Why We Won’t (fill in the blank): April 14, 2009Posted by shubber in bailout, distracting PR, economy, finance, hot air, investment, Manned Space, NASA, public service announcement, sbsp, smack talk, solar power, space, Space Solar Power, Wasting Money.
- Go back to the Moon
- Build a Lunar Settlement (see #1)
- Send humans to Mars
- Build a Space Based Solar Power Satellite (other than a demo, if that)
- Build a real replacement for the Shuttle (i.e. something reusable)
- Build a Space Elevator
- Fulfill any other wild fantasy of the Space Tragic community
Giving kudos where they are due, I was alerted to this chart by a blog posting at Rand Simberg’s site, Transterrestrial Musings. The reason I decided to show this here is not to engage in a “who can spend more like a drunken sailor on shore leave” debate between the righties and the lefties – since both parties have long since given up any semblance of fiscal conservatism, proving once again that the old saying:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy….”
While we aren’t quite at collapse stage yet, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any major investments in space-related projects when you are fighting against much better organized and heeled opponents wanting those funny money dollars for their clean coal facilities, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, national health care systems, expanded international adventures with our military, farm subsidies, rail subsidies, etc.
For those of you who are in your 20s – i feel for you. This is the first recession you’ve experienced, and it’s got to be discouraging (to say the least). Take heart in the sage words of Chance Gardner, who said:
In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
What should discourage you even more, and those of you who are even younger that read this blog (all 3 of you), is this: you (and perhaps your children) are going to be stuck working crap jobs and paying high taxes to work off the ridiculous level of debt this country has saddled itself with over the past 30 years, and from the looks of the chart above, will continue to do.
When Police Regulate Research Scientists January 11, 2009Posted by shubber in distracting PR, gauntlet being dropped, hot air, public service announcement, smack talk.
Tags: bad legislation, homeland security, new york
Taking a brief detour from things space, I present to you this “would be funny if it weren’t so disturbing” bit of legislation that appears destined to get ramrodded through in NY. As the readers of this board tend towards the more scientifically/engineering minded, I thought you might find this worth a read.
The basic “rationale” is that by preventing private citizens, researchers, etc from monitoring for any sort of hazards (not just anthrax, but even asbestos and other air quality dangers), it “will not lead to excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety,” the first draft of the law states.
Want to test for pollution in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of childhood asthma? Gotta ask the cops for permission.
Apparently it originally comes from our friends at Homeland Security, and I suppose NY has been put up as the guinea pig. Not content with trying to convince you that there is a security danger in carrying more than 3 oz of a liquid onto an airplane (as if determined individuals wouldn’t simply put 15 ounces into 5 identical containers, meet up with 4 friends in the terminal and end up with 75 ounces of moonshine on the other side…) and that you should be conditioned to trust $9/hour government rent-a-cops for your safety when the real reason 9/11 was effective is that we WEREN’T EXPECTING THE HIJACKERS TO KILL THEMSELVES AND DESTROY THE PLANE, they are now looking to condition you to yet another bit of “the State knows best”.
Who won the War on Terror(tm) again? Methinks there’s a smelly guy with a beard laughing his ass off in a cave right now. Possibly lacking a pulse and buried under 10000 tons of rubble, but still laughing.
What’s next? A note from his Mom? January 1, 2009Posted by shubber in Congress, CRATS, distracting PR, gauntlet being dropped, hot air, Manned Space, NASA, public service announcement, smack talk, space, Wasting Money.
Tags: Alt.space, cheap access space, Cheap Access To Space (CATS), human spaceflight, Manned Space Exploration, Mars, NASA, NewSpace, obama, Space Cynics
So in honor of our 300th post, i was planning to do a detailed examination of where we’ve been in the past couple years since the Space Cynics blog was started, how the industry has/hasn’t matured, predictions we (and others) have made that have/haven’t come true, etc.
And then I read this little gem.
