March 14, 2010
Did you miss me? I know you guys did, so no need to lie about it. I missed you! Anyway, if I happen to blog about something a co-blogger all ready wrote about, chalk it up to the fine traditions here on DPUD of not actually reading the blog.
So. Space! Did you know - and this may shock you - that the shuttle program costs money? I know, shocking stuff there. But, with so many congresscritters up in arms over Teh Won's treatment of NASA, the space agency thought they might just point out the fact that, while it's all well and good to keep the shuttle program running, someone's gotta find the two billion dollars a year to make it happen:
Money is the key to keeping the shuttles flying, said program manager John Shannon.
"The shuttle program is fairly expensive. We burn at about a $200 million-a-month rate. So that gives you a base of about $2.4 billion per year ... almost irregardless of how many flights," Shannon told reporters.
He added: "Where that money comes from is the big question."
Shannon said NASA already has an extra fuel tank and pair of boosters, which are set aside for a potential rescue mission for the last shuttle crew. Assuming no rescue is needed, that set could be used for one additional flight to haul up supplies and spare parts to the space station, already 11 years old with another 10 years ahead.
The shuttle is the biggest space station supplier by far. In fact, some of the big-ticket pieces of equipment can only fit into a shuttle's payload bay. As for NASA's astronauts, they already are hitching rides on Soyuz capsules.
To create even more flights, tank production would have to be restarted, with a lead time of about two years. The only way to avoid such a lengthy gap would be to space out the remaining missions, Shannon said.
As for other shuttle parts, the suppliers are still in business and could start up production again for NASA, he said.
Regarding safety, Shannon said NASA has been recertifying the most critical shuttle parts since 2005, when flights resumed following the Columbia tragedy. The space agency also has met with experts on aging aviation vehicles, like the B-52 bomber.
Until receiving orders to the contrary, NASA is proceeding as if only four flights remain.
No wonder these idiots can't run the fucking economy. They can't even figure out that sending rocketships to space costs money.
March 08, 2010
Trooper Gary Dunick said. "If I wasn't there, I wouldn't have believed it. About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot ... who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, 'Nothing will ever beat this.' Well, this takes it."
So what beats that?
The day before the wreck, Barnes was convicted in an Upper Keys court of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license, ...was ordered to impound her car, and her driver's license was revoked for five years,
Oopsie, but still not that weird.
Wait for it....wait for it.....
troopers say a two-vehicle crash Tuesday at Mile Marker 21 on Cudjoe Key was caused by a 37-year-old woman driver who was shaving her bikini area while her ex-husband took the wheel from the passenger seat.
They don't mention any jerking off, I'm going to assume he got his pants zipped up before the police showed up.
Via Boortz. I can't believe he beat Drudge to that story.
Sorta like when I see this at Ace's next week I'll know I was first.
March 05, 2010
Teh Won is fighting hard to get some semblance of bipartisanship. He promised to bring sweeping change and hope and unicorns and rainbows and skittles to D.C., and instead, all he's achieved is the Chicago Way and infighting and hatred and anger.
That said, it's got to be refreshing for the administration to finally get some cooperation between the GOP and the Democrats. It's got to be nice to know that there's some common ground between these two parties. Perhaps, even, a sign of great things to come for Big O and his plans to turn America into one big entitlement nannarchy. A place where Democrats and Republicans can hold hands and agree with each other!
Except, of course, that this bipartisanship is in opposition of his NASA budget and the cancellation of Constellation ... which means that the only time Obama can get two parties to meet in the middle is when they're opposing him.
That tastes almost as good as bacon.
Obama's plan to terminate Constellation, including the Orion crew exploration vehicle and Ares family of rockets, encountered bipartisan resistance from House and Senate lawmakers during budget hearings held in February.
On Wednesday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, proposed a new bill that, if passed, would extend the space shuttle program for two years beyond its planned 2010 retirement.
Hutchison's bill would also require the space agency to study options for a new launcher that could be ready to deliver U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of 2013 and beyond low Earth orbit by the end of 2018.
The bill, dubbed the Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act, calls for spending an additional $3.4 billion between 2010 and 2012 to keep the space shuttle flying. It would require NASA to spread out its four remaining shuttle missions, now slated to wrap up by October, and potentially add additional flights.
Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the House next week by U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas, D-Fla., and Bill Posey, R-Fla.
3.4 billion is peanuts to this administration. And, hey, bipartisanship's gotta count for something, right?
March 01, 2010
In typical Teh Won short-sightedness, it looks like shutting down Constellation - the program that was supposed to get us back on the moon - is going to be harder than it sounds. Funny how, when you sign a contract and then decide to reneg on it, you still have to pay the people you contracted. Then, to further complicate matters, as I mentioned a few months ago, Congress has made it impossible for NASA to cancel any of its space programs without express consent from - oh, yes! - Congress. Not Teh Won, but Congress.
Letters have gone out to Constellation contractors, asking how much it will cost to shut their work down. Monday, NASA wrote to ATK Launch Systems Inc., which is building the first stage of the Ares I, requesting estimates of termination costs "as of the end of this and each of the next three [financial] quarters."
The agency was careful to point out that the letter "is in no way to be construed as direction to cease [work]." Congress has forbidden NASA from canceling any part of Constellation without its permission, which so far it shows no signs of giving.
Indeed, about 30 members of Congress wrote Bolden recently to warn that his efforts to prepare for termination without permission from Congress — including gathering information about closeout costs — could be viewed as illegal.
Then, at a hearing Thursday, some of those same members berated Bolden for not having a cost figure.
"You really don't have a handle on what the cancellation cost will be," said U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R- Utah, in disbelief. "To me, it's somewhat of a backwards approach. It would be nice for a congressman or somebody making policy decisions if we knew what the costs would be before you actually make that decision."
This is such a giant clusterfuck, and it gives me immense, incredible joy to point out that The Suit-In-Chief hasn't had the foresight to consider any of this before he went about shutting down an expensive program that is all about the Hope and Change he tries to espouse. Shit, the Congressional rule that NASA can't close shit down without their permission happened in 2009, which means that it crossed Obama's fucking desk!
I hate to go back to an old meme, but seriously, Obama, good, solid B+. Yep.
(H/T Slashdot via Joe Collins)
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