Monthly Archives: April 2012

SEC documents have revealed that the total development costs for Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket have increased to $472 million, $184 million more than what NASA is paying them.

SEC documents have revealed that the total development costs for Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket have increased to $472 million, $184 million more than what NASA is paying them.

That the company has been willing to commit these extra funds to develop Antares suggests to me that they see a commercial value for the rocket that will exceed these costs. Or to put it more bluntly, they see a market for their rocket that will pay for their investment, and then some.

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SpaceX’s static fire test of the Falcon 9 still set for 3 pm today.

SpaceX’s static fire test of the Falcon 9 still set for 3 pm today.

I will be discussing this story and the mining of asteroids on The Space Show today, even as this static fire occurs. Don’t forget to tune in.

Update: the static firing appears to have been a success, after an initial abort.

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The construction of Freedom Tower will today finally exceed the Empire State Building, making it the tallest building in New York.

The construction of Freedom Tower will today finally exceed the Empire State Building, making it the tallest building in New York.

The best memorial to those killed on September 11th is to rebuild, and to rebuild bigger and better.

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A microscopic algae-eater that lives in a Norway lake has now been identified as one of the Earth’s oldest living organisms.

A microscopic algae-eater that lives in a Norway lake has now been identified as one of the Earth’s oldest living organisms.

The elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago and did not fit in any of the known categories of living organisms – it was not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or alga, they say.

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On Wednesday Obama announced he would overide Congress and release of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority, with no strings attached.

What could possibly go wrong? On Wednesday Obama announced he would override Congress and release of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with no strings attached.

Not only is this insane, considering the murderous behavior of the PA, it seems to me that the U.S. has this document called the Constitution, which clearly stipulations that Congress, not the President, determines how money can be spent. If Congress says no, the President isn’t legally allowed to do it. The article above is vague about this issue, so it is possible that Obama is acting legally here. However, based on his previous behavior, I remain suspicious.

A more detailed analysis of Obama’s action can be found here. It appears my suspicions are correct.

Congress deliberately froze those funds, and not just because of the statehood demand through UNESCO. Hamas, a terrorist organization, reconciled with Fatah and has rejoined the PA, which means we’re putting almost $200 million into the hands of a terrorist organization. The language of the Palestinian Accountability Act could not be clearer: “[N]o funds available to any United States Government department or agency … may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” Obama literally waived that statutory language off yesterday afternoon. [emphasis mine]

For this President, a supposed Constitutional lawyer, the law is always such an inconvenient thing. He somehow thinks that, under our legal system, he can rule by dictate, something that any legal scholar would tell him is wrong.

The faster we get this power-hungry man out of office, the better.

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In closing down its ATV cargo freighter assembly line, Europe considers its next manned space project.

In closing down its ATV cargo freighter assembly line, Europe considers its next manned space project.

ESA and NASA have been discussing how ESA might compensate NASA for Europe’s 8.3 percent share of the international space station’s future operating charges. Until about 2017, the agency is repaying NASA, as the station’s general contractor, through launches of European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo ships to the station. But with the station partners now all but committed to operating the station at least through 2020, ESA is searching for another “barter element” to succeed ATV.

NASA has said a propulsion module for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle would fill ESA’s obligations to NASA, which have been estimated at about 450 million euros ($600 million) over three years.

But several ESA members, notably France and Italy, have argued that the Orion module, which would use ATV-derived technologies, does not provide sufficient technology interest or public impact. Instead, these governments have proposed development of a vehicle that would perform multiple tasks in low Earth orbit, including debris removal.

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The Monkees reunion – Daydream Believer

An evening pause: R.I.P. Davy Jones. This reunion performance, which included Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork of the Monkees, occurred on June 16, 2011 at the Beacon Theater, New York City. Less than a year later, Davy Jones had passed away.

Though the audio isn’t great, the joy of the song and those singing it comes through loud and clear. Go here to hear the song as performed in 1967.

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The Labor Department has abandoned its effort to ban kids from working on farms.

A victory of sorts for freedom: The Labor Department has abandoned its effort to ban kids from working on farms.

The reason I consider this merely a temporary victory is that the desire to regulate these matters still exists in the people running the federal government. These same people also don’t understand that, as a free nation, they have no moral right to impose these rules in the first place. Thus, they remain a threat, waiting only for another opportunity to try again.

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A condo association threatened a woman with fines for following her religion and placing a Jewish mezuzah on her doorpost.

Condo thugs strike again! A condo association threatened a woman with fines for following her religion and placing a Jewish mezuzah on her doorpost.

Fortunately the condo association backed down. Nonetheless, this is a good example why I hate these kinds of real estate organizations.

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Killing private space

The financial foolishness in Congress, by Republicans this time, continues. In making its budget recommendations for NASA, the report [pdf] of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee also demands that NASA immediately choose one commercial company for its commercial space program. (Hat tip to Clark Lindsey for spotting this.)

The number of ways this action is counter-productive almost can’t be counted.
» Read more

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Four TSA screeners have been charged with accepting cash in exchange for allowing drug smugglers pass through security.

This should make you you feel safer: Four TSA screeners have been charged with accepting cash in exchange for allowing drug smugglers to pass through security.

And in related news: A family missed its flight after TSA agents insisted on giving a seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy a full pat-down.

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