Monday, July 14, 2008

Encapsulate thinking

NASA engineers work on alternative moon rocket
By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 14, 4:13 PM ET
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - By day, the engineers work on NASA's new Ares moon rockets. By night, some go undercover to work on a competing design. These dissenting scientists and their backers insist they have created an alternative rocket that would be safer, cheaper and easier to build than the two Ares spacecraft that will replace the space shuttle.

They call their project Jupiter, and like Ares, it's a brainchild of workers at the Marshall Space Flight Center and other NASA facilities. The engineers involved are doing the work on their own time and mostly anonymously, with the help of retirees and other space enthusiasts.

A key Ares project manager dismisses their design as little more than a sketch on a napkin that won't work.

Remember I said that in my entire adult life I've never really been proud of my country? Well, this is why.
The last time I was really proud of my country was back in the late 60s and early 70s when I'd sit in front of an old black and white TV set and watch images of American astronauts walking and driving on the moon and going through all the step it took to get there from Alan B. Shepherd's suborbital shot to Ed White's Gemini space walk to Wally Schirra's awesome Apollo shake-down flight and when Lovell, Borman and Anders made the first flight into Moon orbit. I was there watching every step, every misstep, every triumph and every tragedy. I built models of every rocket from Mercury to Apollo and every space craft. I'd send letters to NASA asking for promotional materials for my "school project." That worked three times. . . they'd stuff an envelope with all sorts of good stuff. . . wish I had all that stuff now. It made me so damn fucking proud and got me so excited and cranked up that I actually attempted to get into Naval Aviation after college so that I could eventually become an astronaut. My eyes washed me out before my combative anti-authority attitude got a chance.

The point is that those years in American history were incredible. Not only was America's youth changing the face of the nation and ultimately the world, but we were traveling in space and doing the incredible act of traveling to another celestial world. I'm still facinated by the processes and skills it took to go Lunar. Many or most of the atronauts from those times have written or authorized memoirs of their lives and time in the space program. I've read most of them. It's all amazing true life adventure.

So excuse me if I take the soap box and say NASA is a bunch of politically motivated, uncreative, non-dedicated, bean counting dip shits. Back in the day there was a spirit at NASA. Back then men were men and panty waisted knuckle heads either got out of the way or were dispatched quickly. Astronauts were tough assed but brilliant at the same time. They weren't a bunch of "cookie cutter yes men (Wally Schirra's description)" who would fall in line with whatever administrators told them. They told the administrators how things were going to be in many cases.

So 58 NASA rocket scientists and a whole bunch of other independent technologists have come up with a design they claim is better than the boondoggle that is "Ares" (we'll save that for another post) and NASA dismisses it as a "drawing on a napkin."
That rightthere is what's wrong with NASA. The spirit of Apollo, the creativity, the idea of thinking beyond the practical and the obvious is gone. There will be no more dramatic missions. There will be no more "doing things not because they are easy, but because they are hard (JFK)."

Shut the manned space flight section of NASA down. Let the European Space Agency, the Japanese and the Russians have the ISS. It's a joke anyway. Put the space shuttles in museums as a memory of what might have been. Hang up the space suits you bunch of pansy pseudo astronauts. Put away the PCs you army of shallow thinking engineers. Come back when you grow some backbone and learn the meaning of creativity.


yellowdog granny said...

it's all about the green talks and nasa is all about the money..
i still remember going out and buying a color tv so i could watch the astronaughts walking on the moon...everyone was at my apt. the boys were 3and 5 and I was so excited that they got to see it..the oldest remembers but the youngest doesn't..sigh*

rainywalker said...

If I remember correctly back in the 60's just about every block or small town had a few tinkers, inventors who built things that you can't buy at WalMart. The greatest compliment my son ever gave me was when he told his college friends I was an inventor. We need more dreamers, people drawing on napkins, that was our greatness.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

rainy. . . yea.
What we are missing these days is the innocent sense of wonder that everyone was capable of back in the day. Today, no one is astounded as they trudge through their lives of quiet desperation.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I'm glad I'm old enough to remember what you do, Sagacious. Rainywalker's comment resonated with me, too; I remember folks who's come up with ideas on napkins. It was such a magnificent time.

Even I, a young black girl in DC, dreamed of the possibilities of the stars... dreams fueled by sci-fi fiction writers, tv shows like Lost In Space and then Star Trek. Man, that was some good stuff.