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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 25 2018, @11:28PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the wish-me-luck-as-you-wave-me-bye-bye dept.

A draft budget proposal would end support for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025. The U.S. was previously committed to operating at the ISS until 2024:

The Trump administration is preparing to end support for the International Space Station program by 2025, according to a draft budget proposal reviewed by The Verge. Without the ISS, American astronauts could be grounded on Earth for years with no destination in space until NASA develops new vehicles for its deep space travel plans.

The draft may change before an official budget request is released on February 12th. However, two people familiar with the matter have confirmed to The Verge that the directive will be in the final proposal. We reached out to NASA for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Also at the Wall Street Journal.

Related: Five Key Findings From 15 Years of the International Space Station
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024
NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Five Key Findings From 15 Years of the International Space Station 44 comments

The Conversation has a story about five key findings from 15 years of the International Space Station:

1. The fragility of the human body — there is considerable loss of strength and bone mass without intervention. Mitigating this is key to making it possible to have manned trips to mars.

2. Interplanetary contamination — spores of Bacillus subtilis were exposed to space upon the ISS (but shielded from solar UV radiation). "The space vacuum and temperature extremes alone were not enough to kill them off."

3. Growing crystals for medicine — "Crystals in a microgravity environment may be grown to much larger sizes than on Earth, enabling easier analysis of their micro-structure. Protein crystals grown on the ISS are being used in the development of new drugs for diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cancer."

4. Cosmic rays and dark matter — early results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) support the theory that a halo of dark matter surrounds the Milky Way.

5. Efficient combustion — flames burn more efficiently in space with much less soot produced. Understanding this may lead to more efficient combustion in vehicles.


Original Submission

Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024 20 comments

NASA will operate aboard the International Space Station (ISS) until 2024, but there is no consensus on what do after that year. There is some talk of commercializing the station (and a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is already attached to the ISS):

The United States' ability to send astronauts to Mars in the mid-2030s depends in part on cutting back or ending government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024, the head of a congressional subcommittee that oversees NASA said Wednesday (March 22). "We ought to be aware that remaining on the ISS [after 2024] will come at a cost," U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space, said during a hearing about options and impacts for station operations beyond 2024. "Tax dollars spent on the ISS will not be spent on destinations beyond low Earth orbit, including the moon and Mars," Babin said. "What opportunities will we miss if we maintain the status quo?"

[...] [NASA Associate Administrator Bill] Gerstenmaier, who oversees NASA's human exploration programs, urged Congress to plan a smooth transition from the station to beyond-low-Earth-orbit initiatives, with an eye on preserving U.S. leadership in space, especially with China planning to launch a new space station in 2023. [...] Mary Lynne Dittmar, executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration advocacy group, warned that ending the U.S.' efforts at the station too early could nix budding commercial space companies, some of which might eventually support the station's continued operation as a commercial outpost. "Applications with strong market potential are emerging," Dittmar said. "Abandoning the ISS too soon will most certainly guarantee failure."

[...] While Congress ponders the station's future, NASA should expand its partnerships with private companies, urged Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based industry association. "The NASA investment[s] in these partnerships are already paying huge dividends," Stallmer said. For example, by partnering with private companies, NASA has been able to cut its costs to fly cargo — and, soon, crew — to the station, compared with what it spent to operate its own fleet of space shuttles, which cost about $500 million per mission to fly.

Also at The Verge.


Original Submission

NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars 42 comments

http://www.space.com/36270-nasa-deep-space-gateway-moon-orbit.html

It looks like NASA's stepping-stone to Mars will be a miniature space station in lunar orbit rather than a chunk of captured asteroid.

The agency plans to build an astronaut-tended "deep space gateway" in orbit around the moon during the first few missions of the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket and Orion crew capsule, which are scheduled to fly together for the first time in late 2018, NASA officials said.

