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The Wasted World of Gunnery Sergeant DeShane
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 Post subject: Late Happy Anniversary
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2007 09:58 
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Just in case anyone here could possibly have forgotten, yesterday marked the 38th anniversary of mankind's first landing on our nearest solar neighbor... the moon.

I was short of my 9th birthday by a couple of months at the time and I remember being allowed to stay up as late as it took to watch the whole event unfold on a tiny B&W TV screen at our home at the time in California. I didn't sleep a wink the whole night.

When the transmission came through "the Eagle has landed" I think I might have had my first experience at something that was so exciting it was very nearly sexual for a 8-year old. Even back then I was an enthusiastic supporter of the space program and more specifically 'manned' space exploration.

Since then our space program seems to have lost its way. Yes, they've done a few amazing things and we've had amazing successes such as the Mars robot probes, but NASA has lost its way. In many ways NASA and the US has lost its nerve. We've suffered tragedy and loss along the way, yes, but we had suffered tragedy and loss even before this. I remember the day when 3 brave men were lost in a terrible accidental fire onboard Apollo 1 during a training exercise on Jan 27, 1967. That was a terrible blow and it still brings tears to my eyes as I recall what I was feeling that day.

I remember following the Apollo 13 events breathlessly as another 3 brave men fought to bring their crippled spacecraft home and the entire world watched. My eyes are misting up as I write this today.

The Challenger and Columbia disasters were also shocking and tragic losses, but it seems like we felt them less heavily than Apollo 1. The day-to-day events around the world have stolen the dream from all of us. More importantly, they have stolen the dream from those we have lost.

The space program today, as it has nearly always been, is mired in controversy and funding shortages. As in the 1960's people ask "Why should we spend all this money to go to space when we could be using it here on Earth to fund solutions to other problems?" Here are a few of the reasons I can think of right off the top of my head,

microwave ovens
desktop & laptop computers
GPS navigation systems
cell phones
halon fire extinguishing gas systems
Google Earth, Mars & Moon
high definition TV
data servers

It's high time we took back the dream. It's past time we took back the dream. It's time we looked to the skies again and dream big things again. We cannot allow the sacrifices of the men and women who have lost their lives living the dream be in vain. We cannot allow the men and women who have lived the dream and done great things to have all their efforts have been for nothing.

NASA must be reminded that it was not formed to become a huge government bureaucracy, it was formed to live the dream for all of us. Funding shortages and calls by our own congressional representatives to cut NASA's funding entirely must not be allowed to continue. If we can fund a war to the tune of $400 billion a year, if we can afford to give foreign governments that do not have our best interests at heart billions of dollars in foreign aid every year, if we can afford to give $80+ million to fund Palestinian security forces, then we can afford to give NASA the money it needs to live the dream again.

Our government wastes more money on pork barrel projects every year than the meager funds NASA needs to do the job and do it right and do it BIG. It's our money they're wasting. It doesn't belong to the government, it belongs to the American people. If we have government by and for the people then the people can demand that the government fund the big projects and fund the dreams and stop all the nonsense like building $250 million bridges to nowhere in Alaska.

NASA can be forgiven for having lost much of its way. Even the USA can be forgiven for having lost its way. What we cannot forgive is losing sight of the dream.

In memory of the lost,

Apollo 1: Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom
Senior Pilot Ed White
Pilot Roger B. Chaffee

STS-51-L (Challenger): Ellison S. Onizuka
Sharon Christa McAuliffe
Greg Jarvis
Judy Resnik
Michael J. Smith
Dick Scobee
Ron McNair.

STS-107 (Columbia): Commander: Rick D. Husband, a US Air Force colonel and mechanical engineer, who piloted a previous shuttle during the first docking with the International Space Station (STS-96).
Pilot: William C. McCool, a US Navy commander
Payload Commander: Michael P. Anderson, a US Air Force lieutenant colonel and physicist who was in charge of the science mission.
Payload Specialist: Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force and the first Israeli astronaut.
Mission Specialist: Kalpana Chawla, an Indian-born aerospace engineer on her second space mission.
Mission Specialist: David M. Brown, a US Navy captain trained as an aviator and flight surgeon. Brown worked on a number of scientific experiments.
Mission Specialist: Laurel Clark, a US Navy captain and flight surgeon. Clark worked on a number of biological experiments.

