Making Space Great Again (needs moar dakka, or something)

The United States Space Force has just revealed its new logo (distinctly underwhelming) and its new motto (bland, veering on the PC).

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Yeah, how big was the committee that had to approve of that one?

Always Above, Always Faster, Always (to) the Stars
Semper Supra, Semper Citius, Semper Ad Astra

There, I fixed it for you.

OK, maybe that’s too long. How about just:

Supra, Citius, Ad Astra

But, y’know, they didn’t ask me.

A Conversation

“Oh, so we can strip-mine the moon now, apparently.”
“Whabuhwha?”
“According to what I’m seeing here. Oh, it’s encouraging the commercial interests of space. Nice!”
“That isn’t nice.”
“What? No, it’s great! We can go out and mine comets–we can mine asteroids–”
“So the Earth wasn’t good enough, we can just go f*ck up other places and cause irreparable damage to them, too…”
“Hey, if we can mine the moon we can stop strip-mining like, the Amazon rainforest. we can stop mining and deforesting and causing habitat loss everywhere else…”
“Yes, but we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“This is science fiction happening right in front of us! It’s awesome!”
“But we don’t know what’s going to happen!”
“Yeah, but it’s better if something happens, it happens up on the moon where there’s nothing alive.”
“What if it messes up the tides? And then it messes up the oceans, and then it messes with the air currents, and then we’re all going to die from typhoons and tsunamis…”
“We’re already all going to die.”
“Yeah, but now we’re going to die sooner. I mean, are you seeing what I’m getting at?”
“You’re not a science fiction person. I’m seeing you as the blonde environmentalist babe who gets educated by the spaceman guy.”
“OKAY, this blonde hair is FAKE.”
“Yeah, well, to be fair most spacemen don’t score blondes.”
“No, they don’t.”

Mighty One, We Have Lost Us Another

Chris Kraft–no: not the guy who said “Failure is not an option” in the Apollo 13 movie, that guy’s boss–has passed on, fifty years after the organization he helped build and head put Americans in space–and on the moon.

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In November 1958, the NASA Space Task Group was born, and Kraft quickly accepted an invitation by Gilruth to become one of its 35 members, with responsibilities that immersed him in mission procedures and challenging operational issues, as NASA’s first Flight Director. His career immediately changed from that of a research engineer to that of an engineering and organizational manager. He personally invented the mission planning and control processes required for manned space missions, in areas as diverse as go-no-go decisions, space-ground communications, space tracking, real-time problem solving, and crew recovery. His commanding role as Flight Director was indicated by his control-room name–“Flight.” During the later phases of Project Mercury, he was a key participant in the planning for the construction of NASA’s new Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC, renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973) in Houston, Texas; and moved there in 1962 along with other members of the Space Task Group. From 1961 to 1966, he served as Flight Director during such historic missions as the first U. S. human sub-orbital flight and first orbital flight during Project Mercury (with Col. John Glenn aboard), and the first spacewalk in Project Gemini.

During the Apollo program, Kraft became the Director of Flight Operations at MSC, responsible for overall manned spaceflight mission planning, training, and execution. His leadership in this critical area continued through the Apollo 12 mission in 1969, at which time he became Deputy Director of the Center. He served as the Center Director from January 1972 until his retirement in August 1982, playing a vital role in the success of the final Apollo missions, the first manned space station (Skylab), the first international space docking (Apollo-Soyuz Test Project), and the first flights of the Space Shuttle.

I’ve heard a rumor that certain fashionably-minded people have decided the early American space program is Not The Thing: that it was too white, male, and Texan to be remembered fondly.

STFU.

They put fire on the moon. Their names will live on as long as civilization remembers that. And no man is dead while his name is still spoken.

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Standing at the flight director’s console, viewing the Gemini-10 flight display in the Mission Control Center on July 18, 1966, are (left to right) William C. Schneider, Mission Director; Glynn Lunney, Prime Flight Director; Christopher C. Kraft Jr., MSC Director of Flight Operations; and Charles W. Mathews, Manager, Gemini Program Office. (NASA)

 

 

Leigh Brackett’s Land: 115 years on

115 years ago Monday,  two men achieved what no other humans in history had done before.

Without Federal funding, one notes.

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As a matter of fact, the Feds weren’t the only people decidedly skeptical about the potential of this new technology:

We do not query the interest or excellence of the Wrights’ mechanical achievement. There is no reason apparently why they should not vastly better any recorded performance—fly thousands of feet high, or hundreds of miles in distance. Our skepticism is only as to the utilitarian value of any present or possible achievement of the aeroplane. We do not believe it will ever be a commercial vehicle at all. We do not believe it will find any very large place in the world of sport. We do not believe its military importance is as great as is commonly supposed, or will extend (except accidentally) beyond the range of scouting and courier service. Even here it remains wholly indeterminate how much (except mutual destruction) can actually be accomplished by men in flying-machines, if other men in other flying-machines are trying to prevent the accomplishment. And even the attempt must always be limited by the absolute dependence of aerial navigation upon weather conditions which in most places and in average seasons exist during only a minor fraction of the time.

Well, The Engineering Magazine was right about sport uses of airplanes. Once the FAA put an end to barnstorming, it was all downhill from there.

If you haven't, watch the movie immediately.
Far as we can tell, they was trying to fly through the barn, upside down.

Links to the world of science

Tailor-made medicine has saved the life of a little girl: now imagine having your own household robot doctor to do this for you.

NASA tries turning it off and then on again: fixing the Hubble gyroscope is rocket science, except when it’s not.

I thought about naming this post something like, “The Cosmopolis bulletin”, but hardly anyone would get the reference…

Leigh Brackett’s Land -Americans and Space Innovation

An informative and very interesting article from Popular Mechanics breaks down how the recent American innovations in spaceflight have their European counterparts alarmed and annoyed.

How bad is it for the Euros, potentially?

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Breaking news about the U.S. space industry comes fast and furious in 2018: A private customer paying for a trip around the moon, new launch providers snagging the rights to launch military missions, international sales of flights on U.S. rockets, new rockets and spaceports announced—even a potential sixth branch of the military dedicated to space.

First America. Then the world. Then the stars.