Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Did you think evil corporations in space would be Science Fiction forever?

In outlining new space priorities in the 2011 budget, President Barack Obama proposed a halt to NASA's ambition to return to the Moon - a goal set by former President George W. Bush - and set in motion the biggest fundamental change in space exploration in the past 50 years. Charles Bolden, NASA's administrator, a former astronaut and USMC Major General yesterday promised that this does not mean that the US is abandoning it's space ambitions.

The Constellation program, the heart of the push to the Moon envisioned to replace the space shuttle, has run over budget by almost $7 billion and is several years behind schedule. The White House said it wanted to ground Constellation because it was too costly, used outdated technology, and would not be ready to ferry humans to the moon before 2028.

The success of the Ares 1-X rocket in October last was overshadowed by the release of the Augustine Human Space Flight Review Committee's report. It recommended sweeping changes to the way NASA managed its human spaceflight program, claiming that it was "on an unsustainable trajectory." They estimated that the Constellation program would cost more than $100 billion and miss the 2020 Moon deadline by at least 10 years. In the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, continuing the program may not be seen as the best option but it's cancellation will certainly mark the end of an era in US space exploration.

This year will be the last for the space shuttles - of which only three remain. NASA will significantly slim down it's astronaut corps too as from next year US astronauts will spend the next five to 10 years hitching a ride on Russia's also ageing Soyuz spacecraft. [Why can I see a hilarious comedy movie starring Jack Black and Peter Stormare quite clearly as I write that?]

In the meantime, it's envisioned that NASA will team up with private enterprise, to support and encourage them to develop the spacecraft of the 21st century. "One way to renew NASA and have it play a key role in innovation as well as manned space flight is to get the private sector fully on board," Bolden stressed. No longer will NASA dictate what is to be built and how. If NASA personnel fly on planes built by private industry, drive cars built by private industry and use computers built by private industry; Why can't astronauts climb on board spacecraft designed and built by such private industry?

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, built by Scaled Composites, is expected to carry paying passengers on sub-orbital flights this year but falls a long way short of getting to low Earth orbit. SpaceX, which in 2009 successfully launched Falcon 1 into space but it's still a long way from carrying one, not a mind three, astronauts into space. Bolden has already announced he's giving $50m in grants to private companies like Sierra Nevada.

It's not as if these changes are just being unanimously accepted. Lockheed Martin expressed major disappointment but the industries that have relied on NASA and the space shuttle for the past 30 years could completely fail under the new proposals adding a significant amount to total joblessness in the US and the suffering of tourism to Florida's space coast. US Congresswomen and Senators from Texas, Alabama and Florida - the three states most reliant on NASA's human space flight program - have all voiced their opposition to Obama's proposed policy, vowing to block it. Democratic and Republican senators as well as Bolden's predecessor Michael Griffin, have criticized dropping Constellation saying it would spell an end to US leadership in space.

UNETIDA Special Operations Commander, Colonel "Whopper" Creedon speaking from an undisclosed middle-eastern location where he is conducting "training exercises" also expressed disappointment at the proposals. "I'm fearful that these changes are going to have a detrimental effect on the future of some of UNETIDA's more ambitious lunar initiatives like The SON Project" he said. "The only viable alternative that is being touted is private industry and the problem with dealing with that is that you're more often than not, dealing with stupid civilians with no military experience. These guys are out for number one and hardly put the safety and security of the planet first."

Some analysts suggest UNETIDA's future may in fact be far worse then Creedon suggests. "Obama's proposals to hamstring the space program, coupled with the recent much publicised British MOD move which closed it's UFO Investigations Unit at RAF Command, Buckinghamshire after 60 years does not bode well for the future of the international UN administrated entity," said a source speaking on condition of anonymity. "It's as if the imminent destruction of our entire planet by alien aggressors is being ignored in favour of saving money for jobs, education, health and the environment. Well I ask you: What good is having your health, being educated, having a job and breathing clean air today when you could be a Grattaliaan sex-slave tomorrow? Write to your congressman and prevent a travesty of epic proportions from coming to fruition."

Source: ABC, AFP, NASA, Fox News

13 comments:

vaughan said...

Do we need any further proof of the threat than the Incident of a "metorite" collision over Ireland tonight...the skies filled with fireballs with one landing in Clare...now more than ever we need the Colonel.....

