Tag Archives: policy

Democrats have abandoned the presumption of innocence

Link here. As I’ve said numerous times in the past year, they’re coming for you next. As carefully documented in the article, no longer does the Democratic Party believe that everyone should be innocent until proven guilty. Now their standard is everyone who opposes their agenda is automatically guilty of any crime any Democratic Party supporter lodges against them.

Any accusation must be accepted, no matter how flimsy, unprovable, or blatantly partisan. If a Democrat says you are guilty of any crime, your career must be ruined and you must be hounded from public life.

Meanwhile, if a Democrat such as Keith Ellison in Minnesota, presently running for that state’s attorney general, is creditably accused of abusing his girlfriend, with good documentary evidence to back up the accusation, we must ignore it completely. All Democrats are always innocent, and any attempt to make them accountable for anything they do is unacceptable.

If we the public accept this standard, the American experiment in democracy is dead. The Democrats will have an endless and unchallengeable veto on everything.

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Russia considering getting out of Gateway

The new colonial movement: In expressing a desire not to play a secondary role in its next space station, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said today that Russia might pull out of its partnership with NASA in building its Gateway lunar station.

Russia agreed last year to work with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on plans for the moon-orbiting Deep Space Gateway, which will serve as a staging post for future missions.

But the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russia might exit the joint program and instead propose its own lunar orbit space station project. “The Russian Federation cannot afford to play the second fiddle role in it,” he was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency, without much further elaboration.

A spokesman for Roscosmos said later that Russia had no immediate plans to leave the project.

Russia’s problem is that they simply don’t have the cash to build their own lunar station. They could build a new station of their own in Earth orbit, and that might be what they end up doing. In fact, based on the knowledge they gained from both Mir and ISS, they might be able to design that station for short interplanetary flights, such as to the Moon and back, once built.

If I was Rogozin, that is exactly what I would do. Get out of NASA’s boondoggle, and build something in Earth orbit that will really demonstrate interplanetary travel.

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NOAA awards three more experimental commercial weather contracts

Capitalism in space: NOAA this week awarded three commercial companies contracts to provide the agency weather data in its expanding effort to get this data not from government satellites but from private sources.

In the Sept. 17 announcement, NOAA said it was issuing contracts to GeoOptics, PlanetIQ and Spire to provide GPS radio occultation weather data from satellites currently in orbit or planned for launch in the coming months. That technique measures the refraction of GPS signals as they pass through the atmosphere and are received by the companies’ satellites, which can provide temperature and pressure profiles to support weather forecasting models.

The awards represent round two of NOAA’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot program, an effort by the agency to experiment with buying data from commercial providers to determine its usefulness, as well as to examine various technical and programmatic issues with such data buys.

NOAA’s management bureaucracy has resisted this transition to private enterprise, much as NASA’s bureaucracy has. Nonetheless, NOAA’s inability to built and launch weather satellites at a reasonable cost and in a practical timeframe is forcing it to change.

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Update on SpaceX and Boeing’s private commercial crew capsules

Link here. The key piece of news is that both companies now believe they meet NASA’s safety requirements.

[D]uring a panel discussion at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space Forum here Sept. 18, executives of the two companies said they now believed their vehicles met that and related safety requirements.

John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for the commercial crew program at Boeing, said the company was assessing three separate requirements, including the overall loss of crew as well as ascent and entry risks and loss of mission. “Our teams have been working that for a number of years,” he said, noting those analyses have driven changes to the vehicle design, such as increased micrometeoroid and orbital debris protection. “Where we are now is that our analysis shows we can exceed the NASA requirements for all three of those criteria,” he said.

Benjamin Reed, director of commercial crew mission management at SpaceX, said his company was in a similar situation. “We’re looking right now to be meeting the requirements,” he said.

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s commercial crew program manager, didn’t confirm that the companies have, in fact, met those safety requirements. “We’re learning from a NASA perspective about how to understand the assessments that we’re getting from each of the contractors and how to apply it,” she said. “We at the NASA team are assessing the modeling that each of the providers has done.”

