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posted by martyb on Friday March 09 2018, @03:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the pork-is-expensive dept.

Trump on Falcon Heavy: "I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA"

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday inside the White House, President Donald Trump called attention to several model rockets on the table before him. They included an Atlas V, a Falcon 9, a Space Launch System, and more. The president seemed enthused to see the launch vehicles. "Before me are some rocket ships," the president said. "You haven't seen that for this country in a long time."

Then, in remarks probably best characterized as spur of the moment, the president proceeded to absolutely demolish the government's own effort to build rockets by noting the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. He cited the cost as $80 million. (The list price on SpaceX's website is $90 million.)

"I noticed the prices of the last one they say cost $80 million," Trump said. "If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean literally. When I heard $80 million, I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.''

NASA has not, in fact, set a price for flying the SLS rocket. But Ars has previously estimated that, including the billions of dollars in development cost, the per-flight fees for the SLS rocket will probably be close to $3 billion. Indeed, the development costs of SLS and its ground systems between now and its first flight could purchase 86 launches of the privately developed Falcon Heavy rocket. So President Trump's estimate of NASA's costs compared to private industry does not appear to be wildly off the mark.

[*] SLS: Space Launch System

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
Safety Panel Raises Concerns Over SpaceX and Boeing Commercial Crew Plans
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST
Leaning Tower of NASA
NASA Moving to Scale Back the Space Technology Mission Directorate


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Related Stories

Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019 5 comments

The first launch of the SLS has slipped again:

NASA has decided it must delay the maiden flight of its Space Launch System rocket, presently scheduled for November 2018, until at least early 2019. This decision was widely expected due to several problems with the rocket, Orion spacecraft, and ground launch systems. The delay was confirmed in a letter from a NASA official released Thursday by the US Government Accountability Office.

The Falcon Heavy will be able to deliver payloads that are similar to what SLS Block 1 can carry:

In its maiden flight configuration, named Block 1, the heavy-lifter will be able to haul up to 77 tons (70 metric tons) of cargo to low Earth orbit, more than double the capacity of the most powerful launcher flying today — United Launch Alliance's Delta 4-Heavy. The Block 1 version of SLS will fly with an upper stage propelled by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 engine, based on the Delta 4's second stage.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, scheduled to make its first flight later this year, will come in just shy of the SLS Block 1's capacity if the commercial space company gave up recovering its booster stages.

NASA plans to introduce a bigger four-engine second stage on the EM-2 launch, a configuration of the SLS named Block 1B.

GAO report.


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WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs 9 comments

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) may have some of its capabilities scaled back due to overspending on the James Webb Space Telescope and the added cost of a coronagraph that was demanded by exoplanet researchers:

NASA will have to scale back its next big orbiting observatory to avoid busting its budget and affecting other missions, an independent panel says. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is due for launch in the mid-2020s. But 1 year after NASA gave the greenlight its projected cost is $3.6 billion, roughly 12% overbudget. "I believe reductions in scope and complexity are needed," Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., wrote in a memo that NASA released last Thursday.

Designed to investigate the nature of dark energy and study exoplanets, WFIRST was chosen by the astronomy community as its top space-based mission priority in the 2010 decadal survey entitled New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. But the start of the project was initially delayed by the huge overspend on its predecessor, the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched in 2019. Then last year, a midterm review of the 2010 decadal survey warned that WFIRST could go the same way and advised NASA to form a panel of independent experts to review the project.

[...] Zurbuchen's memo to Scolese directs the lab to retain the basic elements of the mission—the 2.4-meter mirror, widefield camera, and coronagraph—but to seek cost-saving "reductions." Hertz says this will require reducing the capabilities of instruments but ensuring they remain "above the science floor laid down by the decadal survey." The coronagraph will be recategorized as a "technology demonstration instrument," removing the burden of achieving a scientific target. The change will also save money, Hertz explains. Hertz says exoplanet researchers shouldn't worry about the proposed changes. "We know we'll get good science out of the coronagraph. We'll be able to see debris disks, zodiacal dust, and exoplanets in wide orbits," he says. Astronomers wanting to see Earth twins in the habitable zone may be disappointed, however.


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Safety Panel Raises Concerns Over SpaceX and Boeing Commercial Crew Plans 45 comments

Safety panel raises concerns about Falcon 9 pressure vessel for commercial crew missions

An independent safety panel recommended NASA not certify SpaceX's commercial crew system until the agency better understands the behavior of pressure vessels linked to a Falcon 9 failure in 2016. That recommendation was one of the stronger items in the annual report of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) released by NASA Jan. 11, which found that NASA was generally managing risk well on its various programs.

The report devoted a section to the composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) used to store helium in the second stage propellant tanks of the Falcon 9. The investigation into the September 2016 pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 while being prepared for a static-fire test concluded that liquid oxygen in the tank got trapped between the COPV overwrap and liner and then ignited through friction or other mechanisms.

SpaceX has since changed its loading processes to avoid exposing the COPVs to similar conditions, but also agreed with NASA to redesign the COPV to reduce the risk for crewed launches. NASA has since started a "rigorous test program" to understand how the redesigned COPV behaves when exposed to liquid oxygen, the report stated. ASAP argued that completing those tests is essential before NASA can allow its astronauts to launch on the Falcon 9. "In our opinion, adequate understanding of the COPV behavior in cryogenic oxygen is an absolutely essential precursor to potential certification for human space flight," the report stated, a sentence italicized for emphasis in the report.

