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The President just can't win with these people, can he? - Elf M. Sternberg
The President just can't win with these people, can he?
So if Barack Obama were to cancel a rather expensive government program and turn it over to private interests, you'd think that the right wing would be utterly ecstatic, wouldn't you? After all, that's what the push has been ever since the current rightward memes took over with the Contract onwith America.

But no, when it comes to the current president, Charles Krauthammer must find something on which to indict our president. Regarding the cancelling of Constellation:
This is nonsense. It would be swell for private companies to take over launching astronauts. But they cannot do it. It's too expensive. It's too experimental. And the safety standards for getting people up and down reliably are just unreachably high.
It doesn't seem to matter to Krauthammer that we don't really need to boost large bags of mostly water and all the attendant support hardware up to low Earth orbit, our robotics are getting better and more reliable than our meat. It doesn't matter that the Constellation program is incompatible with the low Earth orbit needs of the shuttle and the space station. It doesn't seem to matter that a quick scan can't find Krauthammer wringing his hands over the use of drones vs. piloted fighters in the current wars.

I mean, can you imagine someone telling the Wright Brothers that they needed to let government sponsor the first flights, that the daredevils were engaging on a program that included "unreachably high safetly standards?"

The partisan hackery here knows no bounds and has no shame.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: Vanessa Carlton, A Thousand Miles

4 comments or Leave a comment
tagryn From: tagryn Date: February 22nd, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can excuse CH for not being aware of the SpaceX Dragon program, he's a politico rather than a space specialist. Also, I share the view that astronauts are more or less an expected loss from time to time - manned space flight, even on the shuttle, is still in its infancy, and astronauts are akin to jet test pilots in the early days.

LEO is still only a stepping-stone to what should be our long-range goals, and the shuttle and ISS shouldn't be end-goals in and of themselves (and robots are no replacement for actually going, any more than viewing a TV program of Japan isn't the same thing as actually visiting there). However, the cost overruns of Constellation were what killed it; NASA has just gotten too long in the tooth to deliver a cutting-edge program. More discussion on this can be found at Simberg's TransTerrestrial Musings blog, in between his political commentary.
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: February 23rd, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
LEO is a stepping stone.
ISS is a stepping stone, with a nice kitchen and shower.
The moon is a stepping stone, with tons of fuel frozen in the south pole.
Apophis is s stepping stone, one we must reach before it plumetts through our window here.

Trouble is, nobody wants to walk anymore.

It's a dangerous business. But if you want great rewards you have to take great risks. Many more people died simply putting in the intercontinental railroad than in all space history combined. It didn't stop us then and it shouldn't stop us now.
edichka2 From: edichka2 Date: February 22nd, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Has Krauthammer ever been more than a partisan thug?
- E
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: February 23rd, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, but that's quite incorrect. Robotics are better, but they are not a substitute for human beings and they never will be so. I recall a satellite deployed by the shuttle. The activation switch broke, so the crew improvised a way to wake up the satellite there while they were in orbit, thus saving a 1.2Billion dollar machine. Robots do only what they are programmed to do and cannot compensate for unknown conditions whereas humans can. As for the mission itself, me, I favor having a set of destinations and deadlines to reaching them. Else everybody takes their sweet time and nothing gets done.

Robots precede us. They should not replace us. Otherwise we could have easily told the Wright Brothers "why bother with flying in the first place, since train technology has improved so much recently?"
4 comments or Leave a comment