I awoke at 5:30 a.m. today and stepped out onto my porch to hear the twin sonic booms as Atlantis made her final approach, realizing as I sat there in the pre-dawn stillness that it would be the last time I’d hear it, marking the end of my “travels” with the shuttle program.
We mourn the premature end of the program, feeling it here acutely, and I’d bet that any worker at Kennedy Space Center who voted for Obama is bitterly disappointed and remorseful. Brevard County, the nation’s “Space Coast” is sinking into (economic) depression.
AJ Strata’s post below says it all. We, as a country, have let ourselves down. Our benign neglect as citizens has brought us the Marxist, and the result, never more clearly seen — the destruction of the space program, marking the end of our national glory. For now…
Here at the Cape, anyone who has ever worked on the shuttle launch team is invited to a get together on Aug 13 to “celebrate” (commiserate) our shuttle program successes.
The KSC Visitor Complex will host a “We Made History, Shuttle Program Celebration” event on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets are available thru the NASA Exchange or KARS. They are $5 apiece, and can only be obtained through someone who works out there. I’ll be there. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.
After Half A Century, Obama Ends America’s Leadership In Space Exploration.
Fate or coincidence have two very disturbing headlines side-by-side this morning. Not surprisingly – unless of course your a brainwashed liberal – jobless claims are once again on the rise as the economy falters under the crushing deficit spending, mounting debt and uselessly intrusive federal government. A federal behemoth jacked up by reckless liberal actions from the recent Obama, Reid, Pelosi era of run amok government intervention and madness. (more here at Hot Air)
The other news regards this being the last flight of the Space Shuttle, after which
tens ofthousands of more people will be laid off now in Florida and Texas, as well as all across the country where parts and service contractors once helped lead mankind into the final frontier. The sad irony of the headlines is brutally obvious.
This is the incoherency of President Obama and his total lack of practical experience. This and his obsession with trains to/from nowhere California. The sad fact is the cost of that useless high speed air mover in California alone could have funded the next generation of space vehicles and kept America’s leadership in space exploration. But no, we threw away our exploration vehicles instead.
In the early 1960′s under John F Kennedy, arguably the last great Democrat President, this nation embarked on a peaceful and historic endeavor to leave this planet and explore the heavens. And to do that this nation created engineering marvels that had been only vague concepts – vehicles which took humans safely into orbit, and later onto the moon. My father worked on the first of these wondrous missions and with their amazing machines – Gemini & Mercury.
The Mercury Mission was America’s answer to the Russians reaching orbit ahead of us. Gemini paved the way for the Apollo Missions and our exploration of another celestial body. We had embarked on the greatest exploration ever proposed.
My father worked on the communications systems, and worked to integrate the first two IBM computers into a single system. His efforts exemplify how the act of exploration pushed technology in all directions and dimensions – providing a direct benefit to the American economy and humanity itself. Computer technology leaped forward in the wake of this nation’s drive to have humans explore off-world. And from that enhanced computational capability uncountable progress was achieved in areas as diverse as medicine, food preservation, communications, etc.
President Kennedy knew that when chasing a challenge, all sorts of benefits can come rippling off the effort itself – even if the goal is not reached. But we did reach Kennedy’s goal under Apollo, and once again America had produced technology and machines that had never existed anywhere outside the imagination of science fiction writers.
In the 1970′s we decided to stop visiting space and instead work and do scientific research in space. Two ambitious programs were initiated, the first being the Space Shuttle. It’s maiden flight was in 1981, and can be seen below in a picture similar to the one I have on my office wall. This iconic image is easily distinguished from all other shuttle flights because it was the only flight where the fuel tank was painted white. All the others saved the expense and weight, since the tank burns up in the atmosphere after it is jettisoned.
After 3 decades of flights, everyone knew a next generation of manned space vehicles were needed to continue the 50 year dream initiated by President Kennedy. And so, under President Bush, the Constellation Program was initiated and it returned to our Apollo roots for it’s inspiration. Initially, as I noted here, President Obama claimed he was trying to find ways to make it work. At the time I was fooled into thinking President Obama had some clue as to the importance of our space exploration leadership:
I have to admit I have been worried Obama would delay or cancel the new exploration of space. But this move indicates bold, out-of-the-box thinking that looks at innovative ways to save money AND meet the objectives. NASA would do itself some good by being more open minded and less inclined to turf wars.
I was wrong. President Obama did in fact cancel the program. And now, for the first time since 1961, we do not have any vehicles to shuttle our astronauts into space. We cannot fly our own people to the International Space Station, the 2nd great endeavor we embarked upon in the 1970′s and 1980′s. We spent billions developing and building the Space Station and we just recently marked 10 years continuous operations there – yet we now need to pay Russia to get us to and from it. We can’t do it on our own anymore. (Technically this is a violation of law, which mandates we must be able to perform all our space missions with our own assets so no nation can hold us hostage – a minor detail this administration has clearly ignored).
Instead of leading humanity’s exploration of the Final Frontier, President Obama plans on wasting billions of dollars on a train to and from nowhere. As Michael Barone so precisely noted, Obama’s train obsession is not cutting edge anything:
Obama has called high-speed rail an “investment” in cutting-edge technology. But it’s hardly cutting-edge: Japan debuted its bullet train in 1964, and France inaugurated its TGV in 1981.
Today is one of those crystallizing days where the inanity of our leaders comes shining through. We have an incompetent and clueless administration attempting to operate way above their skill levels. We have thrown away our technological lead in space vehicle development and instead plan to waste it on a crippled train in the middle of farm fields. No wonder as to why our nation is so far off course after three years into the Obama Administration.