological weapons, not to mention rocket technology. The Nazis  who were working on these projects used their knowledge and expertise to broker  their freedom, despite their complicity in the crime of the century.

It’s an  outrage now but would have been worse back then, if anyone knew. But no one did  — it was done in secret and the knowledge suppressed for decades. The US didn’t  want to let the Russians gain any sort of advantage and so German scientists  ended up living the good life in the US after the war.

I’ll leave  it there because I haven’t finished the book. But we can say the nature of  government hasn’t changed in the time since, only the technology to keep the  lies and outrages hidden.

That’s  important when it comes to the markets. The easiest way to sort through the  lies and the fools is to read a chart. Stock charts can tell you a lot. At the  very least, they will tell you the trend.

That’s something the algorithms  behind Quant Trader were built to not only identify, but  to trade. Jason McIntosh, a genuine quant, has coded Quant Trader to cut the losers off quickly and let the winners run  and run. If you want to know more about this service click here.


Callum  Newman,

Associate Editor, Cycles  Trends and Forecasts

Ed Note: This article originally appeared in Port Phillip Insider.

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Originally graduating with a degree in Communications, Callum decided financial markets were far more fascinating than anything Marshall McLuhan (the ‘medium is the message’) ever came up with. Today Callum spends his day reading and researching why currencies, commodities and stocks move like they do. So far he’s discovered it’s often in a way you least expect.

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