"I envision different partners, both international and commercial, contributing to the gateway and using it in a variety of ways with a system that can move to different orbits to enable a variety of missions," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C, said in a statement. [Red Planet or Bust: 5 Crewed Mars Mission Ideas]

"The gateway could move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the moon, or to a high lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system," Gerstenmaier added.

One of those "other destinations" is Mars. NASA is working to get astronauts to the vicinity of the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s, as directed by former President Barack Obama in 2010. For the last few years, the agency's envisioned "Journey to Mars" campaign has included the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), an effort to pluck a boulder from a near-Earth asteroid and drag the rock to lunar orbit, where it could be visited by astronauts aboard Orion.

But ARM's future looks bleak; President Donald Trump provided no money for the mission in his proposed 2018 federal budget, which the White House released earlier this month.

Also see:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/deep-space-gateway-to-open-opportunities-for-distant-destinations

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a25872/nasa-cis-lunar-orbit/

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/sep/index.html


Original Submission

NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station 14 comments

The U.S. and Russia will work together to develop a space station orbiting the Moon. Canada, Japan, and the ESA have also expressed interest in the project:

At this year's International Astronautical Congress, NASA and Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, signed a joint statement expressing their intent to work collaboratively toward the development of a space station further out from Earth, orbiting the Moon, as a staging point for both lunar surface exploration and deeper space science.

This is part of NASA's expressed desire to explore and develop its so-called "deep space gateway" concept, which it intends to be a strategic base from which to expand the range and capabilities of human space exploration. NASA wants to get humans out into space beyond the Moon, in other words, and the gateway concept would establish an orbital space station in the vicinity of the Moon to help make this a more practical possibility.

Let's hope that the station, if built, becomes a refueling station that can store and distribute fuel produced on the Moon.

Deep Space Gateway. Also at The Guardian.

Previously: NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars

Related: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
Scientists Scout Sub-Surface Settlement Sites on the Moon and Mars


Original Submission

Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway 8 comments

Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is a planned space station in lunar orbit. The U.S. and Russia signed an agreement last year to work on the station's development. Now Russia has created an engineering department inside the RKK Energia space corporation in order to plan the nation's lunar exploration, including a possible manned landing:

Officially, Moscow has been on a path to put a human on the Moon since 2013, when President Putin approved a general direction for human space flight in the coming decade. The program had been stalling for several years due to falling prices for oil, the main source of revenue for the Russian budget. Last year, however, the Russian lunar exploration effort was given a new impetus when the Kremlin made a strategic decision to cooperate with NASA on the construction of a habitable outpost in the orbit around the Moon, known as Deep Space Gateway, DSG.

Although the US saw the primary goal of the DSG as a springboard for missions to Mars, NASA's international partners, including Russia, have been pushing the idea of exploring the Moon first. On the Russian side, RKK Energia led key engineering studies into the design of the DSG and participated in negotiations with NASA on sharing responsibilities for the project.

To coordinate various technical aspects of lunar exploration, the head of RKK Energia Vladimir Solntsev signed an order late last year to form Center No. 23Ts, which would report directly to him. According to a document seen by Ars Technica, the group will be responsible for developing long-term plans for human missions to the vicinity of the Moon and to its surface, as well as for implementing proposals for international cooperation in lunar missions. This is a clear signal that NASA might soon have a new liaison in Russia for all things related to the DSG. The same group will also take care of all the relevant domestic interactions between RKK Energia and its subcontractors.

Unlike the ISS, the DSG should not require any orbital boost burns and could reach any altitude above the Moon using ion thrusters.

Here are two op-eds from last year about the Deep Space Gateway:

Terry Virts: The Deep Space Gateway would shackle human exploration, not enable it

John Thornton: The Deep Space Gateway as a cislunar port

Related articles:


Original Submission

Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved? 62 comments

Although Russia has plans to detach some of its modules from the International Space Station (ISS) in order to form the basis of a new space station, the majority of the ISS may be deorbited as soon as 2024 or 2028:

Over the course of six missions, the British-born Nasa astronaut has spent more than a year in space. Foale has flown in the Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz, lived on the Mir space station and commanded the International Space Station (ISS). He’s carried out four space walks, totalling almost 23 hours outside in both Russian and American spacesuits. These included an epic eight-hour spacewalk to upgrade the computer on the Hubble Space Telescope.

