Pad 39A Set for First Post-Shuttle Launch, as SpaceX Readies for Weekend Return to Space Station

Sunday’s Static Fire Test left smoke, flame and the roar of rocket engines reverberating across Pad 39A for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle era. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Siebert/AmericaSpace

After a multi-month hiatus, SpaceX stands ready to resume cargo delivery flights to the International Space Station (ISS), under the terms of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) commitment to NASA. The CRS-10 mission of its Dragon spacecraft—laden with 5,489 pounds (2,490 kg) of pressurized and unpressurized payloads, supplies and experiments for the outpost—will launch atop an Upgraded Falcon 9 booster, no sooner than 10:01 a.m. EST Saturday, 18 February. The “instantaneous” window may be shifted slightly sooner, with Patrick Air Force Base noting a slightly earlier T-0 of 9:58 a.m. This will be the first launch from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida since the end of the Space Shuttle era in July 2011. The complex is currently under a 20-year lease to SpaceX, supporting its Upgraded Falcon 9 and forthcoming Falcon Heavy operations.

As outlined in a previous AmericaSpace article, CRS-10 was originally targeted to fly last fall, but was one of several missions which fell victim to significant delay, after the 1 September 2016 explosion of an Upgraded Falcon 9 on Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Following last month’s return-to-flight mission, carrying the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., it was anticipated that the EchoStar-XXIII communications satellite would be first to fly from Pad 39A under a SpaceX banner. However, in late January, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based launch services provider announced the need for “additional testing of ground systems” at the complex and the decision to fly CRS-10 first in the mid-February timeframe.

Built in the early 1960s for Project Apollo, Pad 39A has seen 94 of the most historic missions ever conducted in the annals of human space exploration. Its first launch—albeit uncrewed—came on 9 November 1967, with the maiden voyage of the mammoth Saturn V, and it was subsequently used for the historic Apollo 8 circumlunar voyage in December 1968, as well as Apollo 9 and all but one of the eight Moon-bound missions which followed, through December 1972. Closing out Project Apollo, Pad 39A hosted the final Saturn V launch, carrying America’s Skylab space station, in May 1973, before the complex was deactivated and reconfigured for Space Shuttle operations.

Apollo 4 roars aloft, atop the first Saturn V, in Pad 39A’s first launch on 9 November 1967. Photo Credit: NASA

Between April 1981 and July 2011, the newly rejuvenated pad supported no less than 82 shuttle launches, including the maiden flights of all of the operational orbiters, except Endeavour. The first American woman astronaut flew from Pad 39A, as did the first African-American spacefarer and the largest crew ever launched on a single vehicle in October 1985. Other accolades included the first mission of Spacelab, the first shuttle-Mir docking, the first ISS assembly flight and the first piloted launch of the 21st century.

In addition to American nationals, the first Canadian man and woman, the first Dutchman, the first Saudi, the first Mexican and the first Belgian were launched from Pad 39A. Tragically, so too was STS-107, the final voyage of Columbia, on 16 January 2003. Last used for Atlantis’ and the shuttle program’s swansong mission in July 2011, the complex is a Site on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and in April 2014 was transferred to SpaceX on a 20-year lease for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missions.

The pad’s new look was exhibited to the world in the fall of 2015, when the massive Transporter-Erector (TE) for future missions was rolled out along the former Crawlerway and raised into position for several days of initial tests. A large Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF)—not dissimilar to the one at SLC-40 at neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station—was fabricated and much of the former Pad 39A infrastructure, including the Rotating Service Structure (RSS), was dismantled.

Last Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted that the 230-foot-tall (70-meter) Upgraded Falcon 9 for the CRS-10 mission was in a vertical configuration at the pad. The event was welcomed on Twitter, with former astronaut Wendy Lawrence—who launched from Pad 39A on three of her four shuttle missions—tweeting: “Sooooo good to see a rocket on this launch pad again”. Two days later, on Sunday the customary Static Fire Test of the booster’s nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines was conducted. New rules implemented in after last September’s accident—which destroyed the $195 million Amos-6 communications satellite—require the customer’s payload to be installed after the completion of the Static Fire Test. As such, the CRS-10 Dragon was installed atop the booster

Saturday’s mission will be the 30th launch of a Falcon 9, since June 2010, as well as the tenth flight by the Upgraded version of the vehicle, which benefits from an enhanced suite of Merlin 1D+ engines on its first and second stages. First flown in December 2015, it can transport up to 50,300 pounds (22,800 kg) into low-Earth orbit and up to 18,300 pounds (8,300 kg) to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). This represents an approximately 72-percent hike over its predecessor, the Falcon 9 v1.1, which completed 15 missions between September 2013 and January 2016. And prior to that were five flights by the first-generation Falcon 9 v1.0 from June 2010 through March 2013.

