Friday, April 30, 2010

Charlie Bolden's speech at JSC was even more bizarre than I thought. First the double strawman attack on opponents of Obamaspace.
While reasonable people can disagree, even before I rolled out our proposed FY2011 budget, the battle lines had been drawn between two groups that I refer to as ideologues � The first, those who believe that only by handing over development and operation of our human space launch enterprise to the commercial sector can we move into the future in an efficient and productive manner. The second, those who believe that only the government can be trusted with launching humans into space. Those in these two extreme camps seem unwilling to agree on anything. To the first � any remnant of the Constellation Program of Record left standing will spell the end of any hope for the development and success of a commercial space launch industry. To the second � any near-term move toward dependence on the commercial sector as the primary provider of access to LEO will certainly end in disaster and spell the end of human space flight in the US.

The problem is that most critics, such as myself, of Obamaspace are little more nuanced than that. Most of the critics are pretty comfortable with turning over things like Earth to LEO transportation to the private sector. There is disagreement on how and at what pace. And there are concerns that the Obama approach is not, strictly speaking, commercial as it relies on heavy government subsidies and the government as sole customer.

Critics of Obamaspace are absolutely appalled at the abandonment of space exploration as a goal for NASA, vague promises of asteroids and Mars some time in the distant future notwithstanding. We were astonished and insulted at the President's ignorant and arrogant dismissal of the Moon as an initial destination.

The Bolden gets positively Nixonian in his blaming of the media.
For my friends in the media � and I think you all know that I mean that in all sincerity � our NASA team cannot be successful in telling our incredible story without your cooperation and assistance. I will always attempt to be responsive to your requests for access, within reason. But you are not a friend of the space program when you misrepresent the statements or actions of our dedicated, loyal workforce for the sake of a headline-winning story. Again, please don�t take this as an attempt to blame the messenger for NASA�s problems. That is not the case nor my intent.

Yeah, right. Mr. Bolden should recognize that we in the media do not work for him or for NASA. Some of us, myself in particular, are enthusiastic supporters of space exploration and of commercial space. Speaking for myself, that is one reason my analysis of Obamaspace has been harsh. It just does not do as advertised. I suspect Charlie Bolden knows it, simply because the strain of having to defend the indefensible is starting to tell. It may be time for him to resign in order to keep his soul and the last shreds of his integrity intact.

Addendum. Bolden's question and answer session was even more bizarre than the speech. Two points stick out.
“Ares I…and some of you have not gotten the word, Ares I competes with commercial entities. Understand where we are. Ares I is an incredible rocket; an incredible rocket. But Ares I is a NASA-developed rocket and it competes with commercial entities and ever since the space act of 1988…it has said NASA will promote to the greatest extent possible the development of commercial space enterprise. Now you can argue with me all day long, I am not going to purposely promote something that is going to keep commercial entities from being competitive on the international market."

The problem is that the Constellation plan was that if commercial solutions arose to address the Earth to LEO market, the Ares 1/Orion system would have been taken out of the ISS servicing operation and would have dedicated solely for Moon and beyond. Bolden is either being deceptive or he is confused.

Then there is this.
“If we are not talking to each other and arguing about what the best way forward is then we are missing the boat. This is pre-decisional time and we need to be debating. But, but – an important ‘but,’ OK, …Our heritage says once the pre-decisional discussion has been conducted …once we have been herded to a vote and said this is the way we are going forward, that’s not arbitrary. That’s a decision and that’s the way we are going forward. And I sit with the president and I argue with the president because he allows people to argue with him. He asks for dissent. That’s why I love him because he asks for dissent. But when he says, ‘OK, I got it. Let me think about it.’ And he comes back and he says, ‘OK, here’s the direction we’re going.’ Guess what? He’s my boss. And I’m going in the direction he says to go. Because I am PFC Bennatz and I have walked the point and I have given him the benefit of my best wisdom and he has weighed what I say with what the Defense Dept. says, and what the intelligence organizations say with what the Secretary of State says. There are a lot people other than NASA …"

The problem here is that the decision to cancel Constellation and commercialize Earth to LEO transportation was conducted in secret, with zero input from the outside, especially the Congress, as well as other stakeholders. To say that the decision has been made and now we must move forward with no more debate is high handed at best, absolutely dictatorial at worse.

Retired astronauts probably deserve these enhanced health benefits but Charles Bolden may not be the best person to push for it because of the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Also, George Whitesides is a man overboard.
Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' the Afghanistan Version (Video)
Gulf Coast Oil Spill as Seen from Space Via a NASA Satellite (Video)
Wesley Huntress claims credit for being the inspiration for Obamaspace. Considering the trainwreck that has become, he might want to rethink that.
California's Congress Made Drought
Iran Named to UN Commission on the Status of Women
Iran has been given a seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a body "dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women." This happened without even a word of opposition from the United States or any other member state.
'Bones' Season 5 Episode 19 'The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle'
In 'Bones' Season 5 Episode 19 'The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle' the latest remains of a murder victim was found in an industrial washer at a hotel, much to the consternation of the staff. It was actually quite a clever place the stuff the corpse.
Scott Spenser, a Democratic candidate for Congress, has drafted Chris Kraft to develop an alternate space plan. In essence it consist of the following:

Extend the space shuttle program.
Go back to the Moon by 2020.

Mind, while I like the second part, the first part is not something I would support.

Also the new plan would require money. Mind, several trillion could be freed up by repealing health care reform. Just a thought...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It looks like Joel Surnow's (24) controversial Kennedys mini series has gotten an A List Cast.
Mr. Kinnear will play the role of President John F. Kennedy. Barry Pepper stars as Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Ms. Holmes will play First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Tom Wilkinson will portray Ambassador Joe Kennedy, Sr. The miniseries will premiere on HISTORY in 2011.
Brian Micklethwait attempts to reconcile reconcile Obama's socialism with the commercial space initiative in his space plan. I think Brian misses one salient fact that libertarian supporters of Obamaspace overlook. The commercial space initiative is not, strictly speaking, commercial. While it does provide a government market for commercial launch companies in the resupply and crew exchange for ISS, there is nothing there that encourages the creation of private markets for commercial space. Brian is right that Obama is not interested in space exploration and wants it curtailed, though. That will be the exact effect should Obamaspace become official policy. There will be no commercial space industry that is not dependent on and controlled by the government, more like Chinese style crony capitalism than the free market dreams of space libertarians.
Magnetic Refuge Found on Moon
Obama - 'I Do Think at a Certain Point You've Made Enough Money'
Gordon Brown and the 'Bigoted Woman'
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 7 'Crippled Summer'
After the whole hoopla about Muhammad in the previous episodes, 'South Park' Season 14 Episode 7 'Crippled Summer' was somewhat tamer. The themes involved developmentally disabled children and a drug addicted towel.
Cape Wind Project Approved by Obama Interior Department
The years long plans by the Cape Wind Project to build an offshore wind power farm in Nantucket Sound passed an important regulatory hurtle when President Obama's Interior Department gave final approval.
Riot Police Called Out to Confront Elderly Tea Party Protesters

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Obama administration seems to be following a strategy, as exemplified by Lori Garver, that if one says something often enough that is demonstrably false, i.e. that the Obama space plan is "visionary", that somehow it will become true.
The Obama Space Plan for NASA
What is Wrong with it and How to Fix It

