When are economic sanctions not sanctions at all?

RussianTrampolineI came across this news story today in which a Russian space official suggests the US consider using trampolines to get astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. It’s all about economic sanctions applied to Russia over its annexation of Crimea and other meddling in Ukraine. The Russian space agency, you see, has been hard hit by the cancellation of at least five launches. Except according to my friends in the space biz Russia hasn’t been hurt at all.

Space customers pay in advance, way in advance. All five cancelled NASA launches were paid for long ago and the same for a number of now-delayed private launches. They may go ahead or not, […]

Moonset

Later today the Obama Administration will reportedly announce major changes in the U. S. space program that may amount to the effective end of manned space flight after this decade. As a guy who has been trying to mount his own mission to the Moon I’m not yet sure how I feel about this. Maybe it is a great opportunity, but probably not.

The FY2011 federal proposed budget will be published with the following changes:

– NASA’s Constellation program to replace the Space Shuttle will be cancelled and all hardware development will be stopped including Ares 1, Ares 5 and Orion.

— The Moon is no longer the first stop in the exploration program, replaced […]

By |January 31st, 2010|2010|188 Comments

Tossed in Space

scowJust in case you are an astronaut and need something to worry about, according to NASA there are 18,000 pieces of space junk the size of a basketball or larger right now orbiting the earth. That’s 18,000 chances to slam into the International Space Station (ISS), bump into a U.S. Space Shuttle, or plow into any of a number of satellites in low Earth orbit. Twice the ISS has had to be moved to avoid potential collisions and one other time when it couldn’t be moved the crew huddled in their Soyuz taxicab for danger to pass, with one such near-miss taking place just last week, which is what inspired this column.

I say it is […]

By |November 13th, 2009|2009|165 Comments

The Mouse that Roared

the-mouse-that-roared1I have a mouse in my RV.  Or as many correspondents have told me I have MICE in my RV, because the concept of a solitary mouse is beyond their considerable experience.  This month my wife, three young sons and I (and of course the mice) are in California, mainly touring in our 1996 Winnebago.  We tour, we fix, then tour some more. The old Winnie was never built for 107-degree desert temperatures and neither was I.  So since we’re broken-down waiting (again) for the fixit man to come, I think this might be a good time to update my readers on a few old projects.

But first let me say that in an RV that […]