Doug McKinnon is the latest “conservative” to bash American industry, complete with the now-standard out-of-context Rutan quote:
For the past five decades, the United States has held that title. With his decision to cancel NASA’s human spaceflight program and outsource it to private industry, Mr. Obama has now ensured that the People’s Republic of China with its military run program or Russia, will now wrest the title from us and hold it for decades or more.
I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole.
Hint: NASA’s human spaceflight program has not been cancelled. All that was cancelled was their bloated, unnecessary new rocket. And the notion that China is ever going to be ahead of us in this area, let alone “for decades or more,” when there are superior rockets to theirs sitting on the pad in Florida right now, is ludicrous.
And then we have this bit of sophistry, from the smartest guy in the room.
Michael Griffin, the former administrator of NASA and himself a strong advocate of true “commercial” space, feels the president is misreading private sector capabilities as well as long-term viability. Griffin said to me, “Suborbital flight takes about 2 percent of the energy needed for orbital flight. Understanding that, the reality is that the commercial space industry is a number of years away from fielding economical, capable, reliable, and logistically dependable transportation just for cargo. With human spaceflight being harder yet.”
Nice diversion from the topic. No suborbital flight producer is contemplating going after this market any time soon. And yes, it is a “number of years away,” if that number is “one” or “two.” How economical, or logistically dependable was the Shuttle? How “economical, and logistically dependable” would Ares have been?
I used to think that he had convinced himself that what he was saying was true, but now I just think that he’s a deliberate liar, perfectly willing to gull the gullible.
[Update a couple minutes later]
You’ve gotta love the failed irony sensor here:
Neither space nor our future in it should be a partisan issue driven by politics of the moment.
I sure wish that these folks really believed that. If he’s really a “long-time consultant on space,” it’s kind of frightening, but it would explain why the policy is such a mess.
[Update a minute or two later]
And of course, the first commenter credits NASA with teflon. The myths that just won’t die.
[One more update]
OK, I see that this isn’t a new piece, just new to me. It was from the week of the Florida speech. I wonder if anyone has responded it to it over there yet?