President Barack Obama's space policy has more twists and turns than a carnival thrill ride, whip sawing from one extreme to another without much of a coherent rationale beyond political whim. As of this writing, third version (fifth if one counts the space policies put out during the last Presidential campaign) was rolled out on April 15th, 2010, to less than universal acclaim.
Three Tales of Space Travel that Would Make Great Movies
Three of the books I should like to see made into features films are stories about space travel. Two of the books, 'My Dream of Stars' and 'Rocket Man', are about real people. The Third, 'Children of Apollo', is fiction.
Boycott Arizona Iced Tea, Demand Opponents of Immigration Law
Opponents of the tough new anti illegal immigration law in Arizona are casting about for ways to punish Arizona for its temerity. Naturally a boycott of Arizona products has been proposed, one of them being Arizona Iced Tea.
Looks like the Congress has the upper hand in the fight against Obamaspace.
Charles Bolden comes to Houston to defend the Obama space plan for NASA
Charlie Bolden is a little too eager to cooperate with the Chinese in space than is viable or desirable. Still, wouldn't be ironic if the first American back to the Moon road there in a Chinese spacecraft?
Water ice on an asteroid. It's in the main belt and not an Earth approacher, though.
'Justified' Season 1 Episode 7 'Blind Spot'
Justified' Season 1 Episode 7 'Blind Spot' begins with Ava at the local hardware store looking for some tape. What she got instead was one of the Crowder boys looking to put a scare in her because of her 38 caliber divorce.
Deadliest Warrior: Attila the Hun vs. Alexander the Great
Deadliest Warrior: Attila the Hun vs. Alexander the Great pits against one another two of history's greatest conquerors, who were also lean, mean fighting machines in their own right, leading their armies from the front.
Gwynne Dyer says Space: America Concedes the Lead
Obama insists that this sacrifice will allow the U.S. to pursue a more ambitious goal, but his plan to send Americans to Mars by the late 2030s has the distinct political advantage of not needing really heavy investment while he is still in office ― even if he wins a second term.

The ``Constellation'' program that he scrapped had two goals. One was to replace the ageing Shuttle fleet for delivering people and cargo to near-Earth orbits. The other was to give the U.S. the big rockets it would need to meet George W. Bush's target of establishing a permanent American base on the Moon by 2020 where rockets would be assembled to explore the Solar System.

That program's timetable was slipping and would undoubtedly have slipped further, as such programs often do. It would have ended up costing a lot: $108 billion by 2020, as much as the Pentagon spends in three months, with the possibility that it would have ended up costing one or two more months' worth of the defense budget.

But it would have kept the United States in the game. Obama's plan only pretends to.
An oped under Charlie Bolden's byline tries to defend Obamaspace with the usual talking points. There is this one little tidbit.
How did we get here? Six years ago, all of us were excited when President George W. Bush committed NASA to traveling again beyond low-Earth orbit. Unfortunately, the necessary funding increases never came. On its current path, Constellation would not get astronauts back to the International Space Station on U.S. rockets until two years after the station's scheduled retirement in 2015. And Constellation won't get us beyond low-Earth orbit in any reasonable time or enable us to land on the moon again. Sticking with Constellation also would continue to put at risk funding for other critical national priorities, such as science, aeronautics, technology development and education.

Before I ever was approached about becoming the NASA administrator, it was obvious to me we had serious problems in balancing our priorities. It was equally obvious it would take courageous action on the part of the president and NASA leadership to realize our dream of sending people beyond low-Earth orbit.

Of course Obamaspace would not get us back to the Moon--ever. Also this business about "funding for other critical national priorities" suggests that the real reason for cancelling Constellation is that it is being used as a cash cow to fund programs within NASA that the Obama administration finds more important than space exploration. Obama could have funded both; it is not as if he is shy about spending money on other areas. But he is not that interested in exploring space.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jon Stewart flunks the Spartacus Test
'Noah's Ark' Found by Noah's Ark Ministries International
A 15-person expedition calling themselves the Noah's Ark Ministries International claims to have found the remains of a wooden structure on Mount Ararat in Turkey that the group suggests is the actual Noah's Ark.
Rocket Racing League X Racer Flies at Tulsa Air Show (Video)
Ed Hudgins doesn't get it about Obamaspace.
The Huntsville Chamber of Commerce goes forth to Washington to save Constellation. More here.
Dan Brunell is the latest to write disdainfully about Obamaspace.
John Hare publishes a rather optimistic scenario for the private opening up on the high frontier of space. It is very easy to do this sort of thing when one does not have to raise money in the capital markets, come up with a sensible business plan, overcome the technical challenges, and navigate the Byzantine maze of regulations and laws of not just one but several countries.
'House' Season 6 Episode 18 'Open and Shut'
'House' Season 6 Episode 18 'Open and Shut' starts with our patient to be cheating on her husband with some hunky guy with a pony tail (how 90s!) Only she's not actually cheating, because hubby knows and approves.
Bin Laden has apparently no clue about what was going to befall him after 9/11. President Clinton's somewhat weak responses to previous terrorist attacks had taught the Al Qaeda leader to despise the United States. There was one problem. By 9/11 Clinton was no longer President; George W. Bush was President. That made all the difference in the world.
Obama Greets the New York Yankees at the White House

Monday, April 26, 2010

Simon Ramo inveighs against human space exploration in a strange article that makes dubious statements as if they were facts. Such as this, "It appears increasingly doubtful that an astronaut could accomplish something useful on Mars not already being done by robots at far less cost and with little danger to humans."

I was particularly irked by the statement by Gentry Lee. Someone the shade of his former coauthor, Arthur C. Clarke, is not pleased.
Rob Coppinger reports on some of the difficulties about reporting on Constellation, which is still an ongoing program and, despite President Obama's efforts to kill it, seems ready to survive in some form.

One interesting little tidbit, it seems that Altair was not canceled after all, rantings by the Internet Rocketeer Club notwithstanding. The project has been folded into the lunar surface systems project. Let that be a lesson to all. Doubt everything you read on the Internet. (Even here.)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers protest Obama space plan for NASA
'Boobquake' Tests Iranian Immodest Woman/Earthquake Connection Theory
Recently an Iranian mullah claimed that earthquakes were caused by women dressing immodestly. A Purdue University student named Jennifer McCreight decided to test that theory by declaring April 26th "Boobquake."
'Anywhere: How Global Connectivity is Revolutionizing the Way We Do Business' by Emily Nagle Green
Anywhere: How Global Connectivity is Revolutionizing the Way We Do Business' by Emily Nagle Green suggests that the proliferation of wireless communications is changing the way business is done in ways that just beginning to be understandable.

Tayler Dinerman looks at Yet another episode in America’s RLV soap opera.
G. Ryan Faith continues his analysis of Obamaspace in President Obama’s Vision for Space Exploration (part 2) and touches on two glaring flaws in the plan we have commented on before.

First the exploration flaw:
Although President Obama has initially dismissed a return to the Moon as an immediate goal, the inevitable reconsideration of destinations during the 2015 decision on a heavy-lift capability, as well as the clear need to demonstrate extended surface operations and in situ resource utilization capabilities before going to Mars, mean that a lunar landing mission will almost certainly creep back into NASA planning long before any 2035 landing on Mars. So, over the long term, President Obama’s space policy promotes pursuing the Flexible Path architecture first, followed by the implicit pursuit of a lunar presence before going onward to Mars.