This just shows what an utter Tw*t the President is..Health Care I could understand, the Nobel Prize for nothing I could forgive...but this ..this is the work of unimaginative flim flam man ...a true politician who is only concerned with his own party...now you may laugh but it was the U.S that got to the moon...it was the U.S that got the shuttle in orbit ...now the United States and Nasa are being asked to hitch a ride with the Russians for the next ten years???.....tens of thousands of jobs will be lost across the states that Nasa is based in....funny that all those states vote republican.The President is asking that private Enterprise should take over ....jeezus look at the Banking system and you'll have a reason why it shouldn't. In doing so however Obama will go down as one of the great Idiot presidents of all time ...while democrat daily show viewers may Whoop and Cheer at the very sound of his name...he has given China the edge in the next space race....in 20 years will we remember this president for his work or the Idiot who handed a commercial rival the lead in Helium 3 mining on the moon.
Obama is often compared with Kennedy , well in 61 Kennedy said about going to the moon "some say Why? I say Why Not!" well Mr President when you stop spinning in your grave maybe you should ask that quetion of Mr Obama...
All I can say is if you really care about the future Vote Republican and I thought I would never write that.

Civilian Overseer said...

Mr.V, Don't be an idiot, The Colonel's good buddies at the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), primarily a weapons lab, announced the creation of a high-energy laser system, the National Ignition Facility, which can heat hydrogen atoms to temperatures only existing in nature in the cores of stars. The new laser is expected to have the ability to produce, for the first time, more energy from controlled, inertially-confined nuclear fusion than was required to initiate the reaction

In otherwords, Fusion Power Baby!.

Why go to the moon for a relative unknown, such as He3, when We can have Cheap, Clean, Plentiful Energy made from readily available deuterium right here on Earth.

I say Poo, Poo to your argument Good Sir.

Civilian Overseer said...

P.S.

On January 28, 2010, the LLNL announced tests using all 192 laser beams, although with lower laser energies, smaller hohlraum targets, and substitutes for the fusion fuel capsules. More than one megajoule of ultraviolet energy was fired into the hohlraum, besting the previous world record by a factor of more than 30. The results gave the scientists confidence that they will be able to achieve ignition in more realistic tests scheduled to begin in the summer of 2010.

This is happening. Guess I can leave my T.V. on standby after all without worrying about the Chinese getting all the moon cheese.

vaughan said...

And if it doesn't work....
Just like Helium 3 this research is in it's early stages....but it is calculated that two articulated Lorry loads of Helium 3 would supply the entire planet with energy for a year!!!
You don't follow one option , you follow all...Look at the Green party here , they are all pushing electric Battery cars which take between seven to seventeen hours to charge , yet Hydrogen which only produces water as an emission and is as efficent as petrol is being ignored. It is the Lack of Imagination by Obama and those of his ilk I find irritating and we will all live to regret his backward decision.

Civilian Overseer said...

Two Truck Loads, Really?, well I'm convinced, I presume that You're talking about two Truck Loads of processed He-3,

Just one question, How much energy is it going to cost to send all the necessary heavy machinery for mining the unprocessed He-3 and the supporting staff to operate and maintain the heavy machinery and the base, (The operators and Engineers will have to have a place to live and work after all!)

Don't forget the cost of the Processing plant to refine the raw material that the He-3 is extracted from. Guess We'll need more folks to man up this operation as well, so that's additional cost right there. We could save some cash by just shipping the unprocessed raw material back to Earth and do the processing there but that has a cost impact as well.

Of course there is also the cost of the spaceport to to build the rockets and lift the He-3 into Lunar orbit.

Factor in the cost of building and operating the Lunar-Earth transport ships to bring the He-3 back to Earth, Multiplied this cost by a significant factor if you don't have the above mentioned processing plant, You'll need to move more raw material into lunar orbit and transport back to Earth if the He-3 is in it's unprocessed state so there's additional cost there as well as setting up the Processing plant on Earth, Hey how polluting is it to process He-3 into a refined usable form?

Wow, When you think of start up costs to set up the infrastructure needed to get that two truck loads of He-3 back to Earth vs. the cost of just extracting deuterium from water here on Earth, well, you'd have to be a big idiot to get that choice wrong. ;)

vaughan said...

And if the Deuterium doesn't work?...Lawrence Livermore May claim the system will work but until it is up and running we will not know ( and after the UN glacier report fiasco , we all know that scientific theory can always be depended on!) but it's not just about the moon it's about the whole damn system...this morning another Scientific report(yawn) on the BBC stated that when the population of Earth Reaches nine billion basic minerals and Metals such as Copper and Gold
will begin to run out (Many in the Scientific community have already poo pooed this) If it is true than one option would be the possible mining of Near Earth Asteroids....hell even Mars could be possible....this is not today or tomorrow but a hundred years from now....but the President is so short sighted he cannot see this. I condemn this President for being A hypocrite , of claiming of being a dreamer when all he is is a guttersnipe politician.

