NASA’s Future

I think everyone recognizes that the glamour that surrounded the space program of the 60’s and 70’s pretty much gone.  The imagination that the program triggered in people during that period has been replaced but what is “more real” from the Hollywood special effects group.   I mean come on flying an X-Wing fighter in the trenches of the Death star, easy stuff no orbital mechanics, no zero g, no high g, no worries about fuel states, or exotic materials.  Re-entry, piece of cake R2D2 is there to manage and monitor malfunctions and prevent catastrophic failures.

Unfortunately, reality is a bit different.  Rocket Science is truly rocket science, and it is tough stuff.  Just the flight operational stuff is pretty heavy physics with all of the orbital mechanics involved.  Precise thrust and burn calculations, attitudes, hitting that re-entry window and making sure that the angle is just right.  It’s dangerous and complicated but, the perception is that it has become routine.

If you start to really look at the mechanics of designing, building and maintaining a orbital delivery system (spacecraft)… WOW.  You might think aircraft are complicated, spacecraft even more so.

Take all of that background as context and start to work your way through Barack Obama’s platform position on NASA.

“As president, Obama will support the development of this vital new platform [CEV] to ensure that the United States’ reliance on foreign space capabilities is limited to the minimum possible time period.”

Ignoring for the moment that the CEV is designed for delivery of crew to lunar orbit or surface, essentially the way that I read this is that we will be reliant on foriegn space delivery capabilities. I can see it now, “New US Naval Reconnisance Satellite Destroyed During Launch – US reconnisance capabilities took another setback overnight as the Chinese launch vehicle carrying two US satellite’s was destroyed during the primary boost phase.  Chinese officials said that the vehicle’s telemetry indicated that the rocket was off course and would not make orbit, thus necessitating the abort command and self destruct sequence on the rocket.  This marks the sixth Chinese launch of US or UK assets that has met with catastrophic failure, in the last eight attempts… ”

Folks, take a really hard look at the candidate’s positions this fall before you vote for president.  You will likely not like every position that these folks espouse.  You may not like most of their positions but, there are some fundamental common sense things that you should expect a US President to have.  Find the one that you think has the most, and let’s hope that one does the least damage to this nation.

American Thinker has a more detailed discussion of this issue if you are interested.

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