Of course if your idea is to learn how to live in space, a Moon first approach still makes the most sense. And the Moon has its own virtues as the next destination.

Then the commercial space flaw:
For commercial crew transportation to be a strong and resilient element of the US civil space exploration, it will be important for the commercial providers themselves to diversify their income streams to move beyond reliance on NASA contracts alone. One obvious route would be for the United States to meet its crew transportation obligations to the international partners by purchasing seats on a commercial launch system. But for commercial transportation to further strengthen its political position, commercial providers must stimulate demand for transportation to LEO destinations other than the ISS.

Of course there is reason for doubt that the Obama administration really wants that to happen. A commercial space industry services a variety of private markets would be less prone to government control.
Obama Excludes White, Asian Men of a Certain Age in Election Appeal (Video)
'The Pacific" Episode 7 'Peleliu Hills'
At a point somewhere in 'The Pacific" Episode 7 'Peleliu Hills', John Basilone is the guest of honor at an American Legion meeting, hearing himself praised as the greatest hero since Horatius held the bridge against the Tuscans.
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 3
In 'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 3, Her Majesty Queen Katherine is behaving as if she doesn't want to live much longer. How else to explain her reckless trysts with Thomas Culpepper right under the nose of King Henry VIII?
George W. Bush, in his own words...

Obama's National Security Advisor Tells a Jewish Joke (Video)
Hal G.P. Colebatch is the latest to inveigh against Obamaspace.
Like so many of Obama's speeches, it sounds good at first, with something in it for everyone. Except that at a second look, there doesn't seem to be anything in it for anyone, least of all the space-program. It sounds less like a program for exploring space than for putting off space exploration as jam tomorrow and, literally, pie in the sky. It also seems to fit uncomfortably well with to use old-fashioned language, a turning away from the concept to manifest destiny, which surfaces in Obama's thoughts and actions at times.

Most damning, for all of those Obama Zombies in Space who have sipped freely of the Obamaspace koolaid, a quote from Jerry De Groot, a virulent foe of all things space, who likes Obama's strategy.
The president, however, hasn't the guts to pull the plug on the manned program. Therefore, he has decided to fudge. Nasa will be given an additional $6 billion over the next five years to develop the technologies to take human beings to the Moon and beyond. Since a mission to Mars is conservatively costed at $500 billion, the money will pay for a few blueprints.

Obama's new version of the fudge can be easily explained. While most Americans have grown contemptuous of funding space spectaculars [Oh, really?], the voters of Florida remain enthusiastic, for obvious reasons. Those who work in the space industry might talk passionately of man's need to explore, but what they really want is a wage packet. And, as recent elections have clearly demonstrated, no president can afford to annoy the Floridians. I suspect the fudge will continue long after Obama retires. Landing on Mars will always be an event scheduled to occur 20 years from tomorrow.

Of course De Groot is wrong on two points. Most Americans are no where near contemptuous about space spending (quite the opposite.) And a Mars mission would cost no where near a half as trillion. But like a lot of people, De Groot will not let facts get in the way.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NASA Lunar Mission Concept Using Side Mounted Shuttle Derived Heavy Lift Vehicles
Stephen Hawking - 'Don't Talk to Aliens'
Stephen Hawking, who has a documentary starting on Sunday, April 25th on the Discovery Channel, called 'Stephen Hawking's Universe', has a bit of advice if one comes across an intelligent alien.
NASA's Robonaut to the Moon
It looks like Senator James Inhofe is not a fan of Obamaspace either. He also has a warning:
“I often say to people that we’re going to change the House and the Senate in November, and a lot of these things that he’s done we can undo, and I plan to do that.”

I think that is already happening.
'Eclipse' to Bring More Vampires, Werewolves, and Teenage Angst to the Big Screen (Video)
Bill Maher, who has made a career out of pushing the frontiers of obnoxiousness, joins the Internet Rocketeer Club as only he can.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

We had the privilege this morning to meet Anousheh Ansari at a signing of her book, ‘My Dream of Stars.’ She is the second space traveler I have spoken with (the first was artist/Moonwalker Alan Bean.) I am a third of the way through her memoirs and, in one word, impressive. Much more anon.
'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 14 'Human'
In 'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 14 'Human' Dr. Rush seems to be at home, awakening in bed with a women, presumably Ms. Rush, and having to rush off (ahem) to the university without his morning tea?
Obamaspace is Dead? Long Live Constellation?
Is the Obama Space plan starting to morph into something more akin to the old Constellation program inside the Congressional sausage making machine? A couple of recent stories seem to suggest that Obamaspace may be withering on the vine.
Arizona Passes Tough Anti Illegal Immigration Law
Despite opposition from the Obama administration, the Mexican government, and local Hispanic groups, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has signed into law one of the toughest anti illegal immigration bills in the country.
William Shatner and Lin Yu Chun Do 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'

Friday, April 23, 2010

The revolt against Obamaspace seems to have spread to NASA itself. What is happening may be in defiance of the White House, but it is consistent with established law and Congressional intent.

Addendum: Rand Simberg is yelling mutiny. If that were so, then Charlie Bolden should fire everyone involved immediately. I suspect that he won't because it is not mutiny to follow the law.

Addendum 2: More on the continued resistance against Obamaspace in the Congress, with this little gem:
According to government and industry officials involved in the effort, the notional program starting to take shape entails building and testing progressively more advanced Ares and Orion prototypes en route to the first crewed test flights around 2015 and a circumlunar mission around 2018, to be followed by longer duration jaunts beyond low Earth orbit.

Obama, in his April 15 speech, charted a similarly gradual approach for venturing beyond Earth orbit and setting a course for an asteroid in 2025. While Obama implied that Orion could play a part in technology-demonstration flights that would precede such a mission — he called Orion “part of the technological foundation for advanced spacecraft to be used in future deep space missions” — the president gave no such indication that Ares might still have a future.

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 8 by orbiting the Moon certainly has some promise. The trick is to restart a lander program so that we can get to the lunar surface the following year for the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11.
Jon Stewart of 'The Daily Show' Defends the South Park Guys (Video)
Mickey Rourke as Genghis Khan? Of course it will be directed by John Milius.
Obama - Value Added Tax 'A Novel Idea' (Video)
South Park Guys Talk About Muhammad in South Park
Sarah Palin Testifies in Hacking Trial (Video)
SEC Officials Caught Surfing for Internet Porn
While the American economy teetered on the brink of collapse, the watchdogs at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged with overseeing the country's financial industry were occupying themselves by watching Internet porn.
Pennsylvania Politician Outs Primary Opponent--As Straight (Video)
'Bones' Season 5 Episode 18 'The Predator in the Pool'
In 'Bones' Season 5 Episode 18 'The Predator in the Pool' partial skeleton is found in the body of a hammerhead shark. The folks at the Jeffersonian note bite marks from fish that do not coexist in the wild, but do coexist in an aquarium.
Is the full Orion crew exploration vehicle programme back on?

Things seem to be edging back to something resembling Constellation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

US Air Force Launches X-37B Space Plane
'Shrek Forever After' Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You (Video)
Senate Budget Committee to Hike Taxes on Middle Class
The budget plan being crafted by Congressional Democrats will result in massive tax increases for as many as 33 million middle class Americans. This is going to be accomplished through the Alternate Minimal Tax (AMT).
Public Sector Unions in Illinois Demand Tax Increases
It looks like Charles Bolden found out that the Senate is still not sold on Obamaspace. Barbara Mikulski is dubious. Richard Shelby is still furious.

