Thursday, July 16, 2009

High Earth Orbits Are Forever

So NASA is talking about "de-orbiting" the ISS (International Space Station): "That's a big No Can Do on the staying in orbit, over." As a sci fi geek and sciencey guy I know I'm supposed to be horrified and appalled and driven to action.

But I'm not.

You see, I hate Low Earth Orbit. It's stupid. It's pointless. It's wasteful. And as others before me have pointed out, the main reasons the ISS exists have nothing to do with space exploration; it was all about a jobs program for Russkie scientists and having a place where the Shuttle could go. And don't even get me started on the Shuttle, because I've always hated the Shuttle too, for the missionless platform and program it was stillborn into. LEO is for rockets with payloads, not manned missions. High Earth Orbit, (geosychronous (22,000 miles) and up) is where the real action is, which is why all the smart sci fi authors of the 50s and 60s wrote in big space stations/military bases/way stations somewhere out there.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I side with the folks who think NASA is more of a hindrance to getting into space than a help, simply because they are trapped in a government web. Privatization of the space effort with government help not direction seems to be the only reasonable way to go. I'd rather see the ISS sold to a firm that can maintain it than tumbling in flaming pieces into the ocean, sure, but maintaining it just to maintain it at taxpayer expense, as much as it pains me to say, doesn't seem reasonable.

Hell, give Microsoft and Apple a tax break to build a new space station. Give GM and Chrysler incentives to switch over from cars to space crap to help them.

Then stand back. We'll have more junk in the sky in 20 years than we'll know what to do with and regular flights to the Moon in no time.

Leave NASA to do the science part with JPL and keep government out of the way of 15 year projects it cannot possibly understand.

Make it so.


Post a Comment