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Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz covers state, business and society for Quartz.
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Drone Technology Is Now Dangerous Enough to Kill For

April 23, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow There are certain classes of technology that, by their nature, put those who possess their secrets in danger: Nuclear weapons. Ballistic missiles. Advanced encryption software. Now, add unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—to that list. A Palestinian electrical engineer who had published research on drones was assassinated in Malaysia, the Wall Street Journal...

The US Military Will Award $10 Million to the Company That Can Launch Satellites on Short Notice

April 19, 2018 US military leaders are bullish about small satellites as tools to spy on adversaries and provide secure communications, but there’s just one problem: There isn’t a good way to get them into space, on demand. Inspired by NASA’s partnerships with rocket makers like SpaceX, the Pentagon is turning to private...

The Military Will Award $10 Million To The Company That Can Launch Satellites On Short Notice

April 19, 2018 Military leaders are bullish about small satellites as tools to spy on adversaries and provide secure communications, but there’s just one problem: There isn’t a good way to get them into space, on demand. Inspired by NASA’s partnerships with rocket makers like SpaceX, the Pentagon is turning to private industry,...

Fuzzy Space Law Is Forcing the U.S. to Update its Orbital Regulations

April 18, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. government is promising space companies it will make it easier for them to get into space by boosting its long moribund “Office of Space Commerce.” After U.S. regulators belatedly forced SpaceX to shut off video cameras on its rocket during a March launch despite years of such broadcasts,...

SpaceX’s Rocket Videos Are Technically Against the Law. The U.S. Government Just Noticed.

April 10, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Since 2010, millions of space fans have devoured video shot from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket—but not the U.S. government agency charged with regulating videos shot from space. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration licenses surveillance systems launched into space by Americans. An agency spokesperson explained to Quartz that the agency...

The Patriot Missile Interceptor Doesn’t Work, But Raytheon Still Makes Billions

March 30, 2018 The U.S. and its allies the world over are paying billions for medium-range missile interception systems without a track record of success. A March 25 missile attack launched on Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen provided another test of the U.S.-built Patriot missile system, which it apparently failed—cell...

NASA Says a Design Error is Behind The Failure of a 2015 SpaceX Mission

March 13, 2018 For the first time, NASA investigators said publicly that a design error was the initiating factor for the destruction of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on a mission to the International Space Station in 2015. A public summary of their report, released Monday (pdf), expands on SpaceX’s public explanation for...

Why a Meeting Between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un Is So Risky

March 12, 2018 Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un is a greater concession than he likely understands—and a bigger risk. But why should the presence of two humans in a room have such high stakes? The reason a U.S. president has never met a North Korean leader is that the U.S. and North...

Trump Says His New Tariffs Are About National Security. They’re Not.

March 6, 2018 Donald Trump claims that steep new import taxes on aluminum and steel will protect U.S. national security. Few people believe him, and that’s a problem for him—and the world. Trump’s zero-sum worldview has painted foreign countries as the main threat to American economic prosperity. While that’s a factually dubious position,...

Trump Says His New Tariffs Are About National Security. They’re Not.

March 6, 2018 Donald Trump claims that steep new import taxes on aluminum and steel will protect US national security. Few people believe him, and that’s a problem for him—and the world. Trump’s zero-sum worldview has painted foreign countries as the main threat to American economic prosperity. While that’s a factually dubious position,...