Successful SpaceX Launch, Land

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Landing – Private Space Test – Popular Mechanics

Congratulations to SpaceX for their successful launch of the Dragon capsule. More importantly congratulations to SpaceX for becoming the first private company to have a spacecraft re-enter from orbit.

More info on SpaceX Dragon: SpaceX Dragon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SpaceX Dragon Launch

Much Rides on Upcoming Launch of SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

My only real problem with the article is trying to give President Obama credit for SpaceX’s work. SpaceX and companies like them have been working on private commercial space craft long before President Obama even thought of becoming President.

My hope is the Dragon launch goes smoothly. Whether you support private space launch or not, all can agree that NASA has become a bloated organization subject to the whims and machinations of politicians and scientists that have disrupted and, in some cases, crippled U.S. space capability. Whether those manipulations are based on budget considerations (e.g. the Federal government inability to manage its budget wisely) of socio-political agendas (via programs designed solely to support theories rather than test them such as global warming) the fact is the private sector is needed to provide a much needed spark of technological development and innovation that no longer exists due to the bureaucratic nature that has taken hold at NASA.

There will be some privatization of space whether people like it or not, but agencies like NASA will also remain.

Newsbits: Immigration Reform Plan, Raytheon, Moon Robots

Democrats unveil immigration reform plan | Reuters

Not going to believe it until I see genuine reform, not useless identification cards that’ll be forged faster than you can say illegal and more laws that Congress and the administration will de-fund or order they be ignored as has been done for decades. Congress and past Presidents sold out the American public long ago to the illegals rather than secure the border as is their duty and responsibility.

Avionics Magazine :: Raytheon Awarded Radar Contract

Japan sees moonwalking humanoids by 2015 | Crave – CNET

Just as the Obama administration ditches NASA plans to return to the moon, a group in Japan is vowing to send humanoid robots there by 2015. Call it a giant leap for droidkind.

Space News: X-37 Space Plane

Air Force to launch X-37 space plane: Precursor to war in orbit? – Yahoo! News (Author’s note: I hate the fear mongering title to this article.)

‘Arms control advocates say it is pretty clearly the beginning of a “weaponization of space” – precursor to a precision global strike capability that would allow the US to hover for months at a time over anywhere it chose with little anyone could do about it.

The “weaponization of space” is inevitable as long as mankind intends to go into space. Some would say it’s already been weaponized by the use of satellites for spy satellites, GPS, et al, for military and national security uses.

Some history of the X-37:  X-37 Spacecraft History – Central Florida News 13

Fact Sheet: NASA – X-37 fact sheet (05/03)

X-37: Ready for Launch | The Daily Planet

On Thursday, April 22, the U.S. Air Force will finally launch its little, unmanned X-37 orbital spaceplane on top of an Atlas V rocket. The liftoff, which will take place in a window between 7:52 p.m. and 8:01 p.m., will mark the culmination of years of development for the newest U.S. spacecraft—and the world’s only reusable one after the space shuttle’s planned retirement toward the end of this year.

It’s a beauty, that one.

Obama Addresses NASA

The Space Advocate nicely mirrors my opinions on Obama’s “plans” for NASA.
The Space Advocate: Obama Addresses NASA

I particularly like some of Mr. Mallette’s ideas. They are far more reasonable

1. Establish a Trans-Lunar Infrastructure by 2015. Spacecraft (commercially developed), Orbiting fuel depots around Earth and Moon (NASA developed) and dropping supplies on the Lunar surface for phase 2 (both). Work on phase 2.

2. Build Lunar Base for 15 people by 2020. Both commercial and NASA partnerships to be used by NASA and general public scientists (globally as well, but as a rental space).

3. Spend the next 5 years (up to 2025) learning how to maintain, hold, operate and expand the base. 5 years to learn lessons AND inspire. Actually having a base there manned full time would kind of be a big deal for kids.

4. Mars landing by 2030. Use those lessons learned for the next main step, Mars mission. Probably just a landing for a month, depending on the orbital trajectories used, but a mission nonetheless.

Now, as to President Obama’s policy: it is lacking. I do not believe for a microsecond he supports NASA, its mission, or its future beyond the next election cycle (i.e. this November). Being dismissive of attempts to repeat (and perhaps improve upon) past accomplishments (like returning to the Moon) is not the hallmark of one truly committed to space exploration and development. Ending human space flight to the Moon might actually hinder development of a manned Mars mission. By preventing new design concepts, mission scenarios, and technological developments to be tested on a smaller, cheaper scale via moon missions Obama’s policy ensured even greater cost (and increased political interference by Congress who hold NASA’s purse strings).

While laudable to want to reach the asteroid belts and Mars, the President simply goes about it the wrong way by trying to leap frog over necessary developmental steps to ensure more cost effective and successful Mars and asteroid missions. Like it or not, returning the Moon is such a step (even if I did dislike Constellation and Orion). Skipping this step could well doom the future missions to failure and overly excessive costs.

As to his idea for private commercial development of space, that simply isn’t possible at this time, and perhaps may never be so. Even the largest and most successful of these companies simply do not have the financial resources to tale over space exploration and support roles. It is simply confounding. Brane Space fairly well sums up my opinions in that regard: Brane Space: Obama’s Cognitive Dissonance

Obama’s Space Policy

NASA Stalwarts Among Critics of Obama’s Space Policy – AOL News

After taking heat earlier this year for his proposal to kill NASA’s long-planned return mission to the moon, President Barack Obama this week is being blasted anew by a slew of critics, including famous NASA astronauts, as the details of his space policy emerge.

This implies Obama actually has a space policy. He does. Unless it’s to destroy America’s space capability. The government is doing all it can to destroy American industry left and right for the past two decades. Why not cripple another branch of it? Obama thinks supporting taxpayer funded corporate welfare and corrupt financial institutions is laudable but losing American space technology and advancement is okay. Guess we know who owns the White House, don’t we?

Unless you’re of a mind where losing 7,000-9,000 jobs tied the the shuttle are lost, killing Constellation and Orion, making your country’s space related priorities dependent upon the good will of not-so-friendly or reliable “allies”, and cutting the budget to your nation’s space program is some how a good idea. That doesn’t even count the jobs and revenue lost by all the support industries and sub-contractors who rely on their work in the space program.

Obama is living in a fantasy land to think private commercial spaceflight is anywhere near ready to take over for NASA let alone capable. Perhaps in another twenty years if all goes well, but not for the foreseeable immediate future. And not until the Fed gives up control of spaceflight, which is highly unlikely to ever happen.

AvNews: VSS Enterprise, British Space Agency

VSS Enterprise’s first ‘captive carry’ flight! | International Space Fellowship

Commenting on the historic flight, Burt Rutan said: “This is a momentous day for the Scaled and Virgin Teams. The captive carry flight signifies the start of what we believe will be extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight test program.”

Britain to set up new space agency | Reuters

Britain’s space and satellite sector employs 68,000 people and contributes 6 billion pounds ($9 billion) a year to the economy, the government says. It has grown in real terms by around nine percent a year since 1999, more than three times faster than the economy as a whole.