The first Moon landing was 50 years ago today. We’re celebrating today with Moon cookies (chocolate chip cookies with the chips mushed in while they are warm, making little craters). We should be celebrating today on the Moon itself, but Nixon, Ford, and Carter put an end to that.
Prior to the landings, a proposed Space Launch System (not the wimpy rebranded Shuttle version of SLS or current SLS concepts) would leverage the existing designs of the Apollo program to re-use the Saturn V third stages, and derive new designs from that stage, to implement a number of elements that would remain in space. One of these elements was to be a nuclear-powered tug that would ferry cargoes between Earth orbit and lunar orbit, needing only reaction mass to be resupplied periodically (hence the use of the third stage tanks).
Carter, a nuclear engineer, made a unique contribution to grounding humanity by banning the reprocessing of nuclear fuel wastes, leaving 95% of the available energy locked away and fueling instead concerns over nuclear waste storage. As a result, instead of trans-lunar tugs, we have 20 times the amount of nuclear waste, and waste which contains the vastly longer-lived isotopes that would otherwise be burned as fuel.
All of this potential greatness had passed the science stage, and was simply a matter of engineering, and in many cases, simply a matter of manufacturing. The most uncertain work, that of the basic research, had already been done and the concepts were proven. By the time of the Moon landing, there was nothing in the original Space Launch System that we didn’t already know how to do.
One of the main globalist rationales for cancelling all of that greatness was that “we shouldn’t be spending money on space toys as long as there is one hungry child here on Earth”. That argument sounded insane to me as a semi-hungry child, and I haven’t changed my mind since. It would be like saying “as long as you know one destitute person, you shouldn’t spend money sending any of your children to college.” And now, the US hasn’t been able to get astronauts even as far as low earth orbit for years.
Today, instead of Moon bases (some children of GenX should now be reaching adulthood, having been born on the Moon), colonies on Mars (founded by Millennials who shouldn’t have been poisoned and side-lined their entire lives), and vast natural resources from robotic asteroid mining (not reserved for insiders), we have airliners that deliberately try to kill you, and rental cars that get you a felony rap sheet.
So when we celebrate Moon Day, we’re celebrating what our nation once was, and reviewing the past five decades of decay. And, most importantly, looking forward to the future with renewed vigor. So inspired, we can blaze a new path of greatness, this time armed with well-founded and now historically-proven knowledge of the pitfalls along the way.
Leave a Reply
3 Comments on "Happy Moon Day!"
The NextGen Apollo capsules (after Apollo 20) would have been 75-80% reuseable.
Designs existed for circular space stations made of Saturn 3rd stage units hooked together. Skylab, except with 7-12 times the interior space.
There was even a credible re-use of the Gemini capsule, large-sized to the Big-G, where the original capsule would have been the pilot’s cabin, and the larger section would have been passenger room for up to 12 people at a time. And pretty much totally reusable, except for the heat shield and re-entry package.
Instead, we put our money into that stupid space truck that basically had to be rebuilt after every flight.
Sigh. What could have been.
Great comment, Beans, thanks. Working at McDonnell Douglas in the mid-90s was bittersweet. Great to make contact with a lot of near-retirement engineers from that era. Plus a lot of sighing over what could have been, as you put it. Stupid space truck LOL.
Happy Apollo 11
Appreciate you. Hope you guys are doing well where you are now.
As the great Science fiction writers Larry Niven and the late Jerry Pournelle, both total relentless advocates of privateer space activity and economics, God rest JP’s soul, said, “It is raining soup in outer space”
Indeed. Maybe the privateer efforts underway presently will lead to a turn towards a second new frontier, a new 2nd beginning as we experienced in colonial America and the first century of American history, or as Andrew Skousen called it “The 5000 Year Leap”, where men can become uniquely self reliant and self determining, because of the vastness and unlimited resources make unfettered economic activity, the most important element of Liberty rightfully lived and realized in its limitless of personal wealth creation, can prosper and thrive.
Space is a big place. It will be very difficult for tyrants to control peoples economic activity and freedom as they have on Earth.
I am hopeful, and see great incredible possibilities. The hurdle has been NASA/State control over space launches. Untill recently they held an absolute strangle hold on launch vehicles and launch locations.
remember something back in the 90’s about, a private group bought an Island in the remote Pacific, outside the purview and sanction of any State. Well NSA and it’s power elite figured out a way to inhibit and stop their private launch enterprise thru most specious of means.
I think too, technology is the key, or rather the advancement of technology and as technology evolves it can create far more attainable economic means and possibilities for the citizen space pioneer. Look how computer science and technology evolves and what was seen as almost unobtanium in its early revelations has become common everyday technology easily afforded.
Jetty Pournell’es Laser Launch System, employing an ablative chamber which a high power laser is focused into from a ground station portends great promises because of it’s not requiring typical integral high mass fuel and engine vehicles. Even if the potential is for low mass launches, you simply have more launches, you still leave your “fuel” and main launch “engine” on the ground. Just how far out is this potential technology concept? Most likely not very much in relative terms.
The sky is literally the limit. Getting to the moon by slide rule proved everything is possible if there is the will and the vision. I remember all the launches from Shepard to Schmitt. Vividly. They made a believer out of me everything is possible in America because of people. And what people who pull together can accomplish. This is my America.
I only hope I’m alive to see unfettered economic and living activity by people in space, not the sole province of the State.
I truly think if we are to survive as a species, the reason to become space humans is manifold and manifest destiny. There is everything for it. Everything to be gained which is positive and beneficial. Unlimited power. Resources beyond comprehension. Technology un imagined. And the spiritual aspects, the beauty and wonder of the creation of the universe can not be forgotten.