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The Shittle

2:00 PM -- Now that the shuttle has safely returned to Earth, it's time for Red Panda to call a spade a spade: As reusable vehicles designed for facilitating extraplanetary activities go, this one sucks.

As a tiny cub, Red Panda still recalls seeing the first "Moonwalkers" (Buzz, not Jacko; and Neil, not Lance, Armstrong) splash down on TV after their historic space flight, and frankly, almost 40 years later, things should have advanced a bit. Space flight should be cool (man!). It shouldn't involve the most powerful nation in the world firing off an old clunker best known for randomly dispensing chunks o' foam.

America deserves a shuttle, not a shittle. You know, something fast and furious, in metallic gray, with offensive capabilities (just in case, yeah?).

In the meantime, we can always offload the USS Shittle to Russia. Or North Korea. Plenty of takers out there, no doubt.

— Space Commander Panda of the 30th Century, Light Reading
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Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:06:06 AM
re: The Shittle now that's a reach
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:06 AM
re: The Shittle
Dear Short-sighted aka Scott,

Let us recall that minimally important invention created by the Space Programs, no not Tang. The Integrated Circuit. Just remember that when you view space based technology development. Great breakthroughs come in strange ways.

seven
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:06:06 AM
re: The Shittle Hey Fuzz Face,

Yes, you can say that again.

I wonder why the "mission" is so easily accepted at face value. They kept referring to this as a "successful mission," but what did they really accomplish?

As far as I could tell, they fired the beast up into space so that some guys could float around caulking all the cracks to see if they could make it back down.

Or, alternatively, another thing you hear is we are working on a great International space station. From what I see, we have enough trouble getting along with the Chinese and Russians down here on earth, how's low-gravity going to help?

From what I've read, these flights costs up to $10 billion a pop.

As a taxpayer, I can think of better ways to spend the money. And if you look at the recent private endeavor to send up a low-cost machine into orbit for under $25M, you begin to wonder whether space exploration should be left in private hands.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:06:05 AM
re: The Shittle Well, I'll jump on your ranting and hope that that drives some page hits ;-)

As a taxpayer, I can think of better ways to spend the money.

Unfortunately, at the federal level citizens don't get much of a choice on where to direct our tax dollars. By contrast, in proposition happy CA, the local governments have been restricted to such a degree that they have to get voter approval for almost everything they do. Need to repair a sidewalk? Got to have an election and get 2/3 voter approval to pay for it. This direct democracy junk seems to have resulted in communities giving much of their power to some outside entity. By my opinion, that's not the best way to build an empowered society.

And if you look at the recent private endeavor to send up a low-cost machine into orbit for under $25M, you begin to wonder whether space exploration should be left in private hands.

What private hands have put a vehicle into orbit for $25M?

A more interesting (at least to me) social commentary on the human condition would compare what we spend on things like spy satellites (or worse, homeland security) vs. space exploration. My guess is that fear trumps discovery when it comes to spending our energy and resources. How do we fix that?
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:05 AM
re: The Shittle
Aboslutely not. Your fatalism stuns me. HHS wastes the entire NASA budget every quarter. Why not go fix that instead of worrying over the tiny parts of the budget. Let the scientists have a playground. There surely are few enough of them left.

seven
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:04 AM
re: The Shittle
rj,

Why are you so upset about people being in control of what their government spends? Is this not a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

seven
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:06:03 AM
re: The Shittle
California Propositions have nothing to do with DC.

seven
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:06:03 AM
re: The Shittle Why are you so upset about people being in control of what their government spends? Is this not a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

My frustration is with the lack of empowerment of our local communities. We don't control the way our tax money is spent by sending it off to DC and asking them to make all the decisions. And DC rarely solves the problems anyway.
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:06:02 AM
re: The Shittle >What private hands have put a vehicle into >orbit for $25M?

Okay, well, it was sub-orbital. But he says the M&Ms floated. And it was $20M:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/s...
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 3:06:01 AM
re: The Shittle cost advantages? got $100M to spare? (check those sofa cushions!)
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08...
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