Addendum: Barbara Mikulski: U.S. cannot afford new NASA 'every four years'
The Sausage Making in the Congress over space policy begins, thanks to Bill Nelson. This is what happens when one throws a hand grenade and blows up the previous space policy without having a sound one to replace it.

Addendum: Rand Simberg thinks Bill Nelson is a fool. While that may be so, this is not evidence of it. If you concede, as President Obama does, that heavy lift is necessary, then it is better to set about getting it sooner rather than later. That the idea benefits the folks in Florida is a happy side effect.
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 6 '201'
The Prophet of God Whose Name Cannot Be Mentioned Thanks to Comedy Central Censorship

In 'South Park' Season 14 Episode 6 '201' things are certainly in a pickle in the tiny, sleepy hamlet of South Park. Between hordes of rioting gingers, a mechanized Streisand monster, and the threat of Islamic terror, things are, in fact, grim.

Addendum: Comedy Central is run by terrified cowards
Bisexual Men Not 'Gay Enough' to Play 'Gay Softball'
Three bisexual men are suing the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance for discrimination. Apparently the bisexual men, Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ were barred from playing in the 2008 Gay Softball World Series.
Solar Dynamics Observatory Returns Stunning Pictures of the Sun (Video)
Rob Coppinger drops the hammer on the exploration part of Obamaspace. It seems that a single asteroid mission is just as challenging, in its own way, as the lunar exploration program envisioned by Constellation. What is more, it will need all of the capabilities of Constellation.

This is what happens when one does not think things through. Of course, I do not think Obama was serious about the asteroid mission for even a moment.

Addendum: Jim Oberg Responds:
Mark, whether Obama's fancy words are adequate foundation
for the strategy, or not, is an entirely other topic, which I plan
to address anon. But the new strategy itself is a well thought out
plan, because Obama (and Garver) were not involved with it
until the very end. See my description here.

The President's flippant dismissal of the Moon ("Been there, done that")
notwithstanding, a serious case of a vastly expanded teleoperated and
eventually human presence there does exist. The challenge is to convert
crew access to lunar orbit (a step on the 'new' plan) into access to
the surface -- and in particular, some very hostile regions of the
surface, especially in terms of operating temperature and comm
access [the south polar regions where the water is]. When NASA planners
cling to the standard answer (a big 'hammer') of rockets, they see all problems
as nails, but I'm unconvinced that would be the transportation technology of
choice when the time comes to really lay mass down onto moondirt (and get
it back up again).

I rather hope Obamaspace can be fixed in the way Jim suggests. It may not happen until the next President, though.
The Hubble Space Telescope - 20 Years on (Video)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are Lunar Polar Craters Electrified?
Tea Party Crasher Gets Help - from the Tea Party
Recently an Oregon Middle School teacher named Jason Levin created
a website called "Crash the Tea Party" in which he urged people to infiltrate Tea Party protests and act extreme to make it appear that Tea Partiers themselves were extreme.
Space taxis: not all that hard says Jim Oberg.
The Tale of the Lost Apple 4GS IPhone
It looks like the robots uber alles crowd likes Obamaspace because it does, in essence, ends human space exploration. Remember that when one of the Obama Zombies in Space tries to tell you otherwise.
Rand Simberg repeats the canard that Obamaspace is somehow "conservative" because it calls for commercial space transportation to ISS. Obamaspace is many things, but the state capitalism aspect of it is not conservative. Obamaspace does nothing to encourage private markets for commercial space. Also, Obama's lack of a coherent space exploration program is a stench the the nostrils of any conservative that cares about American exceptionalism, Rand's sneering about the "Apollo Cargo Cult" notwithstanding.
A KSC worker give his impression of the rollout of Obamaspace 3.0. He or she is not happy.
Obama is a liar. Pure and simple. I know some of you are offended to hear him called a liar, but he is. He is also a coward for not facing the people whose hopes and dreams for our Human Space Flight Program are being destroyed by this man and his accomplices in Congress and NASA.

There is no new Human Space Flight Program. There is just a poorly written Powerpoint, lacking in specifics or even a name, posted on Obama’s teleprompter. No ship, no hardware, no employees, nothing but crap.

There is no destination, no idea what NASA is really going to do with Human Space Flight besides just give it up. Even his promise of jobs is a lie. He will throw some money towards KSC to hire a few folks to slap on a few new coats of paint on the buildings, and after the 2012 election, lay them all off and close KSC pretty much for good and our entire Human Space Flight Program.
Deadliest Warrior: Back for Blood
Deadliest Warrior: Back for Blood took two pairs of the deadliest warriors from Season 1 and pitted them against one another. For best ancient deadliest warrior, the Spartan fought the Samurai. For best modern warrior, IRA vs. Spetsnaz.
Deadiest Warrior: SWAT vs. GSG-9
Deadliest Warrior: SWAT vs. GSG-9 pitted two of the most well equipped, highly trained law enforcement paramilitary organizations in the world. Both SWAT and the German GSG-9 were born out of bloody tragedies.
'Justified' Season 1 Episode 6 'The Collection'
'Justified' Season 1 Episode 6 'The Collection' has Raylan Givens visiting his old friend Boyd in prison. Boyd, a criminal with multiple felonies to his name, has the effrontery of the newly converted to admonish Raylan on the state of his soul.
'Lost' Season 6 Episode 13 'The Last Recruit'
'Lost' Season 6 Episode 13 'The Last Recruit' starts with the merging of the Jack and Locke Monster camps in the Island Remains Universe, The Locke Monster and Jack have a private chat, which is not reassuring to Jack.
Americans for Prosperity Entry into EPA 'Regulation is Good' Video Contest
Ridley Scott's Robin Hood Starring Russell Crowe Coming Soon
Iron Man 2 Coming Soon
'The Expendables' Coming Soon

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Moira Gunn looks at Obamaspace 3.0 and yawns. I like this, though:
Former President Kennedy's 1961 speech has been thrown around with great abandon in recent days, but his words can still lead us: "I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment."

So, listen up. Develop a sense of urgency and a respect for the benefits we gain from going to space ... without knowing what those benefits will be. Even if he knew precisely what was going to happen, how far would JFK have gotten had he described to Congress a world of cell phones and laptops, YouTube and Google, wireless and texting - for the seeds of all that technology trace directly back to the communications tech required for the Apollo program.

Demanding usefulness as a precondition for any NASA budget is wrong-headed thinking; demanding cutting edge innovation, paradigm-shifting scientific, breakthrough technologies - that's the ticket! What will result will no doubt amaze and astound.