[...] A joint enterprise between the US, Russia, the European Space Agency (Esa), Japan and Canada, the ISS has now been continuously occupied since 2000. And, over that time, has increasingly come to justify its $100bn (£75bn) cost. [...] But the station's days are numbered. Funding by the various space agencies involved is only agreed until 2024. This means in just six years' time, the most expensive structure ever built will be pushed out of orbit by a Progress spacecraft to disintegrate over the Pacific. And the countdown clock is ticking. "Year by year, Russia is launching the fuel to fill up the tanks of the ISS service module to enable the space station to be deorbited," says Foale. "That's the current plan – I think it's a bad plan, a massive waste of a fantastic resource."

2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration 56 comments

NASA is going back to the Moon, perhaps permanently, as seen in a new road map (image):

Four months after President Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, the agency has presented a road map to meet the goals outlined in Space Policy Directive-1. The updated plan shifts focus from the previous "Journey to Mars" campaign back to the Moon, and—eventually—to the Red Planet.

"The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, in a release issued by the agency.

While the revamped plan may share the same destination as the Apollo program, NASA said it will approach the return in a more measured and sustainable manner. Unlike humanity's first trip to the Moon, the journey back will incorporate both commercial and international partners.

To achieve this, NASA has outlined four strategic goals:

  • Transition low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight activities to commercial operators.
  • Expand long-duration spaceflight activities to include lunar orbit.
  • Facilitate long-term robotic lunar exploration.
  • Use human exploration of the Moon as groundwork for eventual human missions to Mars and beyond.

This may be the best outcome for the space program. Let NASA focus on the Moon with an eye towards permanently stationing robots and humans there, and let SpaceX or someone else take the credit for a 2020s/early-2030s manned Mars landing. Then work on a permanent presence on Mars using cheaper rocket launches, faster propulsion technologies, better radiation shielding, hardier space potatoes, etc.

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1

Related:


Original Submission

Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST 16 comments

A Trump administration budget proposal would cancel NASA's flagship-class Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) as well as several Earth science related telescopes, as it focuses on the Space Launch System, Orion, and sending astronauts to an orbital space station around the Moon:

The Trump administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 and put dozens of federal programs on the chopping block, including a brand-new NASA space telescope that scientists say would provide the biggest picture of the universe yet, with the same sparkling clarity as the Hubble Space Telescope. The proposal, released Monday, recommends eliminating the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), citing "higher priorities" at NASA and the cost of the new telescope.

"Given competing priorities at NASA, and budget constraints, developing another large space telescope immediately after completing the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope is not a priority for the administration," the proposal states. "The budget proposes to terminate WFIRST and redirect existing funds to other priorities of the science community, including completed astrophysics missions and research."

Although the Trump administration wants to end funding of the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, it envisions private companies picking up the slack:

"The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time — it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform," according to a draft summary of NASA's ISS Transition Report required by Congress in the agency's 2017 Authorization Act.

"No Sufficient Business Case" for 2025 Privatization of the ISS 12 comments

Trump's plan to privatize the ISS by 2025 probably won't work, NASA's inspector general says

The Trump Administration's plan to hand the International Space Station off to the private sector by 2025 probably won't work, says a government auditor. It's unlikely that any commercial companies will be able to take on the enormous costs of operating the ISS within the next six years, the auditor said.

NASA's inspector general, Paul Martin, laid out his concerns over the space station's transition during a Senate space subcommittee hearing May 16th, helmed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). During his testimony, Martin said that there's just no "sufficient business case" for space companies to take on the ISS's yearly operations costs, which are expected to reach $1.2 billion in 2024. The industries that would need the ISS, such as space tourism or space research and development, haven't panned out yet, he noted. Plus, the private space industry hasn't been very enthusiastic about using the ISS either — for research or for profit. "Candidly, the scant commercial interest shown in the station over its nearly 20 years of operation gives us pause about the agency's current plans," Martin said at the hearing.

