posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 08:57 AM
The new NASA administrator has proved himself politically adept. After putting together a package that makes no design sense but eminent political
test, he got his ducks in a row. Having rejected use of the Delta 4 or Atlas V EELV's that just completed development, he still got USAF approval of
his decision. The Pentagon doesn't care what NASA may do at this point, as long as they don't force the Air Force to rely on NASA's expensive and
unreliable designs, as was the case with the shuttle. Suitable Congressmen were pleased that existing NASA government and shuttle contractor jobs in
their districts would be preserved.
The NASA Administrator importantly got USAF support by reassuring them that they would not have to get involved. The Shuttle's original design was
also dictated, in the end, by pork allocation and preservation of most of NASA's Apollo labor force. The only way it was sold at the time was by
pretending that it would reduce space launch costs by a factor of ten. The Shuttle was supposed to replace all expensive, unreliable expendable
boosters. The Pentagon knew better, but the Nixon administration ordered the Air Force to shut up and support the program. Production was phased out
of 'high cost' and 'unreliable' expendable launchers that guaranteed American access to space. www.astronautix.com/flights/sts51l.htm
NASA was able to hide the awful secrets of the Shuttle's horrendous operating costs and unreliability until the Challenger disaster killed seven.
American access to space was nearly severed. It was revealed that the United States was on the brink of losing its capability to launch any payloads
in space at all any more. The shuttle was actually more costly, less reliable, and, due to fears of the safety of the crew aboard, much less
operationally responsive than expendable vehicles. The situation was saved just in time - the production lines for Delta, Atlas, and Titan launchers
were within months of being shut down forever. The US Air Force was released from its obligation to use the shuttle, and expendable launch vehicles
were put back into production. The shuttle was reimagined as a high-cost government program, dedicated solely to supporting (while actually
parasitically sucking the blood from) another senseless high-cost government pork program, the Space Station Freedom aka Space Station Fred aka the
International Space Station. www.astronautix.com/craft/intation.htm
NASA's press release trumpeted the safety of the new system compared to the shuttle. Now, after years of pretending that the shuttle had a loss rate
of 1 in 100,000 or higher, NASA suddenly fessed up that the safety factor was only 1 in 200. In fact, it was probably under 1 in 100, and this was
achieved only at tremendous cost. A huge labour force had to exhaustively check out each shuttle prior to launch, but the system still averaged over
one delayed or aborted launch for each time it got into the air. The entire system was stood down for nearly three years after each major failure.
Minor delays added up to over four years all by themselves.
The press release completely obscured the fact that the 'new safety' is not due to any new technology or fundamental change - but only the addition
of a launch escape system. To America's shame, the Shuttle was the only manned spacecraft ever to fly without a method of rescuing the crew in case
of failure of the primary vehicle (except the Soviet Voskhod, which flew only twice, and had no method of escape only during the first 47 seconds of
American fighter pilots, with a chance of only 1 per 30,000 missions of losing their aircraft in peacetime, are given an ejection seat or crew capsule
for escape. To give American astronauts no such escape provisions in a vehicle 300 times more dangerous was and is criminal
[edit on 27-9-2005 by Realist05]