The Upgraded Falcon 9 benefits from “densified” cryogenic propellants, chilled much closer to their freezing point and loaded much later in the countdown, normally from around T-35 minutes. This densification affords the vehicle a greater performance flexibility. However, in readiness for last month’s return-to-flight mission, the loading of rocket-grade kerosene (known as “RP-1”) and liquid oxygen actually got underway more than an hour before T-0, thereby eliminating the rush to get the rocket fully fueled. It remains to be seen if a similar protocol will be adopted for the CRS-10 pre-launch campaign.

Weather conditions for Saturday’s opening launch attempt look iffy, with only a 50-percent chance that Mother Nature will co-operate. In its L-3 weather briefing, issued yesterday (Wednesday), the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base highlighted “significant winds with thunderstorms” across Central Florida, followed by a brief break in the likelihood of rain by Thursday, tempered by a strengthening upper-level trough over the Gulf of Mexico on Friday. This is expected to generate widespread clouds and rain, migrating eastwards over the Florida peninsula by Saturday morning. “The clouds and rain will gradually increase through the countdown and be entrenched over the Spaceport by midday,” the 45th Space Wing explained. “The primary weather concern for launch Saturday is the thick cloud cover and rain showers associated with the upper-level trough.”

If Saturday’s attempt is missed, SpaceX has Eastern Range approval for a backup attempt at 9:38 a.m. EST Sunday, with conditions expected to improve to 70-percent-favorable. “On Sunday, the cloudiness and rain associated with the upper-level trough will continue to slowly move east, diminishing through the countdown,” it was noted. “The main weather concern will be cumulus clouds, associated with lingering instability.”

In spite of this gloomy outlook, if the launch occurs on-time Saturday, the Upgraded Falcon 9 will deliver Dragon into low-Earth orbit, under the combined impulse of its nine Merlin 1D+ first-stage engines and the restartable Merlin 1D+ Vacuum second-stage engine. After Dragon separates from the Falcon’s second stage, a little under ten minutes into the flight, it will deploy its electricity-generating solar arrays. Later, the Guidance and Navigation Control (GNC) Bay Door will open to expose the rendezvous sensors, which are critical in guiding Dragon towards the ISS.

Assuming an on-time launch Saturday morning, the CRS-10 Dragon will be captured by the station’s 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 on Monday. Photo Credit: NASA

As with previous missions, CRS-10 will approach the space station along the “R-Bar” (or “Earth Radius Vector”), which provides an imaginary line from Earth’s center towards the ISS, effectively approaching its quarry from “below”. In so doing, Dragon will take advantage of natural gravitational forces to brake its final approach and reduce the need to perform excessive numbers of thruster burns. By Monday morning, it will reach a “Hold Point” about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the station, whereupon it must pass a “Go/No-Go” poll of flight controllers in order to draw nearer.

Further polls and holds will be made at distances of 3,700 feet (1,130 meters) and 820 feet (250 meters), after which Dragon will creep toward its target at less than 3 inches (7.6 cm) per second. Critically, at 650 feet (200 meters), it will enter the “Keep-Out Sphere” (KOS), which provides a collision avoidance exclusion zone, and its rate of closure will be slowed yet further to just under 2 inches (5 cm) per second. After clearance has been granted for the robotic visitor to advance to the 30-foot (10-meter) “Capture Point,” the final stage of the rendezvous will get underway, bringing Dragon within range of Canadarm2 and capture by Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet, backed-up by Commander Shane Kimbrough. Both men will be based in the station’s multi-windowed cupola. Last week, Pesquet participated in robotics training, ahead of his first Visiting Vehicle (VV) capture in the lead role. “One joystick to control rotations, one for translations,” tweeted the former Air France Airbus A320 pilot. “Like flying a plane, but more tri-dimensional.”