It should be understood that the requirements being discussed here really have nothing to do with actual engineering, but are based on a statistical analysis that estimates the risk to any passenger. In other words, it is a pure guess, and can be manipulated any way anyone wants. This is why NASA’s manager above is so vague. What she is really saying is that NASA is slowly being forced to accept the analysis of the contractors.

The article at the link also details the present schedule, which appears mostly unchanged (though Musk indicated there might be a slight delay in Dragon during his BFR presentation earlier this week), and the efforts by both companies to make their capsules reusable.

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China’s Long March 3B rocket successfully launches two GPS-type satellites

The new colonial movement: China today successfully launched two more of its Beidou GPS-type satellites, using its Long March 3B rocket.

The rocket launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China, and almost certainly dropped its stages near habitable regions, as happened in June. The question is whether China has successfully clamped down on the distribution of any images of such events, taken by local residents. It failed to do so in June.

The leaders in the 2018 launch race:

25 China
16 SpaceX
8 Russia
7 ULA
5 Europe (Arianespace)

This launch puts China once again in the lead over the U.S. in the national rankings, 25 to 24. Moreover, with every launch this year China extends its new record for the most launches by that nation in a year.

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Republican wins special election in black/Hispanic district in Texas

Is this significant? A Republican today won a special election for a Texas state senate seat in a predominately black and Hispanic district that was won by Hillary Clinton by 12% and hasn’t been held by a Republican for more than a hundred years.

It is dangerous to extrapolate the results from a single state legislative district to the wider nation. Nonetheless, for a Republican to win such a seat in a district whose two biggest demographics are Hispanic and black suggests we might yet see a historic shift this coming election. If the Democrats can no longer depend on these voters, they will find it difficult to win any national elections.

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Air Force estimates Space Force cost at $13 billion for first 5 years

Pork! Air Force has now released its first estimate for establishing a Space Force, with an estimated cost of $13 billion for first five years.

A copy of the Air Force memo was obtained Monday by The Associated Press. The memo says the first-year cost of a Space Force would be $3.3 billion, and the cost over five years would be an estimated $12.9 billion.

As I have said, this is nothing more than pork. At this stage all that needs to happen is a reorganization that would put all space activities in a single office in the Air Force. This is also what the Air Force has wanted to do. Creating a whole new military branch at this time is overkill, and will merely result in too much bureaucracy, for only one reason, to spend money.

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Kenya creates space agency

The new colonial movement: Kenya today announced the official establishment of its own space agency, the Kenya Space Agency Board (KSAB).

KSAB was established by President Uhuru Kenyatta through a March 2017 gazette notice and will be headed by the Kenya Defence Forces’ Major General (Rtd) James Aruasa.

The array of KSAB’s responsibilities include co-ordinating space-related activities, recommending national space policies and establishing centres of excellence in space science.

It appears to me that there a power struggle is going on in Kenya over space, with the wrong people winning. A university team recently built the nation’s first cubesat, getting it launched as a secondary payload. This space board however seems entirely run by the government and its military. I fear that this turf war is going to squelch any future Kenyan space development.

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Trump unclassifies FISA warrants, interviews; orders release of unredacted FBI text messages

Trump has today unclassified both the FISA Carter Page application and the FBI interviews connected with that application. He also ordered the release, unredacted, of all FBI text messages of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

This information I think is going to demonstrate that the certain people at the FBI have been running an anti-Trump/pro-Democratic Party operation, concocting a false claim of Russian-Trump collusion in order to remove a duly elected President. Moreover, comparing the previously released redacted text messages with the unredacted messages is almost certainly going to reveal that someone at the FBI has acting to obstruct the investigation.

I wonder if anyone will ask the question “Who?”

I should also point out that Trump himself could have read these documents whenever he wanted. He doesn’t need to declassify them to see them, and form judgements from them. Moreover, the redactions only apply to the public, not to Trump. He could have seen this anytime, and acted immediately, if he had chosen.

