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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.



1. Stacey Derbinshire - September 27, 2008

Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

2. Jonathan Goff - September 27, 2008

you may have noticed that the issue of Space didn’t get any coverage

I didn’t watch the “debate” myself–I was down in LA last night, but I think Rand mentioned something that might be space related. He said something about McCain supporting an end to cost-plus contracting. While I understand that there were good reasons why people thought we should use cost plus contracting, and I also understand that cost-plus contracting isn’t the majority of the problem, going to more fixed-price contracts probably wouldn’t hurt at all.

Do you remember what he was talking about? Not directly space related, but it could have a big impact on space if it happened.

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.

I’m not too worried about the Chinese building a base and taking over the moon. The approach they appear to be taking is the same sort of big government, national pride driven crap that is bound to be too expensive to be even remotely sustainable. At best they’ll just be leaving footprints and a different color flag.


3. Monte Davis - September 27, 2008

Jon: It was in connection with defense contracts. McCain is vociferous about waste & corruption there — but he explicitly exempted “defense/national security” in general from any cutbacks that the bailout might require nest year.

Very much in line with his fiscal stance in general: raising hell about <1% of the budget in earmarks, but doing little to forestall the approaching train wreck of entitlement spending, health care, and aging infrastructure coupled with already unsustainable debt.

That would require hard, slow, sustained legislative shifts… and speaking hard truths to millions of voters, not the perp-walk populism both parties have been wallowing in lately. I see no sign Maverick Man is up for that. (Nor do I see nearly as much readiness for that as I’d like from Democrats, but I’m taking the chance they will grow into it ).

4. Jonathan Goff - September 27, 2008

Yeah, that’s more or less my take. I wasn’t saying that I actually thought McCain would get that job done, just that it was interesting to hear the idea actually mentioned in a presidential debate. I’m pretty sure Obama’s going to end up being a big disappointment, but at least he doesn’t scare me like McCain does. Occasional bouts of poor temper control is bad enough with loud-mouthed 20-somethings propulsion engineer bloggers on the internet, but when combined with the “nuclear football”, it scares the crap out of me.

I also agree that neither side is really seeing or addressing the danger of the situation that our country is in financially at this point. It’ll be interesting to see how either of them react when it becomes apparent that their spending pipe dreams aren’t going to be possible.


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