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Pigs in Space: NASA's new deception

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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.

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.
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 fight).
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]

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 09:32 AM
I'm a bit confused here... You start off about NASA's current administrator and then move onto the failures of the Shuttle. So what is it you're specifically talking about here?

The purpose of the Shuttle is to get the really big, heavy objects into space. The US was never going to stop using normal boosters, to the best of my recollection, so if you have any information on that that would be great! To build boosters, at the time the Shuttle was conceived, big enough to carry large objects into space, was VERY expensive and cumbersome. Boosters the size of the Saturn V or larger would have been needed to lift some of the things the Shuttle took up, using that old technology.

Also, a "huge labor force" goes every every vehichle before its launch. That was always done, and always will be done. What would you rather have had? Someone find a mistake and they delay the launch, or they launch and an accident happens?

As for the "escape" system for launch, the main cabin (where everyone is during the launch) breaks away from the Shuttle if there is a failure. This happened to the Challenger crew, but a failure of some sort kept further safety measures from deploying. It was the impact with the water that killed them, not the explosion itself.

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 10:21 AM
I think this is leading up to an Anti- Humans in space rant again....

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 12:34 PM
I always thought that it was the Air Force's requirements that dictated the design of the shuttle instead of the other way around.

One thing that you do have correct is that several of the Challenger astronauts did drown, but it was determined that they wouldn't have survived their injuries from the impact with the water. There isn't an emergency escape system in existence that could have saved the Challenger's crew. If there would have been more notice there is a possibility thea the Challenger could have seperated from the booster and fuel tank and could have glided back to Patrick AFB but that would have been dependent upon there having been enough warning to intitiate the seperation. There wasn't.

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 12:50 PM
Dang, so America is the only nation with a manned space program that didn't have an escape capsule for their shuttle? Is this to mean the USSR did, since they're the only other nation with a manned space program using their own technology (China is using Soviet tech)?

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.

Ahh, this reminded me of those good old days when the astronauts didn't have to rely on those new fandangled computer-thingies to help them land. Instead they would have far more control when they pulled a string changing the pull of their parachutes helping to control their crash even better.

Out of curiosity, where is it you were going with this post? It sounds like it's a bit of an uncorroborated rant. The link you provided goes into detail about the Challenger disaster, but I fail to see any reference to Nixon silencing anything, the cost of each flight, the claim of 1/100, or even 1/200, the better performance of the disposable design, etc. Are we to take your word on this, or do you have some sources?

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 06:16 PM
Thank you all for your responses.

I would suggest Jenkins excellent book about the shuttle program and the choices that led up to the current MESS, now in second edition. I have a 20 year stack of Aviation Week magazines with the dirty details as well.

On the net go to sites like Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica, NASAwatch,,, and google sceinceforum where people like Jim Oberg post.

If you have problems following my post, here it is in the condensed form: The politics of pork distribution is causing NASA to retain a dangerous strap-on solid design, overstaff and keep flying a death trap design until 2010, and now beyond that.

As for the Russians, have they killed 14 people flying into space? I recall they had to use the escape tower on a Soyuz mission that had a launch failure, and it worked. (No, I'm not going to look up the reference for you, but it happened.)

Sardion, I do rant from time to time but people in space are O.K. with me, I think Burt Rutan and Transformational Space are doing a fine job, and will end up succeeding where NASA is so obviously failing miserably.

Many of the tasks assigned NASA astronauts in space are, however, nonsense. Except, perhaps, for the absolutely essential John Glenn flight to examine the effects of weightlessness on geriatric Senators.

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 06:22 PM

Originally posted by Realist05
As for the Russians, have they killed 14 people flying into space?

No, they killed WAAAAY more than that!

posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 06:43 PM
I'm sure a rich resource of links as to how many Dead Russians are in orbit is forthcoming.
Thier biggest disaster was a military rocket going off on the pad back in the early 60's, killing a general and over a hundred technicians. But this was not related to manned space flight.
They do seem capable of learning from thier mistakes, however, an ability NASA seems unable to grasp.

posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 12:31 PM
Just in over the newswire:]NASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake
By Traci Watson

The space shuttle and International Space Station — nearly the whole of the U.S. manned space program for the past three decades — were mistakes, NASA chief Michael Griffin said Tuesday.

In a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board, Griffin said NASA lost its way in the 1970s, when the agency ended the Apollo moon missions in favor of developing the shuttle and space station, which can only orbit Earth.

“It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path,” Griffin said. “We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can.”

I'll be accepting apologies from ATS Space Cadets anytime they care to make them.

MOD EDIT: Don't just copy-paste entire articles. That's called plagiarism and is illegal. Thanks!

[edit on 9/28/2005 by cmdrkeenkid]

posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 12:37 PM
They are going to finally put Burt Rutan in charge of NASA?

Sorry I was dreaming and woke up.

posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 06:05 PM
I apologise to contributers of this thread; my subject lead reflected my opinion of the NASA situation perfectly but is from another source:

Not "quote boxing" this amounts to plagerism, and moderator rebuke and penalties are justified, even coming from a hostile and dismissive one.

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