Civilian Overseer said...

Mr.V, You do know that there is no such person as "Lawrence Livermore", the site is called the Lawrence Livermore Research National Laboratory (LLNL) after Ernest Lawrence who worked on the Manhattan project, it's just located in Livermore.

Now that's cleared up, let's move on, first you rip on scientists, the so called "UN glacier report fiasco", your words not mine.

Then you, advance an argument that We need to mine the Near Earth Asteroids, which is going to cost a hell of a lot as per my previous rebuttal of your notion to mine the moon. In addition to the, pardon the pun, astronomical costs will take a huge amount of scientific input to make possible.

Frankly, You Sir, remind me of when Moe the bartender burned down the Springfield hospital as a tool of infernal science, broke his back and then hoped medical science was advanced enough to cure him!.

vaughan said...

I find your lack of vision ...disturbing .Of course the cost of such ventures are astronomical ...by todays standards...but once Air Travel was only the domain of the super rich and people thought only sixty seven years ago that any aircraft going faster than the speed of sound was the domain of Science Fiction....Of course near Earth Exploration is insanely expensive...but so was the development of Nuclear reactors, Jet engines..most technical advances are but those first steps lead ever onwards ....no one could afford the first televisions but today every house has one....Arthur C Clark saw no need for more than ten computers in the entire world and to own one would be prohibitively expensive....how wrong was he? What we need are visionairies ..all we have instead however is a dull, dull little man more obsessed with being popular than anything that would benefit mankind.

Civilian Overseer said...

Is this the same lack of vision that got a republican president to sign a law banning the launch of any private american satellite unless it was launched by the shuttle, single handedly killing the space industry in it's cradle?

Obama has freed the space industry from it's the shackles. Private Enterprise is what is needed to take us to the stars. Not government hand outs.

Lucky Lindy crossed the Atlantic unfunded by any goverment, he did it for the glory, the cash, to be the first dammit, it's the American dream! not the government hand-out that you seem so desperate for.

vaughan said...

Errrr is that the same Lucky Lindy who outside of his dodgy political conections ....campaigned in his later life for the stopping of all Jet travel?

Ahhh ladies and gentleman may I present Civillian Overseer the first chairman of the Weyland Yutani Corporation.Of Course private enterprise is the future...the future but not now...when the pioneering work needs to be done ..we need Nasa and the Russian space program to do the ground work ...not private industry which will cut corners to save money....and we are in a race because when China gets to the moon and it will ...I don't expect it will go there for the good of all mankind

Civilian Overseer said...

Don't be foolish Mr.V, it doesn't suit you. Everybody knows that Weyland-Yutani was bought out by Wal-Mart decades ago, "United Systems Military" now controls all the weapons and R&D interests previously held by Weyland-Yutani. I, of course have no business links to "United Systems Military", my Wife however has considerable business holdings in the aforementioned company. ;)

Firstly, if your attitude to a man who achieved so much and advanced manned flight so far is soured by his crackpot politic views, well, then, in your book We should turn our back on Space Flight in it's entirety, You do know that Von Braun was a member of the Nazi party?

Secondly, if your stance is that state sponsorship is required for initial exploratory missions, ala, Henry the Navigator of Portugal or the Spanish crown's funding granted to Christopher Columbus then I grant that you may have a case. It's so hard to work out what you are saying as you flip-flop worse than John Kerry in an election year.

However, it is Private Industry that will make routine, regular access to space viable not Government funding, one could argue that governments played their part in the sixties by initially developing the technologies required to get us into space. Governments will not spend the massive amounts required to set up the enormous infrastructure to mine the moon that you previously have advanced.

Civilian Overseer said...

Hello, Hello?, Well I guess that Mr.V's silence means I win the debate. Yeah Me! ;)

Colonel Creedon said...

Perhaps he grows tired as I do of any dicussion not directly about me?

He should really go to this thread and defend the comments on the class of movies he's been accused of creating.

As for the future of Space? There are arguments for and against. I'm not thrilled that this decision was made while the economic crisis hangs over Obama's head like the Sword Of Damocles, that kind of pressure will make a man make a rash decision or be the type of event he needs to see things perfectlyclearly. Time will tell if the US space programme will now prosper or is doomed to an ultimate failure. I will present another opportunity for debate, but not here, not now. Onwards gentlemen...