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Comment: Re:and yet, the GOP blocks private space. (Score 1) 96

by thrich81 (#49706557) Attached to: Russian Rocket Crashes In Siberia

From the same Wikipedia link you posted: "The Obama administration instituted the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Commission, to review the human spaceflight plans of the United States after the time NASA had planned to retire the Space Shuttle. .... The Committee judged the 9 year old Constellation program to be so behind schedule, underfunded and over budget that meeting any of its goals would not be possible. The President removed the program from the 2010 NASA budget request and a bi-partisan congress refused to fund it any longer, effectively canceling the program."
Constellation had already failed by the time Obama took office. Constellation was porked out from the start, spent all its money and had nothing to show for it. It wasn't going to work. Read the Augustine Commission's report.

Comment: Free Market Republicans at their Finest (Score 1, Informative) 103

by thrich81 (#49703753) Attached to: House Science Committee Approves Changes To Space Law

They extended the law which gives commercial companies $2.2 billion of free liability insurance, courtesy of the taxpayers.
"The same voting pattern followed on commercial launch indemnification, which expires at the end of 2016. The bill proposed a seven-year extension from the end of 2016 to 2023. The committee approved Knight’s amendment to extend the cost-sharing arrangement to the end of 2025. The Democrats wanted an extension to 2020.
Under law, companies are responsibility for damages from a launch up to $500 million. The federal government covers any damages from $500 million to $2.7 billion. Companies are responsible for any damages above that level."

Comment: Re:If Congress is for it (Score 1) 355

You should have stopped at "math major", so you've just admitted that you are not an expert in the models and analysis specific to the climate field. Every person with a STEM major thinks they are qualified to criticize climate science. You don't hear everyone with a STEM major yapping in with their opinion when the subject of a proof of the Riemann hypothesis comes up. By the way I was a math major, too, and I work with climate scientists and in their specialty they know a lot more about the math involved than I do.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 4, Informative) 108

by thrich81 (#49581339) Attached to: Russian Cargo Spacehip Declared Lost

Modded up by somebody but contradicted by the facts. After the loss of Challenger there was a gap of 2 years 8 months until the next Shuttle launch. After the loss of Columbia there was a gap of 2 years 6 months until the next Shuttle launch. Neither of which qualifies as "the best part of a decade". Prudent amounts of time to do the investigation of failure of such a complex and expensive system and implement changes to reasonably reduce risk of another loss going forward. Even during the space race days of Apollo when greater risks were accepted, the gap between the planned launch of Apollo 1 and the actual flight of Apollo 7 was 1 year 8 months. Anyone who tries to go quicker or tries to cheap out on the investigation after a loss is likely to lose another crew shortly thereafter which will really shut a program down.

Comment: Re:Partners in space (Score 1) 120

by thrich81 (#49576991) Attached to: Russian Cargo Mission To ISS Spinning Out of Control

Constellation basically cancelled itself by going way over budget with almost nothing to show for it except a useless suborbital launch of a glorified Space Shuttle solid rocket booster and no hope of ever maintaining a semblance of a budget going forward. And Obama didn't end the shuttle program -- he just executed the end of the shuttle program as scheduled and planned by the Bush administration and Congress before he took office.

Comment: Re:edu-babble (Score 4, Interesting) 352

by thrich81 (#49557989) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

From personal experience, I don't know where this educational reform is you are talking about. I went through a good set of public schools in the 70's in a good middle class school system. The Friday night football game was the highlight of the week at high school. Classes were pretty good, the kids that wanted to, got into good colleges. Now, 40 years later, my kids are going through a good set of public schools in a good middle class school system. The Friday night football game is the highlight of the week at high school. The kids that want to are getting into good colleges. Two main differences from my experiences -- my kids seem to be learning more advanced concepts in math and science sooner than I did and the school district doesn't offer Driver's Ed as an elective. I wish that Driver's Ed was an elective, other than that the K-12 education experience seems as good or better than what I got.

Comment: Re:Free country? USA???? (Score 1) 289

"the US of A hasn't passed the 'free country' test, for the past 2 decades or so" -- the AC who posted this and anyone who believes it is grossly ignorant of history. Take a look at the Espionage Act of 1917. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus. Look up the history of the Japanese-Americans interned during WWII. Prohibition in the 20s. Women couldn't vote until the 20's. Anyone other than Caucasians effectively couldn't vote until the '60s. Look up the destruction of people and careers during the Red Scares of the Cold War (start with Robert Oppenheimer). Hell, go look up the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 passed by the great "Founding Fathers". The USA has never been as "free" as the myths about it say, just usually better than almost anywhere else. It (the USA) has always been a work in progress and by many measures is more free now than it has been in the past, especially compared to the 20th century. J Edgar Hoover was FBI director for life and (unlike today's NSA) didn't make a big secret of the surveillance files he kept on anyone he disliked. Anyone want to go back to the 1920's, 30's, 40's, or 50's? -- you don't get to choose who you go back as and may be of another race than Caucasian or sexual orientation other than male and heterosexual.

Comment: Re:Right to remain silent (Score 1) 133

by thrich81 (#49354883) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

In this case the State is paying all the bills -- those people's salaries, the inflated salaries of the Northrop Grumman executives, and the inflated profits which Northrop Grumman is getting from the project. Don't want to talk to the State actors? -- fine, then don't accept a paycheck from them either. The State needs to cut off the money spigot until there is more cooperation from the contractor.

Comment: Re: 9 whole billion? OUTRAGEOUS! (Score 1) 133

by thrich81 (#49353901) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Wait a minute -- Since when is "Add another 50 percent to make it flight qualified and for the various surprises that happen at the coal face and aren't quite as evident when you're writing a grant proposal" supposed to be a normal part of project execution? Flight qualification is supposed to be built into the project cost from the beginning. And any honest cost proposal for an aerospace project with new technology needs a large contingency reserve. No, even by your numbers the Webb is incredibly overbudget and I've seen original budget estimates for it closer to $1.6 billion than $4 billion. Either this project was fraudulently underbid in the original proposals (standard procedure in big government aerospace projects -- see F-35) or the original cost proposers were totally incompetent along with the managers and program officials who accepted those estimates (also standard procedure in the aerospace industry). Webb should have been cancelled on principle a long time ago to discourage this sort of proposal/management style in the future. If costing the Webb was as easy as you stated it then why were the original numbers so far off?

Comment: Re:This is why NASA needs to privatize (Score 1) 59

by thrich81 (#49305541) Attached to: Report: NASA May Miss SLS Launch Deadline

I can't say about SpaceX and they already have their Falcon Heavy in the works (which doesn't match the SLS specs), but Boeing is already the prime contractor for most of the SLS vehicle -- "Boeing is the prime contractor for the design, development, test and production of the launch vehicle cryogenic stages, as well as development of the avionics suite."

Being an old school aerospace contractor, Boeing knows the risks to deliver new, cutting edge space hardware*. I doubt they would take this project on as fixed cost or with a hard delivery date.

*Yeah, I know that SLS doesn't look cutting edge compared to the Saturn V or Space Shuttle, but it's development will be sucha large effort, it might as well be.
Don't take anything I said here as actual approval of how the SLS was conceived and is being done.

HEAD CRASH!! FILES LOST!! Details at 11.