Also at Ars Technica.

Related: NASA Intends to Privatize International Space Station
Congress Ponders the Fate of the ISS after 2024
Buzz Aldrin: Retire the ISS to Reach Mars
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025


Original Submission

Operations at the International Space Station Could Continue Until 2030 9 comments

ISS partners show interest in station extension

NASA's partners in the International Space Station are showing a growing interest in extending the station's operations beyond 2024 regardless of NASA initiatives to end direct funding of the station around that time. During an Oct. 1 press conference at the 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here, representatives of three ISS partner agencies said they were open to extending the station's operations to 2028 or 2030 in order to maximize the investment they've made in the facility as a platform for research and preparation for exploration activities beyond Earth orbit.

Jan Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency, said the issue could come up at the next triennial meeting of the ministers of ESA's member nations, scheduled for late 2019. "At the ministerial meeting next year, the ministerial council, I will propose to go on with ISS as well as the lunar Gateway," he said. "I believe that we will go on." At a separate briefing Oct. 2, Woerner emphasized the use of the station as a research platform and encouraged greater commercial activities there. "I believe we should use the ISS as long as feasible," he said. "I always thought 2024 was the end, but now I learned it is 2028, and yesterday I learned it's 2030. So, I will try to convince the ESA member states that ESA should be a partner in the future." However, he noted that ESA could defer the decision on a post-2024 ISS extension until its following ministerial meeting in 2022.

Japan's JAXA and Russia's Roscosmos are also likely to participate until 2028 or 2030.

Separately, a Congressman has introduced the Leading Human Spaceflight Act, which would extend the existing authorization for operating the ISS to 2030:

In his opening statement at a House space subcommittee hearing on the past and future of NASA's space exploration efforts, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the subcommittee, said he was introducing legislation called the Leading Human Spaceflight Act that he said was designed to "provide further congressional direction to NASA."

[...] The proposed extension of the ISS to 2030 in the House bill mirrors language in the Space Frontier Act introduced in the Senate in July. That bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee Aug. 1 and awaits action by the full Senate.

That's more time with which we could send BFRs to the ISS to move it, swap modules, or gently disassemble it.

Previously: Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Disagree) by frojack on Thursday January 25 2018, @11:52PM (18 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 25 2018, @11:52PM (#627971) Journal

    No significant or new science is being done on the ISS, we've learned just about everything we can learn on that platform.

    Like Skylab and Mir and Vostok and Mercury the Shuttle, its probably time to go on to something better.
    Its always bitter sweet to abandon [hdrcreme.com] a technical accomplishment.

    We had a story here about the cost [soylentnews.org] of keeping the thing in orbit. We've covered that ground already. We've gotten all the ROI it has to offer. Its probably the right time to get out of it before it kills somebody.

    We will need new skills to land livable modules on Moon and Mars.
    Maybe we should practice by finding a way to soft-land ISS modules on the moon to build a shelter. Or soft land them on earth to build a museum.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by aristarchus on Friday January 26 2018, @12:05AM (13 children)

      by aristarchus (2645) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:05AM (#627978) Journal

      we've learned just about everything we can learn

      Conservative mindset in a nutshell. A nutshell with wings. A right-winged nutshell, with a job. A right-wing nut-job.

      Prey tell, froj, how do you know we have learned all we can learn? Do the experts in the field agree? Or is it just the embarrassment of having to depend on the Russians for launch capability?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:10AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:10AM (#627985)

        There's your Russian collusion. It dates back to the Reagan administration!

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday January 26 2018, @12:11AM (3 children)

        by Sulla (5173) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:11AM (#627986) Journal

        Notice how we are continuing our support through 2025? This is all a plot for Trump to continue to fund taxpayer money through Russian rocket shell companies and back into his own pocket. Russians are playing us like a lyre.

