THE ROCKETS RED STATE GLARE:

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sagancity2220

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THE ROCKETS RED STATE GLARE: <br /><br />On Sunday I bought the Nov. Pop.Sci with Spaceship 1 on the cover - and @ dinner time we watched 60 minutes - again featuring the Spaceship 1 bunch. Those Spaceship 1 guys ( and gals ) deserve every pat on the back they get. I especially enjoyed the CBS 60 minutes clip of D. Rutan talking about the W. Von Braun presentation made to Walt Disney. Not to be out done was D. Rutan's own presentation of a space hotel and the startling vision of enjoying space WITHOUT a space suit. <br /><br />How much longer before we can beam up ? ? I can’t wait.<br /><br />Now for the criticism. During the whole 60 mins. presentation there was more than just an undertone of the rugged individualist, there was an obvious outright HOSTILITY to all things uncle Sammy. The very same uncle Sammy that is doing Shiite dirty work in Iraq supposedly in order to preserve USA freedoms. <br /><br />When you’re a DAVID, you always look good battling a GOLIATH. But Rutan’s cheap shots at the contributions made by Americans giving their best to America, was a dirty shame. I would love to see him explain to Gene Krantz ( Apollo 13 – hope I spelled his name rite) that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Robotic explorations of Mars, and the Space Shuttle was some sort of government welfare fraud or whatever. To hear Rutan tell it. the NASA era of early attempts at space exploration were all just a big waste of time. I would remind the good Mr. Rutan that NO business man spends $20+ m in order to make $10 m. <br /><br />Those early NASA boys ( like Rutan & Spaceship 1 ) had to build there own infrastructure, before a single successful launch could take place. Unlike Rutan, NASA was also tasked with being A REAL PART OF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY. Remember folks, the U.S. wasn’t just tossing a few pleasure boat captains into sub-orbit ( something those rite stuff guys did 40 years ago – if the commercial sector is so damn almighty, how come it took ‘em this long to get thr
 
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sagancity2220

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The loss of the Columbia was a tragedy of the highest order to be sure but you need to check your calendar for today marks the 15th anniv. of the fall of the Berlin wall. The Cold War had come to a final end. The period at the end of the sentence.<br /><br />That heroic crew yes I mean to use that word - of Space Shuttle Columbia will indeed have a special place in the history of manned space exploration - as a crew who gave their very best in the peaceful pursuit of human space activity. <br /><br />thanx<br />sagancity2220<br /><br />BE ALIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY<br />
 
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spacechump

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Rutan has a problem with <i>bureaucracy</i> at Nasa, not the goals they have done. He doesn't believe in their "us only" attitude about space travel that he believes they have.<br /><br />Rutan just wants to be able to provide spaceflight without a lot of government red tape preventing private ventures from ever getting a chance.
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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It's the same concept as NASA not being in the Airline business, either. Why should they be the "airline" for space? Rutan is building an airline, along with Branson (Sir Branson?) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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najab

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><i> (Sir Branson?) </i><p>It's Mr. Branson or Sir Richard.</p>
 
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CalliArcale

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So the title properly goes with the first name, not the surname? Interesting. I did not know that. Thanks! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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najab

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Yup, unless it's a Lordship or higher - then the title comes with it's own 'surname'. For example Lord Combermere (after who my old school was named) was actually named Stephen Cotton.
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Naj-<br />Thanks.<br /><br />On a completely unrelated note, a few months ago I joked that Hamilton was long-winded because he came from Barbados. I was wrong, he was from Nevis. That Flight Engineer I told you about is from Barbados, though. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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sagancity2220

