Space Balls, the President

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One of the reason The Pink Flamingo fears the “harmonic conversion” of liberals and libertarians is the abject destruction of NASA.  There are some things government does better than private enterprise.  Government does big ticket, grand vision things.  It always has.  Unfortunately, in this day of libertarian ignorance, they seem to forget their Founding Father gods had no problems funding BIG SCIENCE and grand vision things.  The Obama Administration does, basically killing space science.  If this keeps up, Barack Obama is going to be worse for space exploration than Jimmy Carter was, and that says a  heck of a lot.

Yes, we have a very serious problem with NASA.  It is a disaster.  Currently the agency itself may be its worst enemy.  With the best and brightest having moved away, we now have a bunch of pencil pushers managed by an assistant administrator who is one of Obama’s hand picked incompetent flunkies.

Space.com

There is quite a bit of truth to this, but it is not enough to scuttle NASA.  We need to flush the liberals who have taken over NASA due to political correctness and global warming out the air-lock, and go from there.

Space.com
IEEE Spectrum

Unfortunately, G. Pasquel Zachary goes and ruins it with this:

IEEE Spectrum

Now Obama wants to scuttle the entire planetary program.  I just love they way NASA gets hit by budget cutters.  Their idiocy knows no bounds.

“...The ostensible reason for the administration’s decision to kill planetary exploration and space astronomy is budgetary discipline. Yet while federal spending has grown 40 percent since 2008, NASA’s funding has remained virtually the same. It is not NASA that is bankrupting America, but OMB. If the administration needs to cut budgets, it should start with those of the regulatory agencies that are strangling the nation’s businesses rather than NASA, which helps the economy through scientific discoveries, technological innovation and the inspiration of youth to pursue careers in engineering. Furthermore, if there were a need to cut NASA, it would make more sense to trim almost anywhere else in the agency. Instead, the administration’s goal seems to be to destroy the entire space program by hitting it in its most vital parts.

The desertion of America’s great exploration enterprise is an offense against science and civilization. It represents a radical departure from the pioneer spirit, and its ratification as policy would preclude any possibility of a human future in space. It is an inexcusable decision, and it needs to be reversed….”

One of the things NASA does best is planetary exploration.  Now the Dems want to destroy that.

The Mars Society and the Planetary Society sent out an agenda for a November 3 meeting in DC.   Unfortunately it is going to be too little, too late.

“…The planetary exploration program is in grave danger. In its FY 2012 budget, the OMB has effectively terminated support for future missions.  The Mars Science Lab Curiosity — currently being readied on the pad — will be launched, as will the nearly completed small Mars orbiter MAVEN scheduled for 2013, but that is it.  No further missions to anywhere are in the budget.  If things are allowed to stand, after 2013 America’s amazing career of planetary exploration, which ran from the Mariner probes in the 1960s through the great Pioneer, Viking, Voyager, Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Spirit, Opportunity, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Galileo, and Cassini missions, will simply end.

The space astronomy program is also headed for destruction.  The now orbiting Kepler telescope will be turned off in mid-mission, stopping it before it can complete its goal of finding other Earths.  Even worse, the magnificent Webb telescope, the agency’s flagship, which promises fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of the laws of the universe, is in danger of not getting sufficient funds to allow a completion in a timely manner.  This guarantees further costly delays, with the ensuing budgetary overruns leading inevitably to eventual cancellation.

The human spaceflight program has lost the ability to reach orbit, and is adrift in the face of an ongoing fiscal tsunami.  Lacking a meaningful goal for the next decade or more, it could easily end up on the block as well.

The ostensible reason for the decision to kill planetary exploration and space astronomy is budgetary discipline.  Yet while overall federal spending has grown 40 percent since 2008, NASA’s funding has remained virtually the same.  It is not NASA that is bankrupting America, and our nation’s space program should not be made a casualty of overspending elsewhere.  Acceptance of the destruction of our space exploration effort simply amounts to acceptance of American decline.  That is something we truly cannot afford….”

WTimes

If it were not so tragic, it would almost be funny.  If we were not living in very difficult times, it would be slapstick.

“...Speaking on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” last week, former astronaut Gene Cernan said: “The thing about the Chinese is they know where they’re going and they know when they’re gonna get there. They have a plan, they have a mission.”

Cernan is the last man to walk on the moon and, at the rate things are going, that may have to be changed to the last American to walk on the moon.

Cernan said, “We don’t have the capability today to put a human being in space of any kind, shape or form, which is absolutely, totally unacceptable when we got the greatest flying machine in the world sitting down at Kennedy in a garage there with nothing to do.”

He was speaking of the space shuttle, an old but arguably serviceable spacecraft.

NASA, which today monitors climate change and engages in Muslim outreach, has announced plans for a “Space Launch System,” or SLS, to take astronauts to nearby asteroids and Mars in the planned six-person Orion space vehicle….”

Raw Story

“..”I don’t think any of the ISS partners looks at what we are doing in the US with commercial cargo and crew and feels very confident,” Space Policy Institute director Scott Pace told AFP.

“So there is a great gap between the aspirations of the policy and the actual capabilities that exist now.”

A ticket on the Soyuz capsules to the ISS costs global space agencies between $50 million and $60 million each.

Former astronaut Eugene Cernan, who commanded the Apollo 17 flight and was the last man to walk on the Moon in 1972, said Constellation has been replaced by a “mission to nowhere” and urged NASA to return to the Moon.

Under intense congressional pressure from both his fellow Democrats and rival Republicans, the White House has agreed to develop sooner than planned a heavy-lift launch vehicle for deep human space exploration dubbed the Space Launch System. But financing and other details remain vague.

NASA is focusing especially on deploying the SLS to explore asteroids around 2025, remaining vague on plans to visit Mars and mute on a return to the Moon.

Worried about the course taken by NASA, Cernan said that “today, we are on a path of decay. We are seeing the book close on five decades of accomplishment as the leader in human space exploration.”…”

How’s that Russian Space Thingie workin’ out for you?

“...The third stage of the cargo rocket is essentially identical to that of the astronaut-carrying Soyuz, which led Russia to suspend flights as it investigated the crash. Experts concluded that the faulty engine had suffered from a one-time flaw. A cargo rocket was successfully launched for a flight to the space station last month, clearing the way for the resumption of astronaut flights.

When the three men arrive at their destination on Wednesday, the space station will temporarily be back to its full complement of six crew members. But then the three crew members currently in orbit will return to Earth.

Another Soyuz with three more crew members is scheduled to launch next month. “Once we have the December flight, we’re pretty much back on a regular schedule,” Mr. Gerstenmaier said. Much of the scientific research on the station is controlled and monitored on the ground, and the impact of the delays on research was “modest,” he said.

The problems also pushed back the launching schedule for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation of Hawthorne, Calif. — SpaceX, for short. A test flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which lifts a capsule called the Dragon, was supposed to take place in September, carrying hundreds of pounds of supplies to the space station. But now that mission will not happen until next year. If it succeeds, SpaceX will begin regular cargo runs to the station.

Meanwhile, Russian engineers continue to try to communicate with the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft launched Wednesday, which was meant to land on the Martian moon Phobos, scoop up some dirt and bring it back to Earth. But Phobos-Grunt — “grunt” means ground in Russian — remains in orbit after its engines failed to fire….”

There are things commercial may be able to do better than government.  I suspect cargo payloads may be one of those.  I have a feeling we’re soon going to be able to launch humans into orbit (commercially) and they survive.  Once we can get human cargo to the ISS, we’re on the right track, commercially.

Let NASA have an oversight and regulatory position, and deal with hard science.  Then move over and let the rest of us do it.

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