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Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz covers state, business and society for Quartz.
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SpaceX’s Launch This Weekend Is a Monument to Space Capitalism—Just Ask NASA

February 18, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It’s been five years since a rocket lifted off from NASA’s Launch Pad 39-A, when the final Space Shuttle mission took flight. For a moment it seemed like the pipes, tanks, and towers of the launch complex built for the US at the dawn of the space age—Apollo 11 lifted...

Donald Trump Requested 64 Foreign Guest Workers For His 'Winter White House'

February 13, 2017 When US president Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gathered to condemn a North Korean missile test, they did it just fifty yards from a wedding reception at Trump’s Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago, with celebratory music underscoring the threat of nuclear warfare. That fees from that wedding, along...

Elon Musk Says He’s Going to Tunnel Under His SpaceX Factory Soon

January 25, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Into orbit, on the highway, over the internet and now into the ground: Is there anywhere Elon Musk won’t go to start a business? The serial entrepreneur tweeted early this morning he would soon begin digging a tunnel “starting across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway,...

Donald Trump’s Nominee For Treasury Secretary Wants a Bigger IRS

January 19, 2017 Donald Trump’s oft-used excuse for not releasing his tax returns is that they are still under audit at the US Internal Revenue Service—no matter that this doesn’t prevent their release—but if his pick for Treasury secretary gets his way, the interminable audit may end sooner. Steven Mnuchin, the investor tapped...

SpaceX’s Leaked Finances Show Elon Musk Is Betting Big on Satellite Internet

January 13, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow SpaceX does good business when the rockets are flying—and becomes a money-loser when they’re not, according to company financials published in the Wall Street Journal today. The behind-the-scenes peek at Elon Musk’s privately held space business also reveals the company’s hopes to generate enormous revenue from an ambitious effort to...

The Story Behind the Strange Government Ethics Tweets Singing Donald Trump’s Praises

January 3, 2017 An attention-grabbing tweet storm from the US government’s ethics watchdog about Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest turns out to have been written by its director—but even Twitter employees feared that the account had been hacked. On November 30, the official Twitter account of the Office of Government Ethics let loose...

SpaceX Says it Figured Out Why its Rocket Exploded And Will Fly Again Within Days

January 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Four months after an explosion tore through its signature Falcon 9 rocket during fueling, destroying the rocket and its multimillion-dollar cargo in just 93 milliseconds, SpaceX says it has isolated what went wrong and is ready to fly again. If the Federal Aviation Administration issues the company a license, likely...

All the Astronauts on the International Space Station Did the Mannequin Challenge

December 29, 2016 French astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared this video of the entire human population in orbit doing the “mannequin challenge,” which likely qualifies as the most expensive on record. Even the Russians participated. But, it’s still not as good as Black Chyna’s rendition. We got the whole crew together and took the...

First Voice Transmission from Space was Eisenhower Wishing Peace on Earth from a Nuclear Missile

December 23, 2016 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In December 1958, the Cold War got a spark of warmth when the U.S. broadcast a holiday message of peace and goodwill around the world—from an orbiting nuclear missile. A little more than a year after Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union to kick off...

Peter Thiel is Pushing Donald Trump to Use Private Space Companies at NASA

December 21, 2016 Peter Thiel is hard at work on Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency—vetting nominees, corralling Silicon Valley honchos, and, now, making sure there is room for private enterprise at the world’s premiere space agency. The controversial tech investor, who this year made a winning bet on Trump that outraged many...

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