Goodbye Hubble

In the same spirit of “Intelligent Design” (teaching creationism in the schools instead of evolution), and pooh-poohing global warming, the Bush administration is continuing its war on science by announcing that it will not fund the mission to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope. The US$1billion cost might seem like a lot, except that it’s a drop in the bucket in NASA’s $35 billion-plus annual cost, about 1/3 of which is being eaten by the useless International Space Station. But the ISS makes us look like space “heros” (Buck Rogers astronauts, flag-waving, etc), while Hubble does unglamorous but real scientific work. Hubble was probably NASA’s single most important scientific accomplishment, and now it will be trashed.

I’ve been asking myself why the Bush administration hates science. The conclusion I’ve reached is that religious fanaticism is directed against science because of the unpleasant truths it persists in revealing.

Some links about the Hubble debacle: … 50121.html

Now excuse me while go up to the roof and worship some pagan idols…

the devil made me do it,

That is really sad.

I had a Bush supporter explaining to me the other day how they are getting really good at laser technology in space. They can use space to look at earth in order to kill people or use space to look out and learn.

Easy choice for the Bush team.

Since the space shuttle is grounded, how exactly are they supposed to service the Hubble?

Sorry, but NASA has been screwed up since the 1970s. The best thing to do would be to scrap it completely and allow private enterprise take over. Look what Burt Rutan has been able to do. … tempt.cnn/

Oh, and we must not forget of the Bush fantasy of landing a man on Mars.

Space exploration is necessary. We need somewhere to dump our trash. We also need to blow up meteors that might hit us.

We could have done by 1980. Unfortunately the NASA budget was cut, the Apollo project was closed down and instead of “wasting money on space”, we spent it on people here on Earth. What a great investment that has been. :unamused:

Jesus, it would be nice if some of you were either old enough or interested enough to know a little history. :unamused:

uh…that would be Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D., Tex.), while visiting Mars Pathfinder Mission Control Center, asked whether the Pathfinder had taken pictures of the American flag planted by Neil Armstrong in 1969. . . .

NASA is resurrecting the space shuttle (at huge cost), and plans to have it flying again by this summer. And what is the shuttle going to used for? Servicing the International Space Station, which is currently being serviced by the Russians for a fraction of the cost. NASA has no plans to use the shuttle for anything else.

[quote=“Comrade Stalin”]
Sorry, but NASA has been screwed up since the 1970s. [/quote]

You’re right about that. The big reason is because of the shuttle. It was a disastrous decision by the Carter administration to scrap the Apollo program and replace it with the shuttle. Apollo (with the now defunct Saturn rockets) was capable of flying to the moon, and with some modifications the Saturn boosters could have gone to Mars. The shuttle can only go to an altitude of 500km (300 miles) - it’s cool-looking toy for sending astronauts on joy rides around the earth. It’s scientific value for space exploration is nearly zilch. The only useful scientific mission it had was servicing Hubble, and now that’s being scrapped. Of course, we could have serviced Hubble much more cheaply with Apollo spacecraft, or by doing it robotically. Or not servicing it at all, and just putting up a replacement every 5 years or so, which would still cost far less than a manned mission. The Bush administration, of course, has no plans to do that - they want Hubble to die.

Yes, look at what Burt Rutan has accomplished. He flew to an altitude of 100km (60 miles) in a jet that was launched from the belly of a large aircraft. The same stunt was done 40 years ago by the US Air Force using the (much more capable) X15 plane. … t/X15.html

Big deal. It’s an order of magnitude more difficult getting into orbit, plus another order of magnitude more difficult getting to the moon.

What incentive would private enterprise have to build Hubble? How would they make money off it? Sorry, I don’t think so. NASA has a roll to play - that is, doing pure science, with no foreseeable economic reward. In the long term, some NASA projects might pay off, but private industry is only interested in quarterly results. Even Burt Rutan hasn’t made any money yet with his space toy, though he’s hoping to sell seats to rich joyriders like Bill Gates. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if he’d sent Bill into space (and leave him there), but it’s not exactly what I call “space exploration”.

I’ve had two interesting online essays about the space program which I saved on my hard disk. Don’t have the original links, so I’ll have to post them in full. This is the first one, published before the last shuttle disaster.

[quote]Apparently Robert Zubrin, manned Mars mission advocate, is going to testify as part of this review. At the moment the US is spending $3 billion/year on the shuttle, and an unknown amount on the new OSP (Orbital Space Plane), all without any clear objective in mind. It is very hard not to feel, at least as far as manned exporation goes, NASA is floundering at the moment.

It is me worth re-posting this related extract from a piece posted on, by Robert Zubrin - an advocate of reform in the US space program - interesting reading…

[quote]In the recent Columbia hearings, numerous members of congress continually decried the fact that the US space program is “stuck in Low Earth Orbit.” This is certainly a serious problem. If it is to be addressed adequately, however, America’s political leadership needs to reexamine NASA’s fundamental mode of operation.

