Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SES Pool

It seems like only yesterday, but in fact LoriAndI have been in office for almost 120 days now. You know what that means. The smell of the SES pool is becoming noticeable. It's time for the fall pool cleaning.

And wouldn't you know it, the band leader is calling a 100% mandatory meeting of all SES minions on Oct 14-15 in the E Street Theater. The Snow Princess has her 90 day letters ready to go. The meeting will be to give fair warning that the pool will be drained and scoured within days thereafter and it may be wise to find another pool to swim in after that. With the approaching winter, after the pool is cleaned, it will be covered and not likely refilled to the old level for some time to come.

With the demise of the Market Inn, we can only wonder where the fallen leaves will land after being dropped from the adjacent tree.

Tracks of My Tears

"I would be telling you a lie if I told you we're on board, we're really excited about this," LoriAndI said.

We guess that means he and the old guard he represents aren't too excited about "commercial space," whatever that is?

"We think we can find the most innovative solutions to some of our most difficult and challenging, problems through competition and innovation. This is pretty exciting stuff," the band leader said, tears forming in his eyes. "Let me say that again: this is exciting stuff."

Now we're confused. He'd be telling lies if he/they were excited. But he finds it to be really exciting stuff.

Cue Smokey.

"People say I'm the band leader of E Street
Because I tell a joke or two
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty
Deep inside I'm blue
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it's easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Something Else to Fail At

Give the indefatigable minions in Shelbyville credit. They never fail to take on a new project to fail at. NLS, SLI, OSP, X-33, X-34, Fastrac engine, Ares. Even now they are jumping in with both feet on territory normally reserved for the Schwarzeneggerians and Mikulsians.

"We are designing a flight mission to go to the lunar surface. We are looking at different scenarios that would develop a lander to be small but would have a large power need because of a variety of instruments it would contain," said the robotic lunar lander project manager.

Small with large power needs. Yep, sounds like they are off to a good start already!

Midnight Oil

On the heels of the GAO report questioning the grand scheme of things, the poor minions are going through a lot of #2 pencils this weekend looking for, but not finding, extra nines in the corndog risk analysis. The not so prideful new owners on Pennsylvania Avenue are still hoping to renovate the E Street Theater and are pushing back against the historical (some would say hysterical) preservationists questioning their intent to proceed with the Fourth of July spectacular on October 27.

Amidst all of the pencil grinding, the playbill is being drawn up. Come October 9, LoriAndI will share the scrimmage plans with the rest of the senior minions (and the Barons of Industry).

Soon after, the final battle will be engaged.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stick in the Mud

The corndog has ED issues. And that Oct 27 date may have been a bit "premature," to use a word in the same context.

The technology demonstrator, known as Ares 1-X, as we all know, is a bit of a limp stick. When sitting on the old Saturn crawler with a fundamental frequency below 0.1HZ, it wiggles like a petunia on the patio. Should the crawler have to stop suddenly... ooops.

We think you get the picture.

Dampening Spirits, Take 2

Ares 1 needs a damper. Yet, in an attempt to keep an unsustainable program going, our friends in Utah tied a rocket to the ground at multiple points (need we point out the stiffening advantage of that?) and declared victory when the system failed to chirp like an organ. Now, even Viceroy Gerst is trying to damp down the enthusiasm for overstating the facts.

Remember, the bladder busting is somewhat probabilistic in nature. It sometimes even appears in shuttle flights, albeit at much reduced magnitude, but not on every motor. Drawing good news conclusions from one test, pinned to the ground, is folly. Proposing Ares 1 as a tech development program for Ares V is also folly. And taking a crap shoot like Ares 1X is desperate folly. But, these are the kind of fool's games that will be played from here to cancellation.

Dampening Spirits, Take 1

The moon is a damp mistress. And she will now wail louder for those who can hear her siren song as the waypoint refueling station to Mars. Poor Norm. He should have listened to Jeff. Instead, you can find his final report next to "Dumb and Dumber" on the same half-off shelf.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Funny Papers

With Peggy in the accompanying picture, the headline reads: "Hard Hats Give Way to Test Tube Shots."

Ooops, sorry, maybe we misread that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jetting to the Rescue

The pact with the Barons had been made with the Viceroy by the muddy lake. Now the Viceroy and his minions were told to be inspired by collapsing bridges. Having been built all at once, the developers were later let go and a generation gap in bridge building ensued. With the passage of time, the bridges began to collapse, but no developers were left to design new ones. The Viceroy said E Street has followed the same path, and is relearning the tricks of the trade that had been lost with a previous generation.

