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WWJD? September 29, 2008

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.


We Need More in Congress Like Her September 27, 2008

Posted by shubber in bailout, Congress, finance, gauntlet being dropped.
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A 5-minute video worth watching

Let’s Play Wall Street Bailout

Well Said September 27, 2008

Posted by shubber in hot air, public service announcement, smack talk.
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From the genius at XKCD

Well, it sorta got mentioned… September 27, 2008

Posted by shubber in Manned Space, NASA, smack talk, space, Wasting Money.

For those who suffered through the 1st Presidential stump speech fest (“debate” is too strong a word for what I witnessed), you may have noticed that the issue of Space didn’t get any coverage, other than a passing reference to China sending some astronauts up and how we should focus more on math and science here at home…

Some of you might say, “well, this was a debate on foreign policy so Space wouldn’t be a topic”.  I would submit that you would be wrong for two reasons:

  1. The debate covered a broad range of topics, first and foremost our economy and the HUGE bailout that both parties seem hell bent on giving to the banks for their ridiculous past behavior.  As you may remember from my previous posts, my position is that the US economy will not be in any shape to sustain a manned lunar program in the next decade, and this latest spend of over $1 TRILLION – yes, folks, that’s right, with a “T” – just hammered in that nail in the coffin.
  2. Things like reliance on Russia for access to ISS (foreign policy, because McCain is a Georgian and Russia is selling stuff to Iran) are real issues and yet they didn’t get mentioned.  Maybe they’ll just figure out a way to fly the shuttle for another 10 years, because that’s a safe and cost effective way to get to orbit.

I know space tragics like to believe that others care as much about (or even 10% as much about) space as the alt.space community does, but stop kidding yourselves. With all of the reprogramming of money and belt tightening coming up in the next decade, we’ll be lucky if we don’t find the Tranquility Base memorabilia on eBay courtesy of the Chinese.

Brother can you spare 7 trillion dimes…? September 20, 2008

Posted 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, 2008

Posted 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:

In case you have trouble reading the text over the image of the Earth, a vehicle, and space, I have copied it below:

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, 2008

Posted 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).