Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Russians Squeeze NASA for More Bucks

(c) 2013 by Tom King

Dragon X Commercial Space Vehicle
successfully docks with Space Station
The price just went up on the cost of getting American astronauts into space.  The price of shipping our astronauts to the space station via Russia's "spam in a can" Soyuz capsule just increased from 62.3 million per seat to 70 million per seat.  

Thanks to this brilliant move, NASA is stuck hitching rides with the Russkies until at least 2017 - a deal which puts American astronauts in the hands of 1970s Russian technology in order to reach the space station. 

And the left is, of course, still blaming it on George Bush.

 I had intended to make some comment about how the Obama Administration's new goals for NASA had switched from space exploration to making Muslim nations feel good about themselves and their contribution to science, but let's let the president's choice for NASA head honcho speak for himself:

Note that none of the three initiatives the president charged Bolden with has anything to do directly with space exploration. It's all about political agenda.  The first thing NASA did under the Obama Administration in 2009 was cut the Orion crew size and delay the project for years, guaranteeing we continue to rely on the Russians to get our guys into space for close to a decade.

Notice that the evil commercial sector which is busily "lining its pockets", has already launched freight carrying space vehicles that cost NASA half what it's own rockets cost, delivering bigger and bigger payloads.  The Dragon X manned capsule will be ready long before Orion is. Space planes and inflatable hotels in space are already in the offing. 

And care to guess which president pushed hardest for NASA to open the doors to commercial space flight?

Meanwhile Obama's NASA will be busily "inspiring" children to "get into" science rather like they get into video games and rap music.  And the boss, Director Bolden, will be wandering around the middle east looking for ways to make the Muslims feel good about their contributions to science (his words).

Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate Arab contributions to science like unpronounceable names for constellation and that whole Arabic numerals thing.  Technically though they should be called "Hindu-Arabic numerals" because the Persians and Arabs borrowed them from their Hindu inventors (rather before any of your actual Arabs and Persians actually became your actual Muslims).  We are grateful that the Arabs, by then Muslim, passed Arab numerals along to the west no matter that they were misnamed.

Westerners grabbed onto the new number system instantly - probably because they were stuck trying to multiply CMLXXXVII times MDCLXXVIII  (the answer has something like 1,656 "M's" in it).  So let me formally thank the Middle East for 0 through 9.  Right handy it's been all in all. Without it we'd have had a right job of it to figure out which shuttle mission was STS-CXXXV.  And think of all the money NASA has saved on hiring the guys that paint the lettering on the spaceships, not to mention the cranes, the vehicle assembly building and the catering trucks. 859 takes a lot less paint than does DCCCLIX. 

At the rate things are going, I fully expect the greedy capitalists to be back on the moon long before NASA can figure out which Middle-Eastern leader most needs to be reassured that Islam has contributed to "science".  I'm sure, however, that millions of children will be "inspired" to "go into" science by NASA's new propaganda mission.  When NASA finally finds its way to Mars, they'll be able to land their one way space pod full of "inspired" kids in the parking lot of a Martian McDonald's right between a Ford orbital shuttle and a BMW interplanetary cruiser. 

Good plan, Big "O".  Really great plan.

I'm just saying.

Tom King

* Don't get me wrong. I think the Arabic numeral system was a peachy idea, but that predated Islam and actually they should be called Hindu-Arabic numerals because the whole idea originally came from India and was borrowed by the Arabs who lent it to people whose brains were fried from trying to multiply MCLXXXVII times MDCLXXVIII. 

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