Wednesday, September 21, 2005



By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Michael Griffin, the new head of NASA, proves my point that one can go to many schools for many years and pick up hardly a lick of good sense. LIke children in a candy store, he and his brainless buddies think the sky isn't the limit and who cares how much something costs, look mommy, isn't that rocket toy cool? Wow!

So here he is, talking about our dead space program. Remember, they nearly killed off all scientific research but that still stumbles along, barely, saved only by heroic efforts from the outside, people yelling at them. From the Seattle Times:
NASA unveiled a 13-year, $104 billion blueprint yesterday for sending humans back to the moon as early as 2018, using modified space shuttle rockets to loft an Apollolike capsule into space.

Space analysts said the design was decidedly retro, harking back more than three decades to the Cold War's moon race. But they said the new design was safer and more realistic than the current space shuttle, which is scheduled to be retired in 2010 after nearly 25 years of service and two disastrous shuttle losses.

"Think Apollo on steroids," National Aeronautics and Space Administration head Michael Griffin said during a news conference at the agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Retro? The entire lunatical idea is retro. Everything the Bush people do is ass backwards so of course, they will drive NASA straight into the past. It gets dumber.
The new capsule, known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, will be significantly larger than the cramped Apollo capsule, with seating for as many as six astronauts instead of three. Slated for its maiden launch in 2012, it initially would be used to resupply and transfer crews from the international space station after the shuttle is retired, NASA officials said.
Hahahaha. Straight out of the Soviet rocket program. They have been running up and down people and supplies now solo using rockets created during the commie era.

So, we are going to do what? Copy them?
NASA officials estimated the new craft would be 10 times safer than the space shuttle. The agency estimates that a space shuttle will be lost about every 220 missions. The new vehicle will be designed to go more than 2,000 missions without a serious calamity.
Let's review NASA's record for such promises. In the seventies, they swore they could launch at least 60+ shuttle rides a year! Yes. Then it never got more than a few times a month and one blew up.

So they stopped launching in bad weather which happens a lot in Florida especially during hurricane season. The hurricanes were pretty quiet in the eighties and nineties but now they are roaring along, ferociously, the shuttle launch area gets hammered again and again, no rockets can be prepared for launch for weeks and weeks and well, one every half year seems to be the rate we are going now.
In 2018, NASA would launch the first back-to-the-moon mission, with new lunar landers and other components that would allow for as many as four astronauts to stay on the surface for as long as seven days.
OK. Seven days, IF the sun isn't spitting x-rays and other nice stuff at them! They have no real shelter so if there is sun spot activity, the launches will have to be cancelled. And if there are hurricanes or cold fronts or ordinary thunderstorms, ditto.

Did I tell you there is more lightning in Florida than any place (outside of Kitt Peak and my mountain)? What a grand place to put up huge towers with rockets filled with explosive fuels. (As I noted as a child)
The Apollo missions, which cost $150 billion, focused primarily on landing astronauts on the moon for a day or two and then returning them safely to Earth. The blueprint unveiled yesterday is part of a broader initiative launched by President Bush 18 months ago, in which he called for returning humans to the moon as a steppingstone to a manned mission to Mars, perhaps as early as 2020.

The new exploration plan would allow four astronauts to stay on the moon for a week — twice as long as Apollo missions. The capsule also would haul considerably more cargo, much of which would be left on the moon for future crews. In time, lunar stays of up to six months would be possible.

The capsule would return to Earth by parachute either on land or water — land being preferable, most likely at Edwards Air Force Base in California. And the capsule would be reusable, flying as many as five to 10 times. Apollo capsules were limited to one flight each.
OK, we get 2000 or so "safe" launches but the rocket is new each time. I see. Drive it once, throw it away, it doesn't break. Great. Wow. As for eventually being able to stay on the moon.

What ever for? Even now, they can't figure out the point of this exercise. Is it to start lunar industries? If so, why not cut to the chase and give it to the Chinese? After all, we are sending all our terrestrial manufacturing to China! Why have a very expensive facility on the moon when we make no screws or nails here on earth? Much less TVs etc.
Unlike the Apollo program, which relied on massive Saturn V rockets to loft both the capsule and the lunar lander, NASA plans to send up two rockets, one carrying the crew capsule and the other the lunar lander.
And here it is. The "new" rocket can only carry a crew sans equipment. TWO rockets have to go up at roughly the same time? Heck, we have trouble launching just one! And also, all missions will be twice as expensive, both rockets being unreusable, the holy grail of the shuttle was reusability, you know.
However, some observers worried that huge federal spending to rebuild New Orleans, which could cost more than $200 billion, could undermine funding for any major space initiatives.

But Griffin said the nation could afford the cost despite the hurricane-related expenses because he would not seek any new money for the agency's annual $16 billion budget. Instead, spending within NASA's human-spaceflight program would be redirected to pay for the endeavor, he said. About $4 billion to $5 billion a year is now allocated for manned spaceflight. Not "one thin dime" will be taken away from science projects, he said.

"There will be a lot more hurricanes and a lot more other natural disasters to befall the United States," Griffin said. "We must deal with our short-term problems while not sacrificing our long-term investments in our future."
What these morons did was take the present NASA budget multiply it by 15 years and bingo, that is the cost of this program. Of course, there will be no more scientific programs in the pipeline. The present ones will limp along, anemic and fainting away, much of the money will piffle away as they draw up plans, change them, screw around some more and basically spin wheels.

Then each year, we will go, hat in hand, to the Chinese, asking for money for this and for all our other toys and woes and distresses and lack of will. And the Chinese will invest only if they control. And they know what they want.

And we think we are getting all this for free. Ha.

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