It’s up… and it’s GOOD!

Shuttle has landed safely!And I’m damn happy about it. The shuttle is still the most impressive human endeavor I’ve ever seen. Sears Tower? Eifel Tower? Bupkiss. Getcherself a lawn chair and sit a mile away from the shuttle as it fires up its engines and all of that just seems piddling.
I really, REALLY don’t understand the people who think this is just like a slightly fancier 727. And I have no patience for people who think we should just lock the whole thing up in a warehouse and forget about it.
Just wish the replacement for the shuttle would actually be a step forward. But it won’t.

6 Responses to “It’s up… and it’s GOOD!”

The advantage to only listening to NPR is that one never hears about people who actually think the shuttle is a souped up 727.

As far as how useful the space program is, I have to admit that my faith in it is pretty much shot. The shuttle is a cool piece of technology (one of the most impressive in human history to be sure), but it was meant as a test bed. It is being used as a permanent reusable launch vehicle. I wish the designers of the ISS had understood that without a more efficient launch vehicle, the station would not reach it’s full potential.

Speaking of potential, what the hell are we going to do in space right now? Sadly, I sort of agree with Shrub (Bush). Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is useful as a staging area to get to other places like the Moon and Mars, and astronomy, but that’s about it. Furthermore, as LEO becomes more populated, it loses its utility for astronomy.

I will grant you that Shrub most definitely did not go through this analysis, and probably thinks he is going to bring freedom to the aliens, whose (possible) existence nullifies his belief system.

ion - August 12th, 2005 at 9:18 am

“The advantage to only listening to NPR is that one never hears about people who actually think the shuttle is a souped up 727.” But that can also be a disadvantage — a lot of liberals, especially those in the Boulder Bubble, get out of touch with mainstream America and consequently forget how to, or simply become too apathetic in trying to, communicate important issues to them… They exist and, unfortunately, they vote.

Teisha - August 12th, 2005 at 10:19 am

Teisha, I responded to your comment in a new thread: “New topic on liberalism.”

ion - August 12th, 2005 at 10:57 am

I have to agree with ion’s accessment of the shuttle program– It’s great that it works, yeah, but it wasn’t meant to be used this long. We need some innovation.

I’m happy Russia is going to be offering private moon walks for a cool $100 million. I hope they get some takers… maybe a construction/mining company. I can dream, eh?

Paradoxdruid - August 12th, 2005 at 12:01 pm

I agree with ion’s first comment too. We really should be doing more to get outside of our immediate neighborhood, but it’s not going to happen while all we’re using is the shuttle. I’d say Bush’s commitment to extending our range seems to be even less impressive than ion does though. I don’t really see much actually happening with this other than something people can point to as an example of Bush supporting science, which there doesn’t seem to be much else to do that with. I admit I haven’t followed this area as much as I do other subjects, so if there really is stuff going on that others know about I’d like to hear.

mcmillan - August 14th, 2005 at 1:30 pm

Bush’s plan just seems like the perfect opportunity for the GOP to smother NASA in its sleep.
“Okay, NASA, invest a bunch of money in finishing and then retiring the ISS. Okay, and then invest the rest of your budget in retiring the shuttle. And after that, we’ll maybe come up with the money for you to fly a replacement.”
And notice the last shuttle flight is to come, what, two years after Bush leaves office? Or is it four (i.e. when whichever GOPher rides his tails in to the white house would be up for re-election)?
This isn’t a step forward. It’s placing NASA on the chopping block while everyone cheers.

Owen - August 23rd, 2005 at 5:24 am

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