Let's invest three-weeks-in-Iraq every year for the next 50 in NASA -- the world as we know it will become a very tiny place in a very big universe.
Media Ejected from Lafayette Park Don't Ask Don't Tell Protest (Video)
Obama Heckled by Gay Marriage Advocates at Barbara Boxer Fund Raiser (Video)
NASA Satellite Image of Iceland Volcano Ash Plume (Video)
FDA to Regulate, Limit Salt in Processed Food
Always eager to save American consumers from themselves, the Food and Drug Administration has decided that it will regulate the amount of salt that is used in processed foods. The idea is to prevent deaths from hypertension and heart disease.
South Park Guys Threatened with Death by Muslim Fanatics
Last week the South Park episode ridiculed self important celebrities, group identity politics and those who practice them, people who threaten to kill other people for depicting the Prophet Mohammed, and people who cower in fear of those other people.
James Dean vs. Ronald Reagan

Addendum: More on (Video) Ronald Reagan Vs. James Dean from the General Electric Theater 1954
European Union: Vacations a 'Human Right'
The European Union has declared that ability to take a vacation a human right. And, since in a European welfare super state every human right has to be financed by the government, the EU to putting forward a scheme to subsidize vacations for the poor.
The Return of Dan Quayle?
Apollo 16, commanded by the incomparable John Young, landed on the Moon this day (Houston time) in 1972. On a personal note, I saw Young speak in the early '90s, being quite enthusiastic for going to Mars. Part of the impression was that he looked hale, hearty, and willing to lead such an expedition...
'House' Season 6 Episode 17 'Knight Fall'
'House' Season 6 Episode 17 'Knight Fall' begins at what appears to be a Renaissance Festival where everybody is dressed up and is watching a tournament. Sir William, the Queen's Champion, is about to fight the Black Knight.
Iran to Acquire ICBMs as Well as Nuclear Weapons
What do you get when you have a nuclear weapon, an ICBM, a fanatical regime that regards death as a promotion, and a feckless administration that thinks said regime can be appeased in some fashion?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bob Zubrin hammers Obamaspace 3.0 and makes a number of good points.
I really didn't need the Sucker Punch Squad to tell me that Furry Vengeance is unmittigated eco fascist dreck. The trailer tells all.
Earthquakes Caused by Loose Woman and Wild Sex - Iranian Ayatollah
The Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi related to a group of worshipers in Tehran, Iran what actually causes earthquakes. The cause is not, as one would have suspected having been deceived by infidel science, the movement of tectonic plates.
Anousheh Ansari, Iranian American entrepreneur and space traveler, to speak and sign books in Houston
Joe Klein: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck 'Close to Sedition'
Joe Klein, a pundit employed by Time Magazine was on a panel on MSNBC recently in which he accused former Gov. Sarah Palin and FOX News and radio personality Glenn Beck of "potentially committing sedition."
Jeff Foust analyzes the President's space speech in Hitting the reset button and seems surprised that it was not met with instant acclaim.
Few would have expected that a single speech would instantly eliminate the opposition to the plan in the halls of Congress or elsewhere. Some, though, hoped that it would at least give opponents of the original plan a reason to rethink their stance. “He will cause the country and, more importantly, the political establishment, to take a deep breath,” predicted Robert Walker, former chairman of the House Science Committee, in comments immediately after a telecast of the speech at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

Those opposed to the original plan, though, seemed to use that deep breath to wind up another round of criticism of the plan.

The reason, just to clue everyone in, is that the speech did not allay any of the flaws in Obamaspace, but rather prettied it up a little in an effort to buy people off.

G. Ryan Faith starts a two part analysis of President Obama’s Vision for Space Exploration He sees some danger in the going all in for commercial space:
For many of the smaller, newer companies, such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation, who are interested in commercial opportunities, this could be an excellent opportunity to shine and demonstrate their entrepreneurial prowess. However, being the only answer to the impending Russian monopoly on flight to the ISS could also tempt these companies to succumb to schedule pressures and push forward before systems are fully mature, producing devastating front-page disasters. If, ultimately, the capabilities of NASA or major prime contractors, such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are needed to provide the ability to launch crews to the ISS, work on the Orion-lite capsule could help offset some of the development costs of upgrading the Orion to send crew to orbit.

In other words, we might need Orion as an Earth to LEO vehicle anyway if SpaceX et al don't deliver.

An interesting couple of points on heavy lift:
In the long term, regardless of whether or not on-orbit refueling can be developed to a reasonable maturity level by 2015 decision, any human mission to Mars that involves more than “footprints and flag planting” will likely require both heavy-lift launch and on-orbit refueling capabilities.

One of the other interesting implications of the choice to delay any decision on a heavy-lift vehicle until 2015, is that it provides another opportunity to revisit many significant architecture decisions including destinations and international cooperation.

Mind a kerosene, LOX engine makes in space fueling depots a little more difficult if one proposes to manufacture rocket fuel in space, such as from lunar water.

Meanwhile S. Alan Stern says Human spaceflight: diversify the portfolio

Stern suggests a radical idea for human space exploration.
To be more specific, we need a suite of lean human space exploration system development efforts, each perhaps fielded by different NASA centers, in analogy to how we implement robotic spaceflight. These new human exploration efforts should be aimed at putting in place simultaneous lunar and asteroid exploration, high earth orbit and Lagrange point servicing, and perhaps the first forays to the planets.

A wonderful idea, but Stern's scheme relies on reducing the cost of deep space travel by orders of magnitude even before the first astronauts depart for those places. I'm not sure how that happens.
'The Pacific' Episode 6 'Peleliu Airfield'
After a brief interlude at the home of Eugene Sledge's parents in Mobile, Ala., 'The Pacific' Episode 6 'Peleliu Airfield' takes us back to the fetid Pacific island of Peleliu and a group of very unhappy Marines indeed.
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 2
Life at the court of Kind Henry VII seems like such a grand thing, in 'The Tudors' Season 4, Episode 2. There is dancing and merriment and ladies wearing pretty clothes. The King loves Queen Catherine and she him, as often as they can.
David Livingston and I had a nice chat about things space.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Return to the Moon first.
Harrison Schmitt is the latest Apollo hero to give Obamaspace 3.0 the back of his hand.
So now Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh are close to sedition. Words fail.
Some folks think that Obama is getting a bad rap for his "super power" comment. Sarah Palin is not among them.
Apparently some Muslin fanatics want the South Park guys dead. Thus proving their point.
'The Pasta Bible' Recipe Calls for 'Salt and Freshly Ground Black People.'
In order to correct a typo, an Australian cook book is being recalled and reprinted. The typo, in the cook book entitled "The Pasta Bible", was in a recipe for spelt tagliatelle which called for sardines, prosciutto, with "salt and freshly ground black people."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The mysterious disappearance and reappearance of the Orion capsule mock up.
Texas Governor Perry - Obama slights Texas by ignoring Houston's Johnson Space Center
Bill Clinton Links Tea Parties with Terrorism
Former President Bill Clinton, speaking at the Center for American Progress, expounded on the relation between rhetoric and terrorism. Oddly enough Clinton was not talking about—say—a Mullah calling for jihad, inspiring suicide bombers.
'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 13 'Faith'
'Stargate Universe' Season 1 Episode 13 'Faith' begins with the crew of the Destiny still reeling from the effects of the mutiny and the alien attacks. Then things get really complicated when Destiny suddenly and unexpectedly pops out of FTL.
'Kick Ass' or Why Being a Super Hero is Hazardous to Ones Health
'Kick Ass', a film that is a strange mélange of a teenage coming of age flick and a Quentin Tarantino gorefest tries to answer the question put by Dave, one of
the main characters, "Why hasn't anyone tried to be a super hero?"
The incomparable Jim Oberg points to a number of publications by his wife Cooky on Houston area gardening.
Investors Business Daily, whom I suspect Jon Goff and the rest of the Obama Zombies in Space will dismiss as a group of paranoid kooks, calls Obamaspace 3.0 the space ruse.
These are the voyages of the starship Obama, going nowhere in particular.

