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+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Documentation (Score 3, Funny) 350

by Tablizer (#47518453) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

You don't gettit. See, if they documented node.js well, it would no longer have "nerd cred"; it would become Yet Another Boring Framework/Tool with 20 titles out like Learn Node.Js in 7 Days Unleashed Bible Face-First into the Deep End Without Water instead of an elite tool for elite nerds who can master the arcane and obtuse to write the distributed 3D and Fix in 3 days.

Comment: Re:We need competition, not mergers (Score 1) 62

by Tablizer (#47505447) Attached to: Rupert Murdoch's Quest To Buy Time Warner: Not Done Yet

If the merger is squelched, then maybe Murdoch would decide to form his own ISP to compete with TW, giving us more competition. After all, if you cannot buy X, you have the option of becoming X's competitor. That's what the system should encourage. When you have a fat wallet it's too easy to buy a near monopoly instead of compete head on.

Comment: Re:This is just a repeat (Score 5, Insightful) 275

can die a slow painful death and rid us of their filth forever

Hold on, as much as Microsoft has ticked me off for 3+ decades, I don't want to see Google with a monopoly either. MS kind of keeps them in check.

So let's compromise, and watch MS get punched in the face a few times, okay 50 times, but not knocked out, just wobbly.

Comment: We need competition, not mergers (Score 1, Insightful) 62

by Tablizer (#47504619) Attached to: Rupert Murdoch's Quest To Buy Time Warner: Not Done Yet

Screw big-media mergers. We need more competition as the current oligopolies have some of the worse customer service records there are, and high prices compared to the rest of world, even in denser population areas where the "rural long wire" argument doesn't hold up.

Oligopolies & monopolies almost always result in crappy service/products/prices.

The "economies of scale" argument for defending them is weak. That claim was used to protect the Detroit Big 3, but the Medium 7 from Japan came along and kicked the Big 3 in the ass.

I'll take the downsides of (alleged) lack of "economies of scale" over the sloth of oligopolies.

I have only 2 realistic ISP choices in my area, and it's not rural by any stretch. It's a hefty suburb right next to a major city. And both suck. The pushy sales persons on the phone eventually admit their service sucks when presented with undeniable evidence, but will blatantly make the argument, "Okay, we suck, but we can get you crappy service at a better price than the other crappy guy". Even they know they suck; they just claim they suck for less $ (at least until the "special offer" period runs out).

It's like two satan's arguing, "Okay, yes, we are hot here and your ass will indeed get burned off. BUT, we have better elevator music to listen to while you fry."

Always think of something new; this helps you forget your last rotten idea. -- Seth Frankel