The Senatorial Launch System | Asteroid Capture | Clueless Politicians | Pork | Engineering Jobs + Corporate Welfare


Broadly, the administration envisions sending a probe as soon as 2017 to capture a 25-foot, 500-ton asteroid and tug it near the moon – possibly to a spot about 277,000 miles from Earth that would use competing gravitational forces to allow it to “sit” there. Astronauts flying NASA’s new Orion capsule and Space Launch System rocket then would visit it to take samples and possibly set foot on its surface.

This plan is getting pushback because its not a return to the moon or a Mars landing plan. But the reality is that this idea is all NASA can afford given the cost involved with the Senatorial ( or Space, take your pick) Launch System A Saturn V + class heavy lift direct ascent launch system

The lack of resistance is tied to Senate support of the Space Launch System. Senators from key NASA states – Florida, Texas and Alabama – pushed President Barack Obama to build it, and the asteroid mission is seen as a way to give purpose to the rocket, once criticized as a “rocket to nowhere.”
Illustrative of that point was the initial reaction of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
“NASA should continue to explore the universe and challenge scientific and technical boundaries,” he said in a statement. “However, NASA should maintain focus on its core mission and continue development of the Space Launch System so that it will be ready for any future NASA mission.”

So my question is, why the SLS, don’t get me wrong some of the SLS related work like resurrecting the Saturn V F1 engine (as I pointed to a few days ago) is a good thing, but reality is it should be part of getting a commercial venture to back development. NASA shoulddevelop Orion and its support module, but the booster should be gov’t sponsored / stimulated effort as part of a get to the moon, Mars, big asteroids plan, in support of the commercial civilian space efforts.
If you look at all the recently proposed and ongoing civilian efforts and roll in appropriate gov’mnt support you can see a very robust human and robotic space development plan emerge.
Read more at:


Rocket Romance


ars technica article on the F1B engine the derivative of the Saturn 5 main engines competing for the strap on for the Senatorial Launch System… I don’t love the SLS but the F1B is exciting and worthy, I just wish it were part of a more commercially driven program.

2nd page has a great explanation of the difference between kerosene and liquid hydrogen as a fuel for first stage engines, fun for the rocket scientist in all of us…or at least me.


Move along, nothing original to see here…. but maybe some interesting links..

As Russel Mead at Via Meadia writes to great effect the Great Loon, the Duck of Death is dead

And here is Russel Mead’s interesting take on protests etc.  A very insightful piece that hit home once more regarding something that puzzled me… ” There was a time long ago when political protest really mattered.  The Vietnam protests didn’t end the war (and didn’t keep Nixon from carrying 49 states against George McGovern in 1972), but they helped end the draft.  The civil rights movement led to some of the most profound social changes this country has ever seen.  Before that, there were labor and suffragette marches…”     ” But these days the old style protests remind me of political conventions: empty and pointless (though noisy and publicized) rituals.  “  And he draws a comparison to the conventions.  Once the conventions were important, before mass media and instant communications, but now they are just rituals the politic druidic class still hold.  In the old days a mass rally meant something, life for the working class was twice todays and wages closer to subsistence, and brutality was expected of the police, going to a rally meant something. Today it’s not much more than a smelly holiday.  Not to say that there aren’t some grievances and suffering…but OWS is more theater than struggle.   And then Amity Shales had this to say about what these folks want, vs what they need.

I am never going to be the blog-media-news miner that Instapundit is.  Here is the latest on the SLS fiasco from Rand Simberg, the Space Launch System is a works program, yes well paid and aerospace is effective economic multiplier but the money could be spent to so much better effect!

(edits, still not getting all of this right the first time)