Jon Goff, mentioning Your Humble Corespondent by name, attempts to put a pretty face on Obamaspace. In so doing he commits error in several respects.

Jon talks about China:
Has barely started flying its first manned spacecraft in the past five years:

Jon is off a little bit. The first manned flight of the Shenzhou is seven years ago this October.
Flies only occasionally, with some years having no flights

True, but not relevant. Each manned Shenzhou flight has build successfully on the other. There have been three so far, building up Chinese human space flight capability from a one manned orbital mission of Shenzhou 5 to three men and a space walk for Shenzhou 7. The next Shenzhou will prove rendezvous and docking in preparation for a space station and possible lunar missions.

Then Jon moves on to Russia:
But can’t afford to fly that vehicle very much except when NASA is footing the bill

Which NASA must do for at least the next five years if Americans are to have astronauts on the ISS.

And the USA:
Will be funding multiple commercial launch providers, creating an actual manned spaceflight industry

Now here we have a problem about what exactly the word "commercial" means. Is something "commercial" if the government is the sole customer and the government heavily subsidizes it? And what happens if SpaceX et al runs into problems and they are delayed a few years? It has happened before. In any event, the administration is doing nothing to encourage private markets.
May see commercial orbital stations in the near future developed by domestic entrepreneurs like Bigelow

Notice the use of the word "may". Bigelow's plan is one of the few hopes for companies like SpaceX to develop meaningful, private markets. If Bigelow fails, 2020 may roll around with the only customer for SpaceX and company going away along with ISS.
# Is investing in technologies and infrastructure like propellant depots that can greatly simplify BEO exploration and even commercial BEO transportation

The R&D program is directionless and without an overarching justification. At least Jon did not boast of the latest version of Obamaspace, an asteroid by 2025 with Deep Space Apollo.

While Jon's litany has a lot of dubious, forward looking statements for the US, he fails to touch upon the potential for China, Russia, and even India to surge ahead in deep space exploration in the coming decades while America dithers. One should doubt the less than a handful of deep space voyages that Obama proposes in any case. They will take place during the terms, if they take place at all, of Obama's successor's successors. Meanwhile, the abandonment of the Moon, just because Obama's favorite astronaut Buzz Aldrin has already been there, leaves the door open for America to be surpassed and thus loosing the future.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tom Jones (the astronaut, author, and Fox contributor, not the singer) is the latest to blast Obamaspace 3.0.
Scott Pace responds to Obamaspace 3.0.
Obama was just compared to Longshanks in 'Braveheart' on Rush. Obama, "The problem with America is that it is full of Americans."
Obama Tied with Five Republicans in 2012 Match Up
Public Policy Polling has some bitter news for President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Their latest 2012 match up has four prominent Republicans within the margin of error against President Obama.
Paul Spudis gives Barack Obama the back of his hand for abandoning the Moon. A must read for anyone who doubts that the Moon is the gateway to the rest of the Solar System.
Congressional roundup: the song (mostly) remains the same on Obamaspace 3.0.
3-D Printing Device Could Build Moon Base from Lunar Dust
Obama Rolls Out Latest Version of NASA Space Plan
President Obama Outlines His Plan at Kennedy Space Center from SpaceRef on Vimeo. President Barack Obama stopped by the Kennedy Space Center on his way to a fund raising party at Gloria Estefan's house to announce the latest version of his NASA space plan. His speech was long on rhetoric and short on substance.
'Bones' Season 5 Episode 17 'Death of the Queen Bee'
At the start of 'Bones' Season 5 Episode 17 'Death of the Queen Bee', two nubile teenage girls meet in what looks like a dilapidated barn for a little sexual experimentation. But before some heavy girl on girl action occurs, they are interrupted.
Tea Party Activists Present 'Contract from America' at Tax Day Protest
Hundreds of thousands of Tea Party activists gathered at peaceful rallies at hundreds of venues across the country to mark April 15th, Tax Day, in order to protest high taxes and profligate spending by the federal government.
National Day of Prayer Ruled Unconstitutional
Federal District Judge Barbara B. Crabb, appointed to the bench in Wisconsin by President Jimmy Carter, has ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional as it violates the Constitution's restrictions of the establishment of religion.
Stephen Colbert is coming to Houston for astronaut training at the Johnson Space Flight Center
Stephen Colbert is coming to Houston to get astronaut training.
Jerry de Groot accuses Obama of :fudging" and declares NASA Delendo Est!" Roberta Costa, however, takes Obama to task for dreaming too small.
Obama’s is a stunted vision, and one that deliberately scales back the horizon for Western man, leaving the Chinese and Russians as de facto kings of the cosmos. Though the president believes that he’s smartly tossing a cumbersome program into the bin, along with its cowboy ethos, he forgets that astronauts are more than overpaid automatons of the state — they’re heroes, men whose adventures are an instrumental part of America’s own.
Jeffrey Kluger offers a devastating critique of Obamaspace 3.0.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not surprisingly both Clark Lindsey and Rand Simberg love the rollout of Obamaspace 3.0. I wonder if there is nothing the President will say that would cause them to bolt.

For example, one of the slams against Constellation was that it envisioned only two voyages to the Moon a year (at least to start.) Obamaspace 3.0 envisions three voyages of discovery over twenty years.

The bypassing of the Moon is idiotic too. We can live there and use it as a bridgehead to gain the Solar System. As it is, Obamaspace 3.0. is Deep Space Apollo, with flags and footsteps missions without the flags and, until we get to Mars sometime in the 2040s, no footsteps.
Allahpundit is against OBamasoace 3.0. because he thinks space exploration is wasteful spending. Some of the comments are a hoot, though.
Go here to find out how the "unsustainable, super expensive" Constellation program costs you personally. Just plug in your gross yearly income.
Just saw Obama's speech and was singularly unimpressed. The takeaways, aside from what is already known, are these:

The Orion escape pod will evolve into an Orion space craft.
A brand new HLV will be designed with building to start in 2015.
Shakedown missions in the "early 2020s."
Visit an asteroid in 2025.
Orbit Mars in 2035.
Land on Mars "sometime after that" but within the lifetime of Obama.
No return to the Moon. We've already been to the Moon. Why would we want to go back?

In short, the "Look But Don't Touch" flexible path crowd should be happy, though they ought not to be. Obamaspace will not involve people actually living--say--on the Moon, but rather a series of Apollo-style one shot missions. Apollo to an asteroid. Apollo to Mars orbit. Apollo to Mars.

Much more anon.
Rush Limbaugh just had a choice line about Obamaspace. He said that in Obama's mind, countries in decline (i.e. America) do not explore space. They study global warming.
'Glee' Insults Sarah Palin and Much of Its Audience
'Glee', the Fox TV show about a group of dysfunctional teenagers in a High School glee club, is the latest prime time, scripted drama to interject political commentary along with the singing, dancing, acerbic dialogue, and adolescent angst.
Houston area Democrats support Obama space plan
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 5 '200'
'South Park' Season 14 Episode 5 '200' begins with Mr. Garrison's class on a field trip to a candy factory, being shown how sweets are made. Stan notices none other than Tom Cruise packing fudge on the assembly line.
Obama: Support for Israel to Be 'Balanced Against Other Interests'
When White House sources told the New York Times that the Obama administration would, "--balance support for Israel against other American interests," it came as confirmation that President Obama regards Israel as an inconvenient country.