Oh, and the commercial guys would have the same problems. Zing!

But the Viceroy, drawing in fresh air, told the minions to stay the course, 1X is almost on the pad. The five segment stick, anchored firmly to the desert floor, rumbled to life. And Rube's double ended solution would keep it from shaking their friend's bladders to pieces when it finally points upright. Problem solved! Just another day on a hard development program.

Behind the Viceroy, other forces went to work. One of the favorite Flyboys jetted to E Street to help formulate an accounting of the termination costs for the star-crossed program. Other theaters were asked to assess the cost of zeroing out the current program. The powder would be kept dry until needed in the final hours of the conflict. Up the street, complaints could already be heard, inflexibly staying on the path, and wasted sunk costs and time recounted. New voices were ambushed before they could be heard. Large termination costs would fan those flames soon.

The Snow Princess tried to sleep through the commotion, but the sugar plum fairy was replaced by the former Emperor in her dreams, and the new night chamber filled with shadows. This was not the future she had dreamed of before, but rather, a nightmare that haunts all seeking a more enlightened path.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Immanuel Kant would have had an explanation for it. "Each, according to his own inclination follows his own purpose, often in opposition to others; yet each individual and people, as if following some guiding thread, go towards a natural but to each of them unknown goal; all work toward furthering it, even if they would set little store by it if they did know it."

So go the Barons of Industry. Each having their own compass, they all found their way by separate paths and gathered with the judas Viceroy of the muddy lake to lay out the battle plan. "Stay the course! We are the Chosen Ones. We shall not give up our just spoils."

And so the plan is coming together to lay waste to the E Street playbill. Whatever it turns out to be.

X 1

How impressive is it to fire off a tube of propellant sitting on its side?

Ask Charlie P!

He was "very impressed."

We'll pay for the cab to take him home after the next Fourth of July fireworks.

We wouldn't want him driving in that condition.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The One After 9/09

What a mess!

Maybe now we can call time on any more 60 day studies seeking higher truths? Maybe Santa Claus really doesn't exist? Maybe Sybil snuck a draft in when Norm wasn't looking? Maybe Jack Weinberg was right? Maybe Paul is dead?

Our first clue that something was amiss came in the form of the Panel make-up. Did you notice anyone in the group with more than academic or outdated credentials? Neither did we. Anyone who has constructed anything more tangible than view-graph presentations in the last 20 years? Ah, no. Anyone exhibiting any form of enlightenment whatsoever in understanding the real crux of the problem at hand and the organizational skills to dissect it? Anyone with new and innovative ideas?

Anybody besides Jeff, that is?

If the former, and we might now add, irrelevant, Emperor hadn't left us at the Italian Waiter's table holding the bill would there have been any need for a 475nm Ribbon Panel in the first place? Of course, not. This administration's need to socially intervene in anything and everything (as if our very health care depended on it) thus required some assessment of the depth of the ditch we currently find ourselves in. Having resolved that, does anybody really think this is about a measly $3B a year? Are we really saving that just to buy more clunkers next year?

No, the problem is the same as its always been. Alluded to but missing from the executive summary was a starting point. Just what is it that is so important to accomplish in space that only humans can do it? Without that starting premise (and we don't think its "field geology"), which the Panel clearly states as an axiom upon which all else must be derived, the presented options are set afloat, once again, without context. No need for Buck Rogers, no bucks.

Here Mr. Band Leader, a.k.a. LoriAndI. Have a kleenex.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who Needs Ethics Anyway?

An ethics waiver has been granted to the new Band Leader allowing him to serve despite his previous work with two of E Street's big contractors, SAIC and GenCorp.

The waiver remains silent on Alliant Techsystems. Perhaps that's just not going to be an issue in the near future? Or could it be that everyone just knows that it never stopped one RocketDoc anyway, so why should it inhibit the new Band Leader?

Rule. Apply as needed and ignore when inconvenient.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blame Game

Viceroy Hanley, standing on one leg with his fingers crossed behind his back, came as close as he's going to admit the real status of Orion at it's PDR. He's at least two years behind schedule. How do we know that?

"It'll take up to two years to fit a new rocket to the capsule," he said. Design changes to accommodate weight and size differences are required he says.

But at least one EELV provides more mass margin than the corndog does.

Oh well. What's another two years on a 14 year schedule anyway?