Instead, he chose to wait and wait, and then release this now, at a moment when all eyes are aimed at the fake scandal being perpetrated by the Democrats against his Supreme Court nominee.

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Statement about closure of solar observatory

AURA, the university consortium that operates the closed Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico, issued a statement today about that closure.

AURA has been cooperating with an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Peak. During this time, we became concerned that a suspect in the investigation potentially posed a threat to the safety of local staff and residents. For this reason, AURA temporarily vacated the facility and ceased science activities at this location.

The decision to vacate was based on the logistical challenges associated with protecting personnel at such a remote location, and the need for expeditious response to the potential threat. AURA determined that moving the small number of on-site staff and residents off the mountain was the most prudent and effective action to ensure their safety.

In light of recent developments in the investigation, we have determined there is no risk to staff, and Sunspot Solar Observatory is transitioning back to regular operations as of September 17th. Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment.

We recognize that the lack of communications while the facility was vacated was concerning and frustrating for some. However, our desire to provide additional information had to be balanced against the risk that, if spread at the time, the news would alert the suspect and impede the law enforcement investigation. That was a risk we could not take.

This news release, while still very vague about the criminal investigation, implies that there was a dangerous criminal suspect on the mountain that federal officials were pursuing, and they evacuated to protect their employees.

This explanation still leaves serious questions. Why for example were local police kept in the dark about this investigation? It makes no sense not to include them, unless they might be a target of the investigation, something that in this case does not appear to be true.

Also, if there was a criminal on the mountain, secrecy is not really an effective way to catch him. It might make sense, but they have not provided us any information that would explain this.

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Russians considering spacewalk as part of airleak investigation

The Russians are now considering having their astronauts on ISS do a spacewalk to inspect the outside of the Soyuz capsule for evidence of sealant work at the location of the drill hole that caused the airleak.

If the spacewalk is attempted, the cosmonauts would have to get to the Habitation Module, peel off soft thermal layers blanketing the spacecraft and then cut through the meteoroid shielding bordering this section of the spacecraft at a distance of around 1.5 centimeters from its pressurized hull.

To access the area of the hole on the exterior of the Soyuz, Russian officials are developing a spacewalk scenario relying on the available Strela boom, GStM. The telescopic device can be used to carry a cosmonaut secured to a special anchor at the end of the boom to a location aboard the station otherwise inaccessible to spacewalkers due to lack of railings.

The spacewalk would take place sometime in November or December. The goal is to help confirm that the sealant work was done on the ground, as well as help pinpoint when.

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Soyuz capsule was drilled after it was fully assembled

The investigation into the drillhole leak in the Soyuz capsule docked to ISS has revealed that it had to have been done after the capsule was fully assembled.

“During the analysis of those images, traces of drilling were found on the anti-meteorite shield,” the source said, adding that “the top of the drill came through the pressure hull and hit the non-gastight outer shell.”

According to another industry source, the non-gastight anti-meteorite protection is installed right before the spacecraft is taken to the final assembly workshop. “When Soyuz MS-09 has just arrived to the final assembly workshop, it was photographed in details. No hole and no signs of drilling… were found. The spacecraft was drilled later, when it was fully assembled,” the source said. He added that the anti-meteorite shield was also photographed before being installed, and no traces on it were found as well.

The source suggested that the spacecraft could be damaged either during the very last stage of works or during its 90-day stay in the checkout stand, adding that it was highly unlikely that the damage occurred during the transportation to the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan or at the launch facility.

This narrowing of the time frame for the drilling will increase the chances that the Russians will be able to identify who did.

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Republican Congress boosts NIH spending, rejecting Trump proposed cuts

Failure theater: The Republicans in Congress have given the NIH a significant boost in spending, rejecting both Trump’s proposed cuts and reorganization proposals.