[...] The report raised issues in general about the commercial crew program, including concerns that neither Boeing nor SpaceX, the two companies developing vehicles to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, will meet a requirement of no greater than a 1-in-270 "loss of crew" (LOC) risk of an accident that causes death or serious injury to a crewmember. That includes, the report stated, a risk of no more than 1 in 500 for launch and reentry.

Both programs are likely to be delayed:

Boeing, SpaceX have razor-thin margins to fly crew missions in 2018


Original Submission

After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System? 57 comments

An op-ed written by Lori Garver, a former deputy administrator of NASA, suggests cancelling the Space Launch System in favor of Falcon Heavy and BFR:

SpaceX could save NASA and the future of space exploration

The successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is a game-changer that could actually save NASA and the future of space exploration. [...] Unfortunately, the traditionalists at NASA — and their beltway bandit allies — don't share this view and have feared this moment since the day the Falcon Heavy program was announced seven years ago.

The question to be answered in Washington now is why would Congress continue to spend billions of taxpayer dollars a year on a government-made rocket that is unnecessary and obsolete now that the private sector has shown they can do it for a fraction of the cost? [...] Once operational, SLS will cost NASA over $1 billion per launch. The Falcon Heavy, developed at zero cost to the taxpayer, would charge NASA approximately $100M per launch. In other words, NASA could buy 10 Falcon Heavy launches for the coat of one SLS launch — and invest the remainder in truly revolutionary and meaningful missions that advance science and exploration.

While SLS may be a "government-made rocket", the "beltway bandits", also known as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, are heavily involved in its development. The United Launch Alliance (Boeing + Lockheed Martin) have also shown that they can build their own expensive rocket: the Delta IV Heavy, which can carry less than half the payload to LEO of Falcon Heavy while costing over four times as much per launch.

NASA's marketing of how many elephants, locomotives and airplanes could be launched by various versions of SLS is a perfect example of the frivolity of developing, building and operating their own rocket. NASA advertises that it will be able to launch 12.5 elephants to LEO on Block I SLS, or 2.8 more elephants than the Falcon Heavy could launch. But if we are counting elephants — the planned Block II version of SLS could launch 30 elephants, while SpaceX's BFR could launch 34. Talk about significant.

Wait, what? 70 metric tons (SLS Block 1) / 63.8 metric tons (Falcon Heavy) = ~1.09717868339. 1.097 * (12.5 - 2.8) = ~10.6 elephants lifted by SLS Block 1 versus 9.7 for Falcon Heavy.

NASA documents list 12 elephants for SLS Block 1 (70 metric tons), and 22 for SLS Block 2 (130 metric tons). The author might have lifted some numbers from a Business Insider article that (incorrectly) estimates that 12.5 elephants can be lifted by Falcon Heavy, while SLS Block 2 can lift 30 elephants, and 34 for BFR. Perhaps we are dealing with a mix of adult and juvenile elephants?

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.

Leaning Tower of NASA 32 comments

NASA's nearly billion-dollar mobile launcher tower for the Space Launch System (SLS) is leaning, and may be discarded after a single use:

[The "mobile launcher" component] supports the testing and servicing of the massive SLS rocket, as well as moving it to the launch pad and providing a platform from which it will launch.

According to a new report in NASASpaceflight.com, the expensive tower is "leaning" and "bending." For now, NASA says, the lean is not sufficient enough to require corrective action, but it is developing contingency plans in case the lean angle becomes steeper.

These defects raise concerns about the longevity of the launch tower and increase the likelihood that NASA will seek additional funding to build a second one. In fact, it is entirely possible that the launch tower may serve only for the maiden flight of the SLS rocket in 2020 and then be cast aside. This would represent a significant waste of resources by the space agency.

[...] [From] the tower's inception in 2009, NASA will have spent $912 million on the mobile launcher it may use for just a single launch of the SLS rocket. Moreover, the agency will have required eight years to modify a launch tower it built in two years.

The second mobile launcher, intended for larger versions of the SLS, will cost about $300 million (if not more).

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?


Original Submission

NASA Moving to Scale Back the Space Technology Mission Directorate 6 comments

In response to Trump budget, NASA ending separate technology plan

Even though Congress has yet to formally consider President Trump's new budget for NASA, the space agency is already moving swiftly to implement some of its core principles. Among those is a White House desire to end a separate program within the agency focused on the development of advanced new spaceflight technologies intended to keep NASA at the cutting edge.

With an annual budget that has varied between $500 million and $1 billion, the Space Technology Mission Directorate was created in 2010 to develop the kinds of technology NASA needed to explore deeper into space, such as advanced propulsion and power systems, in-space manufacturing, and new means of landing on far-off worlds. If humans really were to expand beyond low-Earth orbit, research and development of these new technologies was deemed critical.

[...] According to internal emails obtained by Ars, this [realignment towards the Space Launch System and Orion] is already happening. The emails characterize the change as a "restructuring" and assign NASA official James Reuter to serve as acting associate administrator for the space technology program. Prior to coming to NASA headquarters from Marshall Space Flight Center in 2015, Reuter played a management role overseeing development of the SLS rocket and Orion.