        In all seriousness I think it is kind of silly to discuss the future of the ISS when the BRF will be capable of putting up components larger than most of what is on the ISS by 2022. By that point we just deorbit the modules that are no longer useful and add in ones that are.

        --
        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by c0lo on Friday January 26 2018, @12:49AM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:49AM (#628002) Journal

          BRF will be capable of putting up components larger than most of what is on the ISS by 2022

          How about we see it first and decide to upgrade after we are sure we have a replacement?

          Notice how the administration says "I'm gonna throw it out" but doesn't say "we gonna replace it with somethin' better"?
          Yeah, right, the "go to the Moon" directive - no meat so far, not details about how and when.
          By contrast, :ISS defunded in 2025" is damn'd precise.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday January 26 2018, @02:37AM

            by Sulla (5173) on Friday January 26 2018, @02:37AM (#628043) Journal

            I was not disagreeing with you

            --
            Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 26 2018, @03:15AM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 26 2018, @03:15AM (#628065)

            The ISS is a modular system (end of life or outdated modules can be replaced, upgraded), and it's being used as a proof-of-concept base for all kinds of next-generation missions: Mars transit habitats, navigation systems, deep space propulsion units, etc. etc. To think that we can just put up an oversized Gemini capsule and accomplish the same things that the ISS can do is clearly willfully ignoring the facts.

            If we're never going to do manned missions again, then, sure - deorbit the ISS ASAP and launch SkyNet to replace it. Until then, the ISS is useful as long as it's habitable.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
      • (Score: 4, Touché) by unauthorized on Friday January 26 2018, @12:35AM

        by unauthorized (3776) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:35AM (#627996)

        <sarcasm>Damn right, you got that that conservative fool arguing about changing the status quo and trying out different approaches!</sarcasm>

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday January 26 2018, @02:14AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday January 26 2018, @02:14AM (#628035) Homepage

        Writing style analyzed. You are either RealDonaldTrump or starting to become influenced by him.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 26 2018, @03:10AM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 26 2018, @03:10AM (#628062)

        I also find the timetable interesting... not during his administration, not even if he wins glorious re-election ('cause if that happens we can just do all our research on the flying pigs...) but, just past the end of the next administration, temping the next Prez to let it slide to his replacement when it would be too late to reverse.

        This is so much less about science than it is political posturing.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday January 26 2018, @05:18AM (4 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 26 2018, @05:18AM (#628113) Journal

        Do the experts in the field agree?

        Yes, yes, yes they do.

        https://www.space.com/36787-buzz-aldrin-retire-international-space-station-for-mars.html [space.com]
        https://www.worldcrunch.com/tech-science/why-russia-is-abandoning-the-international-space-station [worldcrunch.com]
        http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a14287/russia-leave-iss-in-2024/ [popularmechanics.com]

        The TWO countries with the most invested both want out of this thing by 2024. (That's right, the Russians want out before the US does!).

        Then there's a long running structural analysis:
        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-looks-to-post-2020-international-space-station-operations/ [cbsnews.com]
        Its an accident waiting to happen.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Friday January 26 2018, @06:34AM (3 children)

          by aristarchus (2645) on Friday January 26 2018, @06:34AM (#628127) Journal

          Well done, frojack! Two "yeses" would have sufficed. But it the science settled on this? From one of your sources:

          a subsequent decision by the Bush administration to retire the shuttle by the end of the decade.

          This makes me think it is more a Republican cheap-all tight-wad approach to science and space exploration that is behind all this. The fact the Russians want out first, now that they are an oligarchic semi-capitalist country, or Republicans, does not surprise me.

