Tag Archives: politics

Airbus gets ESA as customer for its ISS commercial platform

Capitalism in space: Airbus has signed up the European Space Agency (ESA) to use its as-yet unlaunched ISS Bartolomeo module as an experimental platform.

The Bartolomeo platform – named after Christopher Columbus’ younger brother – is currently in the final stage of launch preparation at Airbus in Bremen and is scheduled for launch to the ISS in March 2020. Bartolomeo is developed on a commercial basis by Airbus using its own investment funds and will be operated in cooperation with ESA.

The platform can accommodate up to 12 different experiment modules, supplying them with power and providing data transmission to Earth. Bartolomeo is suitable for many different experiments. Due to the unique position of the platform with a direct view of Earth from 400 kilometres, Earth observation including trace gas measurements or CO2 monitoring of the atmosphere are possible, with data useful for climate protection or for use by private data service providers.

This is the European effort to duplicate the slow commercialization of ISS that is also taking place in the U.S., with more and more of the payloads and operating platforms on the station being developed, owned, and operated not by NASA but by private companies.

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The Democratic Party: Elections are bad, let’s end them!

So, have you all been closely hooked to your televisions or computers, watching nonstop the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump going on in the Senate this week?

Yup, me neither. No one in their right mind and with the freedom to avoid it would spend eight-plus hours each day watching this obscene impeachment effort by the out-of-control and power-hungry Democratic Party. They have nothing to offer but lies and policy differences, hardly sufficient to justify their campaign to remove a duly elected president, merely because he has the audacity to oppose them. Better to read summaries and commentary afterward.

In fact, the ratings of the impeachment trail in the Senate bear this out. On the first day the ratings showed a 20% decline in viewership from the numbers seen during the House impeachment vote, from 13.8 million to 11 million. This trend continued on day two, when the ratings plunged another 19% to 8.9 million.

Nor is this drop in ratings surprising. Everyone knows that there no chance Trump will be convicted by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. Not only are the charges against him bogus, the Democratic managers appointed by the House to argue their case in the Senate have done a terrible job making their case. Instead, they have offended the few Republican senators who might have considered conviction. Both Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were considered unreliable Republicans, willing to listen to the Democrats’ line of reasoning, with the possibility that they might even have voted against Trump.

Instead, manager and congressman Jerry Nadler (D-New York) offended both deeply with his accusations that anyone who voted for blocking the introduction of new witnesses was participating in a “cover-up.”
» Read more

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NASA picks science payloads for 1st two unmanned private lunar landers

Capitalism in space: NASA has chosen the science instruments that will be put on the 1st two unmanned privately built lunar landers aimed at arriving on the Moon in 2021.

Two experiments will be flown on both landers. The Astrobotic lander gets an additional nine instruments, while Intuitive Machines gets three.

The most interesting tidbit from the press release is that NASA hopes to make “about two deliveries of scientific and research payloads to the Moon per year starting in 2021.” Seems overly optimistic to me, though in the long run the approach makes sense for NASA. These landers are relatively small and cheap, so the cost to fly a lot of them is not exorbitant. Under this arrangement, if one fails you simply figure out why and quickly fly another.

For this new American industry the approach also works. The companies will own the designs, so soon they will be able to market this technology to other customers, at what is historically record low prices for such a mission. The result is likely going to be the arrival of a swarm of new customers.

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Russia again delays launch of Nauka module for ISS

Russia yesterday announced that it will once again delay the launch of its Nauka module for ISS due to “additional adjustments that should be carried out due to the use of original propellant tanks.”

The TASS article did not explain what those adjustments will be, though it did outline some of the sad history of Nauka, which Russia had begun construction in 1995, a quarter of a century ago.

Earlier, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozi said the research module’s original propellant tanks, manufactured about 18 years ago, could be replaced with those from the Fregat booster. However, later it was decided to send the module to the ISS with its original tanks.

