Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 12, 2008

Politics Of Rocket Launches

Current 'Top World News' at Yahoo: Russia's Medvedev test fires long-range missile

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev oversaw the test firing of an intercontinental Topol missile on Sunday and vowed to commission new generation weapons for Russia's armed forces.

A Reuters reporter said the truck-mounted Topol was fired at 3:23 a.m. EDT in drizzling rain from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, which is nestled among the taiga forests of Russia's north.

Current 'Top U.S. News' at Yahoo: U.S. space tourist blasts off in Russian rocket

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - U.S. video game magnate Richard Garriott blasted off into space aboard a Russian rocket on Sunday watched by his father, a NASA astronaut who went into space at the height of the Cold War.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft lifted off in clear weather from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the Kazakh steppes just after 1.00 p.m. (3 a.m. EDT).

For the next ten years the U.S. will have no human access to space as the Space Shuttle will be retired and no domestic substitute is available.

The U.S. will rent access through Russian capabilities. The revenue from that will increase Russian capabilities.

Fine with me.

How will the U.S.A. First crowd react to that? 

Posted by b on October 12, 2008 at 19:40 UTC | Permalink


Since when do external phenomena have anything to do with the thought-processes of the USA-First crowd? The USA is first... because its first. You must be some kinda Arab.

Posted by: Strike while the irony is hot | Oct 12 2008 20:19 utc | 1

How will the U.S.A. First crowd react to that?

we are the champions
we are the champions
we are the champions

of the world

nah nah nah nah nah..i can't hear all you naysayers....

Posted by: annie | Oct 12 2008 22:33 utc | 2

Agree with the two posts above - and add that:

1) if somebody claims that country A does B, better than Americans do -- that claim makes them anti-American. This is precisely what some (unknown) number of Americans believe.

2) ignorance of the world and of history and also a warped knowledge of history reinforced the idea to Americans that they are best at everything. They only lost one war, the Vietnam war, and that was because of traitors. They won World War II -- and if the Russians have a different opinion, well, that is irrelevant.

There is human nature to consider too -- who really wants to learn that he is not as good as he thinks he is? Will he not resist any counter arguments fiercely? After all, most drivers think they are above average in skill.

Posted by: Owl | Oct 12 2008 23:10 utc | 3

They won World War II -- and if the Russians have a different opinion, well, that is irrelevant.

that reminds me of my trip to east berlin, i was like... 'so how come russia got the best real estate?'


Posted by: annie | Oct 12 2008 23:19 utc | 4

why does everything have to be about america?

Posted by: get over it | Oct 12 2008 23:21 utc | 5

I suppose most noticed that unintentional irony makes it doubly so.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 13 2008 0:07 utc | 6

5-6 year gap until NASA's planned crew rocket comes online; you may be thinking of the larger cargo rocket that must be developed before moon missions can be done under the current plan, which will take even longer. Even less of a gap if the Obama administration enacts a quicker crew solution utilising existing or near existing launch systems, such as ULA's Atlas 5 or SpaceX's Falcon 9 series and the capsule they are building for it. The long transition is due to the pork barreled design selected by NASA's current administrator, a former employee of the corporation that chiefly benefitted from its selection. The rocket, with a solid fuel first stage superficially based upon the Space Shuttle's side boosters, was his pet idea before being selected for the position through which he would shoehorn it in. The "safe, quick, cheap" mantra through which it was marketed has already been disproven; it's expensive as fuck to develop and maintain continued operation of, has unsafe design flaws already apparent, and its operational date has already been pushed back by years due to the false assumptions made when it was initially proposed. A real boondoggle if you ask me, with not enough attention paid to it.

There's already backlash, and grumblings about the gap. NASA needs to get Senate approval before purchasing Soyuz flights due to a law that attempts to sanction countries that might provide rocket parts to Iran or North Korea, i.e. Russia. INKSA its called, I believe. These purchases must be made years in advance due to the lead times it takes to construct the launcher and its spacecraft. After the Russian-Georgian conflict there were calls to extend the operation of the Space Shuttle and to deny NASA the authority to purchase the flights that it was seeking at the time. There was grandstanding by senators, and the subject received some address by the candidates; eventually NASA got its waiver, but was told to keep open the possibility of Shuttle extension for the next president to consider.