Over the course of its history, NASA has employed two distinct modes of operation. The first, prevailed during the period from 1961-1973, and may therefore be called the Apollo Mode. The second, prevailing since 1974, may usefully be called the Shuttle Era Mode, or Shuttle Mode, for short.

In the Apollo Mode, business is conducted as follows. First, a destination for human spaceflight is chosen. Then a plan is developed to achieve this objective. Following this, technologies and designs are developed to implement that plan. These designs are then built, after which the mission is flown.

The Shuttle Mode operates entirely differently. In this mode, technologies and hardware elements are developed in accord with the wishes of various technical communities. These projects are then justified by arguments that they might prove useful at some time in the future when grand flight projects are initiated.

Contrasting these two approaches, we see that the Apollo Mode is destination driven, while the Shuttle Mode pretends to be technology driven, but is actually constituency driven. In the Apollo Mode, technology development is done for mission directed reasons. In the Shuttle Mode, projects are undertaken on behalf of various internal and external technical community pressure groups and then defended using rationales. In the Apollo Mode, the space agency’s efforts are focused and directed. In the Shuttle Mode, NASA’s efforts are random and entropic.

Imagine two couples, each planning to build their own house. The first couple decides what kind of house they want, hires an architect to design it in detail, then acquires the appropriative materials to build it. That is the Apollo Mode. The second couple polls their neighbors each month for different spare house-parts they would like to sell, and buys them all, hoping to eventually accumulate enough stuff to build a house. When their relatives inquire as to why they are accumulating so much junk, they hire an architect to compose a house design that employs all the knick-knacks they have purchased. The house is never built, but an adequate excuse is generated to justify each purchase, thereby avoiding embarrassment. That is the Shuttle Mode.

In today’s dollars, NASA average budget from 1961-1973 was about $17 billion per year. This is only 10% more than NASA’s current budget. To assess the comparative productivity of the Apollo Mode with the Shuttle Mode, it is therefore useful to compare NASA’s accomplishments between 1961-1973 and 1990-2003, as the space agency’s total expenditures over these two periods were equal.

Between 1961 and 1973, NASA flew the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Ranger, Surveyor, and Mariner missions, and did all the development for the Pioneer, Viking, and Voyager missions as well. In addition, the space agency developed hydrogen oxygen rocket engines, multi-staged heavy-lift launch vehicles, nuclear rocket engines, space nuclear reactors, radioisotope power generators, spacesuits, in-space life support systems, orbital rendezvous techniques, soft landing rocket technologies, interplanetary navigation technology, deep space data transmission techniques, reentry technology, and more. In addition, such valuable institutional infrastructure as the Cape Canaveral launch complex, the Deep Space tracking network, Johnson Space Center, and JPL were all created in more or less their current form.

In contrast, during the period from 1990-2003, NASA flew about three score Shuttle missions allowing it to launch and repair the Hubble Space Telescope and partially build a space station. About half a dozen interplanetary probes were launched (compared to over 30 lunar and planetary probes between 1961-73). Despite innumerable “technology development” programs, no new technologies of any significance were actually developed, and no major space program operational infrastructure was created.

Comparing these two records, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that that NASA’s productivity in both missions accomplished and technology development during its Apollo Mode was at least ten times greater than under the current Shuttle Mode.

The Shuttle Mode is the expenditure of large sums of money without direction by strategic purpose. That is why it is hopelessly inefficient. But the blame for this waste cannot be placed on NASA leaders alone, some of whom have attempted to rectify the situation. Rather, the political class must also accept major responsibility.

Consider the following. During the same week in September that House members were roasting Administrator O’Keefe for his unfortunate advocacy of a destination-free NASA, a Senate committee issued a report saying that a top priority for the space agency was to develop a replacement Space Shuttle system. Did any of the Senators who supported this report explain why? Why do we need another Shuttle system? To keep doing what we are doing now? But is that what we actually want to do?

Congress and the Executive branch need to get together and open a discussion as to what the nation actually wants to accomplish in space. Hearings should be held, and the options for a strategic objective examined in public. Is our primary aim to keep sending astronauts on joyrides in low Earth orbit? In that case, a second generation Shuttle might be worth building. But if we want to send humans to the Moon or Mars, we need make that decision, and then design and build a hardware set that is appropriate to actually accomplish those goals.

Advocates of the Shuttle Mode claim that by avoiding the selection of a destination they are developing the technologies that will allow us to go anywhere, anytime. That just isn’t true. The Shuttle Mode will never get us anywhere at all. The Apollo Mode got us to the Moon, and it can get us back, or take us to Mars. But leadership is required.[/quote][/quote]



NASA wants to spend $13 billion to build an “orbital space plane” to supplement the space shuttle. Setting aside the redundant name–aren’t orbit and space the same place?–this looks like the agency’s next bad idea. The orbital space plane has already been dubbed the “orbital stupid plane” by planetary scientist Jeffrey Bell of the University of Hawaii. Here’s why.