Some former space technology officials have begun sounding the alarm about these changes being made without oversight from Congress. "Disastrous news!" tweeted Mason Peck on Thursday morning. He served as the space agency's chief technologist earlier this decade. "NASA is already dismantling STMD even though the President's budget is only a month old. Don't give up. We need Space Technology if we want NASA to have a bold future. I hope Congress will reject this gutting of NASA's technology investments."

Directorate homepage.


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon 26 comments

NASA chief on Moon return: "This will not be Lucy and the football again"

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, a long-range commitment toward the human exploration of deep space, beginning with a return to the Moon. "Major parts of that policy went forward, but establishing permanence on the Moon was abandoned," Bridenstine said Tuesday. Then, in 2004, President George W. Bush announced a bold plan to send humans back to the Moon, where they would learn how to operate in deep space and then go on to Mars. This became the Constellation program. Again, major parts of that policy went forward, Bridenstine said. But NASA abandoned the drive back to the Moon.

Before the US Senate confirmed pilot and former congressman Bridenstine, the Trump administration announced a plan to send humans back to the Moon. "To many, this may sound similar to our previous attempts to get to the Moon," Bridenstine said Tuesday. "However, times have changed. This will not be Lucy and the football again."

How have times changed? During his brief address, Bridenstine listed several technologies that he believes have lowered the cost of a lunar return. These include the miniaturization of electronics that will allow for smaller robotic vehicles, the decreasing costs of launch, private investment in spaceflight, commercial interest in lunar resources, and new ways of government contracting. (Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft).

The speech was only a few minutes long, so I wouldn't read too much into the absence of SLS/Orion. But it's no secret that BFR could deliver 150 metric tons to the Moon or Mars by using in-orbit refueling, vs. a lot less when using the expensive SLS.

Previously:

Related:


Original Submission

Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Wavers on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway 33 comments

Russia throws doubt on joint lunar space station with U.S.: RIA

Moscow may abandon a project to build a space station in lunar orbit in partnership with U.S. space agency NASA because it does not want a "second fiddle role," a Russian official said on Saturday.

[...] [The] head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russia might exit the joint program and instead propose its own lunar orbit space station project.

[...] A spokesman for Roscosmos said later that Russia had no immediate plans to leave the project. "Russia has not refused to take part in the project of the lunar orbit station with the USA," Vladimir Ustimenko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

FLOP-G?

Also at ABC (Associated Press).

Previously:

Related:


Original Submission

NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station 43 comments

NASA chief explains why agency won't buy a bunch of Falcon Heavy rockets

Since the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February, NASA has faced some uncomfortable questions about the affordability of its own Space Launch System rocket. By some estimates, NASA could afford 17 to 27 Falcon Heavy launches a year for what it is paying annually to develop the SLS rocket, which won't fly before 2020. Even President Trump has mused about the high costs of NASA's rocket. On Monday, during a committee meeting of NASA's Advisory Council, former Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale raised this issue. Following a presentation by Bill Gerstenmaier, chief of human spaceflight for NASA, Hale asked whether the space agency wouldn't be better off going with the cheaper commercial rocket.

[...] In response, Gerstenmaier pointed Hale and other members of the advisory committee—composed of external aerospace experts who provide non-binding advice to the space agency—to a chart he had shown earlier in the presentation. This chart showed the payload capacity of the Space Launch System in various configurations in terms of mass sent to the Moon. "It's a lot smaller than any of those," Gerstenmaier said, referring to the Falcon Heavy's payload capacity to TLI, or "trans-lunar injection," which effectively means the amount of mass that can be broken out of low-Earth orbit and sent into a lunar trajectory. In the chart, the SLS Block 1 rocket has a TLI capacity of 26 metric tons. (The chart also contains the more advanced Block 2 version of the SLS, with a capacity of 45 tons. However, this rocket is at least a decade away, and it will require billions of dollars more to design and develop.)

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy TLI capacity is unknown, but estimated to be somewhere between 18 and 22 tons (between the known payloads of 16.8 tons to Mars and 26.7 tons to geostationary orbit).

Does the SLS need to launch more than 18 tons to TLI? No. All of the currently planned components of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (formerly the Deep Space Gateway) have a mass of 10 tons or less due to flying alongside a crewed Orion capsule rather than by themselves. Only by 2027's Exploration Mission 6 would NASA launch more massive payloads, by which time SpaceX's BFR could take 150 tons to TLI or even Mars when using in-orbit refueling.

Related: 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
President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort


Original Submission

NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview 4 comments

Rocket Report: Japanese rocket blows up, NASA chief ponders purpose of SLS (and other news)

NASA Administrator ponders what to do with the SLS rocket. During a Q&A with Politico, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was asked about how the space agency views commercial launch vehicles. His response: "As we move forward, we're going to have to maybe rethink... at what point do we start taking advantage of those commercial capabilities to the extent that they drive down cost, give us more capability, and what do we do with SLS?... We're not there yet, but certainly there's a horizon here. Is it 10 years? I don't know what the answer is, but what we can't do in my view is give up our government capability, our national capability, when we don't have an alternative."

Speaking of timelines ... NASA doesn't exactly have the "national capability" of the SLS rocket yet in the heavy-lift class, either. We've heard rumors of a slip to 2021 for the first launch date, in which case Blue Origin's New Glenn has a fighting chance to fly first, as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket has already done.

Blue Origin targets Moon landing by 2023. Blue Origin's business development director, A.C. Charania, said at a conference that the company's Blue Moon program is "our first step to developing a lunar landing capability for the country, for other customers internationally, to be able to land multi metric tons on the lunar surface." The company has not said what role its large orbital rocket under development, New Glenn, would play in a mission to the Moon.

