Thursday, July 28, 2005

And NASA is grounded YET AGAIN!

Yesterday I wrote about a current news story that I thought was quite promising and overall a good thing. This would have been the return to flight status and launch of the NASA shuttle Discovery. Normally I wouldn’t have followed the story up the very next day unless something profound happened (or someone really truly planted their head up there ass and I couldn’t help but comment)

Today is just one of those occasions but it isn’t just one person who has implanted their head up their ass but a whole branch of the US government. This morning NASA put all future shuttle flights because the foam that fell off the shuttle was too similar in nature to what happened to Columbia.

This instantly raised a few very serious questions in my mind: What did you guys spend 2.5 years doing? If the foam is the problem why didn’t’ you make the foam better? Or if you knew the foam could damage the tiles why didn’t you make the tiles stronger or give the shuttle crew the ability to fix them on their own? And probably one of the biggest questions is what did you spend $1 billion dollars of the taxpayer’s money on?

As far as I am concerned NASA is being overly cautious and they haven’t really solved the problem that destroyed the Columbia. Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites in the span of a few years and at the cost of $20million dollars was able to send a man to the edge of space. What I would love to see is the US government give someone like Rutan $500 million and commission him to build a reentry vehicle and make it a private organization. Each shuttle launch costs if I remember correctly $400 million dollars, scrap one and spend the money to develop something adequate from scratch to get yourselves to the moon in time to meet Bush’s outline.

The first rockets capable of truly reaching space were developed shortly after WWII and by 1969 there was a man on the moon. So over a span of just over 20 years from being able to get to space we put someone on the moon but in my life (28 years) the space agency hasn’t developed a new launch vehicle, they’ve lost 2 shuttles and subsequently 2 extended breaks from space flights. With the technology advances in the last 15-20 years alone they should be able to get to the moon and to mars without any problems….

So what happened?

I guess the next person on moon might be from China, India or Japan since those countries seem willing to take some risks and use more current technologies to get into space.

Good Luck running the marathon NASA it seems you’ve shot yourselves in the foot again.

Some articles:
Yahoo Article

Wikipedia: Space Exploration

Wikipedia: Apollo 11 Program

Scaled Composites Website