Friday Science: What’s Wrong With NASA?

From New Scientist:

NASA is investigating sabotage of a non-critical computer due to be flown to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, which was cleared to lift off on 7 August, the space agency said on Thursday.

NASA revealed the sabotage a day ahead of releasing two studies that the publication Aviation Week says found astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions despite warnings they were so drunk they posed a flight risk.

The damage to wiring in an electronics box was intentional and obvious, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, told reporters at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US.

NASA found cut cables inside the electronics box, which was being prepared to be loaded into Endeavour’s crew cabin for transport to the $100 billion space station.

Sabotage of a non-critical computer? What’s up with that? I would think any destruction, especially willful destruction of any and all space hardware should be a criminal offence. And then allowing drunk astronauts to board the shuttle, knowingly allowing these individuals to enter a spacecraft that has a dubious safety record at best and fly!

Billions of dollars have been spend on the shuttle missions over the past twenty-seven years, tax-payer dollars. The space shuttle was touted as a cheaper alternative to expendable rockets and save money over the long haul. Well, it hasn’t saved a penny and it’s proved to be more costly to operate than the old Saturn V moon rockets. As far as the safety record is concerned, I suppose the loss of two shuttles and fourteen (or fifteen?) astronauts over the past thirty some odd years would be considered acceptable, given that you’re going into orbit on top of what amounts to a gigantic Roman candle filled with nitro-clycerin strapped to your ass. I guess that could explain the getting shit-faced before getting on board such a monstrosity. But still, these people are supposed to be professionals who knowingly accept the risks involved. And most people believe progress comes at a high price, most of Columbus’s sailors didn’t expect to return from their trip. Unfortunately for the Native Americans, Columbus and Co. did. But that’s another story.

Plus add these sorry tales on top of what already happened this year to NASA concerning the “astronaut diaper” jokes:

Nowak, 43, told police she drove from Houston, Texas, to the Orlando International Airport to confront Colleen Shipman, whom Nowak considered a rival for the attentions of fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein the police affidavit said. The astronaut had disguised herself in a dark wig, glasses and a trench coat.

Nowak, a married flight engineer with three children, was awaiting her next flight assignment after travelling aboard the shuttle Discovery in July 2006.

Obviously, NASA needs to clean up its act here. Not only taxpayer dollars are being wasted but the integrity of the whole manned space program is in jeopardy. Probably one can make the argument that money for oversight of the program is diverted to Bu$hco’s 1984 themed Perpetual Wars, so blame could be passed along in that direction. And that could very well be the reason. But I believe the problem is deeper than that because NASA as a government agency has always had its budget cut and still always pushed to perform the way it has always had. Even when Bu$hco announced that the United States as a nation is returning to Lunar exploration, no additional monies were forthcoming, NASA had to make do with what it had and thusly had to cut some of it’s scientific space probe program, angering many scientists who thought their programs were already “sacred cows”.

So what is NASA to do? One logical move would be to revamp the astronaut screening process. I realize psychology is an art at best, not a precise science. One solution would be to require astronauts to undergo screening every six months instead of yearly. Another is surprise urinalysis screening for drugs and alcohol. Yes, I know that goes against the individual’s privacy and rights of personage I’m always preaching about, but when you sign a contract to operate billions of dollars worth of technology, one should be held responsible. Either that, or just abolish the whole shootin’ match and privatize the space program, let entrenpeneurs take the risk. If a drunk pilot or one that is f*ckin’ nuts pilots a ship with tourists on it crashes or gets arrested on doing something stupid, let their corporate bosses pay out huge insurance claims or fire their asses if they live. At least it’s their money, not ours.
NASA investigates sabotage of space-bound computer

16 responses

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I love manned space exploration, but when supposedly highly trained individuals sabotage equipment, fly multi-billion dollar space ships cocked on their ass and wear shitty astronaut diapers, driving hundreds of miles so they don’t have to stop and go to the bathroom in order to kill a romantic rival, something is f*ckin’ broke!

    “Here’s your sign!”

  2. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    There’s no damn way I’d strap my ass into that thing without at least a half a ‘forty’ under my belt!

    That’s what it was taking to get me into a truck, anymore! In fact, it’s probably safer to fly that roman candle than it is to drive the highway, these days!

  3. Uber Highwayman | Reply

    Yeah… there’s your environmental concern for ya! How much pollutant does that monstrosity pour into the atmosphere, I’m wondering?

    Probably TWICE what my old ’75 Merc does!


  4. I’m sure it’s more than twice what your old Merc pukes out UH.

    That’s another bone of contention I have with NASA, using crappy old chemical rockets when more advanced tech is available, i.e., anti-gravs.

