Darn you to heck! Here I thought I'd get through the week without someone writing something that pushed one of my buttons and my favourite recluse goes and does it. Claire went and posted on her blog about one of my peeves and a prime reason I wish Al Gore was...well, somewhere other than here. Not that I'm blaming her, mind you. I'm not. What Claire pointed out is good news. Rational news. News that points up the fact that some people operate in the realm of common sense and reality,
(that wouldn't be you, Mr. Ex-Vice President, Loser, Nutbag. Or you losers at NASA).
Ya see, as Claire pointed out in her blog entry Jeff Bezos and his buddies at Blue Origin are utilising a Space Ship design that has already been tested and was dumped by the government drones at NASA. These folks are planning on building a Space Port and building reusable space craft and they are dead on serious about it, to the point that they've already filed all the necessary paperwork (pdf)! This is great news! As someone who remembers watching the first moon landing and then had to stand by and watch the politicians destroy our dreams of living in space, killing our astronauts and wasting decades on foolishness, this fills my heart with joy. Private enterprise is finally doing what should have been done so many years ago, by the white elephant NASA and doing it with a design that was killed by Al Gore just so he could piss away money on a project that was doomed to failure from the get go.
Blue Origin is going to be using the Delta Clipper design that worked pretty well in the development phase. It flew a number of times and had one accident and then NASA cancelled the project in favour of the Al Gore supported boondoggle that is still going on today, albeit in a slightly different form and with more "strategic" interests in mind. The Delta Clipper (DC-X) flew 8 times before experiencing a catastrophic accident, it landed too hard and cracked the hull. The DC-XA which replaced the DC-X flew 4 times before experiencing a catastrophic fire after a landing strut failed, (investigations determined that the ground crew failed to connect a hose.) and that was the end of the program. NASA started work on their pipe dream machine after that and abandoned the Delta Clipper, a machine that showed more promise than anything else NASA had on the boards. (Movies of the DC flying are available here and for those who wish to see the crash, here. )
The esteemed Mr. Bezos is showing uncommon good sense in using the Delta Clipper design. Most of the work's already done and it flies. There are also enough people already out there who have worked the DC into plans, so that he already has access to a framework which could propel him, his colleagues and his customers to Luna and beyond. Mr. Bezos may well be the Delos D. Harriman of our time and succeed in setting us free in a way that no-one else has done since the first people defied their states and crossed the Atlantic.
If this venture succeeds Liberty loving people may well be lining up not just for sub-orbital flights, but for Lunar colonisation in a few decades. I would certainly hock everything I owned to get a one way ticket to settle the Moon.
Thanks to Mr. Bezos and Blue Origin, the one decent thing to come out of the NASA Space Program in the 90's may well get a chance to fly and if there is any justice Blue Origin will never issue a ticket for any member of the Gore and Clinton clans. Their ilk would just pollute space.
(PS: Thanks tons to Claire for pointing this one out. I missed my email from Space.com on this one! And my BP needed a jolt anyway!)
Space, Jeff Bezos, Claire Wolfe, Politics
Libertarian, Al Gore