Friday, April 28, 2006

Funding a Dinosaur to Try To Finish the Space Station

"This year, NASA has $4.8 billion for the shuttle and plans to fly twice. It hopes to fly 17 times in all before retiring the orbiter in 2010 and replacing it with a new spaceship. NASA, supposedly the most forward-looking agency in the federal government, is using the biggest single chunk of its budget to fund a dinosaur.
But the agency has no choice:"
Of course the agency had a choice.

When asked why we need a shuttle, we're told it's to get things to the space station. When asked why we need a space station, we're told it's to have a place for the shuttle to dock.

The reality is we "need" neither, but the Russians are pissed that we keep asking them to fly missions to the station when they could be fleecing Europe or the Japanese for lots more money.

The Shuttle was the way to go back in the days when everyone knew how dangerous space travel was, and that those aboard were brave astronauts risking their lives at every launch. When we needed test pilots to break the sound barrier, one in four perished, were given hero's funerals and had High Schools named after them, and progress marched along at a steady pace.

But now the nanny-generation is in charge, had the abject stupidity to send a school teacher into space, and when her atoms were blasted across the Pacific they recoiled in shock as if they didn't get the memo on just how tough all of this was going to be. Out of sight-out of mind flight programs are continuing under the weepy radar, and yes, we're still losing brave men to the demon in the sky, but the shuttle is doomed because it isn't 100% safe, and safe is what the loon media has convinced soccer-mom-america is the only way to travel.

Shut the shuttle. Up the ante to the Russkies if we really want that white-elephant station, but spend the money on it's successor rather than flights that cost billions and return zero.

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