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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:Here we go... (Score 1) 449

by SQL Error (#47506317) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

There is no crime in war. War has no law.

Tell that to Peter von Hagenbach, was was convicted and executed for war crimes in 1474 . He even offered the "only following orders" excuse.

Regardless, if you want to morally judge the actions of both sides here, Israel comes out looking far, far worse.

I'm not morally judging actions, I'm legally judging actions. Hamas is deliberately and systematically committing war crimes as defined by international law.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 5, Insightful) 449

by SQL Error (#47505913) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

More than 500 Palestinians dead and climbing and you say Israel is trying to minimise casualties? Do you seriously expect people to believe that?

Absolutely, yes. If Israel were actually out to cause casualties, rather than to prevent them, the death toll would be enormous. If they were merely careless of civilian casualties, the death toll would not only be higher, it would be statistically correlated with the demographics of the Palestinian people, with deaths of women, children, and the elderly roughly in proportion to the size of those groups in the general population.

Instead, the Palestinian death statistics are massively skewed towards males aged 18-38. That can't happen if you're killing civilians either deliberately or carelessly. But it's exactly what you'd see if you were carefully targeting enemy combatants.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 449

by SQL Error (#47505901) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

Israel has never shown themselves to be ready for peaceful coexistence

That is quite simply untrue. Israel has shown that consistently for decades.

Peaceful co-existence doesn't mean there won't be disagreements. Even closely allied nations disagree with one another all the time. It means there won't be war.

I(and neither has Hamas).

That, at least, is true. Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel; it's stated explicitly in their charter.

Comment: Re: Here we go... (Score 4, Interesting) 449

by SQL Error (#47505869) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

Of course, if you put an entire people inside an area more akin to the ghetto of Warsaw then a real country. An area with an insanely high population density an almost no way in our out for armed forces of their own the what did you expect really?

I expect Israel would gladly hand the Gaza Strip back to Egypt at this point. It doesn't seem that Egypt wants it back.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 449

by SQL Error (#47505849) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

The root cause of this mess is that the Palestinians want their land back (after it was bought from them first in the post-WW2 UN partition plan that broke up Palestine into a Palestinian section and a Jewish section and then later further taken by the new state of Israel in various wars)

FTFY

Yes, a very important point.

Actually, the root cause can be traced back another couple of decades, to the various crises in the British Mandate of Palestine following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. You might argue that the British handled things badly, but I'm not that sure that it could have been handled well. By the time World War II was over, there was little that could be done to repair the situation.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 4, Interesting) 449

by SQL Error (#47505815) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

If you view either side as clearly in the right, you're a fucking fool.

Israel is clearly in the right.

That doesn't mean that Israel is without fault. Clearly, they're not. But we have one side ready for peaceful coexistence and the other side who wants only the total destruction of their enemies.

The situation is not complicated. That doesn't mean solving it is easy; there are many simple problems that are hard to solve. But we can say for sure that false equivalencies do not help.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 4, Insightful) 449

by SQL Error (#47505791) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

They're not at war? Are you high? Hamas has declared war on Israel from day one. At this very moment Israel and Gaza is exchanging rockets missiles and bombs and hundreds of people are being killed every day. If, as you say, "Israel could wipe them out in a matter of days", then do it and get it over with.

Israel are trying to minimise casualties on both sides. Hamas are trying to maximise Israeli casualties, and use Palestinian casualties to their political advantage. It's a perfect example of asymmetrical warfare; the capabilities and aims of the combatants are completely different.

Israel has the military capability to destroy Gaza, just as the US had the military capability to destroy Iraq or Afghanistan back in 2003. But doing so is not in their long-term interests.

Comment: Re:5% 0%. (Score 2) 449

by SQL Error (#47505727) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

The problem is it is not sustainable. Each intercept missile cost $60,000, a rocket launched by hamas costs $800.

Israel's GDP is the equivalent of about US$250 billion. They can easily afford tens of thousands of intercept missiles if it keeps the population safe.

Hamas can DDoS the hell of out Israel.

DDoS attacks generally rely on multiplier effects, getting someone else to do most of the work for you. Botnets, service vulnerabilities like the NTP reflection attack, that sort of thing. Hamas don't appear to have any such advantage.

All they need is decently trained soldiers and decent supply of rockets.

And if they had three fully-equipped tank divisions and a carrier group, that would help too.

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

:-)

You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

If I want your opinion, I'll ask you to fill out the necessary form.

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