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The end of America as a space-faring nation?

by EdHannigan / July 3, 2009 9:03 AM PDT

Hopefully overly pessimistic opinion from Dr. Jerry Pournelle (but he's probably right)...


I am calling it right here, right now: NASA as anything more than a space trukking service for the International Space Station is going to be out of the manned space flight business by the end of this calendar year, 2009.

That's right. No moon, not in 2020 or ever. No Mars. No nothing other than flying aging Ph.D. astronauts to a moribund suite of soon-to-be-obsolete Cans-In-The-Sky for dead end research and "prestige". Oh, and not to forget: the occasional billionaire.

In eleven weeks, this Presidential Commission will issue the death warrant to all that NASA bloviation about "Back to the moon".


What did anyone really expect from a hard-left, Democratic president who plans to revamp the entire financial industry of the largest economy in history, also reconfigure the largest health system in history AND simultaneously totally reconfigure the entire energy structure of said largest economy ever, and do all of that in his first year?

What, did anyone really think such a person actually gave a thought to getting the human race out there among the stars?

Imagine Bill Cosby's voice, "RI-i-ight!"

He's a Big Spending, "I Feel Your Pain" (Excepting that pain he inflicts), Caring, DEMOCRATIC True Believer who is cut from the same cloth as every other whining "Why do we want to send billions into space when we have problems right here in River City!" baloney spouting demagogue of the past half century.

He's a smarter, milder spoken version of Senator William Proxmire.

The Augustine Commission is meant to do one thing, the only thing it might possibly be able to accomplish in the ELEVEN WEEKS (!) given it: Provide the fig leaf of "Too Expensive, Too Dangerous, Too Many Problems Right Here On Earth" thus to make it politically safe to expediently Kill The Dream. It's parliament voting to Kill The Queen so Henry VIII can have a new wife.

End Of Story.

There's more...

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Return to the moon?..Why bother, now that
by JP Bill / July 3, 2009 9:47 AM PDT
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Space is expensive
by Willy / July 3, 2009 10:04 AM PDT

Quite frankly is takes alot of moola to get into space. What's on the drawing boards now is return to the moon as a station, then on to Mars. All this costs and all that you mentioned, that costs too. The return from space is little and whatever is Earth bound is bound to take presence. There's alot going on in the here and now that space has to wait. Further, anything in the future is bested served by "robotic" mission as having a better return on the cost. Once, all the grd. work is laid then and only then when funds available will "manned" missions become possible. Since, no one else is going it hardly matters. The Chinese are waiting until we go, so they can copy our stuff anyways. I'm sure if they headout, they'll kill their own people in the attempts. I do say attempts, because they won't get it right no matter how smart they are, "experience" matters in these things. Their own rocket launches came about only after they stole the telemetry from our missions and the USSR wasn't going to give it to them. -----Willy, (aka Rocket dude)

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Yes, better to throw away the money....
by EdHannigan / July 3, 2009 10:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Space is expensive

on phony "stimulus" packages and cap and trade stupidity.

Some other country can take the lead and own the future. Whatever.

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Jerry Pournelle
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 3, 2009 10:56 PM PDT

The much respected SciFi author. I read his "The Mote in God's Eye", and "Footfall" many years ago, along with others I can't remember now.

He does seem a little 'opinionated' in his web site articles.

He may be right, but I hope he isn't. Manned space exploration has to continue, and NASA is the most able and experienced to do that.


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He may be right...
by EdHannigan / July 3, 2009 11:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Jerry Pournelle

in a way it could be good. Rutan managed to put a man in space privately at a fraction of the cost that NASA did. The future of space travel has to be in private hands sooner or later.

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The opinions expressed go far beyond
by Angeline Booher / July 4, 2009 12:17 AM PDT

...... America;s space exploration future.

The author actually condemns everything re: the current administration.

His tactic is to create fear among those if us who are long-time supporters of NASA, and to place the blame on whatever administration he does not support.

In the years of NASA there has been little, if any, mention of research into developing a better launching system than putting men atop a fire-belching exploitable rocket., or safer fuels. Why? Because requested funding to NASA has not been granted over several administrations because the fact that research is expensive.

It all boils down to money, and how those on the Hill perceive their voting for NASA funding will be received by their constituents, Like some other worth-while projects/programs , the easiest ones to fund are those that have a direct impact on their voters.

Speakeasy Moderator

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His tactic is to create fear among those if us...
by EdHannigan / July 4, 2009 1:18 AM PDT

Paranoid BS. I think he is expressing his opinion as he sees it, and he's probably correct.

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