Category Archives: Space

SLS/Orion

It’s official; it’s slipped into 2019. Just put it out of its (and our) misery.

[Update a couple minutes later]

[Update a few minutes later]

And in related news, the space-suit situation is as screwed up as ever. I was looking into thie problem 35 years ago for military man-in-space at the Aerospace Corporation, and we still don’t have a usable suit that doesn’t require pre-breathing.

[Update early afternoon]

A reminder, from the comments at the Berger piece:

This rocket is a colossal waste of NASA’s limited resources and valuable expertise. They are building it entirely at the micro-management of the Senate to make sure that certain districts get the jobs. Its going to end up costing around $2 billion per flight, has zero reuse built in, and this first model with the 70mt capacity and interim upper stage will only fly ONCE. Right now we have 3 US heavy/super heavy lift rockets in development: Falcon Heavy, Vulcan, and New Glenn. They are each a fraction of the cost per kg and they are all incorporating reusability and are all going to be ready to fly astronauts before this one does.

Yup. Well, maybe not Vulcan. That one’s funding constrained.

Yesterday’s Senate Space Hearing

Bob Zimmerman has a roundup of links, and some thoughts:

Cruz’s effort here appears incredibly bi-partisan. The only other Senate attendees to the hearing were Democrats, with the former and new ranking leaders of the subcommittee from the Democratic Party, Bill Nelson (R-Florida) and Ed Markey (R-Massachusetts), participating eagerly and without rancor. They were both there for the entire hearing, and were clearly being influenced not only by Cruz’s remarks but by the testimony of the witnesses. That no other Republican attended this hearing was I think not because they were boycotting Cruz (several fellow committee members, such as Mike Lee (R-Utah), are strong conservative allies) but because Cruz does not need to convince them to support his position. He was working here to bring the Democrats to his side, and it appeared that he was having some success.

Most important of all, however, were the repeated references to the Outer Space Treaty by Cruz and others. That Cruz noted that maybe it is outdated and needs revision did not surprise me. What was significant, and not captured by the stories above, was his reference to the idea of incorporating the American concept of homesteading in that revision. Even more significant was Bill Nelson’s hearty endorsement of the idea, noting that his own family had obtained land through homesteading in the early 20th century, a piece of land that just happened to be located near one end of the space shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center.

While these senators might have been influenced by my op-ed in The Federalist last week, I think it much more likely that they have been, like me, considering this issue themselves, and that I more likely sensed the wave coming from many different places, and caught it with my op-ed at just the right time.

If there’s any administration that could take action on the OST, it’s this one.

Bill Nye

Even some of his fans aren’t impressed with his new show. I hadn’t realized the fool was anti-nuclear, too. The Planetary Society should be ashamed to have him as its head.

[Update late morning]

Oh, good lord:

“My vagina has its own voice / Not vocal cords, a metaphorical voice / Sometimes I do a voice for my vagina,” she sings. Charming.

Then there are these super-scientific lines: “Versatile love may have some butt stuff / It’s evolution, ain’t nothing new / There’s nothing taboo about a sex stew.”

In effect, whatever was left of the manmade climate change zealot’s credibility was officially wiped out, unlike our Antarctic ice sheets. Of course, there wasn’t too much credibility left to demolish; this is a guy who once suggested climate change dissent be criminalized and said poignantly “many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans.”

There really are no words suitable to describe the unhinged absurdity of the segment, so here’s the video with full lyrics for you to witness for yourself. (My sincere apologies for the awfulness in advance.)

I didn’t watch.

[Afternoon update]

And then there’s this.

#Science!

[Update a few minutes later]