Barbie Goes to the Tea Party

Barbie Goes to the Tea Party
Rand Simberg takes Neil Armstrong to task for speaking his mind about something he clearly knows little about, space exploration. Rand's points have been made before, but he does ascribe to Obamaspace things that it clearly does not do.
Instead of a few government civil servants going to the moon at a couple billion taxpayer dollars per seat, the new plan, according to NASA administrator Charles Bolden, envisions hundreds or thousands of people, government and private, in orbit and beyond, with competition from private enterprise driving down the cost with increased volume of activity.

The low costs engendered by this new approach would enable us to do much more on the moon than simply follow in Neil Armstrong's footsteps. It might make it possible to actually have an affordable and sustainable lunar base, perhaps utilizing local resources, such as the water that appears to be in more abundance the more we look for it.

It could make the moon a stepping stone to the rest of the solar system, as the Bush Vision for Space Exploration envisioned in 2004, until the financially disastrous Constellation architecture crushed that possibility.

The problem is that Obamaspace does none of those things. True it has a commercial space initiative with the government (at least at first) as sole customer and with heavy government subsidies. It also has a handful ill defined, unfocused technology projects. But Obamaspace does not get anybody in any numbers back to the Moon or anywhere at any price.

Rand makes the now all too common snarky reference to Neil Armstrong's age.
We have an opportunity to return to that vision. All we have to do is finally realize that this isn't your father's space program, or Neil Armstrong's.

Sure. Armstrong's space program actually had a goal and accomplished it. Rand Simber's space program has no goal to accomplish. Blue sky blatherings about thousands of people flying in space without a clue as to what needs to occur to make that happen does not constitute a goal.
While Obama, the Congress, and the American people tussle over the future of America's space program, space is in a state of flux world wide.
Autarky is basically a condition of independence from external parties. In this context, it refers to the concept that major space agencies will seek to develop human spaceflight capabilities that remove their dependence on other major agencies.

Basically, there could be a push for America, Europe and Russia to develop spacecraft, launch systems, orbital infrastructure and launch sites that are totally owned and controlled by a single agency.

This will allow nations to launch their own missions without interference by other agencies. It will also allow them to pursue missions and overall programs that are themselves independent of other nations.

This does not mean that spaceflight will be totally stovepiped and walled off between the nations. It merely suggests that there will be moves to avoid the complex and heavily interdependent web that exists today.

The major powers should still co-operate on human spaceflight, and there's reason to believe that this will happen. Co-operation, however, is different from dependence.

The growing trend of private space ventures suggests another angle to the future of international spaceflight. Nations with smaller indigenous space capabilities will simply buy or rent commercial space infrastructure, ranging from launch systems to space stations.

The modus operandi will be similar to commercial aviation. Some nations with little aerospace industrial capacity have managed to operate some of the world's best commercial airlines. Similar trends could also appear in the space arena.

This is an interesting time to be watching the rapidly evolving developments in global spaceflight. Nobody can really be sure of where we will be in another ten years, but it will probably be far more sustainable than the space programs of today.
Feud Over NASA Threatens America's Edge in Space
Those involved in talks over the future of the U.S. space program say the most likely outcome is a compromise that may satisfy politicians but probably won't provide enough funding for either program to get off the ground quickly. "That just drags out the pain and slows everything down for a long time," said Brewster Shaw, head of Boeing Co.'s space-exploration division.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In space, no one hears you flip-flop
There is no truly free commercial market for human spaceflight to low-Earth orbit. The current supply-and-demand curves do not intersect without massive government intervention. So-called space tourism to the International Space Station existed only because the Russian Space Agency was willing to sell government capacity to wealthy elites at the margins. (The same cannot be said for suborbital space, which is experiencing truly revolutionary developments in technology and free-market economics.)

The administration claims that it is following in the footsteps of its predecessor, which created the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to work with private suppliers potentially capable of delivering cargo to the International Space Station. That program, however, was designed as an experiment in innovation and built on the foundations of an existing free market in commercial space launch, which already responds to supply-and-demand signals. Many hoped that the COTS program would evolve and grow to encompass human spaceflight if and when a commercial market emerges. Clearly, it has not yet. The increased oversight, rules and regulations that will come with turning to this kind of program as America's only means of sending people into space may well cause even this experiment to fail.

Nevertheless, the administration insists that changing contractor badges is the same as pursuing commercial policies, repeating its promise that restructuring the space program will create new jobs somewhere, somehow, someday. This is outsourcing, not commercialization, and it misses the point.
Rick Tumlinson gives a bizzare response to Neil Armstrong, misrepresenting both what Armstrong, along with Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell said in their letter, but also what Obamaspace will do.
love the astronaut corps, and want to see them exploring, not doing mundane things that the rest of society hands to commercial firms. It is time to get NASA out of driving trucks and back to exploring. I want future Neil Armstrongs to walk the sands of Mars, or float across the surface of asteroids and tell us what they find there. And then, just as we are about to do in Low Earth Orbit, once they have explored the edges, I want them to move on and let the rest of us follow, to build new places for humans to live and work, creating new wealth and new hope for future generations. After all, unlike Mr. Armstrong and his friends, I believe all Americans if given the chance, can show they too have the "Right Stuff."

I would agree with the sentiment and I suspect Armstrong would too. Indeed that was what COTS along with Constellation proposed to do. But Obamaspace cancels exploration. There are no plans to go anywhere beyond LEO in the plan.

Tumlinson is either deluded or else is being deceptive about this inconvenient truth.
Richard Shelby is not amused by Obamaspace 2.0.
"I'm a tea bagger and I'm proud!"

Paul Spudis gets to the crux of a number of things that are wrong about Obamaspace 2.0.
I’m confused. If a heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV) is not needed for future human missions beyond LEO, why are we spending billions of dollars researching aspects of it in order to make a design decision five years hence? If a heavy lift launch vehicle is needed for such missions, why are we waiting five years to make that decision when we have the parts and workforce needed to make the vehicle now?

Paul then does a pretty good job of describing the pros and cons of a heavy lift vs. an architecture that uses fuel depots. (For the record I favor starting with the former and then augmenting it with the latter.)

Then Paul goes in for the kill:
This re-invention of NASA, as trickled out by the administration, has been eagerly seized upon by many in the “New Space” community, as their long sought, free-market (but government funded – for now) opening at building a commercial rocket industry. Some of us (who also believe in free markets) see different motives for this new direction and are particularly concerned that the new “flexible path (FP)” doesn’t have any specified destination or mission.

The fundamental fecklessness of the new direction is exposed in this new OSTP document; we will build a Crew Return Vehicle for ISS that is not needed (if we can get there on the Soyuz, we can certainly return on it) and we will conduct “research” on heavy lift technologies that are already well understood.
Bigelow has a neat idea for a follow on project after his private space station. He is now looking at a private Moon base.

The problem is that he's going to need something like Constellation, or perhaps one of the Augustine alternatives, to keep the Moon base resupplied and to swap crews.

