[quote="edwest2, post:1, topic:200730"]
It's a laudable start.
Thanks for the link, Ed!
You're welcome. So, the news media aside, there are plans for two replacements for the shuttle, not counting the military's secret X-37B. I say secret because little has been released about what they're doing with it. Which is fine.
I’m still waiting for my first ride on a space elevator!!
SpaceX does not have a replacement for the shuttle! At best SpaceX has a light to medium capacity, non-manrated booster that could ferry limited supplies to the ISS provided they perfect remote docking. The Constellation program which was well on it's way to a test flight or the Orion capsule was the logical shuttle replacement; Obama, with his typical lack of wisdom, decided to scrap years of design, engineering and testing for some pie-in-the-sky concept of a bunch of amateur aerospace enthusiasts building something.
I can say with absolute confidence as a 38 year veteran of that industry that Obama's decision will cost the US any chance of space leadership; will result in a massive aerospace engineering experience and brain drain which won't be easily replaced; will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted effort, the paper cost alone of closing the Constellation program will cost tens of millions not to mention all the wasted material; and his decision will quite probably result is several deaths before it's all over, assuming we ever get to a manrated vehicle again.
I don’t doubt your years of experience for a second, but what’s the point here?
And who, please tell, will take over leadership in space? And what will they do with it?
Seriously, I don’t have your experience but I’ve been watching this for 30 years. The network we are communicating on was created by DARPA and the space program is a military program. Capabilities are switching over to unmanned vehicles. Meanwhile, the Air Force has at least one if not two new toys that we know of.
Ed, all this electronic gadgetry that makes our current civilization run is space-based; the country that achieves leadership in space will ultimately control all that gadgetry.
The more immediate point is that we taxpayers invested a ton of hard-earned money in the world's sharpest and most experienced engineers to produce a system that not only replaced shuttle but provided enhanced capabilities. That was accomplished in spite of the ever-changing NASA requirements, budget uncertainties and design requirements that were far beyond any attempted in the past. Now we have an ego-maniacal Harvard academic with virtually zero management or scientific experience waltz in and decide he can do better with a gang of amateurs! Literally throwing away a program that was matured, designed and ready for its test phase!
This loss of space leadership I referred to is a tremendous loss to the US in terms of space capability, tax dollars and the potentially, eventually, the basic security of all the systems we rely upon in our daily functioning. To make matters worse, we are now at the mercy of "friends" like Russia to provide us manned access to space and will be so dependent for a very long time.
As for the new US space toys, I wouldn't count on them to replace any of the shuttle capabilities, I suspect the are surveillance and weapon based systems.
Thanks for posting, edwest! ;)
I suspect your SpaceX rocket may have been responsible for a UFO scare over Eastern Australia early in the morning. The UFO enthusiasts don't want to believe it, but I'm wondering if the rocket was doing some correcting which led to the reported phenomena.
With due respect, I think your concerns are unfounded. We can license the technology from the Russians. UCAVs will be doing the fighting in the foreseeable future, under manned supervision of course. The current threat has been defined as irregular, assymetric forces in scattered locations. The unholy grail, of course, is for such a threat to exist in perpetuity. Therefore, planning and ressouces will be allocated in that direction. The military is very aware of cyber-threats, and is acting accordingly.
About North Korea. Pardon my bluntness, but a brief message indicating that the capital will be quickly eliminated if any threshold event occurs should be enough. However, most rogue nations do not have the surveillance capabilities of the United States, or a bomber fleet or a submarine fleet. They also have not fielded any airborne lasers, much less the ground based variety.
We’ll be fine.
As far as I can see, the main strategic problem in Korea is that Seoul lies only about 25kms from the border. Accordingly the North Koreans have enormous firepower directed at Seoul. If Seoul were further away, the equation would be different.
North Korea does have a submarine fleet. At the risk of sounding very un-Christian, I sometimes wonder if the US-South Koreans shouldn’t sink a few of them without acknowledging the fact, assuming they are able to track them underwater. It would send a very clear message to the North Koreans that they kill 46 South Koreans at a cost to themselves.
However I don’t think Kim is the real power in North Korea. It’s more than likely to be a cabal of hard line generals.
I'm sure the United States has intelligence and intelligence assets we'll never know about. I know the situation in Korea. They don't stand a chance. The Chinese know that as well. Their current economic situation is quite bad.