The Robotics Officer (ROBO) in the Mission Control Center (MCC) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, will then command the physical berthing of the cargo ship to the Earth-facing (or “nadir”) Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) of the Harmony node. Berthing will occur in two stages, with the Expedition 50 crew overseeing “First Stage Capture”, in which hooks from the node’s nadir CBM will extend ensnare the cargo ship and pull their respective CBMs into a tight mechanized embrace. “Second Stage Capture” will then rigidize the two connected vehicles, driving 16 bolts and establishing Dragon as part of the ISS for the next month. Shortly afterwards, the crew will be given a “Go” to pressurize the vestibule leading from the Harmony nadir hatch into the cargo ship.

Last week, representatives from NASA and academia, as well as students, gathered to present details of the many science payloads which will ride uphill aboard CRS-10. Although the exact manifest remained in flux until quite late, the mission will deliver a total of 5,489 pounds (2,490 kg) in Dragon’s pressurized cargo module and also aboard its external “trunk”. The pressurized payload, totaling 3,373 pounds (1,530 kg), includes 1,614 pounds (732 kg) of scientific investigations, 653 pounds (296 kg) of crew supplies, 842 pounds (382 kg) of vehicle hardware, 22 pounds (10 kg) of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) equipment, together with smaller quantities of computer resources and equipment for the station’s Russian Orbital Segment (ROS).

Meanwhile, inside Dragon’s trunk—and totaling 2,116 pounds (960 kg)—will be the 1,146-pound (520 kg) Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE)-III and the 970-pound (440 kg) Space Test Program (STP)-H5, which includes the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). Assuming an on-time berthing at the station on Monday morning, it is planned for ROBO to extract STP-H5 from the trunk on Wednesday and installed onto ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC)-1 on the station’s port-side P-3 truss on Friday, 24 February. It is expected that the LIS instrument will remain operational for about two years, conducting global lightning observations in tandem with the recently-launched Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-16.

The second CRS-10 external payload, SAGE-III, will be robotically detached from the trunk on Sunday, 26 February, and installed on Friday, 3 March. Destined to take long-term measurements of ozone, aerosols, water vapor and associated gases, SAGE-III requires a continuous and unobstructed view of Earth’s atmospheric “limb” and has been assigned a payload site on ELC-4, situated on the station’s starboard-side S-3 truss. Due to the restricted envelope at the payload site, SAGE-III is equipped with an Instrument Payload (IP) and Nadir Viewing Platform (NVP), allowing it to translate the ELC-4 interface by 90 degrees. SAGE-III will be removed from Dragon and “temp-stowed” on the Enhanced Orbital Replacement Unit (ORU) Temporary Platform (EOTP) on the Dextre robotic manipulator. The NVP will then be installed directly onto ELC-4 and the IP will be installed onto the NVP.



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Missions » ISS » Missions » ISS » COTS » Missions » ISS » COTS » CRS-10 »


  1. “Last used for Atlantis’ and the shuttle program’s swansong mission in July 2011, the complex is a Site on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and in April 2014 was transferred to SpaceX on a 20-year lease for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missions.”

    Yep, with the billionaires running our nation and space program, we can “lease” them all of our “Historic Places” to further enhance their bank accounts. What a wonderful deal for the billionaires and all the weather vane politicians they own.

    “While Orbital Sciences has received almost the same funding from NASA, about $240 million, you’ll notice that there is very little of the controversy facing Orbital that surrounds SpaceX. That’s because friends of SpaceX within the White House and elsewhere in the Executive Branch in 2010 tried to end NASA’s human space program, including the return to the Moon, and redirect very nearly 1/3 of NASA’s total funding to subsidize SpaceX’s efforts towards human space flight. And it was very bold when one considers that only 4/7 of SpaceX’s launches at that time have been successful while NASA has safely launched 133 Shuttle, 3 Skylab, 11 Apollo, 10 Gemini, and 6 Mercury missions without loss of life. And when astronauts perished, all hell broke loose at NASA. As one of my aerospace engineering professors, who was also a former NASA Deputy Administrator, said, ‘American do not like it when you kill their astronauts.’”

    From: ‘What do NASA engineers think about SpaceX Falcon 9?’
    By Jim Hillhouse, Former Aerospace Engineer Updated Jun 4, 2016

    Should America and its national launchpad assets, politics, and space goals ‘belong’ to the billionaires? Should we rent out Historic Places, sell ambassadorships, and forfeit our political rights to decide national policies to all the billionaires making ‘great’ secretive and profitable deals that ignore the interests of most folks?

