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Steve R.

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SpaceX just one week away from launching 1st astronauts on Crew Dragon for NASA.
The liftoff, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will depart from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will mark the return of orbital human spaceflight to American soil after a nearly decade-long absence. The last such launch, in July 2011, kicked off the final mission of NASA's space shuttle program.
On the surface this is "good" news. But my reaction: Why so long?

The US claims to be a world leader, yet for the past 9 years the US has not had a manned space vehicle. We had to depend on those "evil" Russians to transport our astronauts. This implies that US has lost its vision and commitment to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (Star Trek, the revised politically correct version: "Where No One Has Gone Before"). The US is now consumed with "internal friction", that is manifested by activities such as political correctness, social justice, and identity politics. Unfortunately, the manned space program has suffered.

Even the US response to COVID-19 plays into this. Such as shutting down the economy ("internal friction"). Of course proactive measures have to be taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are now seeing the emergence of the concept: enough is enough, get the economy rolling again. Think of Columbus. His departure Spain would never have been allowed had been required then to abide by current laws and current political acrimony. (There have been numerous hillarious short stories concerning this.)

We live in a world with risk. Risk can be minimized. Nevertheless, if society is to progress we shouldn't shutdown progress. It's been approximately 9 years since the US launched a manned space mission. If the US is to really be a world leader, time to get on with it.
 

mdnuts

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I never liked giving up our own ability to get into space. I get the systems were old and costly and never lived up to their intended hype. I very much love what SpaceX has done. they've made space fun again.
 

Tera

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The US claims to be a world leader, yet for the past 9 years the US has not had a manned space vehicle.
China lands on the dark side of the moon, Japan brings home particles of an asteroid, one of the furthest trips into the space, Haybusa2 is in a 6 years long trip and travels 5.24 billion KM.

I remember myself, 5 or 6, listening to a live radio broad cast of Apollo 13 landing on the moon and the first man stepping on an unknown land. I remember clearly that I imagined in future a trip to moon will be as easy as taking a train and going to a nearby city.
I never understand why US lost its interest in space.
 
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Steve R.

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I never understand why US lost its interest in space.
Priorities change. My very simplistic response, the US "won" and promptly lost interest (because we proved we could do it). We (the US) forgot to look in rear view mirror to see that others were catching up. Currently, the US is wasting a lot of time, money, and resources fighting over internal affairs, which detracts from fostering viable space program. A manned space program, by some, would be considered an extravagant waste when the US should be addressing racism, income inequality, climate change, etc. A very unfortunate viewpoint. (Since posting, the news tonight was about creating a new large bureaucracy like the TSA to track people for COVID-19 exposure. Such a bureaucracy would soak up a lot of resources.)

Part of the debate concerning the US space program revolved around focusing on one of two possible approaches. 1) a manned program (space shuttle) or 2) unnamed programs (such as the Mars Rovers). Unfortunately, I have not really followed the evolution of how the space program was to proceed. But the lack of a manned space vehicle for around 9 years implies that the manned programs were put on the "back burner".

Based on good management principles, the US should have had a replacement for the space shuttle the day after that program was retired, but did not.
 
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NauticalGent

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Now there's a good idea for a thread: Were the lunar landings a hoax?
 

Wayne

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China lands on the dark side of the moon, Japan brings home particles of an asteroid, one of the furthest trips into the space, Haybusa2 is in a 6 years long trip and travels 5.24 billion KM.

I remember myself, 5 or 6, listening to a live radio broad cast of Apollo 13 landing on the moon and the first man stepping on an unknown land. I remember clearly that I imagined in future a trip to moon will be as easy as taking a train and going to a nearby city.
I never understand why US lost its interest in space.
Actually, Tera, it was the Apollo 11 mission where Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Apollo 13 actually never landed.
 

Jon

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Actually, Tera, it was the Apollo 11 mission where Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Apollo 13 actually never landed.
There is a great movie about Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks.
 

Uncle Gizmo

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I watched the launch, sat on the edge of my seat, just like watching the moon landing launches when I was a kid! I was so excited, like a football fan watching a winning goal, but I didn't jump up and cheer!

Elon, a businessman representing the soul of the USA.

SpaceX, another step closer to Mars, that's what generated the excitement!
 

moke123

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IIRC, there is someone who posts on one of the access forums who works at SpaceX.
 

Steve R.

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Elon, a businessman representing the soul of the USA.
My wife noted that the congratulatory speeches (the parts we heard) apparently failed to mention the role of Musk.

One of my perpetual themes; large companies, such as Boeing, (which should have had then next generation space shuttle ready-to-go the day after the last space shuttle Atlantis retired) failed to take the initiate that Musk did.
 
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The_Doc_Man

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I watched the launch. It brought back memories of the Gemini and Apollo missions. And from my limited window of observing through TV, it looked like it went off without a single glitch.

Great work, Space-X. Kudos to Elon Musk for this triumph. Severe head scratching, though, for his ability to name his child.
 

Uncle Gizmo

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"Space Force"

Boobs on the Moon by 2024
 

kevlray

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Back in the early 70's when the US was spending millions to send astronauts to the moon. A lot of US citizens were paying more attention to the conflict in Vietnam (never a declared war) and poverty, gas prices, etc. Space exploration is expensive and a lot of people do not understand why we bother to leave the earth to go anywhere. There used to be magazine put out by NASA that talked about all the technologies that get 'created' by attempting space exploration.
 

The_Doc_Man

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Among other things, the technology of ultra miniaturization came from the space program as they tried to make computers smaller, faster, more accurate, more reliable, and use less power. Almost sounds like a selection from the group Daft Punk.
 

Tera

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Actually, Tera, it was the Apollo 11 mission where Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Apollo 13 actually never landed.
Seems like I'm getting old. Thanks for correcting.
 

Steve R.

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We've had a successful launch. That is only one part of the mission. The cheering, however, should not really start till they safely returned to Earth to complete the mission.
Today, they have successfully returned, so the cheering can begin. Though, as I write, they have not yet been extracted from the Dragon and returned to terra firma. Congratulations.

A real challenge, would been to land through the eye of Tropical Storm Isaias. That should have been worth a few extra "points"
 

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