2/19/17 – The Million Dollar Way – EURs – Bakken 2.0 – EUR means Estimated Ultimate Recovery, which is the total amount of oil expected to be extracted from one specific well. Article says the EURs in Bakken were 300K early on. At the point I started paying attention, the EURs were in the 500K range with possibilities of 1,000K.
Article says Mike Filloon has been talking about 1.5M instead of 1.0M.
Now the article lists 14 wells with EURs of 1.5M up to 2.0M EURs.
In Behind the Black’s favorite phrase, the competition heats up. Check out the news just this week for Blue Origin becoming a very serious player.
3/7 – Florida Today Blue Origin books first New Glenn launch contract– Eutelsat Communications has booked the first launch on the New Glenn rocket from Blue Origin. First launch is expected in 2021 or 2022, which is only four or five years away.
Just watched the recovery of a Falcon 9 booster. I missed the launch. Very cool video from the on-board camera as the booster descended through a cloud bank and landed dead center on the pad.
This mission, CRS-10, will deliver over 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station. Two really cool things. First, a private company providing supply runs to ISS is a thing. Second, it is almost routine to recover the first stage.
Oh, by the way, the geology wizards just discovered another twenty billion barrels of recoverable oil where the wizards knew something existed but had no idea how much.
Twenty billion barrels. Billion, with a B.
11/15 – Star-Telegram – Permian’s Wolfcamp formation called biggest shale oil field in US – Estimate from USGS is the Wolfcamp formation in the Permian Basin holds 20 billion barrels of oil. There are four layers of shale that make up Wolfcamp. That puts this find somewhere in the range of three times the size of the entire Bakken formation in North Dakota.
If you want to take your mind off the depressing news appearing on the front page of every newspaper every day, stretch your brain to consider the idea of mining asteroids for raw materials to build and fuel spaceships.
11/2 – Visual Capitalist – There’s Big Money to Be Made in Asteroid Mining – The theory is that an entire class of asteroids (the X-type) were once a large asteroid which has gone through several collisions which tore off most of the material leaving a very dense core of valuable metals. One particular X-type asteroid is thought to hold more platinum that has been mined from planet Earth throughout all history.
The real payoff would be asteroids out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Resources there are staggering.
In contrast to the horrible news mentioned yesterday from Venezuela, consider the the amazing news from the open frontier of energy production. The benefits produced by fracking just don’t seem to stop.
After spending several years trying to get my little brain wrapped around energy issues, I’m to the point where I can interpret news reports and figure out for myself what to believe and what reports are just blowing smoke.
Consider the two following articles as illustrations of an article to believe and one that, um, well, ought to be taken with a large grain of salt.
10/2 – Wall Street Journal – An OPEC Output Cut Not Likely to Alter Oil Imbalance – Author cites “many” analysts who think that OPEC cutting production by a mere 700K bopd is not a large enough cut to resolve the oil oversupply, nor will the cut take place quick enough to have any impact.
Previous expectation was oil demand and supply would balance out by the end of 2016. Now the guessing is it will take until mid-2017.
The money quote is from Daniel Yergin (so you know my perspective, I have learned to pay close attention to him anytime he is mentioned):
Fun articles lately on the wide open frontier of exploring space:
More details on SpaceX’s framework for how they plan to get people to Mars.
Bidding for GPS 3 launches and purchase price for two more satellites of the GPS III constellation.
What criminal law will apply in space?
China’s moon rover, Jade Rabbit, finally dies after 31 months, which is in contrast to its expected 3 month life.
9/29 – Space.com – Feasible or Fantasy? SpaceX’s Mars Plan Draws Expert Reactions – Author pulls in a variety of initial reactions to SpaceX’s outline of how to get colonists to Mars. My summary of comments is the plans have a lot of technological, funding, and timing hurdles to clear. In addition, a lot of work needs to be done to develop how the technological, food sourcing, economic, and energy systems would work on the planet to support long-term residency.
One hurdle has already been cleared – the technology for a soft landing on Mars is already in place as demonstrated by the successful recovery of boosters.
The Technology Quarterly issue from The Economist for August 27, 2016 described the open frontier of space. Check out Remaking the sky. I think that’s behind their paywall, so you may need a subscription.
Here are a few cool things I learned.
A sudden light– Nice description of the SpaceX launch when they recovered a booster back at the original launch site. Puts into context what an amazing step it is to recover a booster.
The small and the many– There are four major players in the world of communication satellites: Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, and SES.
The typical cost for SES satellites range from $100M up to $300M. The launch cost is in ballpark of $100M. At those prices the entire satellite industry is very risk-averse. I get it. You cannot take a big chance when somewhere between $200M and $400M is on the line.
Tiny satellites, called cubesats, are built in multiples of blocks measured in “1U”, meaning a box 10 cm by 10 cm by 11.5 cm.
Cubesats are revolutionizing the satellite world by dramatically reducing cost and risk. The cost to develop a cubesat is small. One launch can lift a lot of cubesats which drops the cost. They don’t have the power to last very long and don’t have any propulsion, with both factors making it cheaper to experiment and not as risky to something trying something new.
A colony on Mars is no longer just a silly fantasy. It is now in the range of maybe actually possible.
SpaceX announced the outline of their plans for shuttle runs to Mars in order to populate a self-sustaining colony.
My summary of the concept
Here is my simple summary:
A booster rocket, standing 254 feet tall, will have 42 Raptor engines. The Falcon 9 in testing now is powered by 9 Merlin engines. The Raptor engine is three times as powerful as the Merlin. The booster will have thrust twice that of a Saturn V with ability to lift 300 tons into low-earth orbit.
New rules for small drones allow commercial use of drones
Drones as bold security guards
Cubesats that can count all the cars in all the parking lots of a retailer
Research underway for merchant ships that can travel the world without any crew members on board
8/30 – Wall Street Journal – Business-Drone Rules to Take Effect – New rules governing business use of drones up to 55 pounds go into effect this day. Previously, rules required all drone operators to merely register with the feds. New rules allow business use of drones, by licensed pilots, within line-of-site, during the day, with drones under 55 pounds.
Expect more rules to address flight beyond line-of-site, and how to operate when people are underneath the drone.