Sunday, December 21, 2008

Launch Pad Roulette?

Schedule Pressure. Two words, capitalized here for emphasis, that have played a large role in both successes and failures in our conquest of space. Forty years ago it played a role in propelling humankind to the moon. In a heroic and historic effort to meet an end of the decade timetable, the Apollo 8 astronauts embarked on a daring adventure doing a figure eight around our nearest celestial neighbor.

Soon, another daring adventure will be launched. However, instead of employing a brand new shiny spaceship, the brave crew will climb into a rickety, claptrap, make-do spaceplane to save our precious view into the cosmos. Not to take away from the crew's bravery and desire to serve, but we do this despite the fact that we will spend more to put these people and museum piece at risk than it would have cost to build and launch a brand new space telescope on an un-crewed rocket.

Both the crew of Apollo 8 and the crew of the Hubble Repair Mission were/are trained professionals who understand the risks of spaceflight. In both cases, calculated risk mitigations were/are being employed to give the astronauts their best chance of survival. These decisions, and the options that were/have been afforded, were originally made in a calm, deliberate, and thoughtful environment.

The way it should be.

But now, Viceroy Hanley is once again showing his manifest ignorance, supported by the Emperor, and getting pushed by the Italian Waiter to relieve a requirement for a launch on need shuttle to rescue the Hubble crew if their rickshaw is unable to return them safely to mother earth. Instead they want to take the pad from which the back-up will launch and use it to test the igniter continuity between the blockhouse and the ARES-1X rocket (for that is the only outcome of this test which in no way resembles a real ARES-1).

Precious time could be lost in the event of a real emergency getting the back-up ready for flight if it is not standing ready on the alternate pad. The original plans were made without regard to schedule pressure and optimized to give the valiant crew the best chance possible to make it home should the worst case scenario be realized. Overriding these instincts, originally developed in a calm hour, would be irresponsible.

Such inanity has been the norm in the reign of the Emperor. We are not surprised by this last desperate move as he and his bumbling minions are shown the door on E Street. The Snow Princess and her elfish Changelings need to put a chill on this idea through whatever means possible. The outgoing cast should not be allowed to allow the effect of their bad decisions to put our national assets at further risk.


Anonymous said...

If ever there's a mission that needs the launch-on-need capability, it's the Hubble mission. It's insane that they are considering compromising the LON in any way.

Anonymous said...

name a stupid decision
and watch NASA management embrace it

Anonymous said...

The sooner Griffin and those other clowns leave the better. Hopefully before they kill someone.

Anonymous said...

4, 3, 2, 1 blastoff!.....

Anonymous said...

Wow. So many things.
This may be the log that breaks the camel's back and forces the Changelings to start NASA's interregnum.
Please don't make this come down to another valiant stand by the Viceroy of SOMD. The Emperor is so unhinged maybe Robespierre is a more accurate comparison.
If Baron Lindsey's Chronicle op/ed is believable, then he should be penning one right now on how bad of an idea this is, right?