Congress has approved a $2 billion raise, to $39.1 billion, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a 2019 spending bill approved by House of Representatives and Senate negotiators last night.

As expected, the 5% boost matches the Senate’s proposed spending level and surpasses a $1.25 billion increase in a draft bill passed by the House. President Donald Trump’s administration had requested $34.8 billion for the fiscal year that begins 1 October. This is the fourth year in a row that NIH has received a substantial increase, after more than a decade of flat budgets.

Trump had also proposed shifting three Health & Human Service agencies into NIH. Congress ignored this.

This illustrates the bankrupt nature of the Republicans in Congress. Don’t believe them when they argue they want to limit government. They are lying. They pass tax cuts to make you happy and vote for them, then turn around and pour money we don’t have at their Washington friends.

This also illustrates the bankrupt nature of the American voter. We gobble up tax cuts, either ignore or celebrate Congress’s out-of-control spending, and then vote for the elected officials who do this.

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Luxembourg formally establishes space agency

The new colonial movement: Luxembourg this week formally established its space agency, along with a fund to back new commercial space companies.

Unlike traditional national space agencies, which support spacecraft missions and scientific research, the Luxembourg Space Agency will focus primarily on building up the country’s space industry as well as supporting education and workforce development.

Schneider noted that Luxembourg’s recent efforts, most notably the SpaceResources.lu project to attract companies working in the nascent space resources field, had led to 20 countries establishing a presence in the country. “All this is why it’s so important to me to launch today this Luxembourg Space Agency in order to professionalize our approach to this new community,” he said.

Serres said that the agency will work with a wide range of other organizations, both within the government and the private sector, to meet the agency’s goals. “The agency will be well-equipped to support industry in their daily challenges, and it leads to the most favorable environment for this sector to continue to grow,” he said, describing its four “strategic lines” as expertise, innovation, skills and funding.

That last item will include a new fund for supporting space companies. Schneider announced that the space agency will work with other government agencies and the private sector to establish the Luxembourg Space Fund, valued at 100 million euros ($116 million). The fund, according to a government statement, will “provide equity funding for new space companies with ground-breaking ideas and technology.”

Only part of the new fund will involve government money. “It will be a public-private partnership, where the government will take a share of 30 to 40 percent,” Schneider said.

The agency’s entire work force will be about 12 people, since its focus will be attracting private space companies to come to Luxembourg.

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NASA & Roscosmos heads to meet

After their teleconference to discuss the status of Russia’s investigation into the airleak on ISS, the heads of NASA and Roscosmos agreed to their first face-to-face meeting on October 10 at the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.

Part of the reason for the teleconference and this announcement to try to stem the wild rumors about the leak, including the accusation that it was done by an American astronaut.

I also expect them to discuss how they can jointly lobby the American Congress to fund the Gateway boondoggle, formerly (F)LOP-G.

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More suborbital private rockets in the news

Two news stories today about two different suborbital rockets built by private companies:

The first story outlines the results from the August 25 test flight of SARGE.

The rocket reached an altitude of approximately 28 km. Launch and recovery took place at Spaceport America on August 25th, 2018. The rocket carried nine payloads. The flight demonstrated the SARGE system’s reusability when the vehicle was recovered with damage only to sacrificial components. The test also demonstrated the capability of the autonomous control system and validated the preflight vehicle integration process.

They have designed SARGE to fly up to 200 times, and then plan to sell it to the military which will use it as a target in its own tests.

The second story describes a suborbital launch yesterday at Spaceport America. This suborbital rocket carried three NASA experiments, the most interesting of which was the first test of a heat shield designed to open like an umbrella.

Made out of thickly woven and highly heat-resistant carbon fibers, supported by semi-rigid ribs, the ADEPT system fits into existing vehicle launch systems, but expands when separated from the rocket into a configuration that allows it to perform its mission.

The ADEPT model tested Wednesday spread to 30 inches in diameter after separation. Venkatapathy said a diameter of 75 to 80 feet would be required to deliver a crew of seven or so human explorers safely onto the surface of Mars, which has a lower gravity pull than Earth.

