Discovery landing (Live).

What’s that?  Oh, the Discovery is an Earth orbiter; we used it for various scientific and economic purposes, back when we had an actual manned space program.  They’re bringing it into DC today to put it into a museum*: you can watch it here.

Take a good look, folks.  Because damned if I know when we’re going back up there.  But don’t worry: the administration plans to spend that money right here on Earth…

Moe Lane

*Because that’s what we do with dead things that retain a certain cultural sentimental value.

7 thoughts on “Discovery landing (Live).”

  1. Wrong attitude, Moe. Discovery belongs in a museum… as the apotheosis of How Not To Do It (Bureaucratic division). Alan Shepard famously said “It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.” What he failed to note was that the thing he was riding in was also the result of bureaucratic horsetrading and politics.

    Mercury/Gemini/Apollo were, arguably, achievements by engineers and scientists with Government support. Shuttle was never, ever anything but a pork barrel whose primary purpose was generating Cash for Congresscritters; as such, the tradeoffs that ultimately crippled it mainly derived from Congressional supporters having to divert funds to limit opposition from other Congresscritters with other objectives. Poster child for that: Orrin Hatch. At the same time, the culture of bureaucracy fostered by NASA, in which no project was ever complete until the paperwork massed more than the vehicle, crippled the rest of our aerospace programs.

    If the Smithsonian were honest, it would display its orbiter on a pylon made of Government specifications, tax forms, and other paperwork, and label it “Apotheosis of Wrongheaded Politics”.

    The good news is, it’s approximately September 11, 1962 out there. Private companies are reaching for access to space and getting there, using machines and people instead of paperwork and fol-de-rol, and building real, usable things instead of performance art equivalents of equestrian statues to dead politicians. Tough to have to rewind a half-century of wasted effort, but that’s what happens when you start out with wrong goals and press forward with maximum effort.

    1. Ric: you are assuming that the current administration has any intention of letting private industry do anything really worthwhile in space.

  2. Hey, at least now NASA can focus on their all important goal of Muslim outreach…

  3. Hard to get excited about Trucks In Space. Scrap the manned program and move all the funds to the Planetary Sciences division. Much more bang for the buck. And spare me the “nobility of exploration” and assorted BS. It and ISS were a colossal waste of money that accomplished next to nothing when compared to Voyager, any Mars lander, Cassini, Hubble. (And don’t use Hubble as a justification either, since that was DESIGNED to be put on the Shuttle as a make-work project).

  4. (a) Worst case, we’ve got another five years of “this administration”. It took at least that long for NASA to get anything reasonable done.
    (b) At the very least, we aren’t spending millions for a Potemkin space program, which is what we had.
    Private space may not get anywhere. That will simply be a symptom that the United States isn’t getting anywhere, and that won’t be private space’s fault.

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