The construction of the Nauka module began in 1995. Russia initially planned to launch the Nauka lab to the ISS as a back-up of the Zarya compartment (the station’s first module that continues its flight as part of the orbital outpost) but the launch was numerously delayed. In 2013, the Nauka module was sent to the Khrunichev Space Center after metal chips were found in its fuel system.

Right now they are saying it will probably launch early in 2021, not late in 2020 as previously announced.

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Boeing abruptly exits DARPA’s experimental spaceplane project

Boeing today announced it is pulling out of DARPA’s Experimental Spaceplane Program, cancelling development of its Phantom Express-1 hyposonic plane.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says Boeing is dropping out of its Experimental Spaceplane Program immediately, grounding the XS-1 Phantom Express, even though technical tests had shown the hypersonic space plane concept was feasible. “The detailed engineering activities conducted under the Experimental Spaceplane Program affirmed that no technical showstoppers stand in the way of achieving DARPA’s objectives, and that a system such as XSP would bolster national security,” DARPA said in a statement issued today.

Boeing has provided no clear explanation for this exit. I suspect it might have to do with their other problems related to the 737-Max airplane and the costs it is imposing on the company. Also, the program called for the first test flights in 2020, and it might also be that Boeing had doubts about meeting that goal.

Right now I wonder if Boeing will have to return any of the cash DARPA provided it for the work done so far, out of the total $146 million award. Moreover, at least two other companies had bid for this contract, Masten and Northrop Grumman. Will Boeing’s exit now allow them to pick up the pieces? Or has Boeing’s contract win and sudden exit mainly achieved the goal of stymieing their compeition?

Overall, this decision by Boeing is just another black mark on the company, just one of many that has occurred in the past few years.

UPDATE: It appears that Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc suspects the same Machiavellian maneuvers from Boeing as I.

A couple of years ago, a friend made the surprising predication that DARPA’s Experimental Spaceplane Program (XSP) — a R&D effort designed to produce a rocket capable of being launched 10 times in 10 days — would never see any hardware built.

The reasoning went like this: the winning bidder, Boeing, really wasn’t interested in the technology. The company was actually interested in government funding and keeping other companies from developing the system.

Messier isn’t sure either, noting that the pull out might also have occurred due to the arrival of Boeing’s new CEO, only a week earlier.

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Japan to establish its own military space unit

Working in conjunction with the new U.S. Space Force, Japan now plans to establish its own defense-oriented space unit.

The space unit will be added to an existing air base at Fuchu in the western suburbs of Tokyo, where about 20 people will be staffed ahead of a full launch in 2022. The role of the space unit is to conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field, rather than being on the ground.

Abe’s Cabinet in December approved 50.6 billion yen (U.S. $459.2 million) budget in space-related projects, pending parliamentary approval. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words indicate the unit’s purpose, to provide support from space for the operations of Japan’s allies. This makes sense, as Japan itself has no real army.

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Taking back the arts to make them meaningful again

Link here. The essay first outlines the destructive corrupt and meaningless consequences of postmodernism on the arts:

The systematic undermining of the arts were a prerequisite for the Marxist goal of cultural disintegration. Before elitists began decreeing blatantly absurd claims such as mere words can magically transform men into women, or that Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, our cultural institutions replaced art with artifice. What they call “art” is an empty mimicry, lacking substance and significance.

The result has been absurd museum exhibits where garbage, literally garbage, is lauded as great works of art

The essay then describes a new and booming movement in the artistic community, dubbed remodernism, focused on restoring art to its more laudable place in the human heart.

In 2000, two English painters, Charles Thomson and Billy Childish, codified what they called Remodernism, an insurgency against the manipulative and destructive Postmodern status quo. Remodernism acknowledges the purpose of art: an inclusive means of spiritual communion and connection. This inspiring message is particularly in sync with the values of the United States.