          What surprises me is that you obviously have not seen the movie, "Valerian"! In it, the ISS becomes the platform for human contact with alien species, which is good. And finally, the space station, for some inexplicable reason, as inexplicable as the suggestion that we land modules of the ISS on the moon, is shot off into interstellar space, you we can have a space ranger movie fraught, fraught, I tell you! with young adult sexual tension. Yes, it is a terrible movie. But do you really want to shut off this possibility for the generations after you, when your lawn is just a withered patch of parched pavement?

          • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Friday January 26 2018, @11:27AM

            by shrewdsheep (5215) on Friday January 26 2018, @11:27AM (#628214)

            In his defence, one of the links provided make it very plausible that maintenance cost will run up steeply after the current planned date of retirement. We haven't learned everything we can for sure, but cost-benefit considerations have to be updated constantly. I am personally opposed to human space exploration as a waste of resources but see the ISS as a compromise close enough to earth to justify its existence. If a replacement will be cheaper than maintenance at some point, please go for the replacement.

          • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Friday January 26 2018, @12:45PM

            by TheRaven (270) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:45PM (#628233) Journal
            The ISS is in a horrible compromise orbit that makes maintenance more expensive than it should have been. People have been calling for the funding to be redirected towards science and away from a big political compromise of a dick-waving monument in orbit for over a decade.
            --
            sudo mod me up
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 26 2018, @02:15PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 26 2018, @02:15PM (#628261)

            Shortly after W did his "Mission Accomplished" publicity photo in a flight jacket on a carrier deck - (the "Mission" apparently being: starting a war that wouldn't be ended until well after he was out of office), he also set out to pump up his personal homeland with as much pork as possible. Back then, jobs were tight all around the country, except in Houston - man, the money was flowing in Houston. The Shuttle recently it's second major embarrassment, so that was the perfect opportunity to pivot on space policy, flow the money out of Melbourne/KSC and spread it back around to the new program development centers, including a big chunk for Houston.

            The Republicans talk cheap, but they take care of their own; and while they're backing up their cheap talk with choruses of fiscal responsibility, they dig the deficit deeper, and faster than ever before.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
    • (Score: 4, Touché) by NewNic on Friday January 26 2018, @12:41AM (1 child)

      by NewNic (6420) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:41AM (#628000) Journal

      "Quite unnecessary, Sir. Everything that can be invented has been invented."

      --
      lib·er·tar·i·an·ism ˌlibərˈterēənizəm/ noun: Magical thinking that useful idiots mistake for serious political theory
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @01:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @01:07AM (#628009)

        FYI
        After viagra, this quote actually makes sense.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mhajicek on Friday January 26 2018, @03:05AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Friday January 26 2018, @03:05AM (#628061)

      Why not let the free market decide if it has value? Let the private sector bid to take it over if anyone wants to. Historic space hotel? Stepping off point for Mars, or for asteroid mining? Who knows?

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday January 26 2018, @03:30AM

      by looorg (578) on Friday January 26 2018, @03:30AM (#628068)

      I'm not sure about the science part, one could probably do more or interesting science there if one wanted to. The thing is that the International Space Station is really past its prime, it's been in space now for 20 years (think it's 20 years this year). It was already living on borrowed time. Mir spent only 15 years in orbit, and it seemed like a deathtrap in the end. One would assume modular design has improved on the 70's and 80's designs used and that something was learned from the various mistakes made. So I don't really see why it should be funded forever, better to just start building something new, save or reuse what can be saved (after all it's already up there) and then start a new and learn from what we have learned up there. They have seven years to come up with something now. Russia already suggested doing something new, not sure if NASA is on board with it yet. The Chinese keep sending up their stuff. There are a few others doing minor things to.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25 2018, @11:58PM (17 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25 2018, @11:58PM (#627973)

    Let's end support for the Trump Administration in 2018

    If the voters don't clean up the mess they made, we are doomed, DOOMED!

    • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday January 26 2018, @12:07AM

      by Sulla (5173) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:07AM (#627981) Journal

      This is all to help the Russians anyways. Look at it, Trump works with Russians for decades and then boom - he's president and wham - we end US support for the ISS leaving it fully to Russia. This has been in the works forever. That secret payload we sent up? Uranium to arm the ISS. Its too late now, we didn't impeach soon enough, now come 2025 they can rain down atomic hellfire on us and all we can do is sit and take it. Vlad's been planning this since 1999 and we played right into his hands.