In memory of those who went there,

Apollo 11: Commander Neil Armstrong
Command Module Pilot Michael Collins
Lunar Module Pilot Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin

Apollo 12: * Pete Conrad, commander
Richard Gordon, command module pilot
Alan Bean, lunar module pilot

Apollo 13: James A. Lovell, Commander
*John L. "Jack" Swigert, Command Module pilot
Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module pilot

Apollo 14: * Alan Shepard, commander
* Stuart Roosa, command module pilot
Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot

Apollo 15: David Scott, commander
Alfred Worden, command module pilot
* James Irwin, lunar module pilot

Apollo 16: John W. Young, commander
Thomas K. (Ken) Mattingly Jr., command module pilot
Charles Duke Jr., lunar module pilot

Apollo 17: Eugene A. Cernan, commander
* Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot
Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt, lunar module pilot

* Those who have passed beyond the veil since retirement.

And all who came before and have continued after these, I salute you.

To everyone else, call your congressional bottom feeders and demand our government fund the dream. If we have the money to afford to throw it away to foreign governments, we have the money to fund NASA and the BIG things.




Cheers, Þórgrímr

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Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400


Last edited by Þórgrímr on 08 Jun 2009 23:02, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 03:19 
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Amen to that... :AH

What I miss most is the adventure, the ambition that they used to have. But I'm afraid that even in the 60's the ambition (at least for the politicians who allocate the money) was not to send people to the moon, but to prevent that the Commies plant their flag on the moon first. Can you imagine their shame if the had to look up to a Red moon every evening? :bs
NASA and the astronauts were just means to the end of having the Stars and Stripes hanging (and not flying like on Earth) on the Moon, live on tv for the world to see.
And the spoiled people at home? By the launch of Apollo 13 they were hardly interested anymore, because they were not the first ones anymore. Until it became spectacular, only then they started watching again... After that the average American couldn't care less about the Moon, after all the Moon was American now... And if the people don't care, politicians don't care and the last 4 or so moon missions were scrapped.
And that's where the ambition really left through the window. The Russians never took up plans to go to Mars, but instead started to focus more on orbiting stations. So there was no incentive to go to Mars anymore...
I am born in 1975 and all I had were pictures for those glory days and my imagination fueled by SciFi shows. Visiting Cape Canaveral I was most impressed by the Saturn V, the size of the thing and the story that at this moment the know-how on how to build another one of those things is gone! For some incredible reason many technical records from that time were lost...
Bush' new space initiative lacks all of the incentives from the past: no competition and no money. The Orion (unfortunate name, remembering the nuclear detonation propulsion system) almost looks like a carbon copy of the orbiter and the LEM in the 60's. Except this time they would need 2 launches to send it into space instead of 1.
But what amazes me more is that they keep saying that Orion and the Moon Base will be a rehearsal for going to Mars. Can you image a crew flying in a room sized thimble for 6 months? My old boss said that the lightbulb was not invented by improving a candle. Original ideas are needed and NASA does not seem to have the ability to develop these ideas, due to finiacial or other reasons. I guess firing a large number of desk knights and hiring them with real life scientists and engineers might be great first step.
But until that happens, I guess private enterprises are going to play an important role. They cannot afford NOT being creative, cost efficient and profitable. So all hope is not gone, only put on hold for a while.
Maybe by the time I retire I can book a ticket on Lunar Spacelines and stay in the Lunar Hilton. Until then, I still have my imagination which until now has been much more spectacular then reality anyway... :w

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 09:59 
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Flamand I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is an unfortunate fact that it took a cold war to get man out into space. :AM And once the objectives had been completed, beat the commies to the moon, it became a non-issue. :ad

I am beginning to think I may die of old age before witnessing man's return to space, and not just orbiting our homeworld. If so, I hope my son will try and help keep the dream alive. For I believe as long as one man can dream, then there is hope for us all. :AH

Only thing I can hope for is to witness our return, then I can say I witnessed our first venture into space, and our return after a much too large of a delay. Then I can die a contented man in the knowledge we may finally leave the gravity well of our homeworld and reach for the real last frontier, space.




Cheers, Þórgrímr

_________________
Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 12:47 
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Since this all was before my time, all I can really say is that it disappoints me that our politicians don't seem to care at all about space, which is unfortunate, because I think it's one of the most important areas of scientific study, not to mention all the side benefits that Thor mentioned.

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 13:24 
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BOS13 wrote:
Since this all was before my time, all I can really say is that it disappoints me that our politicians don't seem to care at all about space, which is unfortunate, because I think it's one of the most important areas of scientific study, not to mention all the side benefits that Thor mentioned.