Seems that Mike Griffin has been fighting pretty hard to keep his job when the new Administration takes over – and now he’s recruited his wife into the mix. The headline:
Don’t Fire My Husband, NASA Chief’s Wife Begs Obama
Really? Have you no shame, Mike? It’s not like you’ve presided over any great legacy at NASA in your relatively short tenure under President Bush. You are beholden to your special interests in the military industrial complex, and only grudgingly have allowed any form of innovation or private sector involvement to participate in our development of space when forced, kicking and screaming, to adopt Zero G flights over the Vomit Comet or fund COTS – and even then you can’t do it right.
But to send out (via priority mail) copies of your speeches, as if anyone would want to suffer through them a SECOND time, was priceless. Granted, it’s not like the total cost of mailing was even a rounding error in NASA’s budget – it’s about leadership. The CEO of an organization, which is what you are for all intents and purposes, sets the tone for the people who choose to work for him. When you engage in such behavior, it reinforces the wrong sort of message to the rank and file employees – no different than when the President chooses to get a hummer in the Oval Office from an intern and then lie about it on national television.
It’s about Leadership.
You missed great opportunities to engage in development of true CRATS, real hypersonics research, support initial studies into SBSP (yes, even though I am very cynical about it, that IS part of NASA’s job IMHO), and to put nails in the coffins of both VSE and the ISS, freeing up billions of dollars to fund the hardest part of the equation – getting out of the gravity well.
So, perhaps I can weave in a bit of “The 300″ after all. End your tenure with dignity, not sniveling before the next President begging for your job. Or, even sadder, having your wife beg for you. DO your job, now, and then go out with pride. If that’s still possible.
Win a trip to Space! Entries due tonite! December 31, 2008Posted by Thomas Olson in distracting PR, hot air, suborbital tourism.
I go to this website, looking for a specific story, this morning, when I see an ad from Norton offering a drawing to “Win a Trip to Space”.
Reading the contest rules carefully, I find that the prize for two randomly-selected winners is a free trip on a Zero-G flight. Those two are then entered in a separate drawing for a sub-orbital ride.
However, the vendor for that sub-orbital flight isn’t mentioned. (Could it be because none are flying yet?)
Better hurry, though…drawing ends at midnight tonight!
They Wish It Were This Easy November 1, 2008Posted by shubber in distracting PR, gauntlet being dropped, hot air, investment, public service announcement, PYMWYMI, smack talk, solar power, space, Space Solar Power, Wasting Money.
Tags: hot air, hype, mccain, obama, sbsp, space based solar power, ssp, wasted money
1 comment so far
SSP Makes Strange Bedfellows October 18, 2008Posted by shubber in CRATS, distracting PR, gauntlet being dropped, hot air, public service announcement, sbsp, smack talk, solar power, space, Space Solar Power.
It appears that Dr. Zubrin and I agree on something after all…
A recent email exchange between proponents of Space Solar Power (or as we sometime lovingly refer to them: those who gulp from the space kool-aid punch bowl), which focused on the cost of access to space and the apparent closing of the business case when we get launch costs down to $200/kg, led to this sage bit of wisdom from Dr. Zubrin:
The cost of transporting solar panels to Arizona is less than $1/lb.
That is why SSP is total bullshit.
Priceless October 10, 2008Posted by shubber in distracting PR, economy, public service announcement, Wasting Money.
Brother can you spare 7 trillion dimes…? September 20, 2008Posted by shubber in distracting PR, hot air, NASA, public service announcement, smack talk, Wasting Money.
So it seems that our enlightened leadership in the Administration, having pissed away what the accountants will eventually calculate as over $1 trillion on a war against those who attacked us on 9/11 – I mean, a war against those who had weapons of mass destruction that they were 45 minutes away from using on us – I mean, oh, never mind.
