From Sputnik to Sputter, by Mike R.

Thanks to Mike R. for these thoughts...

From President Obama's State of the Union speech:

“Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

"This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people.”

As usual our ‘wunderkind’ President displays that he not only doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about but his vision is as pedestrian as one would expect from a low level agitator and ‘community organizer’. He is correct when he states that “NASA didn’t even exist.” However NACA (The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) did exist and had been around since 1915, contributing a great many technological and engineering breakthroughs to US aeronautical and space science (some of which are still in use today in our most advanced aircraft, automobiles and spacecraft) before 1958.

In addition, Werner Von Braun and other ‘rocket scientists’ in the employ of our government had very sophisticated designs both in their heads and on the drawing board at the time of the Sputnik 1 launch on the Soviet R 7 launch vehicle in 1957 including ideas for the Saturn 1 (the precursor to the iconic Saturn 5). In fact the US could easily have beat the Soviets into space with an even more sophisticated satellite than Sputnik 1 but the Eisenhower administration withheld and reserved the technology to the military and military uses for various reasons related to the cold war, cold war secrecy and concerns over who controlled ‘space sovereignty’ in the skies over various nations. The Jupiter C launch vehicle was already putting objects into suborbital position in 1956 and was the precursor to the Juno and Redstone vehicles on which Von Braun had been proposing to put a satellite in orbit (Project Orbiter) as early as 1954. Sputnik 1 was little more than a beeping basketball cobbled together as a propaganda stunt to beat the US in throwing something into orbit.

After that, NASA was born to bring more civilian engineering expertise into the space program and free up secret nuclear launch systems (ICBM) for a quasi-peaceful space program. We did indeed already have some damn good ideas for getting into space and to the moon, Sputnik 1 just ended up serving as a much needed kick in the pants to get the space program ‘off the ground’ so to speak. Within a decade America would be rounding the moon on Christmas Eve with three astronauts (Borman, Lovell and Anders) and performing the first Trans- Earth Injection maneuver for Earthfall two days later. This left the Soviets in our dust since most of what they had been doing up to this point were fake propaganda stunts with turtles in space and phony voice recordings. We would land two men on the moon just over a year later in July of 1969.  While Apollo was very expensive and very ambitious it was not conceived and executed whole cloth in under a decade as myth would have us believe.

I grew up with the American space program and would feign illness for every liftoff and splashdown so that I could stay home from school to watch them. My mother caught on somewhere around Apollo 8 but didn’t seem to mind. My uncle (my mother’s brother) actually flew Apollo Ranged Instrument Aircraft (ARIA) for some of the missions.

Now in 2011 I have a President who has for all intents and purposes killed the American manned space program for the foreseeable future leaving us completely at the mercy of the inferior technology of our adversaries to get men into space to serve on our space station, repair our satellites, and inspire the next generation of dreamers and explorers of the ‘final frontier’.

I have a president who has turned NASA into a center for 'Muslim outreach' and propaganda aimed at indoctrinating children on the phony, pseudo-scientific topic of anthropogenic global warming as this sickening website demonstrates: http://climate.nasa.gov/kids/games/

Sorry Mr. President, I am not inspired by your calls for a new Apollo program to rebuild roads and bridges, build ridiculously expensive and unnecessary high speed rail systems from nowhere to nowhere that no can afford to ride even if they wanted to (and they don’t), build government designed ‘information superhighways’ so that we can stream American Idol on our electronic tablets from every mountainside, valley and amber field of grain or ‘invest’ in biomedical research that the private sector spends billions and billions on quite efficiently except when they run up against your draconian regulations and artificial pricing mechanisms.

Just plain no Mr. President, I especially want no part of your ludicrous unscientific, centrally planned, solution in search of a problem ‘clean energy’ schemes whether it’s wind ‘farms’, solar ‘farms’ or magic vacuum energy ‘farms’ deriving energy from the ether. I don’t want electric government cars that plug into an underpowered socket because the sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t blowing or the magic vacuum energy is low because the zodiacal alignment is out of balance today.

There’s an old saying Mr. President, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Just because you contrive to create a phony necessity to achieve some childishly simple utopian vision of the future doesn’t mean the inventions will follow your edict. When real necessity arises, the free man directed by his own creativity and the promise of a free marketplace where his creation will flourish will rise to the occasion.

In the mean time, Mr. President, if you want to fund something to inspire the nation, break a new frontier, open a marketplace to the future, inspire young men and women to study math, science, engineering, press the envelope and explore the frontiers of human technology, how about you reinstate and reinvigorate the real space program. How about you dig us out of the malaise of 13th century conflict, religious zealotry, archaic schemes of wealth redistribution and equal outcomes with something that offers a glimpse into a future that someday will look like the Colombian Voyages to the New World.

How about it Mr. President? Why not declare the 21st century to be the new century of exploration and invite all the nations of the world to come along and participate instead of wallowing like farm animals in our own waste and procreating for the sake of the perpetuation of the species until we overwhelm our host like a pestilent virus and sink, fetid, back into the soil?  [Note from Ross: Some liberals near me actually wish out loud for the extinction of the human race, so I'm not sure Obama or at least some of his friends won't think Mike's suggestion here isn't a good one.]

How about if, in a new spirit of friendly competition, we build the next generation ‘spaceship’ to replace the Space Shuttle, begin to lay the foundation to industrialize near space, build a base on the moon, explore the asteroids, go to Mars and beyond before an ‘emerging nation’ like China or India is the next nation to round the moon, fire their retro-rockets for a Trans-Earth Injection for Earthfall and leave us in their dust.

  • gstaff
    Comment from: gstaff
    02/01/11 @ 06:58:35 am

    A great article! One insignificant nit: We landed two men on the moon in July 1969, not January.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    02/01/11 @ 07:44:28 am

    Fixed that date error, Greg. I should have caught it myself!

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