Rob, those benefits I listed is the very short list. Almost all of our high tech items can trace a direct line back to the research and development projects initiated for the space program. now imagine what items could come out of the need for a manned exploration of the planets. The possibilites are limitless. :bs

But that would take something that is very rare in the congressional bottom feeders minds, imagination. :AM




Cheers, Þórgrímr

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Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 15:34 
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When writing my previous reply I had the thought that America has never led in the space race, but has always been following Russians' lead until the Space Shuttle when it didn't seem to matter anymore for the politicians. Kind of a sad thought for such an entrepreneurial and creative nation... :ad

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2007 17:52 
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Flamand wrote:
When writing my previous reply I had the thought that America has never led in the space race, but has always been following Russians' lead until the Space Shuttle when it didn't seem to matter anymore for the politicians. Kind of a sad thought for such an entrepreneurial and creative nation... :ad


Up until about 1965 and the Gemini program your thought would be correct, but once Korolov died the Russians quickly fell behind. They never did work out how to get a man to the moon and back, then once we got there they quickly shut down that endeavor and tried to hide any evidence they had even attempted to reach the moon. Also you must realise the Soviets were doing extremely risky missions with extremely shoddy spacecraft, that no western nation would tolerate, ONLY for the propaganda value and their cosmonauts paid for that with their lives for that shoddiness and rushed designs. Thier loss of Cosmonauts was far higher than the US's was.

Take a look at how primitive the Vostock and Voshkod capsules really were, even compared to the Mercury program. It was just a lucky roll of the die that their men did not die at an even faster rate than they did. So in essence, the Soviets led the way yes, but only for propaganda reasons to humiliate the west and prove just how 'advanced' Soviet science was. To me they were behind in spacecraft design, flight testing and survivability. The keys for a successful space program. Let them have the propaganda, I would rather have the science myself. :w

To the Russians it was a life and death struggle. They needed to show their people how Communism could outdo Capitalism in the technology race. That to me was when the Soviet Union was doomed to extinction. It was just a matter of time once America showed that the Capitalist west could not be out-teched. They also realised that they would fall even further behind as time wore on. Just because of the free flow of information that a democracy allows.

To the US it was just political, but not life threatening. the Soviet Union could not say the same.



Þórgrímr

_________________
Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2007 00:54 
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Of course the Americans led the moon race, but I was referring to the direction the race was heading to. The Russians under Korolov more or less decided where the race was headed until Skylab (not the shuttle like I said earlier, I did some reading). After the moon America was pointing the direction for a race that was no longer a race as proved by the Apollo-Soyuz project, a great show of cooperation.

After that the fall of communism was sped up by the Star Wars program and enormous costs of the inevitable Russian answer.

When I have a choice between high tech and safe or more primitive but (mostly) effective, I would also choose the first option just like you. But in big propaganda events, the results count, nothing else... :w

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2007 09:52 
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Flamand wrote:
Of course the Americans led the moon race, but I was referring to the direction the race was heading to. The Russians under Korolov more or less decided where the race was headed until Skylab (not the shuttle like I said earlier, I did some reading). After the moon America was pointing the direction for a race that was no longer a race as proved by the Apollo-Soyuz project, a great show of cooperation.

After that the fall of communism was sped up by the Star Wars program and enormous costs of the inevitable Russian answer.

When I have a choice between high tech and safe or more primitive but (mostly) effective, I would also choose the first option just like you. But in big propaganda events, the results count, nothing else... :w


Well, I look at it this way, their spacecraft were not effective at all, just a crapshoot as to whether the Cosmonauts would die or not. That to me is leading nothing but the way to the grave. After a beginning lucky streak the law of averages caught up with the Soviets and bit them in the ass bigtime. :bs

As far as I was concerned, we should have ignored the damned commies and the silly notion of space stations and take the next logical step, plant a colony on the moon and began planning for a manned Mars expedition. Because we did follow that stupid idea we left outer space and retreated back to our homeworld's gravity well, and our space program became a government funded trucking company. :AM

I firmly believe if we had not shut down the space program There would have been a thriving moon colony and a human outpost on Mars by now. Making our leap out into the rest of the solar system, and eventually the rest of the universe all but inevetible. :ac

HEY! That sounds like a good plot beginning for a semi-modern what if sci fi story. Hmm...




Cheers, Þórgrímr

_________________
Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.


"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2007 11:37 
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Amen, to that again... :w Can't wait to read the story... :bs

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