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PULLLEEEEEAZE ! ! !<br /><br />Thanx for responding to my post but oh PULLLEEEEEAZE ! ! !<br /><br />“Rutan has a problem with bureaucracy at Nasa, not the . . . .” This little tidbit must’ve come right off the desk of KKKarl Rove.<br /><br />And then for the rest of you to go on and on about Mr. Branson; good gravy - the close of the post was about U.S. ASTRONAUTS lost in the service to their country and their lack of mention year after year on veterans day. <br /><br />Maybe next year on veterans day handfuls of space enthusiasts could gather at places all across the country like Moffett field – so that at least for one moment these 10 astronauts can be remembered for the fullness of their lives they gave in the serving their country. <br /><br />Now as to Rutan’s problem with bureaucracy.<br /><br />Hmmmmm.<br /><br />Ya know, I have a problem with U.S. Navy bureaucracy but it hasn’t stopped me from building a row boat and rowing across the Pacific Ocean. Exactly what NASA regs prevented Mr. Rutan from doing precisely what he is doing today. Remember that lawn-chair balloon guy ? No NASA police there.<br /><br />It has always been legal in this country to hit up a billionaire for funding to build whatever gizmo. <br /><br />FROM THE DEPARTMENT of EGGS IN ONE BASKET:<br /><br />Remember the space shuttle in the movie 2001- it was a PAN AM space shuttle, and just try booking a flight on Pan Am today.<br /><br />Thanx <br /> sagancity2220 <br /> <br />BE ALIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY<br />
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Sagan-<br />The bureaucracy of the "rowboat" wouldn't come from the Navy, it would come from the Coast Guard. Do you have a life jacket? Is it approved? Is your boat registered? I think the FAA is more what is meant, rather than NASA. NASA doesn't approve the design of an airliner, but the FAA does, everything down to the coffee maker, and light bulb in the reading lamp. <br /><br />NASA didn't design the 747 but much of the design rode on the back of NACA/NASA research. I'm sure that Rutan's, and others, space airliners will be designed using NASA research, as well. To me, that's exactly what this country is founded on, it's in the preamble of our Constitution, "To provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare". <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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I think it is ridiculous that we have to pay to keep people like Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Ford, Toyota, or Johnson and Johnson in line anyway. You would think it would be in their interest to do it right. Right? Maybe they should be setting the standards not government. I doubt they would want to incorporate less than the best available components in their aircraft or cars, in todays markets.<br /><br />The FAA has their fingers and noses in everything, the prime example of bloated government. <br /><br />I also think NASA has done a good job, for the most part, but it's not up to NASA to builds hotels and businesses in Space, it's up to them to lead the way, push the envelope for our common good. There would have not been a KC135 or Space Shuttle without government research. Look at what the 707 started. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Scott-<br />I do believe in regulation, and standards, <b>but</b>, and that's a big but, just because I like a steak, doesn't mean I want a cow shoved down my throat. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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scottb50

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You know the old saying. When the weight of the paper work equals the weight of the aircraft it will fly. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Yeah-<br />On a normal flight, I'm as much a secretary as an engineer. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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sagancity2220

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<br />Sure, sure, let's all just trust Firestone, Ford motors, and Enron. Ya know every time there's a jet crash I NEVER hear "It was too much regulation that brought that plane down."<br /><br />And one more time kids, "Exactly what NASA regs prevented Mr. Rutan from doing precisely what he is doing today ? <br /><br />It has always been legal in this country to hit up a billionaire for funding to build whatever gizmo."<br /><br />Now hold on for just a sec before you folks burn me at the stake, believe it or not, we probably share much of the same dream and excitement of humanity's peaceful exploration of space. <br /><br />And by the way, I think Mr. Branson has PLENTY to teach Americans about free enterprise, globalization, and just plain spunk.<br /><br />But he never did successfully circle the globe in a balloon. And yes - he came a lot closer to that goal than I ever will - not that I wouldn't want to be part of such a ballooning team.<br /><br />thanx<br /><br />sagancity2220<br /><br />BE ALIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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<font color="yellow">And one more time kids, "Exactly what NASA regs prevented Mr. Rutan from doing precisely what he is doing today ? </font><br /><br />NASA doesn't have regulations that go outside of NASA, that I know of, anyway, but the FAA sure does. That lawnchair guy you were talking about violated both part 61 and 91 of the FAR's. That could have meant jail time.<br /><br />NASA isn't a regulatory body, the FAA is.<br /><br />What Rutan couldn't have done inside of the NASA beaurocracy is build a spacecraft without all of the B.S. government contract stuff. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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The government contract stuff isn't BS. It's meant to protect national security secrets, and to ensure a proper accounting of taxpayer money. (Ironically, of course, the requirement to account for the money means more of it gets spent.) But yes, that is why he couldn't have done it within NASA, at least not so cheaply. It's simply the nature of the beast.<br /><br />But yeah, I agree with with you. The FAA has an interesting challenge ahead of it as it works out how to regulate spaceflight to keep it safe without making it financially impractical. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>I think it is ridiculous that we have to pay to keep people like Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Ford, Toyota, or Johnson and Johnson in line anyway. You would think it would be in their interest to do it right. Right? Maybe they should be setting the standards not government. I doubt they would want to incorporate less than the best available components in their aircraft or cars, in todays markets. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Realistically, what commercial interests want to do more than anything else is to make money. They do not want to use the best available components; if they did, only luxury cars would be available, for instance, and nobody making less than six figures could possibly afford one, even with financing. They use the components that they feel will do the job but not cost too much, because they want to be able to sell the finished vehicle, ideally for a lower price than the most similar competition. They don't want their vehicles to break, partly because they care about their customers, but also because it's a major selling point, and because they may be liable for damages.<br /><br />Regulatory bodies exist to make sure that companies build to certain standards of quality even when the company doesn't have any other motivation to do so. They also ensure the company pays its employees well enough, and doesn't pollute the environment too much (based on government definitions of "well enough" and "too much", which can and do change over time). It would be nice if regulatory bodies weren't needed, but realistically, I don't think we can trust the goodwill of corporations that much. They live and die by their bottom line, so it is entirely understandable that they think of that first. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Calli-<br />Also the bidding process with government contracts is a time consuming mess. There are several companies that won't even try. Have you ever tried to order standard MS248 O-Rings outside of the "system"? I did, in Japan. I got the engine fixed with all of the correct parts, and spent 2 nights(days in the U.S.) on the phone getting post approval forms filled out in three different places. For 20 minutes worth of work, I spent 10 hours trying to get a hold of the "right" people, some were Navy, some were civilian. It's a mess, and it had nothing to do with National Security. The O-rings cost less than 3.00 dollars. I ended up getting 5.0 evals(the best) in 3 catagories because I jumped through all of those hoops to get the engine up, no one in my shop had done that before. I knew how to order parts because I was an aircraft mechanic before I joined the Navy, but normally that's not a mechanics job, it's a storekeepers job. If I had been private sector, it would have been a non-event, something that gets done everyday. I'm pretty sure it's that way at NASA, as well, but maybe not to the same degree. <br /><br />*EDIT*<br />"MS248 O-Rings" I knew that didn't look right, sorry it's been a few years, it's M83248, not MS248. I always called them 248's. That's been bugging me all day. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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Correct -- that particular beaurocracy has to do with accounting. I mentioned that in the post above. It has to do with making sure there is a competitive bidding process, and that the money isn't being misappropriated. The irony of it is that it generally makes things cost more, not less, particularily in the short run. (It might actually save money on some of the really big expensive contracts, but not all of them, and it certainly doesn't help with the piddly little stuff.)<br /><br />BTW, it is a bit more relaxed than that at a government <i>contractor</i>. I can procure blank CD-R disks myself at Office Max without any bidding process or approval forms, except for the expense report to get reimbursed. It might not be so easy if I were employed by the government directly. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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rocketwatcher2001

