Indeed, legislation has been proposed in Congress since the UAG was formed that promotes the Council’s professed goals of expedition, streamlining, and commercial dominance, and it enjoys bipartisan support from lawmakers representing “states and districts where aerospace technology plays a significant role in the local economy,” according to an analysis from Daily Kos. This shared financial interest has brought together far-right, anti-science legislators like Ted Cruz and Lamar Smith in co-sponsorship with Democrats from states with aerospace-heavy economies. [Emphasis mine]
The premise is that space is supposed to be about science, but that has never been true. And as Mark Whittington pointed out on Twitter, it wasn’t Ted Cruz or Lamar Smith who were running ads blasting their opponents for supporting a mission to Europa.
De Gaulle—the leader of the Free French resistance in World War II who went on to found the Fifth Republic under which France still lives today—understood the problem best. He thought Britain would never truly be at home in a European union. “England in effect is insular, she is maritime,” he said in his remarks blocking Britain’s entry into what was then called the Common Market in 1963. “She has in all her doings very marked and very original habits and traditions.” He added that “the nature, the structure, the very situation that are England’s differ profoundly from those of the continentals.”
Sadly, that’s not as much the case. One of the strongest drivers of Leave was to prevent further deterioration and Europeanization.
…isn’t a crime, let alone an impeachable offense. It is time to rethink NATO, perhaps past time.
NATO and the EU have been free riding for a long time. It was an organization for a different era and power structure. Putin’s Russia doesn’t have the resources to conquer Europe, especially if they start getting serious about their own defense.
Yes. Europe was never a true partner in its own defense. They had a (brief) excuse in the midst of the Marshall Plan, but we’ve been indulging them in their own socialism and unwillingness to spend on their own defense for the decades since recovery. Time to rethink it.
And for those who think that Trump is Putin’s “stooge,” did Putin order him to insist that Europeans spend more on their own defense and live up to their NATO obligations?
It's worth noting that one of the reasons we never got space-based missile defense was that it was only recently that we've finally gotten launch costs down sufficiently to make it financially feasible, due to an almost demented policy failure for the past three decades. [1/n] https://t.co/ouaaIS9eUk
The first serious proposal for space-based missile defense was Lowell Wood's concept of "Brilliant Pebbles": Kinetic interceptors in orbit. But in order to implement it, launch costs had to be reduced far below those of the Shuttle and conventional USAF expendables.
The purpose of the DARPA DC-X program was to demonstrate the potential for reusable Single-Stage-To-Orbit, which many viewed as a requirement for low launch cost (SpaceX has since proven this to be mistaken).
DC-X did demonstrate vertical take-off and landing of single vehicle in an atmosphere (the Apollo LEM was two stage in a vacuum). It also demonstrated relatively rapid turnaround of a LOX/LH2 propulsion system. But then NASA took it over.
Another thing that the DC-X program demonstrated before its demise was that traditional cost models for new concepts were utter crap. SpaceX has since validated that. NAFCON cost model has been shown to be worse than worthless for non-traditional activities.
One of the biggest launch-policy errors of the 90s was to confine the military to expendables, and assign reusable space transports to NASA. It was nothing short of disastrous, setting us back over a decade.
After the X-33 debacle, which no one saw coming except anyone who understood how to do X programs, the idiotic lesson (fallacy of hasty generalization) drawn from it by NASA was that reusable launch systems weren't practical. Tell it to SpaceX.
X-33 should never have been awarded to Lockmart (their proposal wasn't compliant, in that the business plan was nonsense, but no one at MSFC would recognize a business plan if it kicked them in the ass). Also, should never have been a single award.
A key rule of X programs is that a vehicle only tests one new technology, on a platform that is otherwise well understood. VentureStar was testing single-stage to Montana, with a linear aerospike engine, and a conformal composite hydrogen tank. Huge and obvious tech risk.
X-33 was an example of NASA's Wile E. Coyote approach to technology development: Try some crazy thing, then when it doesn't work, don't try to figure out why and improve it, just assume it can't be done and go on to the next crazy thing.
And so we entered the 21st century with no one, neither USAF or NASA, even attempting to get launch costs down. Former was focused on mission assurance of expendable EELVs, and latter had devolved into a jobs program for giant expendable rockets.
But now, having done that, it's useful to go back and re-examine concepts for space-based missile defense that were financially infeasible with traditional launch costs of many thousands of dollars per pound. Cubesats are also a game changer.
One way you can tell that SOTUs as they’ve been done for the last century are a terrible idea is that Woodrow Wilson started this execrable circus. Unfortunately, Trump will almost certainly not take the advice. It would be behavior (and an expression of beliefs) far too Reaganesque.