The 2012 Olympics in London are a hit. More people watching more events all the time. Me included. Put down the remote. Go to bed. Put down...
It’s really amazing there’s so much “friendly” competition going on.
The US Womens (aren't they really girls?) Gymnastics team took the Gold team metal from the Russians team. The US girls were rightly both happy and proud. The Russian girls were crying at the end.
Papa Bear Smiles Back Home
This week the Russian Space Agency managed to fast track a resupply of the International Space Station (ISS). The normal resupply or manning operations usually take 48 hours or more of orbital pursuit time. I won’t bore you with the orbital mechanics. It is rocket science.
The Russians literally took a page out of a NASA game plan from the 1960’s and got a resupply capsule docked at the ISS in hours instead of days this week. What does this mean?
The Russians proved both proof of concept and performed the technical execution flawlessly while we in the US all watched people dressed in spandex made in China out of recycled US Coke bottles. Amazing.
This is a governmental organization. Performing the work more effectively and in less time is sure to cost US a lot more money in the future. However, now potentially in an emergency the Russians (not us) might be able to recrew the ISS much quicker. Trips up will be easier on the crew too. Fewer packaged meals etc.
This increased speed of service may (will) come at a new price.
We Pay Others Gain
The Russians get YEARS of US subsidized repetitions of BOTH orbital supply and manned launches.
Taxpayers in the US get to pay. Meanwhile, the US space industry gets zero practice and zero financial benefit after spending most of the money to lift and construct the ISS in the first place.
What left of the US space program is even helping the Russian government get better at it. It’s a buyer’s market.
How did that happen?
Oh Yeah. We really had to have a bigger government in control of every aspect of the US economy.
Most of our US aerospace engineers are out of work. Most are realistically looking at zero possibility of reemployment in that industry in their lifetime barring a miracle. Hardly anyone will go to school to do it in the future these days. The only person I know who did had to go school in Europe to get a real education in rocket science. “Tragic” isn’t the word for it.
The Wrong Stuff
NASA probably rightly deserves their present humiliation. In the end, they’ll probably end up simply as another federal regulatory agency stopping innovation and invention in the name of safety. They should get along well with the FAA.
That’s not altogether fair since the wrongly attached hard science and deep space program people (say JPL) are doing wonders with next to nothing these days. Curious.
Unfortunately for the US manned space program the opposite is all to true. You fall in love with yourself and no one rightly cares. Sally Ride was far too nice and smart a lady to mention the unmentionable truth. No Guts. No Glory.
You’ve Got to Be Kidding?
Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is running around this week hocking global warming, climate change, and officially trying to get into on air media interviews that "NASA" will land the new Martian rover on Sunday at the height of the Olympic broadcast on the West Coast of the US.
“Pathetic” isn’t the word for this.
Oops. That’s not politically correct thinking is it?
1000 People in Space
By this time in history, the US should have 1000 people working full-time in space. Instead we have two. Even they hitchhiked. The US doesn’t even presently “officially” have the capacity or the inclination (should that be declination) to rescue them in an emergency.
1000 people in space in 2012? That sounds crazy and impossible today.
“No one can run a 4 minute mile. It is physically impossible for the human body.”
Oops. I quoted a British Olympic official expert from the 1950’s before Roger Bannister.
It is proper that he must remain nameless. It is just too embarrassing today.
A city in space in 2012 wasn’t impossible 30 or even 20 years ago. 10,000 was not even a farfetched number either. That's simply terrifying.
Building space based production and manufacturing facilities probably would have been the most profound economic change in US history. It wasn’t even projected to be all that expensive.
Even the people who didn’t like the idea (even those who HATED IT) couldn’t ever find fault with the economic supporting studies.
It was a no brainer, but we simply chose differently.
No Frontier, No Vision, or Purpose
A city in space was simply boring. Long haul hard work with many hidden and boring benefits along the way. Lots of boring routine launches that nobody wants to watch in the meantime. No media hype and attention - quite the opposite. NASA leadership caved.
It’s gonna be a long, long time….
We chose false security over sacrifice; vain glory over substance; and present day consumption over differed compensation. Now we pay the price.
The Wasted Generation
The US gets to sacrifice a 20 year head start and considerable technologic advantages and all that goes with it because of political agenda that really had nothing to do with actual environmental improvement or an actual reduction of poverty for anyone anywhere.
Don’t believe me? Please, follow the money. Where did the 1 trillion go we just couldn’t afford? Unfortunately, you will be appalled.
I’m a Rocket Man
In other news:
The Chinese also announced this they are planning for a lunar rover touchdown in 2014-15.
The US DOD announced funding for a new space fense to track existing orbital garbage.
Curiosity News from JPL – Not NASA
“The spacecraft is on course for delivering the mission's car-size rover, Curiosity, to a landing target beside a Martian mountain at about 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5. (1:31 a.m. on Aug. 6, EDT). After landing, the rover will spend a two-year prime mission studying whether the area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for life.”
If Curiosity doesn’t stick it’s wild landing, there will be no gold.
I'm sure your Olympic broadcast will be interupted to deliver the news. Right?