Monday, July 25, 2005
The Final Frontier
An official from NASA has just come on TV and announced that the shuttles will be retired in 2010. Now there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The shuttles were an expensive and dangerous compromise, trying to be a jack of all trades, and not expert at anything. However, there has to be a follow on of some sort, and I haven't heard of any. There have been persistent rumors of an Air Force operated space plane called the Aurora. This plane supposedly flies into space and lands like a plane. Given the fact that the SR-71 technically flew into space, and the success of a private space plane this year, I find it entirely plausible that the military has a manned vehicle capable of flying into space. If not, they must develop one. The U.S. has no traditional rockets capable of flying men into space, and I don't believe the French Arianne is capable of manned flight either. This would leave manned flight capabilities in the hands of the Russians with their Proton rockets, and the Chinese who are currently developing a rocket based manned space flight capability. For reasons of national security, national presitige and economic reasons, we cannot allow this to happen. We must explore and exploit space, it is our future. If we can operate and maintain a scientific outpost in Antartic, we can do the same on the Moon. If our government does drop the ball, then it is vital that NASA and the government get out of the way, and allow private interests to begin to travel into space and begin to develop an infrastructure.