NASA wants a corporate-jet-sized winged, piloted spacecraft that would be fired into orbit atop a regular throwaway rocket, then return to Earth by gliding onto a runway as the space shuttle does. (Yesterday Congress asked NASA to postpone the project.) The goal of the orbital space plane program is a reusable, piloted craft that can take people back and forth to space, especially to the space station–which is still up there, though rapidly losing altitude in terms of budget and mission–without the ruinous price of the space shuttle. Shuttle launches were costing a ridiculous $632 million per mission up to the moment of the post-Columbia grounding.

Aerospace buffs will recognize the idea of a small winged craft atop a regular rocket: The Air Force wanted one of these 40 years ago! A secret program called X20 researched a winged plane with one pilot put into space aboard a regular rocket. First X20 was going to be some kind of space-bomber, with the pilot in orbit pressing a button to release a nuclear bomb. Once the ICBM came along the space-bomber no longer made sense; then X20 was going to fly astronauts to the Air Force’s own proposed space station, called MOL, from which they would monitor reconnaissance equipment. Then the spy satellite came along, and an Air Force space station no longer made sense. Both X20 and MOL were cancelled in the 1960s.

Now NASA wants to revive the X20 idea. (The European Space Agency is also toying with an idea similar to orbital space plane, but unlikely to act because each member nation wants to get the construction contracts while other nations provide the funding.) While an orbital space plane would cut costs relative to the shuttle, Bell’s point is that space capsules–what the United States used during the highly successful Apollo moon program, and which the Russian and Chinese space agencies use still–would be much cheaper and more sensible.
If the goal is taking men and women back and forth to space, capsules are far less expensive, more reliable, and safer than winged vehicles. NASA had no flight fatalities while using capsules, even at a time when technology was much less advanced than today; 14 people have died aboard NASA-winged spacecraft. Russia has now put up hundreds of capsule flights without fatalities, and China just showed that a developing nation can safely operate a space capsule.

The problem for NASA is that capsules are not max-tech. Also, you can’t pretend a capsule, which follows a ballistic flight path, is being flown by the people inside. During launch or reentry, the people aboard a capsule are just “spam in a can,” as Apollo astronauts used to say.

NASA badly, badly wants whatever it builds next to be winged, in order to maintain the illusion that its astronauts are flying in space, not just riding. (Actually, even aboard the shuttle the pilots are just monitoring instruments; see this heart-rending piece on the final moments of Columbia.) But the “tyranny of wings,” Bell says, only causes most of the weight of a winged spacecraft to be dedicated to its own structure, while a ballistic capsule can be mainly people and payload.

If NASA insists on maintaining the space station–and good luck explaining what the space station is for, other than to justify spending for aerospace contractors and favored congressional districts–the agency should build a modern version of the Apollo capsule. This would be far cheaper and safer than any orbital space plane, Bell and others have calculated, in addition to available sooner, since the engineering of space capsules has been well-understood for decades. Then, while using good old capsules to get back and forth to orbit, NASA could research some fundamentally new form of space launching that would cut costs and make grand adventures, like a return to the moon or a Mars mission, possible someday.[/quote]

Why do they call it Hubble. Is this a man or woman’s name? If so, what did this person do? Or is Hubble a word like radar, sonar, etc?

It only took about 10 seconds to find the answer on google…

The Hubble Space Telescope was named after Edwin Hubble, an astronomer whose contributions to astronomy include a classification system for galaxies and the Hubble Constant.

More information here: … ubble.html


Dog’s_Breakfast, please take note of the following rule:

Moderator IP Forum

NASA is resurrecting the space shuttle (at huge cost), and plans to have it flying again by this summer. [/quote]

And it’s working out about as well as I expected.

“Global Warming” is also a myth and bad science.

[quote=“Rascal”]Dog’s_Breakfast, please take note of the following rule:

Moderator IP Forum[/quote]
Looks like he tried to explain his need to post the entire text here:

Not according to “nearly all climate scientists today”.

[quote] The Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed, a NASA scientist said Tuesday night…Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies…
Hansen said the administration wants to hear only scientific results that “fit predetermined, inflexible positions.” [/quote]

Even Shrub has been forced to finally, grudgingly begin to admit the problem. [quote]Bush said earlier this month he recognizes that human activity contributes to a warmer Earth. [/quote]

Note the quality of the sources cited. National Academy of Sciences. NASA. CNN. The BBC. You’ll have to do the same, rather than citing right-wing think tanks and their oil-funded “studies” if you wish to have any hope of being taken seriously.