Remodernism is the latest iteration of the American character: ordinary people working as explorers and inventors, optimistic, self-reliant and productive. A Remodernist artist formulates expressions of personal liberty to convey higher meaning, personal growth, and connectivity.

Remodernism sees art as a conduit for shareable moments of beauty, enjoyment, comprehension, and truth. Assembling these elements together approaches a state of grace, the ultimate expression of the love bestowed on us by our Creator. We are called to follow His example.

In other words, the goal of art should to be raise us up, rather than tear us down. I couldn’t agree more.

As they say, read it all.

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Nine finalists in Mars 2020 rover naming contest

The nine finalists in the Mars 2020 rover naming contest have been chosen, out of 28,000 entries from schools across the United States.

The nine candidate names were made possible by the “Name the Rover” essay contest, which invited students in kindergarten through 12th grade from across the United States to come up with a fitting name for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover and write a short essay about it.

More than 28,000 essays were submitted after the contest began on Aug. 28 last year. A diverse panel of nearly 4,700 judge volunteers, composed of educators, professionals and space enthusiasts from all around the country, narrowed the pool down to 155 deserving semifinalists from every state and territory in the country.

The public now gets to vote for their favorite, the choices of which are: Endurance, Tenacity, Promise, Perseverance, Vision, Clarity, Ingenuity, Fortitude, Courage. For the next week you can vote here. NASA will then take the poll results into consideration before making its final choice.

My personal favorite is Endurance. Vote for your own.

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Another pro-gulag Bernie Sanders campaign organizer reveals the increasingly fascist Democratic Party

In the third installment of Project Veritas’s undercover series exposing revolutionary, pro-gulag, Marxists within the Bernie Sanders campaign structure, we get to watch Martin Weissgerber, a Sanders field organizer, who seems to know more about the history of the Soviet Union than he does of his own country. Worse, that knowledge appears limited solely to Soviet-era propaganda, which Weissgerber seems to take entirely on faith.

He is also all for the idea of suspending Congress and the Judiciary and making a Sanders presidency a dictatorship ruled by decree. He also says, with great enthusiasm, “Guillotine the rich!”

Note also that in my comments about the second installment, I predicted Project Veritas was not finished, and would reveal more such violent, murderous people within the Sanders campaign. I am sure they are not done yet, especially because the Sanders campaign has not only not commented on the first two videos and has done nothing in response. As James O’Keefe says, “Perhaps the reason the [Sanders campaign] has not issued a response is that they know that these are not isolated incidences, they know that these people are not unique in their thinking, they know that more is coming.”

I have embedded the video below the fold. As before, I am on my knees pleading with the decent liberal Democrats in my readership. Watch this video and the first and second installments. These people represent what the power structure in the Democratic Party has become. It is not the party you might think it is. In fact, it is likely far worse than you can imagine.
» Read more

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Prototypes of China’s core space station module and new manned spacecraft arrive at launch site

The new colonial movement: Prototypes of China’s core space station module and its new upgraded manned capsule have been delivered to the Long March 5B launch site.

The space station module will be used to test the installation and launch procedures for launching the actual module on the Long March 5B rocket. The manned capsule will be sent into orbit unmanned this spring on the Long March 5B to test both the rocket and the capsule, prior to human operations. This detail from the short article however is worth noting:

The new-generation manned spacecraft is 8.8 meters long and has a takeoff weight of 21.6 tonnes. It will be used for transporting crew to the space station and to conduct China’s future manned lunar missions.

Apparently in upgrading its Shenzhou manned spacecraft China has made it 0.3 meters longer and about four tons heavier. In fact, this manned ferry for getting to and from its space station is as heavy as a standard module used on both Mir and ISS. I could be wrong, but if this is the case they will require the Long March 5 or 5B for every manned flight. Since this rocket is large and expensive, it will be difficult to use it for maintaining a frequent launch pace, thus limiting the number of manned missions.

As I said, I could be wrong. Up until now I had assumed that a variant of the Long March 5 would be used to launch the station modules, and the smaller Long March 2F rocket used to ferry astronauts to it (as was done on all previous Chinese manned missions). This could still be the case.

If not, however, China’s space engineers have either put a limit on what they can achieve by overbuilding that manned capsule, or their government has made a major commitment to put a lot of tonnage into orbit. If the latter China’s space program is going to be quite competitive indeed.

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NASA: first manned Dragon flight could occur in March 2020

A NASA official today finally admitted that, assuming the launch abort test tomorrow goes well, that first manned Dragon flight to ISS could occur as early as March 2020.

Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s commercial crew program, told reporters Friday that the Crew Dragon capsule slated to carry Hurley and Behnken into orbit on the so-called “Demo-2” mission could be ready for for flight within a couple of months. “The vehicle will be all ready at the end of February,” Lueders said. “We’re kind of shooting for early March, right now, from a planning perspective. That would be the earliest.”

For years NASA has been reluctant to allow SpaceX to fly at the pace it wishes. Instead, NASA has consistently called for delays and further testing, almost ad infinitum. This admission by Lueders is the first by anyone at NASA that this launch can occur quickly, should tomorrow’s test flight succeed.

There are of course other considerations, such as scheduling the mission at ISS. Regardless, if tomorrow’s flight is a success there will be no justification for any long delays before the manned mission. It will be time to light that candle!

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Lawsuit against DEA for stealing 79-year-old man’s life savings

Theft by government: According to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court against the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and officials from both agencies, government officials confiscated the life savings of a 79-year-old man, totaling $82,373, merely because his daughter was transporting the money in cash on an airplane flight.

At 79, he was aging and worried about keeping so much cash on hand, his daughter said, so during one of her visits he asked her to open a joint bank account. Rebecca Brown was catching a flight home from the Pittsburgh airport early the next day and said she didn’t have time to stop at a bank. She confirmed on a government website that it’s legal to carry any amount of cash on a domestic flight and tucked the money in her carry-on.

But just minutes before departure in late August, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent met her at the busy gate and questioned her about the cash, which showed up on a security scan. He insisted Brown put Rolin on the phone to confirm her story. Brown said Rolin, who is suffering mental decline, was unable to verify some details. “He just handed me the phone and said, ‘Your stories don’t match,’ ” Brown recalled the agent saying. ” ‘We’re seizing the cash.’ “

Brown said she was never told she or her father were under suspicion of committing any crime and neither has been charged with anything. A search of her bag turned up no drugs or other contraband. Neither she or her father appear to have criminal records that might raise suspicions.

Brown and Rolin filed a federal, class-action lawsuit Wednesday against the DEA, Transportation Security Administration and agency officials, claiming the agencies violate the Constitution’s ban on unlawful search and seizures by taking cash from travelers without probable cause. The lawsuit claims the only criteria the DEA has for seizing cash is if it finds amounts greater than $5,000.

This is out-and-out theft by these government officials. Not only should the money be returned, every government official involved in this theft should be fired, and possibly face sanctions themselves.

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Arianespace and China complete launches

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket today successfully placed two communications satellites into orbit, one for the commercial company Eutelsat and the second for India.

This was Arianespace’s first launch in 2020.

UPDATE: China’s smallsat solid rocket, Kuaizhou 1A, operated by a Chinese company dubbed GalaxySpace, also launched a commercial communications satellite today.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

3 China
1 SpaceX
1 Arianespace (Europe)

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SpaceIL gets $1 million grant for building Beresheet-2

The Israeli non-profit that built Beresheet-1 has received a $1 million grant in order to pursue building Beresheet-2.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation has provided a one million dollar grant to SpaceIL to support the “Beresheet 2” spacecraft program and advance the goal of landing an unmanned Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. “Beresheet 1”, launched on February 22, 2019, made Israel the 7th country in the world to reach the Moon’s orbit. The new Blavatnik grant will enable SpaceIL to recruit a new CEO to drive plans for “Beresheet 2” forward.

It remains unknown whether Beresheet-2 will ever get built. The money is insufficient to build a new lunar lander. Moreover, several of SpaceIL engineers have left the company and formed their own private space business, partnering with Firefly Aerospace to build their own lunar lander.

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Bernie Sanders campaign organizer: “I’m all aboard for gulags!”

In part two of Project Veritas’s new undercover video series focused on the workers in the Bernie Sanders’ campaign, we discover that Kyle Jurak, field organizer, is enthusiastic about the Soviet Union’s gulags, stating unequivocally that he loves the idea of imprisoning millions of Americans who disagree with him.

I’m all aboard for gulags, like, I feel there needs to be re-education for a significant portion of our society.

He also once again shows an incredible ignorance of what happened in the Soviet Union, claiming that those gulags, which in most ways were the Soviet version of Nazi concentration camps, were nothing more than the equivalent of a low security prison where non-communists were merely housed.

The most important statements however by him in this video, embedded below, is his claim that he knows at least four to six others in the Sanders campaign organization that are of like mind. As I noted yesterday, it appears that Jurek might sadly represent a typical worker in the campaign to make Bernie Sanders our next president. I will not be surprised if Project Veritas follows up with more videos to prove this.

I once again beg my Democratic Party readers to watch this video. Most Democrats are decent people. You need to know that the party you support has been badly infiltrated by some very bad people, and that in fact those people quite possibly dominate that party.

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China completes 2nd launch in 2020

China today successfully launched a earth resource satellite plus two smallsats using its Long March 2D rocket.

Right now in 2020 only SpaceX and China have completed launches, with China leading 2-1. SpaceX however plans on launching another 60 Starlink smallsats on January 20th, which will tie them again.

I expect both to be neck and neck for the rest of the year.

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First head of Space Force to be officially sworn in

First head of Space Force, General John Raymond of the Air Force, will be officially sworn in today at the White House.

Raymond assumed the duties of the first head of the Space Force on December 20, 2019, when U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act that officially launched the new force. “The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,” Trump said at the NDAA signing last month. Officials say the Space Force will organize, train and equip military personnel who primarily focus on space operations.

Raymond was named commander of the new United States Space Command upon its creation in August of last year. That command, which sought to better organize the U.S. military’s space assets and operations, is being phased out as personnel are transferred to the Space Force.

Not surprisingly, a twitter mob immediately formed to protest the fact that a bible, officially blessed by religious leaders at the Washington National Cathedral, will be used during the swearing in. I especially like the over-the-top outrage expressed by the childish leader of this twitter mob:

Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said Sunday’s ceremony displayed overtones of “Christian privilege” within the Defense Department. “The MRFF condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy, dominance, triumphalism and exceptionalism which occurred at yesterday’s ‘blessing’ at the Washington National Cathedral,” he told Military.com on Monday.

My response to Mikey-boy: You are a very bigoted, very anti-Christian, and a very hateful person. You should get a life.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, it remains to be seen whether the establishment of a separate organization for handling the space-related military needs of the U.S. will do more harm than good. The idea makes sense, as the military for the past two decades has had a problem giving priority to space matters because of in-house turf wars between the various military branches, and thus the U.S. effort has stagnated somewhat.

The track record of Washington in the past half century when such things are attempted however is not good. Instead of getting more focused and accomplishing more, Washington has instead consistently grown a bloated bureaucracy that actually gets less done for more money. And in this case, it appears that might be what will happen here, as the giant budgets for the Space Force put forth by the Pentagon have suggested they are aiming to use it to build new empires rather than streamline and focus operations.

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Protests in Iran against Islamic government

The protests in Iran continue, fueled by the admitted shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing everyone on board, as well as what appears to be a clear opposition to the Islamic government and the terrorists its supports.

The link has good video of both the protests and the government’s violent reaction. However, the best and most illustrative video indicating where these protesters stand is the one that shows Iranian protesters refusing to walk on the American and Israeli flags, painted on the ground by the government in the hope that they would be trampled.

Meanwhile, other protesters have been ripping down posters of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds forces and master Iranian terrorist leader whom Trump killed last week.

It is unclear what will happen next. The situation in Iran today reminds a great deal of the protests that took place in the Soviet bloc shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union, and helped bring that communist empire down. They also remind me of the same protests in China at the same time, which were met with vicious force, killing thousands, which allowed that communist dictatorship to maintain power.

We don’t know which route the Islamic leadership in Iran will take. They have clearly shown themselves willing to kill thousands. At the same time, they are presently as economically weak as the Soviet communists were, which doesn’t give them the resources needed for resisting an aggressive revolt.

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No trend in hurricanes since 1970

The uncertainty of science: A new study has found no trend, up or down, in hurricanes that made landfall since the 1970s, despite many global warming predictions that said the numbers of catastrophic hurricanes would increase.

Key quote:

There are a lot of ups and downs in the data, but no obvious trends.

The scientists note that though they see no obvious trends, it is difficult to pin anything down because the variability from year to year is so great.

That large variability in occurrence means – as a simple matter of mathematics – that our ability to detect changes in tropical cyclones one or two magnitudes smaller (or more) on similar time scales is obviously made difficult, if not impossible.

So, when next you hear a global warming expert, either a teenager not attending school or a Democratic politician who doesn’t remember anything from school, claiming we are all going to die from giant hurricanes caused by human-caused global warming, remember this study. It demonstrates that those “experts” have no idea what they are talking about.

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House committee approves bill coordinating the government’s space weather work

The House science, space, and technology committee has approved a new bill that establishes a coordinating structure for the many government agencies involved in observing and research space weather, the material that the Sun throws at us that can affect electrical grids and communications.

A similar bill has been approved by the Senate commerce committee, but with several important differences, the most important of which is likely this provision in the House bill:

The provision requires NOAA to establish a commercial space weather data pilot program within one year of the bill’s enactment. Through that program, NOAA is to offer to enter into contracts with “one or more entities in the commercial space weather sector” to provide data that meets standards and specifications that NOAA, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, must publish within 18 months of enactment. The data may be ground-based, ocean-based, air-based, or space-based. NOAA “may offer” to award “at least one” competitively-bid contract within 12 months of when the Integrated Strategy required in the bill, as reviewed by the National Academies, is transmitted to Congress. “If” one or more contract is awarded, NOAA is to assess the value of the pilot program and report to Congress within 4 years of enactment.

The goal of this provision is to shift construction of new space weather facilities, including satellites, from the government to private industry. Like NASA and the Defense Department, NOAA in recent decades has generally done a poor job of building satellites cheaply and quickly to maintain its in-space monitoring network. The hope is that by depending on the growing private sector, the agency can get its satellites replaced more effectively, while also energizing the space private sector.

The Senate and House bills both have only passed through committee. We shall see if the Senate agrees to add this provision to its version of the bill.

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UK parliament approves Brexit deal at last

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020 was finally approved today by Parliament 330 to 231.

Not so fast. The deal calls for eleven months of negotiations on the various issues involved for the exit, and the head of the EU was in London calling for an endless extension of that deadline.

The new president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen came to London yesterday for her first face-to-face talks with Mr Johnson. She was accompanied by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier who will now lead trade discussions on behalf of the bloc after managing the divorce stage.

…During a speech at the London School of Economics, where she spent a year in hiding as a student in the late 1970s after becoming a target of the left-wing terrorist Baader-Meinhof gang, she said that a full deal would not be achievable in just 11 months. She said: ‘Without an extension of the transition period beyond 2020 you cannot expect to agree on every single aspect of our new partnership. We will have to prioritise.’

Mr Barnier echoed a similar sentiment in a speech in Stockholm today as he said: ‘We are ready to do our best and to do the maximum in the 11 months to secure a basic agreement with the UK, but we will need more time to agree on each and every point of this political declaration.’

This game by these elitists is getting very tiresome. Johnson responded by saying that there would be no extensions.

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Senate considers rules change permitting dismissal of House impeachment lacking submission

The Republican Senate leadership is considering a rules change that would allow them to dismiss the House impeachment of Donald Trump if the articles of impeachment are not delivered in a timely manner.

The resolution would give the House 25 days to send articles of impeachment over to the Senate. After that, a senator could offer a motion to dismiss “with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles” with a simple majority vote, according to Hawley’s proposal.

I should note that the Senate is entirely within its rights to do this. The Constitution does not require the delivery of those articles in any specific manner, as has become customary. All it says, literally, is that the House “shall have the sole power of impeachment,” and that “the Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” That’s it. If the Senate wishes to dismiss an impeachment that the House passed but didn’t deliver officially, it can do so.

This Democratic clown show and attempt to overturn an legal election they lost is about to end quite embarrassingly for these Democrats. Hopefully however the embarrassment will be multiplied many fold come November, with a wipe-out landslide for Trump and the Republicans. It is long past time to clean house in the Democratic Party.

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First SLS core stage completed and ready for final testing

After sixteen years of development, slowed by politics and a confused management at NASA, the first core stage of NASA’s SLS rocket is finally completed and ready for shipping to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for its final full test.

The heart of NASA’s first flight-ready Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket emerged from its factory in New Orleans Wednesday morning for a barge trip to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for an eight-minute test-firing of its space shuttle-era hydrogen-fueled engines.

The 212-foot-long (64.6-meter), 27.6-foot-wide (8.4-meter) core stage of the Space Launch System rolled out of its factory at the Michoud Assembly Facility, signaling a significant, but long-delayed milestone in the SLS program’s eight-year history. Teams loaded the core stage into NASA’s Pegasus barge to be ferried on a half-day journey to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The link has a lot of cool images of the stage. You can also find more cool images and videos of the core stage’s unveiling yesterday here.

Whether this stage will pass that eight-minute test remains unknown. And if it does, it also remains unknown whether it will be ready to fly in November 2020, sending an unmanned Orion capsule around the Moon. Either way, the cost to build that SLS rocket is approaching $25 billion, a cost that only includes two flights, one unmanned.

We could have bought a lot of Falcon Heavies for that price, and be heading for the Moon right now had we done so.

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Iran misses military targets, kill passenger jet instead

How typical for a terrorist nation: Iran, in its claimed revenge for the U.S. strike that killed terrorist Qassem Soleimani, failed entirely with its missile barrage to kill even one American or inflict any significant damage on any military target, managed however to shoot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 innocent civilians.

More here.

There are also indications that the missile barrage was designed to avoid inflicting serious harm to U.S. facilities or troops, suggesting that the Iranians were merely doing it for propaganda purposes. With the mistaken murder of almost two hundred civilians however they have also failed in achieving that propaganda goal. Instead, they have once again shown their willingness to kill indiscriminately in order to maintain their power.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the Trump action in killing Soleimani has done a wonderful job of revealing the traitorous perspectives of many Democrats and the mainstream press. They are more concerned for Iran and the fate of this murderous thug then they are for the United States, freedom, or democracy.

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More libel lawsuits initiated by Covington student

A new libel lawsuit has been filed by Covington student Nick Sandmann, this time against former CNN host Reza Aslan.

The suit, demanding $135,000 in damages, is for a tweet Aslan sent out showing Sandmann with the comment, “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” Moreover,

According to PJ Media the suit names a variety of public figures including “Ana Navarro, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Haberman, and Kathy Griffin.” PJ Media also reports that “According to the lawsuit, the tweet calling Sandmann’s face ‘punchable’ further spread the false narrative that the Covington Catholic boys had aggressively insulted the Native American man, when that was not the case.”

The more the merrier. These leftist mainstream news reporters and politicians have been very willing to spread lies and slanders, and when caught have refused to do anything to fix the problem. The solution then is to bankrupt them in the courts.

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Money finally allocated to replace signs at Glacier that say glaciers to vanish by 2020

Having gotten the budget to do so, the National Park Service is finally proceeding with removing the absurd signs at Glacier National Park that claim the glaciers would be gone by either 2020 or 2030.

They had announced the decision to fix these silly signs back in June, but didn’t yet have the budget until now.

When I visited the park with Diane in 2017, I reported on these ridiculous signs, which provided a great illustration of the routinely bad predictions of the global warming advocacy crowd. Not only were the predictions absurd and certain to be wrong, the park couldn’t make up its mind, posting signs that either predicted 2020 or 2030 as the moment when all the glaciers would be gone.

The new signs are still pretty bad, stating “When they [the glaciers] will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”

This is poppy-cock. How we act is almost certainly not a factor in whether the glaciers shrink or grow, and to say this proves once again how the park service is pushing human-caused global warming, a hypothesis that remains unproven and has in fact failed in every prediction it has made.

Moreover, it is not certain that “the glaciers in the park are shrinking.” Research from 2010 to 2014 indicated that the shrinkage had ceased. I have not seen an update since, but the fact that no measurable shrinkage occurred so recently suggests that nothing is “consistent” or certain here.

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China releases data and images from Yutu-2 and Chang’e-3

Yutu-2 on the far side of the Moon
Click for full image.

The new colonial movement: To celebrate the completion of a year on the lunar surface, China has released the bulk of the data and images produced by the lander Chang’e-3 and the rover Yutu-2.

The link includes a nice gallery of images. I especially like the image to the right, cropped to post here. It shows Yutu-2 moving away from Chang’e-3 early in the mission. It also shows how truly colorless the Moon is. The rover proves this is a color image, but if it wasn’t in the shot you’d have no way of knowing.

And then there is that pitch black sky. I wonder what’s behind it.

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India releases Vikram failure report

India’s space agency ISRO has released its investigation report on the failure of its lunar lander Vikram on September 7, 2019 to soft land on the Moon.

The Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander ended up spinning over 410 degrees, deviating from a calibrated spin of 55 degrees, and making a hard landing on the moon, according to ISRO scientists. The anomaly, which occurred during the second of four phases of the landing process, was reflected in the computer systems in the mission control room, but ISRO scientists could not intervene to correct it as the lander was on autonomous mode, using data already fed into its system before the start of the powered descent.

According to the report, they are using what was learned to incorporate changes in Chandrayaan-3, their next attempt at putting a lander and rover on the Moon, presently scheduled to launch 14 to 16 months from now. That launch date, about six months later than previous reports, also seems more realistic. Initially the agency was saying it planned to launch Chandrayaan-3 in less than a year from project inception, by November 2020, a schedule that seemed rushed and ripe for mistakes.

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Webb telescope remains on schedule for March 2021 launch

Good news: According to NASA and Northrop Grumman officials, the James Webb Space Telescope remains on schedule for its March 2021 launch by an Ariane 5 rocket.

This might be the first update on Webb in years where no new delays were announced. Instead, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, which will manage the telescope, is preparing to release in two weeks its first call for research proposals.

Proposals will be due May 1, with the institute making selections later in the summer. …[I]nstitute officials said they expect to receive 1,000 to 1,600 proposals, seeking some fraction of the 6,000 hours of observing time that will be available in that initial round of observations. About 300 proposals will be selected for Cycle 1, which will begin once spacecraft commissioning is complete about six months after launch.

Let us all pray that all goes well during launch and spacecraft deployment.

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