BFR is a privately funded next-generation reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system developed by SpaceX. It was announced by Elon Musk in September 2017.[8][9] The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicles and spacecraft that are intended to completely replace all of SpaceX's existing space hardware by the early 2020s as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and zero-gravity propellant transfer technology to be deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). The large payload to Earth orbit of up to 150,000 kg (330,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. Manufacture of the first upper stage/spacecraft prototype began by March 2018, and the ship is projected to begin testing in early 2019.[5]

Related: First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station
NASA Could Scale Down First Manned Flight of the SLS
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @04:51PM (16 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @04:51PM (#650050) Journal
    I watched the launch online with a friend and we remarked that this was a missed opportunity for President Trump. He could have been out on that Florida beach watching with everyone else and pressing the flesh. Doesn't even matter, if the rocket didn't fly (it almost didn't, running to 15 minutes before the launch window would have ended), or it goes boom. It would have politically been a good move to be seen there sharing in the experience, making the day for his fellow watchers, and to make an ideological point that he backs the private sector in an important endeavor.

    Instead, he hides out in Washington DC and says so little that we have murky stories like, "The White House seems interested in the Falcon Heavy launch" [arstechnica.com]. And that story was all about Vice President Pence not Trump with everything gleaned second-hand from anonymous sources and a tweet from Pence's Chief of Staff.

    As I see it, that doesn't say much for Trump's pragmatism, does it? But at least he's on the bandwagon now with time to spare.

    "I noticed the prices of the last one they say cost $80 million," Trump said. "If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean literally. When I heard $80 million, I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.''

    And it's worth noting that his remarks, mild as they were, were the most pro-space a president has uttered in many a decade because they speak about the camel in the tent, the enormous cost and low expectations of NASA projects (particularly, manned projects) over the past forty years. Maybe this will be the start of the shakeup that NASA desperately needs to adapt to a reality of aggressive space activities by a good portion of the world and financial constraints on the US government.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by BananaPhone on Friday March 09 2018, @05:35PM (2 children)

      by BananaPhone (2488) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:35PM (#650101)

      If you want *this* POTUS to show up, create a golf course with a McDonalds near by.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday March 09 2018, @10:53PM (1 child)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @10:53PM (#650289) Journal

        He's got his own Golf courses, and restaurants.

        Huge savings over having the secret service rent an entire course for a whole day so Obama could play 6 holes [obamagolfcounter.com] and retire to shoot baskets.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by dwilson on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:09AM

          by dwilson (2599) on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:09AM (#650401)

          They could always do the sane thing, and just.. play a round of golf. Like any other person with bodyguards. He's just a man, like any other. He doesn't need the whole damn course sectioned off to play on it. Catering to a politicians sense of self-importance only inflates their ego. Even if it is the POTUS.

          --
          - D
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday March 09 2018, @05:44PM (8 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:44PM (#650113)

      Maybe this will be the start of the shakeup that NASA desperately needs to adapt to a reality of aggressive space activities by a good portion of the world and financial constraints on the US government.

      NASA isn't really the problem here. Look at all the stuff they have done on much smaller budgets, that have been massive successes. New Horizons is a good example of this, as well as some Mars rovers, and various other probes.

      The simple truth is that NASA simply can't get anything done that takes more than one Presidential administration's worth of time. If it's going to take more than 8 years to do, they just shouldn't even bother, because it's going to be a failure. Really, if it needs more than 4, they should think twice.

      There's simply nothing that NASA can do about Congressional micromanagement and pork-barrel financing ("you need to do this, but it has to be in some flyover state that makes no sense to do it in because that's where my constituents are"), or about presidential administrations changing course every 8 years. So many decisions are made not because of technical needs, but political ones (using a particular supplier because of political connections for instance).

      There's really nothing that can be done about all of this.

      • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @05:46PM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @05:46PM (#650114) Journal

        There's really nothing that can be done about all of this.

        Except, of course, having a disciplined organization present a coherent plan and stick to it. Drop cost plus contracts while they're at it.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Grishnakh on Friday March 09 2018, @06:07PM (3 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday March 09 2018, @06:07PM (#650129)

          The organization can present all the plans they want, it doesn't matter. They'll be overridden when there's a new election and the makeup of Congress changes or there's a new Administration.

          There's nothing that can be done about it unless you either stop having elections so often (maybe every 20 years), or you somehow make it so NASA doesn't have to answer to Congress or the President, and can do whatever they want once they have some money. Obviously neither of those is going to happen, so NASA will never be able to have successful manned missions. It only barely managed to do as well as it did with the Apollo program because the political leadership was scared shitless about the Soviets and got into a "space race" when they were beaten by Sputnik, so they managed to stay politically focused long enough, and poured enough money into the project, to get it done. And even then they defunded it after they succeeded in landing on the Moon a few times and truncated the program.

          • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday March 09 2018, @10:56PM

            by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday March 09 2018, @10:56PM (#650291) Journal

            ... And made it clear to the rest of the world that they could put way-more-than-necessary-of-mass nuclear payloads precisely anyplace they wanted to within 240,000 miles - one of the most major objectives of the space program.

            --
            Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Friday March 09 2018, @11:14PM (1 child)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @11:14PM (#650296) Journal

            Pretty sure khollow wasn't serious about fixing NASA. He well knows that ship has sailed.