    “During his second term, Obama named 31 campaign “bundlers” — supporters who raised at least $50,000 to fund his presidential campaigns — as ambassadors. Obama tapped nearly all of these bundlers to serve in Western European nations or other highly developed and stable countries such as Canada and New Zealand.

    Another 39 of Obama’s second-term ambassador nominees are political appointees who either gave his campaign money or are known political allies.”

    From: ‘Buying of the President 2016 Barack Obama’s Ambassador Legacy: Plum Postings for Big Donors’ By The Center for Public Integrity 4 January 2016

    Should NASA subsidies and our national space policy clearly ‘belong to’ and be controlled by a wannabe Martian billionaire and his rich friends?

    “Do we continue to treat space as an arena for public relations spectacles, using science as window-dressing to give the appearance of long-term societal value? Or should we begin to build a system that continuously and permanently expands human reach beyond low Earth orbit, not only for science but also to build, to create wealth, to call on as needed for national defense, and to live? Make no mistake, this is the essence of the debate—a tug of war over which idea will hold sway and influence our next destination in space. And the simple truth is that a return to the Moon is reachable, affordable and productive, while the Journey to Mars is not.”

    From: ‘Whoever Said the Moon is the End Goal?
    And who decided that space is only for science?’
    By Paul D. Spudis January 27, 2017
    At: Air & Space Smithsonian

  2. Has anyone missed out on the ‘elephants under the carpet’ struggling hard over controlling American policies?

    President Trump seems to understand at least some of our current national power game issues and perhaps how those issues intersect with the goal of getting Americans and international folks busy tapping the Moon’s resources and diverse opportunities.

    "The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017"

    From: ‘America’s spies anonymously took down Michael Flynn. That is deeply worrying.’
    By Damon Linker REUTERS/Carlos Barria February 14, 2017

    “Former National Security Agency analyst John Schindler tweeted on Wednesday morning that an anonymous source in the IC told him the time had come to “go nuclear” against the president, who would “die in jail.” Later the same day, a Twitter account maintained by the FBI records division randomly released nearly 400 pages of documents related to an investigation of charges of racial discrimination against Trump properties more than four decades ago.”

    And, “It seems undeniable that large numbers of federal civil servants have declared war on the president of the United States — and that their battle is being waged with the help of journalists who are more than happy to act as stenographers conveying unsubstantiated, anonymous allegations to the public.”

    From: ‘America’s spies are playing a dangerous game against President Trump’
    By Damon Linker February 17, 2017

    Starting a new Cold War, as some folks seem to want, could obviously derail the International Space Station (ISS) and a whole lot more.

  3. “The Moon remains geopolitically critical in its own right. The existence of space consumable resources and potential energy sources [4] of importance to Earth have not been lost on other international players. Accessing and developing these resources presents the possibility of cost reduction through private-government partnerships. Further, evaluation of the effects of 1/6 Earth’s gravity on physiological re-adaptation will answer the question, for better or worse, concerning the consequences of re-adaptation requirements in the 3/8 Earth’s gravity of Mars.”

    From: ‘The Moon is on the Path to get to Mars and Beyond’ By Honorable Senator Harrison H. Schmitt, Ph.D., Apollo 17 Lunar Module Pilot February 16, 2017

    One doesn’t need to be a “pathetic moron” to recognize the perfectly legal corruption of cheaply “renting” extremely valuable national “Historic Places”, critical for SLS launched Orion Lunar missions, to a political friend of a highly partisan anti-Moon President with an ever wandering ‘astronauts lost in space and gut NASA plan’.

    Sleazy and pathetic wannabe Martian billionaire folks and the “friends of SpaceX within the White House and elsewhere in the Executive Branch in 2010 tried to end NASA’s human space program, including the return to the Moon, and redirect very nearly 1/3 of NASA’s total funding to subsidize SpaceX’s efforts towards human space flight”.

    The Moon, and the rest of Cislunar Space, has national security implications that seem to be far beyond the comprehension of the sleazy prima donna billionaire folks and their nonscientific supporters.

    “Situational awareness in space is a key to successful application of space power

    At some time in the future, the physical presence of humans in space will be necessary to provide greater situational awareness

    Technological competence is required to become a space power, and conversely, technological benefits are derived from being a space power

    Control of space is the linchpin upon which a nation’s space power depends

    As with earthbound media, the weaponization of space is inevitable, though the manner and timing are not at all predictable.” Page 15.