He said a thicker carbon weave and different dimensions would be needed to deliver scientific equipment to the surface of Venus, a planet with a gravity pull nearly as great as Earth’s, making approaches hotter and faster.

Even if neither of these companies ever scale up to orbital rockets, they signal the change in how NASA does things. In the past NASA built its own suborbital rockets. Now, they are using privately-built rockets, which allows for competition and more innovation.

This is basically the same transition NASA is undergoing in its commercial manned program, going from being the sole builder and designer of spacecraft, enforced by a government-imposed monopoly, to merely a customer buying spacecraft from many private builders. It is a transition that can only generate good results in the future.

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Orion test vehicle completes last parachute test

NASA today successfully completed the last parachute test using an Orion test vehicle.

Two quotes tell us all we need to know:

“Orion is our new human exploration spacecraft, and this is a spacecraft that will take people farther in space than we’ve ever gone before,” said [Orion project manager Mark Kirasich].

…This parachute test is the last one for Orion after a decade of development, Kirasich said.

NASA is once again lying about Orion’s capabilities. It will not “take people farther in space than we’ve ever gone before.” It will be able to take humans to the Moon, which is somewhere Americans have been (just in case Kirasich has forgotten.) Beyond that it is totally insufficient for interplanetary flight. It will, on its own, never take anyone anywhere beyond that, and even if it does go beyond lunar orbit, it will do so merely as the return capsule that is part of a much larger vessel.

Secondly, that it took ten years to complete the parachute system for this capsule is truly a joke. The Dragon cargo capsule was built by SpaceX in less than four years. Its manned version could have launched after only two years of work had NASA bureaucrats and Congressional cheapness not gotten in the way. Boeing’s Starliner parachute system was also built in about half that time, and would have been finished sooner had not NASA bureaucrats demanded extra tests, for reasons that have never been made clear.

NASA says it will be launching the first Orion mission to the Moon in 2022, followed by the first Gateway mission in 2024. I am predicting that while the first date might be met (only seven years behind schedule), the second will not. Do not expect the first module to head for the Moon for at least a decade.

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Gateway fantasies from NASA

NASA has released an updated plan for building FLOP-G, now officially dubbed “The Gateway.”

The article provides a bunch of NASA’s typical powerpoint slides, detailing when they want to do what, with the first Gateway module launched in 2022 and the first manned mission to it in 2024.

None of this will happen as they wish, however, because NASA can’t build anything on schedule or on time. Also, there is this key detail, mentioned merely as an aside in the article: “A commitment of funding for the gateway project is still forthcoming.”

Congress has not yet funded this. Unfortunately, I expect them to do so, but I also expect that none of the funds will ever be sufficient, and that the project will drag on and on, for years on end, with little accomplished, at least by NASA.

The plan as outlined does incorporate the use of commercial vendors to supply cargo. In the end, I expect this component to be the only thing ready and able to fly, when needed.

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New research confirms leftward domination in academia

The blacklist lives! New research has confirmed that the bulk of American universities are dominated by liberal and Democratic professors, with many having zero conservatives or Republicans in their facility.

The political registration of full-time, Ph.D.-holding professors in top-tier liberal arts colleges is overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, faculty political affiliations at 39 percent of the colleges in my sample are Republican free—having zero Republicans. The political registration in most of the remaining 61 percent, with a few important exceptions, is slightly more than zero percent but nevertheless absurdly skewed against Republican affiliation and in favor of Democratic affiliation. Thus, 78.2 percent of the academic departments in my sample have either zero Republicans, or so few as to make no difference.

My sample of 8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.–holding professors from fifty-one of the sixty-six top ranked liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News 2017 report consists of 5,197, or 59.8 percent, who are registered either Republican or Democrat. The mean Democratic-to-Republican ratio (D:R) across the sample is 10.4:1, but because of an anomaly in the definition of what constitutes a liberal arts college in the U.S. News survey, I include two military colleges, West Point and Annapolis.1 If these are excluded, the D:R ratio is a whopping 12.7:1.

Political homogeneity is problematic because it biases research and teaching and reduces academic credibility.

Just to make it clear, the ratio of Democrat to Republican averages 13 to 1, if you exclude the two military colleges. This can only be occurring if the facility at American colleges is making a conscious effort to exclude conservatives or Republicans. Or to put it more bluntly, to blacklist anyone who dares express a dissenting view.

The article has some good information however about the handful of universities that do have diversity of thought in the facility.

The two military colleges in my sample, West Point and Annapolis, have D:R ratios of 1.3:1 and 2.3:1. Although it is debatable whether military colleges are liberal arts colleges, U.S. News’s inclusion of them in the liberal arts category is fortuitous because they offer evidence that when colleges provide supportive environments, intellectual diversity is achievable. There are other exceptions, such as Claremont McKenna, which adopted a viewpoint diversity strategy early in its history, and Kenyon, which is one of a few of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges located in a predominantly Republican state and which did not become coed until 1969.

Thomas Aquinas and St. John’s, another college with above average Republican representation, have emphasized interdisciplinary teaching and downplayed the publish or perish imperative, which [other researchers] have argued contributes to left-oriented groupthink.

These are the colleges every parent and teenager should consider as the place to go. Everywhere else is crap, and should be avoided like the plague.

It is definitely worth reading the entire article, which also includes breakdowns by disciplines, and finds the blacklisting to be especially egregious in the humanities.

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Faulty concrete at Vostochny launchpad caused by contractor

The faulty and spongy concrete that the Russians have discovered at the Vostochny Soyuz launchpad was caused when the contractor hurried the job as well as improperly laid the concrete.

“It was a mistake by the contractor Spetsstroi. The process of concrete laying was violated due to rush work,” the source said. “Spetsstroi laid the concrete in winter time in utterly unsuitable conditions and used drying fans.” The source said the cavities in concrete were identified more than a year and “continued to be eliminated by the public corporation itself until the contract with Adonis was concluded.

Part of the blame here falls not to the contractor but to Putin. He demanded that Roscosmos complete a launch at Vostochny in 2016, and to do so all the contractors at Vostochny had to scramble to get the job done. Apparently, this particular contractor was forced to cut corners improperly.

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India unveils spacesuit for Gaganyaam manned mission

The new colonial movement: India’s space agency ISRO this week unveiled the spacesuit it is designing for the Gaganyaam manned mission scheduled for 2022.

The new space-suit mentioned above has been developed by ISRO at its Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre over the last two years. ISRO showcased the space suit for the Gaganyaan crew at the Bengaluru Space Expo for the first time ever. As per reports, ISRO has developed two of such space suits to date and will also develop a third one prior to the testing of the manned mission in 2022. The space suit comes with a capacity of one oxygen cylinder that claims to hold enough oxygen for 60 minutes.

This suit is not being built for spacewalks, but as a backup should the spacecraft itself develop a leak.

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Science paper slams IAU planet definition

Worlds without end! A paper published August 29 in the science journal Icarus has hurled serious criticisms of the definition of planets imposed on the world by International Astronomical Union in 2006 that also robbed Pluto of planetary status.

“The IAU’s definition was erroneous since the literature review showed that clearing orbit is not a standard that is used for distinguishing asteroids from planets, as the IAU claimed when crafting the 2006 definition of planets,” said Dr. Kirby Runyon, from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “We showed that this is a false historical claim. It is therefore fallacious to apply the same reasoning to Pluto.”

According to the team, the definition of a planet should be based on its intrinsic properties, rather than ones that can change, such as the dynamics of a planet’s orbit. “Dynamics are not constant, they are constantly changing. So, they are not the fundamental description of a body, they are just the occupation of a body at a current era,” Dr. Metzger said. “We recommend classifying a planet based on if it is large enough that its gravity allows it to become spherical in shape.”

I must also note that the IAU’s definition had ignored the recommendations of its own committee on coming up with a new planetary definition and was voted on at the very end of a conference when almost everyone had left.

In other words, the IAU’s actions in 2006 were purely political, were bad science, and should be dumped as quickly as possible. And now the scientists are saying this, in peer-reviewed papers.

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Trump administration to shutter PLO office in DC

As part of its hard-nosed approach to PLO intransigence, the Trump administration has decided to shut down the Palestinian offices in DC.

National security adviser John Bolton is expected to announced Monday that the U.S. will shutter the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, D.C., The Wall Street Journal reported. “The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” Bolton is expected to say, according to a draft of his speech reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

This is on top of cutting off all U.S. funding to the PLO.

Though I like this decision, as it ends U.S. support for these terrorist organizations, I doubt it will do anything to change PLO policy. The petty dictators who are in charge of Palestinian affairs, the PLO and Hamas, require the selling of hatred of Jews and Israel to survive. Everything else they have done has bankrupted the lives of the people living in the West Bank and Gaza. The second they change their tune, the people there might suddenly realize how bad their leadership is, and could very well string them up, much as the Italians did to Mussolini at the end of World War II.

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More aerospace problems in Russia

Two stories out of Russia today suggest that the serious quality control problems plaguing its aerospace industry have not been brought under control.

According to the second article the launch delay is because a Russian satellite manufacturer is behind schedule and might not deliver needed parts for the satellite’s assembly in time. I suspect the delay might also be related to the first article, as this satellite will launch on the brand new launchpad where they have discovered the cavities below ground.

That these cavities were not pinpointed during construction is very troublesome. One of the reasons SpaceX’s Boca Chica launchsite in Texas is taking as long as it is getting built is that the company had to make sure the soft beach property was structurally sound for rocket launches. That the Russians missed this speaks poorly again of their quality control.

Delays are common in the rocket industry, but in the context of Russia’s other space-related problems, the delay suggests a wider problem.

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Second Chinese company completes suborbital rocket test

For the second time this week, a Chinese “private” company successfully completed a suborbital rocket test.

This time the launch was by OneSpace, which should not be confused with the other company, iSpace. As with iSpace, the rocket used was a solid rocket, which once again makes me think it is doing work for the Chinese military, and is therefore not as independent or as private as Americans normally consider private companies.

Moreover, the launch was filmed by one of China’s spy satellites, also suggesting the military’s interest in this rocket company’s development. You can see both a ground-based and that satellite’s view of the launch at the link.

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Armstrong filmmakers purposely obscured American flag

The filmmakers for the Neil Armstrong biography film, First Man, made a conscious decision to hide or obscure the American flag in certain situations.

This new information has been provided to me by a Washington consultant who, because of his own outrage over their decision to not show the planting of the American flag during the lunar landing, had been given the opportunity to see selected clips from the movie as well as ask questions to the production team.

First Man movie flightsuits, without American flag

According to that meeting, he learned that they had consciously made the decision to either reposition or remove American flags from the blue flight suits that the astronauts wore from day to day so that it would not be visible. The image on the right, from the movie, illustrates this, as the American flag was almost always sewn into the upper left shoulder of these suits.

The filmmakers also purposely repositioned the flag or filmed angles for many scenes that acted to obscure the flag on the astronauts’ white pressure suits.

The reasons the filmmakers gave for doing this was to enhance their foreign ticket sales.

To this I say, baloney. They might have had this financial excuse, but I think this holds little or no weight. By willingly admitting that they hid the flag in this petty way they have confirmed their political agenda, their desire to convince the world that this mission was not an American achievement but a “human achievement.” Both the film’s Canadian star as well as its director have made it clear they have a globalist vision of the Apollo program, and wanted to spread the credit of its achievement to all humanity. Consciously hiding the flag in this small-minded manner demonstrates their political motives.