            With three (or is it four) companies competing for space launch capabilities, prices are coming down fast.
            The best use of NASA is being a standard's body. Sure, it will be regulatory-captured eventually. But you should be
            able to get a few decades of safety oriented standards review out of them.

            Maybe they could used be like the Highway Department, keep the facilities maintained, clean up the mess after an accident, etc.
            Set standards for vehicle minimum equipment.

            Its sad, but that's what government does. Happened to ESA. Happened to the Russians (who actually beat the US to quasi-privatized hardware development).

              I use to be NASA's biggest fan. They use to do crazy and cool shit like fly shuttles around the country on the backs of Airplanes ffs.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @07:12PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @07:12PM (#650166)

        Why do you hate flyover states? Doing something in a flyover state makes more sense than doing it in 17 different non-flyover states.

        Flyover states are affordable. The space industry is well-established in Huntsville, Alabama. That's a fine place to get things done. The same might be said of Stennis Space Center in Louisiana.

        • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday March 09 2018, @07:19PM

          by Sulla (5173) on Friday March 09 2018, @07:19PM (#650169) Journal

          I think the problem is not that it is being done in Alabama or Louisiana but that keeping these facilities open is a reason to continue to fund a program or to ignore waste in the system.

          --
          Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday March 11 2018, @02:34AM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday March 11 2018, @02:34AM (#650739)

          Frequently, facilities are put in those states not because it makes any actual sense, but because some politician wants to bring home the pork. If it makes the most technical and logistical sense to put it there, fine, but it frequently isn't the optimal location. This process usually results in spreading work out all across the country, instead of more efficiently concentrating it.

          Also, to get work done, you need people, usually with very specialized skills. You can't just plop a government facility someplace and expect people to come there; this isn't "Field of Government Dreams". You have to go where the workers are, at least when you have a competitive job market. If you build something out in bumfuck iowa or wherever, you could very well be missing out on more talented workers because they don't want to move to the boonies. There's a reason Musk put Tesla in Silicon Valley: there's a critical mass of tech workers there (plus an unused factory he could buy up cheap, but I'm really addressing the engineering here). I've seen this myself with the government: they just can't seem to figure out why they have a hard time getting experienced engineers to move to rural places where they thought it'd be a great idea to have a R&D facility. I guess it works OK if you're just looking for nuclear engineers (who don't have a lot of other commercial alternatives for work), but for software engineers in particular, it doesn't work that way. "Affordability" isn't very important when it comes to finding qualified workers. If NASA decided to do a ton of software work at the Stennis center, how much success do you think they'd have recruiting people? Not much. Slidell LA is the closest civilization within reasonable commuting distance (~30min), and that place is not going to attract many software engineers.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday March 09 2018, @06:13PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:13PM (#650132) Homepage Journal

      I see what you did there. But, you're thinking like a politician. Trump thinks more like a - uhhhh - a Trump. Subject for future research: Does Trump really think, or is he just acting a role? Or, How does Trump thought resemble human thought, while differing so much from human thought?

      --
      There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday March 09 2018, @08:52PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @08:52PM (#650220) Journal

        Trump is very simple: at any given moment, he thinks "what can i say or do that, as far as I know, makes me look good, strokes my ego, and advances my agenda?" None of this is being thought in such explicit terms, mind; it's more that this is what his thoughts on the matter would look like if spelled out. He's a textbook narcissist.

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday March 09 2018, @08:22PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday March 09 2018, @08:22PM (#650207) Journal

      I watched the launch online with a friend and we remarked that this was a missed opportunity for President Trump. He could have been out on that Florida beach watching with everyone else and pressing the flesh.

      Actually, it could be better for President Trump to distance himself from SpaceX and continue to let VP Pence handle NASA matters. Trump's mere presence at the launch would have politicized it. Compare to the tech/business council clusterfuck. Elon Musk left early, citing climate change. Other business leaders left after Trump's Charlottesville comments. Trump alternated between insulting the CEOs that left and saying that he understood the need to not put "pressure" on them.

      If you look at the related stories, you'll see that the Trump administration appears to be standing behind SLS and Orion so far. So the waste will probably continue. These comments over here could signal a small possibility of defunding the SLS, but it's a difficult call since Falcon Heavy won't necessarily be able to replicate the missions SLS can (less payload, and SpaceX is going to skip flying humans with Falcon Heavy).

      The Falcon Heavy launch was a symbolic victory for SpaceX, but BFR is necessary in order to kill off the SLS. Further delays to SLS could make it possible, but the Trump administration has not indicated any deviation from continuing to spend billions on SLS+Orion. And don't forget this clown [soylentnews.org].

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @10:14PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @10:14PM (#650261) Journal

        Actually, it could be better for President Trump to distance himself from SpaceX and continue to let VP Pence handle NASA matters. Trump's mere presence at the launch would have politicized it. Compare to the tech/business council clusterfuck. Elon Musk left early, citing climate change. Other business leaders left after Trump's Charlottesville comments. Trump alternated between insulting the CEOs that left and saying that he understood the need to not put "pressure" on them.

        So why is politicization supposed to be a problem? It's not the tech/biz council meltdown. If someone tries to politicize watching a launch and shaking hands, then Trump has won a minor victory on top of everything else.

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday March 09 2018, @05:06PM (14 children)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:06PM (#650062) Journal

    No we certainly [wikipedia.org] have not seen rocket launches [wikipedia.org] from the United States in such a very long time [wikipedia.org].