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Accounting, and for us, QA, too. I was able to get the QA Officer to sign off once I had cross-checked the Part Number against the National Stock Number, it only took a minute, but that was because he was there, if he had been out, it would have been another thing to hold up the work. That was really what took the two days, trying to reach the right people, all for a few O-rings that cost less than a Big Mac value meal. That is without a doubt, B.S.<br /><br />There are good places to cross-check Part Numbers against the National Stock Number, I still use this to cross-check parts when I'm in the field.<br />http://www.iso-parts.com<br /><br />*EDIT*<br />I guess what I'm trying to say is that in the amount of time it took to get the "paperwork"(really done on a NALCOMIS computer) done, I could have rebuilt another entire engine. Rutan doesn't need to have his engineers/mechanics spend almost 2 days doing B.S. work to get parts approval, he keeps them building airplanes/spacecraft. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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Yeah, QA too. How could I have forgotten that! I work with QA guys on a regular basis. There are some really annoying delays to my process because I have to get QA to audit things. On the positive side, preparing for those audits has reduced CM errors to nil, so it's been worthwhile, plus it gives us a very good paper trail for when our product goes into space.<br /><br />But the trouble is that what's good for one program is bad for another. If one of my other programs had to deal with that degree of QA involvement, we'd never make our commitments. Plus, that one's in the very early stages, so such rigorous QA and CM involvement wouldn't really provide much benefit anyway. Later, yes, but not now. The nice thing is that at a private company, we (as a company) can decide which programs get what level of beaurocracy.<br /><br />For procuring an F-22, you want a high degree of control (financing, QA, CM, engineering, contracts, etc). But for procuring an O-ring that costs only a few bucks, it's vastly more costly, and actually wasteful. I'm not sure the government has the freedom to do that, given that most of its rules are driven by legislation written by people who will have absolutely nothing to do with most part acquisition, and who probably don't really care that much -- they're mostly concerned about the big contracts, not the little routine purchases. It should be possible to make the rules more flexible. Private companies do that all the time. But it'll have to be done by our legislators, and I'm not sure they care that much about little things like three-dollar O-rings. <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /><br /><br />So I hear ya, rocketwatcher2001. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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