    From: Page 15 ‘Toward a Theory of Space Power: Defining Principles for U.S. Space Policy’
    By James Oberg May 20, 2003

    To help mitigate national security risks, Congress has repeatedly encouraged international human space missions in Cislunar Space.

    The history of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Space Shuttle, Shuttle-Mir Program, International Space Station, SLS, International Orion, and the space laws Congress has passed and sent to various Presidents to sign have made it repeatedly clear that NASA is legally expected where practical to do international missions in Cislunar Space.

    Despite all the sleazy insults and nonscientific claims of the ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ mob, the Red Planet remains a highly risky and costly distant horizon goal for humans with zero or extremely limited economic and security benefits.

    Obviously, the nearby and mission affordable and resource rich Moon is far more useful for meeting the diplomatic, economic, communication, Space Based Solar Power, technology, and security needs of the Home Planet than anything we could do on or near Mars in the next few decades.

    Clearly, human missions to Mars aren’t on the national or international negotiating table and any nonscientific claims to the contrary need to be backed up with significant documentation and quotes by the relevant scientific and engineering experts and a consensus of the ‘movers and shakers’ of American and international space policy.

    The Moon, and its resources, is the only national and international game in town.

    Ftom: ‘Webster’s New World Didtionary’
    1 flimsy or thin in texture or substance; lacking firmness !a sleazy rayon fabric”
    2 shoddy, shabby, cheap, morally low, etc.

    Sleazy billionaire folks loudly proclaim their ‘commercial efforts’ will soon take everyone on mythical, long, super risky, and radiation drenched missions to far distant Mars as they continue to pucker and suck as hard as they can on ‘free’ government lucre milk and critical NASA assets and technological support.

    Such is life.

  4. Dude you are living in a fantasy land. NASA would be lucky, and I means crazy lucky, to get 3 flights a year out of SLS. NASA doesn’t have the funds to maintain/upgrade both pads, certainly doesn’t have the money to fly SLS with useful payload enough times to warrant that. You are completely delusional if you think that would happen if SpaceX didn’t lease the pad. What do you know that Bob Cabana doesn’t? The answer is nothing. The best way to honor to memories of this pad is to continue flying out of it, not letting it waste away while hoarding for no good reason.

    • If there isn’t enough money for NASA to lead affordable dual SLS launched international Lunar missions that are clearly in America and the world’s best interests while “the cost of routine maintenance on the LC39 launch facilities is over $1.2 million per pad”, only illogical bong fed “Dude” ‘financial con reasoning’ can proclaim there are hundreds of billions or trillions of space dollars available to finance super high risk and costly Mars missions and colonies.

      “After discussions with lawmakers, aides, and officials in the aerospace community since then, it has become clear this is no transient movement. Rather, the Moon-then-Mars plan has bipartisan support.”

      And, “Every one of NASA’s international partners supports a Moon-first strategy, and there is the risk if NASA shoots for Mars that China or Russia might lead development of some type of lunar colony. Then there is commercialism. Planning missions to the Moon would provide additional business opportunities for a thriving commercial space industry that may see Mars as a step too far for its existing business plans. And finally, there is the potential to make deep space exploration more economical. Lunar miners could tap into ice at the Moon’s poles to provide hydrogen and oxygen propellants to fuel spacecraft for journeys to Mars.”

      From: ‘Seeing the end of Obama’s space doctrine, a bipartisan Congress moves in
      Democrats and Republicans see the Moon as a pragmatic first step in deep space.’
      By Eric Berger – 6/7/2016

      The billionaires political friends of former President Obama that are busy sucking up NASA’s money cannot sell their high risk and extremely costly Martian pixie dust delusional fantasies to Congress or space experts inside and outside of America. However, luckily for those billionaires the ‘Mars Cheap and Soon’ Internet mob will believe and endlessly repeat scientific and financial nonsense.

      Naked billionaire greed keeps on trying to run America, NASA, and the good old CIA.

      Get the greedy hands of former President Obama’s billionaire political friends out of the pockets of the American taxpayers and there would be plenty of money to “maintain/upgrade both pads”.

      “Republican members of Congress condemned the leaks as a misuse of classified information. Critics of the intelligence community, both conservative and liberal, warned that unelected bureaucrats were exerting too much political power.