      #itwasherturn

      --
      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday January 26 2018, @12:10AM

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 26 2018, @12:10AM (#627983) Journal

      Stupid boy...
      Oh, it's you, Frazer.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:14AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:14AM (#627988)

      "If the voters don't clean up the mess they made". WTF are you talking about? When Hellary beat (bought DNC) Bernie I switched sides just to keep that thing out of DC.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:56AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @12:56AM (#628004)

        Bernie I switched sides just to keep that thing out of DC.

        You filled the WH with smoking shit to keep the plague outside and you succeeded.
        Do you have any reasons now to keep that shit for longer? Perhaps you got to like it since?

        • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday January 26 2018, @04:29AM (1 child)

          by Sulla (5173) on Friday January 26 2018, @04:29AM (#628087) Journal

          Because it still seems to be working okay at keeping the elephants and donkeys out. Some of the elephants are getting to where they can ignore the smell but the longer they stay away the better.

          --
          Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @06:18AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @06:18AM (#628121)

            That would be kind of cute except, once you get past the smoke and mirrors, he's following modern (aka batshit) Republican policy to the letter.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Friday January 26 2018, @12:56AM (2 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 26 2018, @12:56AM (#628005)

      Let's end support for the Trump Administration in 2018

      What's that going to do? Maybe you don't realize this, but Trump's first term doesn't end until January 2021, and there's no such thing as a "recall election" for the President, so we're stuck with him, like it or not, unless he does something that actually gets the Republicans in Congress to go along with impeaching him (good luck with that).

      Worse, I predict we're going to have a 2nd term with Trump if he isn't prevented by health issues. Most likely, the DNC will pick yet another unbelievably horrible candidate, perhaps quack-medicine-peddling Oprah, and again enough people will vote for Trump out of disgust for the DNC that he'll win just like this time. The Democrats have shown over and over and over and over that they just can't learn the simple strategy of how to beat the Republicans (hint, you just have to pick a decent, likable candidate who isn't scandal-ridden, and has more charisma than a paper bag; apparently this is just too much for them).

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday January 26 2018, @02:29AM (1 child)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday January 26 2018, @02:29AM (#628039) Homepage

        They are nuts, but they won't go with Oprah. If they do, it will only be surface noise to cover their real choice(s) so that their real choices don't fizzle out too soon. There is the Oprah/Weinstein stuff as well, and all those aides and other insiders who've seen Oprah's bad side are likely to come out of the woodwork at the most inopportune time -- somebody with a past like Oprah's is not likely to be all unicorns shitting rainbows and roses. The Bannon war machine is playing for keeps now, and nothing is hidden anymore*.

        So who would they pick?
        • Kamela Harris (flaming bitch aka Hillary-in-Training) -- nope.
        • "Creepy Uncle Joe" Biden -- nope.
        • Luis "La Migra" Gutiérrez -- that depends on whether or not the DREAMERS, Salvadorians, and other scumbags are allowed to stay and given voting rights. Should that be the case, he'd be at least a VEEP.
        • Bernie Sanders -- nope, but only because the vengeful DNC-infested FBI are going to dirty him with the investigation (something about his wife misappropriating funds for a college, or something) as retribution for indirectly diverting Democrat votes to Trump and third-parties. Otherwise he would stand a chance.
        • Anybody else from California -- nope. Everybody else, including Californians, are sick of California's bullshit.

        * Opinion -- Bannon and Trump's 'falling out,' like their previous spats, are all misdirection. With the 2018 midterms coming up, Trump and Breitbart both had to shed that liability. Bannon is still working behind the scenes to dig up and expose dirt on Trump's enemies.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Friday January 26 2018, @03:44PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 26 2018, @03:44PM (#628292)

          There is the Oprah/Weinstein stuff as well, and all those aides and other insiders who've seen Oprah's bad side are likely to come out of the woodwork at the most inopportune time -- somebody with a past like Oprah's is not likely to be all unicorns shitting rainbows and roses.

