Friday, January 2, 2009

NASA

I mentioned this briefly in a post on the 30th, and the Corrupt made a bigger post about it ... well not to be outdone, I need to for even more text.  Seriously though ... I mentioned it briefly and intended to get back to it, which I never did - so here I am.

It seems Corrupt agrees with me on the need for a space program ... which is surprising considering that NASA doesn't give people who don't deserve work money and magically save poor people.  I'm sure they have unions though, so I'm sure it has him all about it.  What Corrupt and I disagree on seems to be the entire Constellation program in its current design - he is not a fan of the Ares rocket, nor the Orion Capsule.

During the Apollo program the United States - and the rest of the world - began to realize that the Apollo could not do everything we wanted/needed it to do - it was just too limited.  So beginning in the 60's NASA began to look into other options.  In fact the 2nd greatest president in the history of our glorious nation (Reagan being the first), Richard M. Nixon, requested the formation of the Space Task Group in 1969 to explore new/better ways to get into space.  But I will spare you all the history lesson.

Basically the shuttle has not lived up to the promises of a reusable spacecraft ... NASA, nor any other space agency, has figured out a way to use a reusable spacecraft cheaply.  It just can't happen with the technologies that we have today.  I have no doubt that if Boeing or Lockheed could figure out a way to do - they would be doing it, and licensing it for a hefty fee to NASA.

So I really don't understand where Corrupt stands ... he wants us to go into space, yet he doesn't like the Orion capsule.  Well ... should we go to space or not?  Because that is where we stand right now.  I mean sure it would be great if every 5 years we could redesign the entire launch system from the ground up (mind you that Constellation won't be ready until about 12 years after its inception), but that isn't really feasible.

Constellation is the technology we have today.  We aren't simply reverting back to an Apollo spacecraft - Orion is quite different (and much larger) ... the only way that it is similar is that we have scrapped the supposed idea of a reusable spacecraft for now - we just don't know how to do it.  When NASA went back to the drawing board to come up with something post-Shuttle, they chose the capsule because they know they can get more people and cargo into space cheaper and safer than they would be able to with a shuttle.  Those are the facts as they stand in 20082009.

Aside from that whole dilemma I think Corr and I are on the same page ... the space program is necessary.  Not only have great inventions come out of the space program (like the wonderfully exciting Space Pen), but its a symbol of national pride.  I look forward to the day when we get back to the moon ... how exciting will it be.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I just want to say that a big problem with the Constellation project is not that is a non-reusable design that is somewhat similar to the Apollo capsules. The development team has come up with snags because they are using pieces from the shuttle program instead of building a completely new rocket/capsule from the ground up (it's cheaper this way because not all the parts have to be built since they are material left over from the shuttle program).

We definitely do need space exploration though! Plus without the space program, we wouldn't have space ice cream (read: freeze-dried ice cream) - and obviously that's a big deal for tourists at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum!