I'm going to start this off by saying NASA is doing the right thing by delaying the shuttle launch until they are absolutely sure they can launch.
It's good for tourism - all the people that were in Canaveral on wednesday probably stuck around after the first delay for the weekend, and now that the launch is delayed again, some will stick around til next week, and even more will come then.
If it were up to me, I'd institute a "shuttle tax" on everyone that comes to see the darn thing lift off, who (obviously) still believes in paying for it. I agree with Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation (from a piece called Scuttle the shuttle
"Pouring billions into the Space Shuttles rips off the taxpayers - and betrays NASA's hardworking employees - by feeding a dying beast, while simultaneously starving a newborn industry and NASA's future exploration efforts."
It's not been a good day for me to be encouraged about NASA's future plans for manned spaceflight, either. The Crew exploration vehicle for the return to the moon, is just Apollo, warmed over
The Battlestar CEV isn't a serious design for returning to the Moon. It's the kind of proposal you slap together cheaply at the last minute for a dumb program that you know will be cancelled – rather like LockMart's late X-33 program. But I don't blame the engineers or managers at LockMart for this idiotic design. They are just responding to an idiotic Request For Proposals generated by an idiotic planning process set up by NASA's late idiotic administrator Sean O'Keefe.
More and more I regret not doing something drastic when I met O'Keefe
at the SpaceShipOne launch. Via the Worldcom Ebber's case, I've just learned you get a day in jail per million you defraud your investors - and that man should be doing time. I rue the day we put accountants and administrators in charge of NASA. Where's a Von Braun when you need him? It gets worse:
The CEV is laden with a variety of weighty systems that Apollo somehow got along without: wings, airbags, super-expensive titanium structure, an absurdly thin "Orbital Debris Shield", reusable RCC thermal protection, "active thermal control", elevons driven by huge electric motors, even a "Fire Depression System".
During the period of maximum development, NASA spent about $16B/yr on Apollo (in modern inflated dollars). This is about the same as the projected TOTAL budget for all NASA activities during Plan Bush. Nobody in their right mind thinks that there will be any significant increase in this funding level. At most, about half of this could be devoted to the manned program (given lots of unpopular cuts in other NASA programs).
Not sour enough yet today? Try: Doom and gloom won't sell space
. I've tried to capture the excitement in exploring space with profit - with strange new views out your office window - and I've tried to avoid both the "space greens" and the "space warhawk" scenarios. And still, I get depressed when I see a 1960s photo of a working ion engine and the nearly identical version flying in some "modern" spacecraft. No progress since they laid the last saturn V on its side. None.
Lastly, a bit of satire, to close the day on an ironic note, on "Big Brother's Space Program"
.... Did you catch the media spin on the launch of the Delta 4H last year or were you not paying attention
Have a better one.