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It's been forty-six years since the first human went into orbit, and twenty-six since the Shuttle first flew. Here's what I wrote a year ago, on the forty-fifth and twenty-fifth anniversary.

Posted by Rand Simberg at April 12, 2007 08:09 AM
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"If you further believe that the Kennedy Assassination was not the unlucky intersection of a parade route and a commie loser with a rifle, but rather a coup d’etat orchestrated by Johnson or Castro or the Mob, then you believe that your government is willing to kill a man – the duly elected President of the United States – in order for some shadow figure to gain power."

That's quite illogical, except in the case of Johnson as suspect. If you believe that either "Castro or the Mob" arranged the JFK assassination, then you need to believe nothing at all about "your government". Castro, in particular, had an obvious motive - because JFK had been trying to have Castro assassinated. That's not *proof* of anything - however, all the amateur psychoanalysis of that "pathetic loser" Oswald does not prove anything *either* -and does *not* discredit any conspiracy theory. A "pathetic loser" *may* act on his own - but may also be used by somebody. Oswald's having lived in Cuba and being pro-Castro; Oswald's own assassination *just after* his act but *before* he could talk - these *may* of course be coincidences. They don't stretch credulity to the *breaking* point - still, they stretch it somewhat. I remain unconvinced and agnostic - and with an impression that on *this* topic Whittle is as much a true believer, swayed by emotion, as those he criticizes.

Posted by jjustwwondering at April 12, 2007 12:07 PM

Sorry - my comment above belongs in a different thread... Please tell me somebody if my absentmindedness exceeds your patience, and I'll
then stop posting.

Posted by jjustwwondering at April 12, 2007 12:17 PM

I completely agree with what you wrote in that essay. I especially like your last paragraph:

"Perhaps, 45 years after a race initiated by a socialist-state space program, and 25 years after a failed attempt at our own socialist program, it's time for NASA to support even more vigorously the new space era. The space program should be based on the American values of free enterprise and individualism, not on NASA's failed 5, 10, and 25 year plans."

Perhaps I'm too much an optimist, but what would have happened the past 30 years if all those brilliant aerospace engineers and scientists had not been tied up in NASA? Would we already have cheap access to space?

As you've pointed out, the current political reality is simply that NASA funding is not going away any time soon. It would be nice if we could, for example, divide NASA into 5 or 10 divisions with not overarching leadership, make them each come up with their own moon mission/mars mission plans, and fund all 5 or 10. That still doesn't seem like nearly as good an idea as letting the private sector figure out how to create cheap space access.

Posted by Jeff Mauldin at April 13, 2007 09:25 AM

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