    --
    Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @05:15PM (7 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @05:15PM (#650070) Journal
      He at least had a model of an Atlas V in front of him. So he wasn't just speaking of the Falcon Heavy or SpaceX. Looking at the actual video, it's very staged, but at least he's not using a teleprompter. That's how things are.

      And I have to agree with him. We've had launches back all the way to the late 1950s. But the game has changed. The US despite its economic drawbacks is the dominant power in space right now. And an enormous part of that are the US launch providers.
      • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday March 09 2018, @06:17PM (6 children)

        by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday March 09 2018, @06:17PM (#650134) Journal

        I can agree with you on that. I know he had a legitimate point to make. I assume it is that it has been awhile since we've had independent manned US capability - a little over 6 years, or had the class of lift capacity that Falcon Heavy will promise. But he is such a poor communicator that he is bumbling, and almost anything he says can be torn apart easily because he does not speak with precision. I'd rather have Obama fumbling with his teleprompter not working, because that at least implies there is indeed a plan at work instead of deciding things on the spur of the moment - a poor trait for someone who has authority to launch nukes and I hope he is stopped before he tries.

        Right now Russia is the only one that can put people in orbit. And China has its eyes on the moon. India is continuing to improve its capabilities. So why does it take a profit motive for us to attempt to be the dominant power in space? And no, I wouldn't say we're dominant there. Space science, quite probably - it's still pretty much us and ESA in distance probes. But selling out our space program for profit will turn out to be a short term gain at best.

        --
        Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
        • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @06:36PM (1 child)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:36PM (#650146) Journal

          So why does it take a profit motive for us to attempt to be the dominant power in space?

          You're asking the wrong question. You should be asking why should we go to space, if every bit of activity is a large cost to us on Earth? The answer to that is that we don't have a good reason in that case beyond rather trivial space activity.

          The profit motive means that we have space activity that is self-funding.

          But selling out our space program for profit will turn out to be a short term gain at best.

          The problem here is that we have a space program not a space civilization. Selling out for profit, as you put it, is the sure way to create that space civilization. Without genuine economic activity in space that returns more than it costs, space stuff will always be a hobby.

          Right now Russia is the only one that can put people in orbit.

          And China.

          • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:01AM

            by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:01AM (#650415) Homepage Journal

            People going around and around in circles is not America's proud destiny in space. I want NASA to lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars. Russia & China are doing a partnership about going to the Moon. Maybe we can join them. Why not?

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @07:39PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @07:39PM (#650182)

          But he is such a poor communicator that he is bumbling, and almost anything he says can be torn apart easily because he does not speak with precision. I'd rather have Obama fumbling with his teleprompter not working, because that at least implies there is indeed a plan at work instead of deciding things on the spur of the moment - a poor trait for someone who has authority to launch nukes and I hope he is stopped before he tries.

          You are blinded by your bias.

          Speech patterns of high-ranking powerful people tend to be vague and decisive. Giving detailed information and allowing for nuances is the speech of a powerless nerd. One projects power by deciding things on the spur of the moment, or at least appearing to do so. In other words, it's intentional. These behavior traits are both a symptom of existing power and a means to gain power.

          You claim he is a "poor communicator" without realizing what he is communicating. He isn't a powerless nerd supplying information to a superior. He doesn't need to communicate facts. He needs to communicate power. He is doing exactly as required.

          The ability to decide things on the spur of the moment is 100% exactly what you need for the authority to launch nukes. Remember, there is very little warning before an SLBM strikes. Quick decision-making is essential.

          Speaking of poor traits, Trump threatens North Korea and Hillary (as secretary of state and during her campaign) pisses off Russia. There is a difference. Threatening North Korea a bit has gotten good results, with Kim agreeing to meet Trump face-to-face to talk about ditching his nukes. Trump knew what he was doing. Hillary got Russia building advanced ICBMs, not that Russia couldn't nuke us pretty well already. I think the results speak for themselves; it is clear who understands international relations better and it isn't Hillary.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday March 09 2018, @11:01PM (1 child)

            by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday March 09 2018, @11:01PM (#650293) Journal

            The ability to decide things on the spur of the moment is 100% exactly what you need for the authority to launch nukes. Remember, there is very little warning before an SLBM strikes. Quick decision-making is essential.

            Please remember that when you are radioactive ash. Instability is the last thing the world stage needs, ever. And our President is not stable.

            --
            Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:43AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:43AM (#650457) Journal

              Instability is the last thing the world stage needs

              I disagree. We don't want so much instability that nukes are flying. But we should want enough so that we can insure that our societies can handle it. Squashing instability altogether is a recipe for a fragile society.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:33PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:33PM (#650678)

            Ok then how to you explain this? classic!!

            Donald Trump Repeats The Same Sentence 9 Times In 43 Seconds ...
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXeCpalMCeM [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Friday March 09 2018, @05:22PM (5 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:22PM (#650081)

      A president doesn't have the time to learn everything about every topic that comes up. The solution is to get summaries from staff, and read a lot at every occasion. If you don't know much, don't get in front of the press, or keep it short.

