If you haven’t seen it yet, I wrote an analysis of a possible business path for Virgin Galactic: Virgin Galactic’s Possible Businesses. The company’s current plans in using its next-generation rocketplane don’t appear to deviate much from its SpaceShipTwo usage. If that’s the case, is the business path it's choosing a good move? Or is there another reasonable, profitable, and, more importantly, sustainable approach for the company?
Also, and related a little to the rest of this article, the Financial Times published an article using data from the Global Space Activity Dashboard: Making Space for India. First–that’s just cool! It is a subscription site so FT subscribers can see the article and supporting data. But others can visit the free Global Space Activity dashboards to see the information FT used and more!
Also, there will be no analysis next week, either. But more will come in the weeks following.
This is an announcement of changes going on with Ill-Defined Space instead of the usual space industry opinion/analysis. None of this will be active until after the dissemination of this newsletter on Thursday, 14 Sept. 2023. The following will be discussed:
- Website changes, including possible WordPress subscriber impacts
- Substack subscribers=no change
- Dashboard incorporation into the website
- Paid subscribership tier options
- A donation option!
- Change implementation timeline
Website Changes and Impacts
I am changing content platforms (from WordPress to Ghost), which is why people used to my site might see some changes in the template of content presentation. The site name and address will remain the same: Ill-Defined Space at illdefined.space. For those on Substack, things won’t change. However, WordPress subscribers to Ill-Defined Space will no longer get notifications of a new post to the website.
The WordPress migration means the following newsletter people receive will be through Substack only. But I am aiming to move from Substack’s services to Ghost as well, only a little later down the road (although–Substack’s service is genius). I will let subscribers know about the move when the time comes. As far as I can tell, aside from the newsletter template, Substack subscribers probably won’t see too much difference when I start using Ghost for the newsletter.
However, if you’re a WordPress subscriber and want to continue your Ill-Defined Space subscription, please let me know in the comments. I’ll add you to the new system. I don’t think I’ll need details. Just send me your WP subscriber name, and I’ll add it to the new website or Substack–whatever is your preference.
WordPress is fine, but Ghost was the better choice to do the next step of things I wanted to do. That next step is another reason for this message.
Earlier this year, I revealed the Global Space Activity dashboards. Those free dashboards provide easy-to-understand information about this year’s global orbital launch activities and spacecraft deployments. From who launched what from where to estimated mass deployed in orbit, people can get a reasonable picture of the current space operations landscape. It’s updated about as often as launches occur.
But the challenge, as you can see in the link address, is that it pushes people to a weird address called “Looker Studio,” which sounds NSFW. It's not great, but that’s the name of Google's analytics product. Also, it made people go to yet another website, a third one, to see the information I provided–not ideal. Yes, that’s a THIRD website. WordPress was my primary, Substack hosts my content and helps with the newsletter aspect, and Google Studio hosts the space industry data.
Again, each one of those services is excellent. But they don’t meet all my needs. It’s time for consolidation.
Moving to Ghost allows easy embedding of the Global Space Activity dashboards into my website, something much harder to do and more expensive than it needs to be on WordPress. So, the new Illdefined.space site will have both the dashboards and the written content.
Because I can embed those dashboards, I can embed other ones–which I have.
However, unlike the Global Space Activity dashboards, these new dashboards will be for paid subscribers. As you can imagine, it takes time to research and gather the information in these dashboards. And the data supporting that information is updated frequently–at least three times a week.
As my tagline states, I cover things “Concerning the activities, business, and outcomes of the space sector (and more).” I use the data populating these dashboards for many of my analyses. I figured offering curated and frequently updated data from my research might be of value to others interested in the space sector. There’s a lot of information to choose from.
Subscriber Tiers and Donation Choices
The following, then, is an informational advertisement for those new dashboards. They are in tiers: Launch Technician 1st Class, Spacecraft Specialist 1st Class, and Space Integration Expert 1st Class. There’s also a donation tier, the Generous Giver of the Galaxy. Payment options are for the month or a year (with a 15% discount for the annual option).
I have the descriptions and pricing on my new site. For those interested, here are the descriptions:
Launch Technician 1st Class
Includes Generous Giver benefits and provides access to more detailed dashboards of global orbital space launches this year. It is updated at least three times a week.
- Global Space Launch Summary: launch vehicle totals, shares, and spaceports (from Generous Giver)
- Orbital Launch Services Summary: active spaceport launch statistics, nations involved, launch companies
- Launch Vehicle Activities: Launch vehicle activity details, monthly launch totals, mass estimates
- Spaceport Activities: monthly launches, customer shares, launches conducted from spaceports
- Smallsat Launch Summary: smallsat rocket launches, estimated mass deployed, shares, rideshare
Spacecraft Specialist 1st Class
Includes Generous Giver benefits and provides access to more detailed dashboards of spacecraft deployed this year. It is updated at least three times a week.
- Spacecraft Deployment Summary: spacecraft and estimated mass totals, nations involved, etc. (from Generous Giver)
- Space Operations Summary: spacecraft operators and nations, monthly totals
- Service Sector: spacecraft services sector and subsector details
- Smallsat Summary: small satellite details, operators, services, and more
- Commercial Spacecraft Operators: commercial spacecraft operators and their spacecraft shares
Space Integration Expert 1st Class
Includes all current year's activities content from Generous Giver, Launch Technician 1st Class, and Spacecraft Specialist 1st Class subscription. It is updated at least three times a week.
- Generous Giver of the Galaxy Benefits
- Launch Technician 1st Class Benefits
- Spacecraft Specialist 1st Class Benefits
Generous Giver of the Galaxy
This is a donation. You appreciate Ill-Defined Space analysis and writing and just want to contribute to its success.
- Continued publication of weekly articles
- Continued access to Global Space Activity dashboards
- A book?--Maybe…
That’s just the start. I will probably provide more tiers with other data, such as trends in the smallsat industry, Earth observation industry, perhaps human spaceflight, and more. There’s also the “back-catalog” of data, which could be provided in similar tier offerings but offer more years of coverage.
To be clear, this isn’t raw data. Based on previous experience, there’s a tiny market for that. Instead, these dashboards result from the data, tags, and filters I’ve created based on what people are interested in. Whether they are interested enough to pay for it is another matter.
Did I mention the donation option? That option is only available through the Illdefined.space website, not Substack. For those looking to help out the site, please go through the Generous Giver tier in the subscriptions.
These changes will begin after the dissemination of this newsletter on Thursday, 14 Sept. 2023. The look will change, but the address won’t. And the dashboards will be at that address, too!
Thank you, all subscribers, for your interest and time!