August 30, 2011

Come home safe

Which idiot is responsible for making the decision to keep Americans in space without an American space craft available to bring them home?

I realize that growing up during the Cold War has irrevocably shaped my opinion of the Russians, but even then, why in the world would we depend on another nation to shuttle our astronauts to and from the International Space Station?

Last week when I heard that a Russian Soyuz rocket had crashed shortly after lift-off, I knew that there would be trouble.  If for no other reason than governments, theirs and ours, move at glacial speed when determining the cause of accidents.   It has been nearly a week and they have yet to even recover any of the wreckage.  While NASA says that they are making every resource available to aid the Russians, they aren't saying if Russia has accepted their help.

So now we have two Americans (3 Russians and a Japanese astronaut) floating around in the ISS, with a Soyuz rocket for their ride home.  A rocket that could have something fatally wrong with it.  The combination of that rocket's space shelf life and the looming Russian winter dictate that, barring a miraculous revelation over the cause of the crash, those six guys take their chances and get home sometime in November.

Then the ISS will be flown from controllers on the ground in Clear Lake, Texas.  While the ISS couldn't be in more adept hands, you can't change out a blown space doohickey without a human on board.  Billions of dollars could be squandered because our government chose to put all of our space eggs in one Ruskie basket.

Remember the scene from Apollo 13, when various NASA engineers sit in the room and figure out how to use items on the ship to retrofit a CO2 filter?  None of those men would have ever suggested sending a man into space and leaving him there while NASA disconnects the fuel tanks and drains the Freon on the only functioning personnel ships in the American inventory.  Sure, they might have had to make a square peg fit in a round hole using duct tape and spit - but it was American duct tape and spit that saved Swigert, Haise and Lovell. 

I'm no rocket scientist, but I hit that above link and scrutinized it for several minutes, wondering if there were a way to piece a shuttle back together.  Wondering, if in the grand traditions of the Cold War, maybe, somewhere, somehow, we have hidden away, a vehicle that can rescue our guys, should the Russians prove unable.

When did America decide to trade her self sufficiency for foreign relations?


InsomniacSeeker said...

I grew up during the cold war, too, and I don't trust Russians, especially when the Prime Minister (former President and trying to do everything to get back in that job) is a former head of KGB.

kerrcarto said...

C'mon! Don't you remember? NASA's mission is muslim outreach now. The guys in space are not even on this planet.

fuck me.

Anonymous said...

I hear you, Harper. It amazes me how we would embark on this massive ISS project knowing full well that the only vehicle we have to service it will be retired without a ready replacement. Something or someone somewhere has some kind of secret weapon that is draining the intelligence from all of our overpaid bureaucrats because every time I turn around one of these fuckwads is fucking something up.