Indeed, that might be a good public/private partnership. Obamaspace surrenders the high frontier. Some people criticize Constellation for being too much like Apollo. But Constellation Plus Bigelow might just marry the muscle of NASA with the innovation of Bigelow. Set up a lunar COTS and we have a real space exploration effort and not the phony Obamaspace kind.
Poll - 46 Percent Say 'Bring Back Bush!'
Public Policy Polling has some interesting and, for some, sobering numbers. It seems that 48 percent of those polled would like to keep Barack Obama in the White House. However, 46 percent would really like to bring George W. Bush back.
They're calling NASA's Robonaut 2 the first Cylon. Hardly reassuring.
Neil Armstrong: Obamaspace a "long Downhill Slide to Mediocrity"
Three Apollo era astronauts have sent a letter to President Obama condemning his plans to cancel the Constellation space exploration program. The astronauts who signed the letter are Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, and Neil Armstrong.

Addendum: Not surprisingly, Rand Simberg snorts. I have to assume that he is joking when he proposes to call Glenn Lunney and "straighten him out."

Also, in the comments, Clark Lindsey complains how people like Neil Armstrong have more "street cred" than--say--the Obama Zombies in Space. There is a reason for that. They actually accomplished something wonderful and know something about how its done.

Meanwhile, Keith Cowing complains that the voices being heard are mostly coming from old people. Where are the opinions of the young, those who might actually travel to those distant places? Now, leaving aside the fact that under Obamaspace, no American is going to venture beyond LEO for the foreseeable future, I'm not sure that I hold much special store in the opinions of whipper snappers. The advantage of being older is that one has seen a lot and has the weight of experience to draw upon.

This is an insight I've acquired since I was in my twenties...
'Lost' Season 6 Episode 12 'Everybody Loves Hugo'
'Lost' Season 6 Episode 12 'Everybody Loves Hugo' picks up the story of Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes in both the Island Blows Up Universe and the Island Remains Universe. Hugo's life in each universe could not be more different.
'Justified' Season 1 Episode 5 ' The Lord of War and Thunder'
In 'Justified' Season 1 Episode 5 'The Lord of War and Thunder' Arlo Givens, the no account, violent father of Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens, storms into a house being rented from him by Pinter, the snitch, and takes a baseball bat to the place.
Ron Paul is tied with Obama in a 2012 match up.

Addendum: And so is George W. Bush. Oh my.

Miss him yet?
NASA's Orion space craft to rise again under change to Obama space plan

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apparently Orion is to be revived as (drum roll pleas) a Crew Return Vehicle, an idea studied and rejected in the late 1990s. One is at a loss as to laugh or cry.

Also, we'll decide what sort of heavy lifter we'll build in 2015.
Neil Armstrong doesn't much like Obamaspace either. But then, what would he know...

More here. Armstrong usually doesn't say much in public, which lends extra weight to his words now.

Addendum: Clark Lindsey sneers.
Apparently wearing a Sarah Palin pin will earn one a savage beat down in the New Orleans French Quarter.

Tina Fey needs to go on an apology tour.

Addendum: A maybe it was a beat down for no reason whatsoever.
Apparently wearing a Sarah Palin pin will earn one a savage beat down in the New Orleans French Quarter.

Tina Fey needs to go on an apology tour.
Charlie Bolden tried to spin Obamaspace at the 26th National Space Symposium. It was not well received, we are told.
'Crash the Tea Party!' to Infiltrate April 15th Anti-Tax Protests
An organization calling itself "Crash the Tea Party" is planning to send operatives to infiltrate various Tea Party protest rallies due to take place on April 15, Tax Day, and misbehave to make it appear that Tea Partiers are racist, sexist, homophobes.
Did Congress Cancel Its Own Health Care Insurance?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said that we would find out all the things that is in health care reform once it had passed. The New York Times is reporting that Obamacare may have within it a nasty surprise for Congress.
'House' Season 6 Episode 16 'Lockdown'
'House' Season 6 Episode 16 'Lockdown' starts with something rarely seen during our visits to Princeton Plainsboro, the miracle of life. Usually House episodes involve someone at the brink of death. This time it is different.
'Saving Grace; Season 3 Episode 13 'You Can't Save Them All, Grace'
Saving Grace; Season 3 Episode 13 'You Can't Save Them All, Grace,' begins out in the Oklahoma countryside in the midst of a hot summer. Three young girls, the winds of puberty just beginning to change them, are having an adventure.
"Houston, we have a problem" The epic of Apollo 13

Monday, April 12, 2010

More resistance to Obamaspace from two Senators.
Homer Hickam has an open letter to the folks at JSC with some advise to the astronauts.
Some of the greatest names in the history of space exploration plede with President Obama to stop his cancellation of Constellation.
A porn magazine for the blind.
Apparently in Britain's National Health Service, Muslim doctors and nurses will be exempt from the requirement to wash to avoid spreading infectious diseases so as not to expose their upper arms.

The mind boggles.
More evidence of water on the Moon and Mars. Not that we'll be going to either place any time soon under Obamaspace...
Leaders of Britain, Israel Absent from Nuclear Summit
The vaunted Nuclear Summit that President Barack Obama is holding in Washington is missing two very important heads of government: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Keith Cowing shows more than a bit of liberal bias by attacking John Culberson (Keith, it's not "Culbertson") for favoring Constellation while attacking government spending in general. Keith, most conservatives favor government spending on programs that enhance national and economic security, which Culberson believes Constellation does. Second, Keith, in falsely accusing Culberson of flip flopping, fails to mention that President Obama flip flopped twice on Constellation. He opposed it before he supported it before he favored delaying it.

The original Hot Line story about Culberson and space exploration can be found here.

Addendum: More on Houston Congressman John Culberson attacks Obama's NASA space policy
The Sucker Punch Squad looks at the New Red Dawn and finds that, aside from a little toe dipping into noxious moral equivalency, it is pretty much like the Old Red Dawn, a meditation on the joys of killing Commies in great numbers.
A terrorist has planted three nukes in three American cities. He did not count on Samuel L. Jackson.

Not for the type who gets weak at the knees at the thought of water boarding.
Yet another call for specific goals and timetables for space exploration.
Jeff Foust discusses The maturing newspace industry. Dwayne Day confronts Space Coast space ghosts. Angela Peura actually defends Obamaspace aqs Gemini on steroids demonstrating that she knows nothing about the Gemini program. Jonathon Coopersmith claims that Obamaspace doesn't go far enough.
Hillary Clinton for Supreme Court Justice?
Sen. Orrin Hatch has an interesting suggestion for whom President Barack Obama could name to the Supreme Court to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Hatch suggests none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State and former Senator.
'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 1
When 'The Tudors' Season 4 Episode 1 opens, it is a hot time indeed in Merry Old England, and not just because of the temperature and the lack of rain. His Majesty King Henry, Eighth of that Name, has a new Queen, Katherine Howard.
'The Pacific', Part 5, 'Peleliu Landing'
The Pacific', Part 5, 'Peleliu Landing' starts with John Basilone, still in the United States selling war bonds. For Basilone this hard job comes with the opportunity to have sex with film stars and to have the maitre des of fine restaurants at his beck and call.
This day, 49 years ago, the first man was launched into Low Earth Orbit. Also, 29 years ago, space shuttle Columbia lifted off for the first time.
More boasting about how the first NASA astronauts back to the Moon will check into the Lunar Hilton. This kind of chest thumping is rarely done by people who are actually seriously engaged in commercial space enterprises. It is fine to have these kinds of fantasies when one is not in the business oneself.