More Space Policy Thoughts

…from Stephen Fleming. Goodby space program, hello space industry.

[Tuesday morning update]

Michael Belfiore, at Popular Mechanics:

I would argue that the new direction is not just the best option for NASA, but the only one. NASA already has no choice but to rely on the Russians for rides to the International Space Station after the shuttle retires this year. It’s an embarrassment. Obama’s budget will open the door to homegrown solutions for crew and cargo delivery to the space station, while providing much needed research funding for the development of next-gen technologies such as heavy-lift rockets and on-orbit refueling depots.

It’s a step that’s long overdue, though not one without peril. The private sector will have some very big shoes to fill, without the track record to prove that it’s up to the job. And can it succeed without succumbing to the kind of bloat that has eaten our defense budget alive? Working with the government tends to increase the amount of paperwork and oversight, along with the bureaucracy required to handle that extra workload, so it’s a legitimate concern. But, after all, the goal is to reduce the cost of reaching space. It has become clear to the right people, including many engineers and managers at NASA, that the traditional way of doing things hasn’t been working. NASA and the White House have every incentive to keep out of the way of the private contracts as much as possible.

We’ll see if that’s enough.

From 28,000 Feet

I’m blogging. American has wireless, at last, at last. Now I’ll never get away…

In the airport book store, I saw an intriguing title: “Five Secrets To Discover Before You Die.”

So, what happens if you don’t discover them allby then? You die?

That sucks. I guess. But how is it worse than not discovering them?

How about if you get the fifth one just a few minutes before you die? What do you win?

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Telecon

Clark Lindsey took notes. I liked this:

/– How to deal with safety questions on Capitol Hill?
Bigelow: As a client, safety of the lifters is extremely important. We are going to expect well used and understood systems.
Anderson: NASA had astronauts flying on Ares I on its second flight. The commercial rockets will have flown many times before they every carry crews.
Musk: Southwest might have half the ticket price of a competitor yet no one thinks they are doing that by cutting on safety. Southwest’s safety record is one of the best.

Of all the lies, damned lies and statistics in this ongoing debate, the subject of safety has been the most meretricious.

Good stuff, all.

Clark also has as round up of all of the rapid-fire shoddy reporting on today’s announcements.

Don’t Look For This In The MSM

…but in light of both recent and ancient history, should anyone be surprised by this?

Since Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker in 2006, she’s rung up millions in military travel expenses to commute between San Francisco and Washington.

Worse still, she also appears to have requisitioned entire flights for the personal use of her children and grandchildren. That is, unaccompanied by any member of Congress, her kids, in-laws and grandchildren are utilizing entire military passenger jets for their routine travel needs.

Going through airport security and sitting in cattlecars is for the little people. Besides, she was doing it for the children. And the grandchildren.

I don’t want her to resign over this, though. I want her to remain the leader of the Democrats for years and years.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!