Now they want to bail out the clowns who were dumb enough to, in their frenzy to seek ludicrous profits through lending money to anyone with a pulse, get themselves leveraged to the hilt with dubious levels of debt. We’re bailing out an industry that demanded deregulation, which they got.
How did responsible taxpayers get stuck with this fucking nonsense?!?!?
Now the “Plan” to save us from a financial meltdown – whatever that means – is to turn on the printing presses, allow the major banks that managed to dodge the bullet until now (too bad Lehman, you were SO close) to unload their toxic debt to the US taxpayer and come out unscathed while we pony up ANOTHER $700 billion.
And what about those approximately $30 BILLION in bonuses paid out to Wall Street in 2007? Are they going to return those? Hell no.
So, for those of you expecting to get funding for your pet projects (e.g., Space Based Solar Power), I suggest one of the following two strategies:
1) Rush to the White House and get them (and their co-conspirators in Congress) to write you that $100 billion check you need to get your program underway while they are still acting like drunk sailors on shore leave, OR
2) Kiss your pet project goodbye and find something else to focus on, because the US government is going broke.
BTW, don’t be surprised when our grandkids decide they hate our generation(s) for saddling them with trillions in dollars of debt for things they had nothing to do with. What a legacy.
In Space, Can Anybody Smell the B.S.? September 20, 2008Posted by oldspacecadet in distracting PR, gauntlet being dropped, hot air, public service announcement, smack talk, space, space tourism, Wasting Money.
As a sometime investor in various space-related startups, I troll the web periodically looking for potential opportunities or even just interesting technologies.
In the early afternoon of September 16th, I came across the web site for Masten Space Systems, Inc.: http://masten-space.com/
I know next to nothing about the company other than it is located in Mojave and is working toward the announced goal of developing a reusable sounding rocket with several employees. This vehicle is to use vertical take-off and vertical landing technology for several flights daily according to the web site. I also understand that Masten has made a few tethered flights and is making some progress, which is laudible, and is also looking for potential qualified investors. Since I meet the definition of a qualified investor, I looked a bit more closely at their web site main page:
What do you want to fly into space?
Masten Space Systems can fly anything you want into space and back for $250/kg:
· Increase your TRL level for NASA
· Build your own mini-Hubble telescope
· Customize your own earth imaging platform
· Test affects of zero gravity on biological systems
· Teach innovative STEM curriculum
· Create winning science fair projects
· Fly dailyheliospheric survey flights
· Find out what happens to … in space
Note the present tense: “… can fly anything you want into space … .” Note that this does not say that they will be able to fly, or that they hope to fly, but instead states that they can fly. As far as I know, Masten Space Systems has never flown anything into space, or even past the troposphere. ”Build your own mini-Hubble telescope.” If some high school student builds a functional “mini-Hubble” and flies it into space, I strongly suspect he or she would be able to win a science fair prize. “Fly daily heliospheric survey flights”? That’s even better.
OK, I’ll bite because I am a science buff as well as an investor. I want to fly a one kilogram passive payload into space twice in 2 days. That is $500. How about the first flight in a week — Friday, September 26th, with the second the following Saturday? Just show me your AST license for commercial sounding rocket flights to 100 km, guarantee the flights to deliver my payload to space, and I will escrow the funds Monday morning for transfer as soon as you certify the delivery to space. I can ship the payload by next day air Monday morning September 22nd.
Look fellows, I know that developing a vehicle is difficult. I know that obtaining funding is difficult. I even know that you appear to have progressed along your plan. However, I also know that putting out BS like this does nothing to maintain interest in investment in space startups. In fact, it is counterproductive and misleading. Vaporware hurt the software industry, and vaporware will not get us to space. Tone it down.
Why Obama is Better for the Space Program September 12, 2008Posted by shubber in distracting PR, hot air, NASA, public service announcement, space.
If Palin is qualified as a Russia expert because Alaska is next to Russia, then Obama is better suited for running our space program than McCain is because he’s taller (and hence closer to the edge of space).