April 13, 2010
Aside from that whole, first-man-to-walk-on-the-moon thing, he also decided to vocalize his thoughts on Obama's new space plans. Oh, and did I mention that his thoughts are that Obama's space plan sucks serious fucking dick? (I'm, uh, slightly paraphrasing that ...)
Canceling Constellation could lead to thousands of layoffs at some of America's biggest aerospace contractors, including Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Co. and ATK. Such job losses are among the factors behind congressional opposition to the cancellation. Armstrong and his fellow astronauts emphasize the bigger implications, however, and say in their letter that the decision would put the nation on a "long downhill slide to mediocrity."
The letter notes that the U.S. space effort will be dependent for years to come on the Russians for transport to the International Space Station, at a cost of more than $50 million per seat.
NASA is budgeting billions of dollars to support the development of U.S. commercial spaceships that could help fill the gap. The beneficiaries of those billions would include smaller aerospace ventures, such as California-based SpaceX and Virginia-based Orbital Sciences. In their letter, the astronauts say that the availability of such craft "cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope."
Armstrong and his colleagues complained that the cancellation would amount to wasting the roughly $10 billion that has been allocated to Constellation over the past five years. "Equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to re-create the equivalent of what we will have discarded," they wrote.
"For the United States, the leading spacefaring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature," they said in the letter.
One giant leap for awesomeness, sir. I salute you.
April 06, 2010
Oh, supply and demand, how I love thee. Now, it's been a really long time since I took an economy class, but, as I recall, as demand increases, prices tend to rise. Seems like a pretty basic premise. Now, I'm not saying that I'm an expert or anything, but I think I have a basic enough understand of supply and demand to say that I know what will happen in certain scenarios.
For example, if group A and group B both make the same thing, and every now and then, group A uses some of group B's equipment, group B will charge X amount. Now, let's say that group A is going out of business, but still wants to use group B's equipment. Now that group B is the dominant force on the market, group B is going to charge whatever the market will bear for the same service.
Everyone agree? (Since this isn't exactly an interactive forum, I will continue my point. Take that, that one guy who reads this blog! Or, tell me I'm a dumbass in the comments. That's cool, too.)
So. Let's replace, in the example above, group A with NASA, group B with the Russians, equipment with space shuttles, and X with 26.3 million dollars. Check out what happens!
The price for American astronauts to hitch a ride on a Russian spaceship is going sky high.
NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year.
I wish I were as S-M-R-T as Teh Won ...
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