UPDATED - Bye Bye Miss American Pie - Obama Manages To Murder America's Space Industry
Commentary By Rick Carlton - Senior Motorsports Editor
I just watched the final Space Shuttle launch. Along with the tears and a clear sense of lost youth, there was a good deal of anger directed at the current White House tenant, and how he has handled NASA and the space program in general, since he ascended to the throne. On the same day that Atlantis blasted off for the last time, we also got new national unemployment numbers articulating 9.2% after holding at 9.1% for some time; so much for "shovel ready"; so how about "shovel this."
As one of those people who has been in, and around, aviation my entire life, (figure it this way, I got my initial fixed-wing ticket in 1967, so you do the math), the concept of an active American space program has always been part of my flying career, along with being central to the American culture as a whole. However, barely a year after coming into office, Obama and his moronic cadre of socialist bean-counters, managed to calculate and announce that America's space program was no longer relevant, too expensive, and not worthy of "investment" in the Keynesian sense.
No matter that Obama immediately added $2.2 trillion to the national debt based on a host of holistically stupid economic policies, and followed those up by actively selling the United States down the river by sucking up to the Chinese, OPEC, the Iranians, Venezuela, and virtually every other country that hates us. But worst of all, and particularly in the context of our now-dead space program, was to force this country to be beholding to the Russians for future NASA program transportation. The Russians of all people!
Perhaps Obama doesn't read any history other than the writings of Bill Ayers or Che Guevara. As a result, he apparently doesn't like America or Americans, and seems to be more interested in just about anything and anyone other than the United States, and its long tradition of technical innovation, vision and pure guts.
However, just in case he does wake up some night after finally being struck by a coherent thought, here's some news. Short of publicly asking the Queen to give her new IPod back, nothing could be more insulting, damaging or demoralizing to those of us who grew up before Facebook and Twitter, than to see the United States bumming Russian rides to and from our own space station. Merde!
Granted, there are citizens of this country who have long harbored irritation about monies spent on "expensive scientific toys" when they believed that earth-borne programs could have done with additional support, and I will accept the point, even if its entirely wrong. There should always be somewhere on this planet where "everything is possible," and that place used to reside in America, as amply illustrated by our space program. However, no more. Obama stuck the knife below our ribs, and has now managed to gut us. As my colleague Marc Rauch says, "what a putz." So, see ya at the polls Barry. I'll be there pulling the lever for anyone else but you, and I bet that the legions of former NASA, Boeing, Rockwell, Lockheed, and affiliate company employees you just laid-off will be there too.
Editors Note: After I wrote this commentary, the economic impacts of shutting the Shuttle program began to emerge, and the raw numbers are going to be terrible beyond belief. For example, just in the Cape Canaveral/Coco Beach areas, finally bringing Atlantis home will mean that, in extended terms, up to 30,000+ folks will lose their jobs. Now, that will be a real "change we can live with" don't you think?
Further Editors Note: Initial lost job numbers are firming up and growing, based on the shut Shuttle program when considering sub-contractor downsizing, various out of state space-oriented job losses, cancelled programs, and commercial business losses associated with space-oriented employees and their families. Here are just some of the projections (all numbers based on local/regional/national business news reports):
<2,000> - Prior jobs lost due to Shuttle program spool-down
<8000> - Current direct Shuttle flight program support
<12,500 to 13,800> - Extended "Space Coast" sub-contracting
<600> - NASA Management/Administration
<1,300 to 1,900> - Michoud Main Tank Assembly Facility at New Orleans, Louisiana
<6,000> - Johnson Space Center at Houston, Texas re: Shuttle/Constellation contract cancellation
<3,000> - Ball Aerospace at Denver Colorado, re: Hubble Space Telescope support program cancellation
<950> - Marshall Spaceflight Center at Huntsville, Ala re: Shuttle rocket support cancellation
And the "Big One":
<100,000+> - Based on jobs lost due to local/regional hospitality, tourism, housing, consumer business etc.
Current running job loss projection: <133,050>