So… we’re abandoning the International Space Station?

Looks like that might happen.  Only ‘temporarily,’ of course.

Astronauts may need to temporarily withdraw from the International Space Station before the end of this year if Russia is unable to resume manned flights of its Soyuz rocket after a failed cargo launch last week, according to the NASA official in charge of the outpost.

Mind you, ‘temporarily’ in bureaucrat-speak means ‘a unit of time ranging from the sound of the beep [beep!] to five minutes before the end of time…’

Via Glenn Reynolds.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Hey, do you know what 787 billion dollars could have bought us in 2009?  A functional manned space program!  Then we and the ISS wouldn’t be dependent on the Russians’ ability to launch rockets that don’t blow up!  No, wait, forgot: Texas, Alabama, and Florida won’t be voting Democratic in the next Presidential election.  Never mind…


  • BCochran1981 says:

    Someone should tell Obama that the ET’s are Muslim. That would get the space program fired right back up.

  • Rob Crawford says:

    We’re not allowed to generate the power needed to keep the lights on, our homes warm, and fresh water in our pipes, so the abandonment of the Frontier is no shock.

    My biggest question is whether the collapse will be slow and peaceful or fast and destructive. Gotta know how — and whether — to prepare.

  • Ric Locke says:

    False choice, Rob. “Slow and destructive” is not only well within the bounds of possibility, it’s the way to bet.

    And I’ll quarrel with Moe here: $787 billion would /not/ have bought a manned space program. The design they were working on at the time was set up for maximum pork, with any utility as a spacecraft or space launch system strictly a tertiary or worse consideration. It could have easily soaked up that amount without ever producing a piece of spaceworthy hardware. The private companies couldn’t have soaked up that much money. Elon Musk, in particular, would’ve had to build a money bin á lá Scrooge McDuck to store his share ’til he could use it.


  • Peloquin says:

    I bet we would have kept the shuttle program running until we found a replacement – if the economy was doing better. The economy would be doing better if two things didn’t happen – The two free trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA) until other economies weren’t using slave labor, and the housing bubble. These were both under Bush’s watch, but Obama hasn’t changed anything.

    No useful financial regulations on Wall St., no tariffs raised to match our labor forces minimum requirements. Is this really so difficult? It’s not like it’s rocket surgery man!

  • Ric Locke says:

    Peloquin, I know it’s counterintuitive, but you really oughta look it up. /Every/ major school of economics, Marxist to Libertarian, has run the numbers — and free trade is an advantage to the free trader, even when its trade partners are using slave labor. Trade protections are for the benefit of the oligarchy, not the people or the economy as a whole. The sugar tariff is an example. The logic chain is too long for a comment, but it is entirely plausible that the epidemic of obesity in this country can be directly attributed to attempts to keep a few fatcats in Louisiana and Mississippi in Escalades.
    As for Shuttle, it had no function whatever except as a mechanism for delivering pork. Goodbye, and good riddance — except that we aren’t rid of it. It lives on as the “Space Launch System”, a pork-barrel project that’s starving the guys who could actually go to space.

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