Reminds me of my grandmother, although frankly, she did a rather better job of hiding her Alzheimer's.
NASA already has a plan to launch its new, jumbo Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with an Orion capsule on top in late 2018, a mission known as EM-1. No one would be aboard. The capsule would orbit the moon and return to Earth, splashing down in the ocean. [...] According to current plans, a crewed mission, EM-2, would not be launched until several years later under the NASA timeline. [...] But on Wednesday, NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, sent a letter to employees saying he'd instructed the top NASA official for human spaceflight, associate administrator William Gerstenmaier, to explore the feasibility of adding astronauts to the EM-1 flight. [...] This is, by NASA standards, a bombshell announcement, because major missions involving new hardware and astronauts are typically planned many years in advance. Rush jobs are not NASA's way.
As essential as it is to get away from relying on Russia to send our astronauts into space, strapping them to a rocket that's never had a full integration test before is, frankly, extremely reckless. Especially if the EM-1 mission is going to be leaving LEO for the first time in 40 years. NASA got plenty of flack for live-crew-testing the Shuttle's first launch, but that was largely done out of necessity, because they couldn't fly-by-wire the thing's landing. By comparison, SLS/Orion is a much more traditional platform that can easily be sent up and retrieved without having a crew on-board to fly it. It hurts nothing besides Trump's impossibly thin ego to run EM-1 without a crew on-board.
I really desperately hope that if this happens, everything goes as smoothly as possible. But I worry. And if something does go wrong, Trump is going to have to answer for it. Manned spaceflight is not something you cut corners on to meet arbitrary deadlines. We just observed the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed three of NASA's finest less than a month ago. It's gut-wrenching that nobody seems to have learned anything from that disaster.
It isn't much of a coincidence that Trump signed an executive order allowing oil companies to make unlimited, unreported contributions to foreign governments in exchange for drilling rights just a few days after Tillerson was confirmed. As they said on NPR, "Everywhere else in the world, the term for this sort of law is 'bribery'."
Just so. There'd be rewards for saying yes, but they're temptations away from good engineering process and judgment. I hope there's a lot of pushback to the idea of setting some arbitrary near-term deadline.
It just gets worse.
I agree. Fuck.
I can't even imagine how well this will go down, even just as rhetoric.
Nothing says freedom like an unprecedented domestic deployment of the US Military.
Honestly, I fucking dare him to do this. Nothing would end his career faster.
Oh crap, it's 100% true.
It's irresponsible to be Sean Spicer being Sean Spicer.
Some people are speculating that they are deliberately letting these stories out so they can deny them and shout "FAKE NEWS! FAKE NEWS!".
I don't buy it. They aren't smart people. I think this was another awful memo floating around that someone leaked, and because its horrible and stupid they have to deny it exists at all.
I hope the AP publishes the damn thing.