The space crowd who follows this subject is very nationalistic, and the idea of reliance on the Russians during that time is a real affront to many of them, a national disgrace bordering on treason. I'm not sure how wide an issue this will be outside that, but it will heat up more in the years ahead.

Posted by: spaceobserver | Oct 13 2008 3:21 utc | 7

Via is a very interesting article on the US space program from Poland, of all places, reviewing it and comparing it to China.

Don't know if I agree with it all but it's a very interesting perspective.

Posted by: mike | Oct 13 2008 4:06 utc | 8

I don't understand exactly what you're getting at here, B.

If you're asking if the US should be envious of Russia, no, I don't think so.

If you're wondering about the overdue retirement of the shuttle fleet, I say that it's about time. There will be a gap before deployment of its replacement, but, eh, no big deal.

Posted by: Obelix | Oct 13 2008 4:21 utc | 9

Adding to the pollution of Baikonur, one of the most toxic places on earth, so that a rich brat can get his rocks off, does not constitute an edge for anybody. I'm sure whatever he paid will never trickle down to the people living with the waste. Not fine with me.

Posted by: biklett | Oct 13 2008 6:13 utc | 10

I think the Russians should move the sight of their rocket launchers from Baikonur to Cuba...not just for old times' sake, it would make it more attractive for US space tourists to come over.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 13 2008 7:55 utc | 11

Prediction: relatively little reaction. For one thing, their dog-whistlers are not tuned to that pitch. The idea of the Company is that lasers are about to make missiles obsolete, and who really expects the Rooskies or Team Xinhua to do anything we aren't?

Meanwhile, the Black Ops division of the Pentacle Pentagon will continue its covert space program. As will the Rooskies and Team Xinhua, because after all, they're doing all the skull work and the heavy lifting. Space science will be totally abandoned, which is what the Christian Reconstructionists want- until it becomes a politically expedient panic button once again.

Posted by: kelley b. | Oct 13 2008 10:46 utc | 12

From reading the last few posts here, particularly the link to the wapo cold-warist propaganda one could be left with the impression that unlike russia, amerika has an effective universal health service, no homelessness, alcoholism or pollution and that the wealth blown on pork barrel space programs is spread throughout the community by their highly functional efficient and effective financial infrastructure.

All of those claims are demonstrably untrue which suggests that the best way of judging who has the most effective manned space program at the moment is to measure and compare issues that are fundamentally germane to space programs, rather than rival generalist socio-economic claims.

There is no doubt that b touched a nerve amongst some amerikans and if that is the case they would be better off taking the real issues up with those responsible in amerika instead of lame ass attempts to shoot the messenger.

It seems to me an outsider, that amerika's space program has been off the rails for more than two decades. At least since the end of the apollo program maybe longer. It seems like the shuttle has always been fraught with corruption and poor judgement.

Perhaps because it is treated as a combination pork barrel, and corporate welfare system rather than a vehicle for disinterested applied scientific research. The few effective efforts have been steered into military and intelligence programs of questionable long term value and considerable human cost.

The worst consequences of that have been the silly fantasy anti-ballistic weapons that will never see the light of day after hundreds of billions of wasted dollars.

One wonders what will happen when the spy satellites need maintenance over the next few years. If amerika does really want to keep russia out in the cold, who is going to go up and do that work? Perhaps the Chinese whose space program is steadily improving?

Perhaps if amerika hadn't been so worried about competition from european telecommunications, and had provided assistance rather than pressure, on europe to not proceed too far with it's space program, amerika could have had some allies do that job. Do it at least until amerika can get the corruption, sabotage and incompetence sufficiently out of its own space program to allow it's astronauts to fly confident the craft won't self destruct because some corporation with better contacts than scruples has tried to save 37 cents on a small but vital part.

Renewing the shuttle program yet again would be pretty fraught exercise for any pol. It would put the new prez on a hiding to nothing. If a shuttle flight is succesful amerikans, trained since birth to believe in their exceptionalism, won't feel any pride much less appreciation, but if the shuttle crashes and they Need Another Seven Astronauts, everyone associated with putting that shuttle into space from the prez on down will be subjected to anger, vitriol and most probably dismissal.