          Huh? Look at what happened to Hillary: she had bad associates (Kissinger), and insiders came out of the woodwork, yet the Dems still happily nominated her. I'm sorry, your comment seems to assume that the Democrats will actually learn from their mistake, and I just don't have any faith that they will (don't forget here, I'm usually a Dem voter!). They've been pushing lousy Presidential candidates for ages, and that includes 2008: they didn't want Obama at all, and were forced into it when Obama "stole" the nomination from their queen Hillary. They just can't seem to learn that the only way they win elections is when they have a *likable*, charismatic candidate. That's how (Bill) Clinton won, and that's how Obama won. All their other candidates in the past several decades didn't meet this very simple test, and lost. They should have learned in 2008, with Obama's huge success, how important charisma is, and how unpopular Hillary is, but nope, they had to double down with her in '16, and lose an election that they should have had in the bag.

          Really, your reasoning seems to be assuming "they can't *possibly* be so stupid to make the same mistake a 3rd time". With these people, I just don't think that's a reasonable assumption. I really would not be surprised to see them push Hillary yet again.

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Friday January 26 2018, @02:49AM (5 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Friday January 26 2018, @02:49AM (#628048)

      New headline, "US ends support for Trump Administration by 2021".

      --
      “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @03:31AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @03:31AM (#628069)

        We can use congress to keep him in a box until then. But the odds keepers all still say that reelection rates will hold around 90-95%.

        And right now Trump is the Darling of Davos.

        We live in a sick world.

        Our social security is in real danger.

        • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday January 26 2018, @04:33AM (3 children)

          by Sulla (5173) on Friday January 26 2018, @04:33AM (#628090) Journal

          I will just assume you are a boomer and address you as such.

          Your social security is at stake, as a millennial I have never been under the false impression it will still be there for me. When I got hired to work for the state of oregon my boss told me not to count on my pension, social security, or my matched retirement to still be there based on chicago being able to weasel out of their agreements. I invest on my own and stack up assets to sell at a later date, to assume there will be anything left to America after the boomers wring it dry and die off is just insane.

          --
          Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @05:11AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @05:11AM (#628109)

            Don't give me your crybaby bullshit. All contracts were signed and funds were secured. We have every right to expect them to be honored. We are entitled to our earned benefits. Yes, you are a typical millennial that refuses to acknowledge such things. And it's you people wringing the country dry with your weak ass democrats taking our money to bail out the banks and refusing to protect our, and even your own earned pensions. So take your whiny little ass back to your basement or cubicle, whatever, but don't touch what isn't yours.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday January 26 2018, @03:47PM (1 child)

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 26 2018, @03:47PM (#628295)

              We have every right to expect them to be honored. We are entitled to our earned benefits.

              You being entitled to something because of contracts doesn't mean squat when the government decides to renege.

              Yes, you are a typical millennial that refuses to acknowledge such things.

              You're being stupid. He's not refusing to acknowledge that, he's acknowledging *reality*: regardless of the legal issues, those funds will probably not be there by the time he retires, or maybe even when you do. It's not his doing, it's yours: your generation is the one that succeeds the most at the polls, and chooses most of our leaders.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @07:31PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @07:31PM (#628445)

                Nice blame passing there! How is it my fault if you people don't go out and vote?! And the people you vote for are just the same old democrats and republicans anyway. So you know where you can stuff it! This is what causes all our problems.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @03:37AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @03:37AM (#628071)

      I support the ISS but I don't vote on single issues alone usually and there are so many other things to be concerned with. Someone needs to start a petitition to keep the ISS going.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @06:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26 2018, @06:23AM (#628123)

        Cool, I'll just dust off this one used to petition for Net Neutrality.

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