Another Eliminationist Narrative

Failed:

As the facts have come out, that Enright is far from a right-wing zealot, and actually works for an “Interfaith” group which supports the Cordoba Mosque, the left-wing blogosphere is backtracking. Enright was extremely drunk at the time of the incident (no excuse, but a fact), and a crime appears to have been committed. That is all (and enough), and fortunately there do not appear to be serious injuries.

The Anti-Muslim Cabbie Stabber joins the others in the rogues gallery of criminals who disappointed the left-wing blogosphere by failing to fit the eliminationist narrative.

This reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s aphorism that fascism is always on the rise in America, but somehow always seems to land in Europe. All of these accusations against the “right” (i.e., anyone who believes in freedom, apparently) of a tendency to violence are (like the accusations of “lying,” “racism,” “hate,” etc.) simply psychological projection by the left, and a tactic to distract from the things that they actually do.

[Update a while later]

Ed Schultz, arsonist. As Glenn asks, what is it with these left-wing nut jobs and violence?

Decoupling

In my talk at Space Access in April on the “Impedance Matching” panel, I raised the issue of how to completely decouple atmospheric vehicles from pure in-space ones. That is, right now, all paths to LEO seem to go through a launch pad, even coming back from some place else (e.g., the moon or deep space). This is because it’s difficult and expensive to circularize there from places less deep in the well. It’s difficult to do aerobraking safely and reliably in a single pass, and multiple passes means that the maneuver can take a long time, which can be a problem for crewed vehicles. And of course, this doesn’t even address the issue of getting into the right orbital plane. But until we can fix this, we’ll always have the ugly and inelegant situation of having to come all the way back the the earth’s surface from any beyond-LEO destination, and have to spend resources relifting crew for each trip, and make a true transportation node in LEO (i.e., one that can be reached from any destination, either from the surface or in space) impractical.

Anyway, I’d like to see what kinds of ideas get kicked around in comments here, perhaps with the hope of doing a presentation at the SSI conference in October.

[Afternoon update]

Circularizing propulsively is of course an option, but it’s hard to see how it’s a cost-effective one, until propellant in space is really cheap. Assuming that one doesn’t aerobrake at all, it takes just as much delta-V to get into LEO as it does to leave it, and it would require an improbably large vehicle if the departing vehicle has to carry enough propellant to recircularize on the way back. Which, of course, again demonstrates the value of depots. With one at L-1, perhaps supplied from either the lunar surface or an asteroid, it might make sense to fuel up there for the circularization in LEO. It all comes back of course, to the point that I made in my essay last year — that reusability implies gas stations, and that it’s impractical without them. As Jon Goff demonstrated with his amusing “We don’t need no stinkin’ depots” slide at Space Access, which was a picture of his car with extra gas tanks for driving cross country, the more often you can fuel on a trip, the smaller your vehicle can be and, due to the exponential nature of the rocket equation, that goes in spades for space vehicles.

[Bumped]

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!