It is difficult to see any pol wanting to take that risk at a time when there is a good chance that the amerikan lifestyle is about to be seriously compromised.

Even a successful mission will attract criticism for being wasteful. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that anyone who could win election in amerika will offer anything but more of the same corporate corruption and washington insider trading. Where political expediency and corporate profits are judged to have a much higher priority than any scientific investigation.

In that climate the notion of a new and effective amerikan space program is ludicrous.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 13 2008 10:53 utc | 13

What is this here French-ified discussion about measurements. Is this a pissing contest about who shot a rocket how far, and who's been to Moon lately?

You don't measure America -- you love it, or leave it.

It is not a mere rockets, or space stations, or moon landings, or nuclear stockpiles, or oceans full of silent running submarines that make America the First, Foremost, Best, and permanently Greatest of Nations Ever.

It is to laugh!

These things are but signs of America's eternal, indwelling greatness. If America is not outstripping all rivals in one particular area on any given day, it is because it is outstripping all rival in another area that day. That's all.

America is IT because it is.

America has a hard on for America.

There ain't nothing intellectual about it.

Posted by: Antifa | Oct 13 2008 12:03 utc | 14

Well said Antifa, I had forgotten that these great issues can never be measured in some sort of objective reality. If they were people might actually confront the real causes of their dissatisfaction.

On the love it or leave it thing I can't help but wonder what would happen if all amerikans who has enough with the present circumstances did leave.

I somehow doubt the outcome would be as either side predicted. Most of us have probably thought about the sort of amerika that would be left if only the star n stripes waving kill a furrener mob was left without a countervailing option, although even that would be strange since so many of those are 'haters' who thrive on finding fault with others. Without an enemy within many would turn on each other I suppose.

Living in a small relatively sparsely populated country that went through a spell of being a favoured destination for unhappy amerikans, I can attest to the fact that many/most hard to say which, are unaware of exactly how deep and how complete their conditioning has been.

A year or so ago a mob of dissatisfied emigres set up a web site to list their litany of complaints about NZ. I just went back for the first time in a long time and it seems rather sad. The vast preponderance of complainants come from england or amerika which is prolly not where the majority of migrants come from, anyway the site appears to be reduced to three or four complainants who would be better off putting their energies into moving on to their next place.

The real issue is of course that these people imagined that their problems were purely geographic, when they were more complex than that.

But the other thing is these recent migrants from developed countries want to have their cake and eat it. They want the benefits of living in a developed country with none of the baggage that goes with it.

From looking at the site the big issue de jour is lawnorder. Most amerikan and english migrants to NZ will tell you that they like the idea of moving to a country colonised by whitefellas, where the indigenous people haven't all been starved and shot. A country where there are still plenty of original locals around. Although of course they would never put it quite in those terms.
They lie to themselves because the truth is they don't like it very much at all. Posters to 'expat exposed' are forever worrying about violence and small time crime in NZ communities. That high level of violence is substantially a result of the 'have-nots' - indigenous people whose family structures along with their culture were destroyed by the imposition of whitefella culture on the community that they were forced to the fringes of.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 13 2008 20:41 utc | 15

you re obsessed with america (hating it well more than anyone ever loved it). get over it it, losers.

Posted by: get over it , sucka | Oct 13 2008 22:08 utc | 16

sucka, i believe it may be you who has to get over it. if you don't like it here, leave! whatza matter, did you think your assignment of converting us was going to be easy? a few well placed posts w/scary names like clinton would ingratiate you to us.

were just having a discussion! you can't wear the mantel of world superpower and expect people to sit around complaining about friggin england for god's sake, that was so last century.

now run along or join the pack. there must be something worth complaining about in the good USofA.

the big issue de jour is lawnorder

i swear to god i thought you meant neighbors complaining about the lack of lawn maintenance in NZ. lol

i'm w/antifa

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS and we have a hard on for ourselves.

Posted by: annie | Oct 13 2008 23:06 utc | 17

Nah, they will hold the shuttles together with spit and string, accepting all resulting disasters, until they can militarize space exclusively with automation and robotics.

Posted by: ...---... | Oct 14 2008 11:36 utc | 18

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