      This president doesn't like to read, takes time to watch a lot of TV and golf, and is always in front of the camera, trying to keep talking, because he got richer that way.
      Obviously, he regularly runs out of material to fill in the blanks, and has not shame just saying whatever will make him look good, or he thinks people want to hear, regardless of facts.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday March 09 2018, @06:17PM (4 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:17PM (#650135) Homepage Journal

        Doesn't have time to learn every new topic? Nonsense. The old bastard under discussion has had a lot of time to learn every topic there is to learn. He was born in 1946? What the hell did he spend all his time on since then? I realize he did the wine, women, and song thing - but did he just waste all the rest of his time?

        --
        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:54PM (#650159)

          but did he just waste all the rest of his time?

          That's a known effect that Twitter has on time.

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @10:22PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @10:22PM (#650265) Journal

          but did he just waste all the rest of his time?

          Sounds like he spent a lot of time managing things, like construction projects.

          You argument is terribad for the simple reason that assumes he did something merely because he had the time to do something. I could argue the same about 8,000 meter peaks. Trump would have had plenty of time to hit all fourteen therefore he must have done them all. He had plenty of time to fly a human-powered aircraft around the world, therefore he must have done it. He had plenty of time to individually insult every person on the Earth whose name begins with "Reginald", therefore he must have done it.

          Opportunity != accomplishment.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:25AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:25AM (#650404)

          I realize he did the wine, women, and song thing - but did he just waste all the rest of his time?

          Trump does not drink alcohol. Admittedly, he probably made up for it with more of the other two.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by knarf on Friday March 09 2018, @05:18PM (26 children)

    by knarf (2042) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:18PM (#650075)

    The amount of virtue-signalling in the comment section is staggering, it seems they feel they have to stumble over each other to show how much they despise Trump. This goes so far that the actual message - SLS is overly expensive compared to Falcon Heavy, also Falcon Heavy exists while SLS is still a pipe dream - is drowned. Comments which point this out without adding enough hate for Trump are voted down, comments which do nothing but spout hate for Trump are voted up higher than the proverbial SLS rocket.

    What ever happened to the doctrine of not shooting the messenger? Who cares what you think about Trump when the subject matter is totally unrelated?

    If this is an example of the discourse among the educated - which is whom I assume to be the ones commenting on a space-related article on Ars Technica - I'll have to think twice before sending my children to those institutions where the former received their education.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Snow on Friday March 09 2018, @05:20PM (25 children)

      by Snow (1601) on Friday March 09 2018, @05:20PM (#650077) Journal

      Ars Technica is one big circlejerk.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @05:23PM (23 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @05:23PM (#650083) Journal
        It's one of only two places where I got banned for merely having an opinion (usual climate change skepticism). The other was a personal blog. Ars Tech created and nutured that environment.
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:01PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:01PM (#650126)

          Thankfully you won't be banned here, as free expression is prized.

          A bonus is that we get to laugh at you. Good times!

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday March 09 2018, @06:42PM (1 child)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:42PM (#650152) Journal

            Hey, I've been here a while. I have not been involuntarily committed yet, so far as I can tell.

            --
            You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:37AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:37AM (#650426)

              Shhh...... nobody tell him!

              -Lawn

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:57AM

            by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday March 10 2018, @06:57AM (#650435) Homepage Journal

            They don't call it a ban. They call it Karma and IP Karma. But it's a ban. If you tweet something that makes certain Moderators (establishment & global special interests) uncomfortable, they down mod your tweet. Get enough down mods -- especially Spam Mods, those kill your Karma like crazy -- they hide your Journal. This is the new thing for 2018. And they make it so you can't tweet anymore, they've been doing that one for a long time. Unless you get different Internet. And there's one guy. I don't know, probably one guy, could be a lady. People say a bot, if they're right that's an amazing bot -- he always tweets about murder. About ass rape. Writing things that are a little bit disturbing. And have nothing to do with the stories. To trick the Moderators & Administrators into giving very negative IP Karma to a lot of the Internet. By getting down mods and a lot of Spam Mods. And the VERY, VERY FOOLISH Administrators go along with him. A lot of people won't be able to tweet. But it won't be called a ban. It will be called free expression.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:03PM (#650127)

          Aren't echo chambers wonderful? They provide a place for people like myself to play in. No cacophony is complete without a little discord, is it?

        • (Score: 2, Troll) by aristarchus on Friday March 09 2018, @06:19PM (17 children)

          by aristarchus (2645) on Friday March 09 2018, @06:19PM (#650137) Journal

          Did you ever think, oh climate denying khallow, that banning is not censorship so much as an attempt to tell you something? Just wondering.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:36PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:36PM (#650145)

            Of course, burn the heretic. SCIENCE! demands it!

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @06:42PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:42PM (#650151) Journal
              We're just trying to tell the heretic something via the medium of fire. What's wrong with that?
          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @06:39PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:39PM (#650149) Journal

            Did you ever think, oh climate denying khallow, that banning is not censorship so much as an attempt to tell you something?

            To the contrary, oh aristarchus, why would I think anything else? And you call yourself a philosopher.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @06:55PM (3 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:55PM (#650161) Journal
            To add to that, why is such "telling" via the act of overt censorship supposed to be of value to me? Legitimate communication is a two-way street, not one person merely telling another. I'll note that I see a lot of telling without communicating in your posts.
            • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @11:39PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @11:39PM (#650302)
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @11:42PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @11:42PM (#650303)

                No one said anything about the first amendment. The concept of freedom of speech is far broader than its legal implementation. Even if a website doesn't have to respect free speech, it can do so, as SoylentNews does to a very high degree.

              • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:55AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:55AM (#650460) Journal
                Ok? As the other replier noted, this isn't about the First Amendment. In addition, I take issue with this line from the comic:

                It's just that the people listening think you're an asshole

                There's a very generous assumption that "the people" are listening and thinking. If they're banning, they're not listening. And most of this echo chamber banning doesn't involve a lot of thinking either.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by unauthorized on Saturday March 10 2018, @02:19AM (9 children)

            by unauthorized (3776) on Saturday March 10 2018, @02:19AM (#650347)

            Did you ever think, oh climate denying khallow, that banning is not censorship so much as an attempt to tell you something?

            What they are trying to say is "we don't want you to be able to argue your position on our platform". That is censorship.

            Your non-argument is predicated on a double dichotomy, sending a message and censorship are not mutually exclusive.

            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by aristarchus on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:55AM (8 children)

              by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:55AM (#650412) Journal

              Maybe, just maybe, they are saying, "khallow, you are being a dick, and the first rule is, 'don't be a dick'." Or, maybe they are saying, you have your ideologically based opinion that is completely false, and you are only generating noise, so we are preventing you from doing that. Or, maybe, they were saying, as often we do here on SoylentNews as well, "khallow, you are a shill. How much does Exxon pay you to post here?" Censorship? Hardly. Not a matter of a different opinion, a matter of being a dick, spewing disonance, or shilling for corporations. These exclude one from good faith debate of the issues.

              • (Score: 3, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday March 10 2018, @07:21AM (4 children)

                by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday March 10 2018, @07:21AM (#650443) Homepage Journal

                The first rule of global warming conspiracy is, don't talk about global warming conspiracy.

                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:43AM (3 children)

                  by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:43AM (#650456) Journal

                  You have broke character. It is now apparent to all and sundry that you are not, in fact, the realDonaldTrump. You must be a fake real Donald Trump, which is strangely apropos. The President is Virtue Signaling! He is a covert cuckservative SJW New York Real Estate Developer, and Slum Lord. But we knew that, already.

                  • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday March 10 2018, @10:31AM (1 child)

                    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday March 10 2018, @10:31AM (#650486) Homepage Journal

                    I'm playing myself. I'm playing a WINNER. I'm always myself. And I always win. So I'm always in character.

                  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11 2018, @06:17AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11 2018, @06:17AM (#650792)

                    So, Donald has a broke character, and you have a broke dick. You have something in common!

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:59AM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:59AM (#650461) Journal

                Censorship? Hardly.

                Words have meaning. Censorship [oxforddictionaries.com]:

                The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

                Banning someone suppresses their speech. Thus it is censorship.

                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:35AM (1 child)

                  by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 10 2018, @11:35AM (#650494) Journal

                  No, it is not, since the obvious rebuttal is that you still are spouting your mothership's madness here on SoylentNews! Those fine folks over at ArsTechnica, on the other hand, do not owe you a platform from which to broadcast your dark master's propaganda, khallow, as well you know. You need to pay for that kind of platform, or you end up down here with the trolls, who will rip you a new one seven ways to Sunday. Not to mention that what you're selling has no traction in a place like this. Or did you think that your very special opinion has some right to be expressed? Who's the snowflake now, huh?

                  • (Score: 1, Troll) by khallow on Saturday March 10 2018, @03:06PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @03:06PM (#650522) Journal
                    The obvious rebuttal is that's two straw men arguments.
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday March 09 2018, @06:34PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:34PM (#650142) Journal

        Ars Technica is one big circlejerk.

        I don't think it is that big, actually.

        --
        You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:08PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09 2018, @06:08PM (#650130)

    Having brought that rogue North Korean to heel, Trump is going to ride a Musk rocket into the heavens, and bring all the aliens to justice! The Orange One will soon rule the galaxy! And he certainly won't rule from some stupid SLS. Sounds like a relic that was rejected by Canon, around 1950. Praise Trump, and pass the Kodachrome!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Friday March 09 2018, @06:35PM (4 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @06:35PM (#650143) Journal

      How to do Haiku
      I'm trying to remember
      I came up with these

      The sad orange clown
      Its vomit stream on Twitter
      Can not tell the truth

      Little idle hands
      The Devil's Twitter play thing
      Tiny little hands

      Press Secretary
      Evade Lie Stall and Distract
      Must not tell the truth

      Dotard Trump the clown
      An executive order
      Feeble minded one

      I swear I will tell
      Lies, made up lies, only lies
      Fact checked by Fox News

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday March 09 2018, @10:25PM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 09 2018, @10:25PM (#650268) Journal
        No Haiku so sweet
        Like galactic victory
        Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:53AM (1 child)

          by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday March 10 2018, @08:53AM (#650459) Journal

          If you are going to do Haiku, you go to the master, Matsuo Bashô (松尾芭蕉) [carlsensei.com]

          古池
          蛙飛び込む
          水の音

          Furu ike ya
          kawazu tobikomu
          mizu no oto

          SoylentNews version:

          An ancient pond,
          khallow jumps in.
          The sound of water.

          *the sound of water here can be construed as the basis for climate change denial, but then we are still faced with the fact that khallow is a frog in this haiku, which means, according to Kermit, that "Time's fun when you're having flies."

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:47PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 10 2018, @05:47PM (#650569) Journal

          Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump
          Guns Guns Guns Guns Guns Guns Guns
          Grab 'em by the part

          --
          You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
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