Moreover, even though the director, Damien Chazelle, might have wanted to focus on “Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours,” removing or obscuring icons of the United States serves no purpose other than to remove the United States from this decidedly American moment. Showing the flag on the flightsuits and pressure suits does not make this a jingoistic pro-American propaganda film. Nor does it do anything to prevent Chazelle from telling Neil Armstrong’s personal story. In fact, if anything, hiding the flag detracts from that goal, as Armstrong was very much doing this for his country (as numerous people who knew him have said), and to de-emphasize that reality is to rewrite history in a very dishonest way.

The pettiness of this entire action further outrages me. There is no doubt that sales would not have suffered in foreign countries, in the slightest, had the American flag been left where it belonged on these suits, and had been shown appropriately in other scenes. It accomplishes nothing positive for the film. What it does do is tell us what these Hollywood “artists” think of America.

So that there is no misunderstanding, I must add that neither my source nor I have as yet seen the entire film. It is still possible that these criticisms are unfair, and that the filmmakers might have shown the American flag appropriately in other scenes, and might even have shown it prominently.

Nonetheless, what we now know is that these filmmakers did made a conscious effort to rewrite history so that the United States no longer appeared as prominent in these events as it should have. Once again, it appears to me that these Hollywood filmmakers did this to express their disdain, almost hatred, of the United States and all that it stands for.

For this fact alone I think Americans should reconsider spending any of their hard-earned money on seeing this propaganda piece.

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India teams up with France to prep for its first manned mission

The new colonial movement: India has signed a cooperative deal with France to provide them help in preparing for its first manned mission in 2022, now dubbed Gaganyaan by India’s press.

Following the signing of agreements between the two parties on Thursday, the agencies “will be combining their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.”

The announcement was made by CNES [France’s space agency] president Jean-Yves Le Gall during the inaugural of Bengaluru Space Expo-2018 where he was the chief guest. It is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry along with ISRO and Antrix, the agency’s commercial arm, from September 6 to 8.

The two countries will also work together on other space research.

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Russia begins construction of Angara launchpad at Vostochny

Russia has begun the construction of the first Angara launchpad at their new Vostochny spaceport.

According to earlier reports, the Angara launch pad is to be completed by December 31, 2022. Construction costs are estimated at nearly 39 billion rubles ($565 million).

Somehow it seems to me that this construction is too expensive and is taking too long. A launchpad is essentially a specialized building on the surface. I don’t see why it should be so difficult or expensive to do.

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China launches ocean survey satellite

Locations of two of China's launchsites

China today launched the third satellite in a constellation of ocean-observing satellites, using its Long March 2C rocket.

Though this is the same rocket that dropped its upper stage near a Chinese town in June, the launch came from the Taiyuan launch site, not the Xichang launchsite used in June, so it is unclear if the upper stages fell near populated areas. I would expect so, however, since Taiyuan is located in the middle of China even closer to populated areas than Xichang, as shown on the map to the right.

If the launch went north from Taiyuan, then those upper stages probably landed in Mongolia. I wonder if China has worked out an agreement with that country about dropping toxic first stages onto its territory.

Regardless, in the 2018 launch standings, China now leads the U.S. 24-22. The leaders in the race, with the leading U.S. companies broken out, are as follows:

24 China
15 SpaceX
8 Russia
6 ULA
5 Europe

As mentioned previously, with every launch for the rest of the year China will set a new annual record for itself.

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More details about Chinese suborbital launch earlier this week

Link here. The article really only provides one new detail about the flight itself, that the rocket used solid rocket motors. This fact, plus the overall secrecy, suggest to me that the company, iSpace, is doing its work for the Chinese military.

The article at the link also provides a good overview of the entire Chinese “private” smallsat rocket industry.

China is still run from the top, so any “private” rocket company must have the approval and support of the government. What makes China different from Russia, also ruled from the top, is the Chinese government’s willingness to encourage competitive independent operations, something the Russians has not done. The result is that China’s rocket industry is not stagnating, but growing.

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