    Even if that’s BS, James Baen proposed “launching lasers” over twenty years ago. A laser beam powered by a MHD (magnetohydrodynamic) generator pushing a missile underneath by a “ablation chamber” is better. The missile once finished can reenter the atmosphere and be reused.

    But no, we have to feed the goddamn MIC so they can keep producing chemical launch nuclear missiles. Bastards.

  5. Of course, I could go for a loooong space flight with Ben Browder or Jamie Bamber and a bottle of good red wine to get us in the mood for “re-entry” but that is a fantasy.

    The truth is, we’ve seen lunatic astronauts driving across the country in a diaper to kill her competition and now news of drunk astronauts.

    Ah, Houston, I am certain YOU have a problem. Better clean up your act or stop crawling to the Congress begging for more tax dollars.

  6. LOL! Chris, you and your Jamie Bamber fantasy!

    This certainly destroys the 1960s myth, “The Right Stuff”.

    Now-a-days it’s “The Right Fifth”!

    The astronaut diaper thing still gets me!

  7. Now-a-days it’s “The Right Fifth”!

    HAHAHAHAHA! NASA is so fucked up! Crazies in diapers on a mission to kill and drunks in space.

    Yeah, my Jamie Bamber fantasy is pretty intense and I’ve pleasured myself to the pics of him running around Battlestar in nekkid except in the towel, many times.

  8. Y’know what tho, the asshole neocons in their rush to keep finding phantom enemies to fight to keep the old Cold War industries going, the douchebags ruined one of the most successful ones because they wanted a Crusade of genocide. When neocons f*ck things up, they do it all the way, y’gotta give ’em that.

  9. I don’t want my carcass near anything that Bush has had control of.

    His track record for success isn’t so good.

  10. I really doubt the guy has ever had control of anything, he’s always had handlers.

  11. ? I would have thought you two would pretty much classify the present ‘government’ as assassinated from the top. Reports from every department catalogue instructions from on high which seem designed to destroy its ability to function despite the best efforts of staff. Surely that would conform to an alien usurpation of Earth government theory : though a secret society should be equally plausible if one looks at the background of the Bush family with some willingness to consider outlandish possibilities – pretty much a given in present circumstances.

  12. Hey opit, long time no hear from!

    All conspiracy theories are outlandish, that’s the purpose of them, to grab your attention and to think of different paradigms.

    Some people need to be slowly introduced to the idea that is out of the ordinary, as Christopher says, people are raised to believe in the inherent goodness of their government representatives, to believe that they truly represent the voter’s wishes. When people find out the world is totally the opposite of what they were raised to believe, it’s a shock. Some retreat into a shell, but most realize what’s happened and they are sure as shit angry.

    Does this mean all tinfoil hat theories are credible? Of course not. As you point out above, the Bu$h connection to secret societies is very credible because there is documented proof linking the family going back generations to various societies such as Bohemian Grove (Moloch), Skull and Bones, the CFR, The Trilateral Commission and the Bilderbergs. Poppy Bu$h slipped up himself and mentioned the New World Order. Bu$h the Younger admitted he wanted to be dictator, he was groomed for the job.

    One stated goal of the NWO is to set up eight to ten economic and political zones on the planet to be ruled by a World Government of Bankers, Industrialists and Financiers. The European Union is a realty now, goal one complete. The next is to form an American Union, but first step is to make a North American Union with the former United States as its linchpin. My theory, and it might be others opinions as well, a whole new economy needs to be built up from scratch in order to implement a new currency and a cashless society. What better way than to bankrupt the greatest economy on the face of the planet through wars and tax cuts? All you have to do is pick up the pieces like FDR did because the starving public demands it and it’ll be no problem getting the wholesale changes pushed through. Hillary could be the next FDR in the history books and Bu$h Jr. will be reviled like Hoover was.

    This is my opinion and I can be dead wrong about it. But as you say opit, “…if one looks at the background of the Bush family with some willingness to consider outlandish possibilities – pretty much a given in present circumstances.”

  13. I’ve been running around highways with “B-trains” and will be criss-crossing Canada with freight for the next while : that rather puts a crimp in blogging, though I do have access to a laptop.
    Don’t you love the dysfunction between setting up borders to segregate people and the proposals for greater ease of moving goods ? That’s backwards to the way things were.

  14. I have a trouble with that too opit, it’s like talking out of both sides of one’s face. That’s why I think this “enforcing the borders” thing is just so much smoke for the public to inhale!

  15. If you mean BushCo has an over abundant understanding of distraction and reverse psychology – I hear you. The whole crew deserves the logo Mind Games R Us.

  16. You got it! *thumbs ^*

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