      Was the American deep state, panicked by Trump, revealing itself?

      ‘The intelligence agencies are pretty hard to roll,’ a former top CIA official told me last week. ‘These guys are trained to manipulate people and overthrow governments, and they’re rather good at it.’

      But no, this wasn’t the deep state seizing power. We’re not there yet.”

      From: “Is the ‘deep state’ out to get Trump? We’re not there yet”
      By Doyle McManus 2/19/2017

      However, the deep state elephants are fighting hard under the carpet over which group of billionaires should be top dogs and have priority access to the taxpayer’s money. NASA money, logical space policies, and assets remain at risk.

      Does that mean we should forget pushing for logical, scientific, and fair national space policies?

      No, it doesn’t.

      • You are unhinged and apparently incapable of a conversation without lacing in a thousand quotes. Do you talk to people in real life like that? Believe me if Musk just wanted to make tons of money, there are a million ways better than SpaceX. The fact that you can’t wrap your head around that suggests you playing down a few cards. There is yet to be ANY funding for ANY missions involving SLS other than demos. Please show me a budgeted missions plan requiring two pads then complain about SpaceX. Until then pound Florida sand.

        Here is a quote for you:

  5. Here is a quote from me:

    Only a NASA leadership that has been hitting the bong real hard or is corrupt could claim that the American taxpayer cannot afford the 1.2 million dollars needed to maintain Launchpad 39A while also claiming the American taxpayer can afford the hundreds of billions of dollars needed for Mars missions.

    Our new President needs to drain the illogical and corrupt swamp of NASA’s leadership.

    • Maintain for what? shuttle? Costs more than 1.2M to upgrade the pad for SLS so you are peddling horse dung here. SE was just talking about idle upkeep. Furthermore, there is no freakin reason to do this since there is no funding to fly SLS enough to warrant it. Total regressive troglodyte mentality.

    • Quote from you? Cum hoc ergo propter hoc, leading to a non-sequitur with some circulus in demonstrando thrown in for good measure.
      You should just stick to annoying people by endlessly posting out-of-context quotes from other people, then posting replies to yourself containing even more quotes.

      The ≈1.2 million USD / annum invested in keeping 39A from rusting away must come from some entity, public or private, regardless of what program (or programs) that may use the facility.

      Moon, Mars, Rigel-7, SLS production is limited by the production infrastructure to what one pad can easily handle. Leasing 39A to SpaceX and letting them pay for the upkeep is a great deal for everyone, the alternative is “Abandon In Place” (sort of like what happened to your brain).

      • NASA budgetary decisions made by the previous administration were solely designed to ‘slow roll’ and kill the SLS, Orion, and NASA led international missions to the Moon.

        New administrations can have new priorities, including improving relations with Russia and working together with every nation on Earth to develop the resources of the Moon in order to reduce the risks and costs of accelerating the development of Cislunar Space and decrease the chances of small wars and WW III.

        Let’s keep it real simple so even the severely number and intellectually challenged folks like SE Jones can understand what is at stake.

        NASA led international missions to the Moon offer the potential to significantly expand the Home Planet human cooperation that currently occurs at the International Space Station to include Lunar surface exploration, resource extraction, industrialization, and maybe even a whole lot more.

        The Good Lord knows that such expanded cooperation in Cislunar Space and having international pizza parties on the Moon might help improve the motivation and opportunities for economic development on our Home Planet.

        Obviously, under such a useful Lunar development situation, the currently expanding military budgets around the world might start contracting and the chance to ‘bell the Russian cat’ could be lost forever. We don’t want that to occur, now do we?

        Some odd politicians, billionaires, and their various bloated and overreaching spy agency friends apparently hate the idea of affordable and doable NASA led international cooperation on the Moon. They think Russia is weak and America under their war drum beating and economic sanctions leadership can defeat or severely constrain Russia.

        Thus we get dirty infighting and obviously false propaganda over America’s space policy and crazy assertions that America cannot afford Launchpad 39A, SLS, and Orion, but some off-the-wall but politically well connected billionaires that are great at sucking hard on government subsidies can mysteriously afford Launchpad 39A, much larger launchers than the SLS, and a spaceship that can take everyone on cheap, joyous, and long duration radiation drenched colonizing missions to Mars which is definitely a bad news fourth rate planet that even good old Elon doesn’t really want to live on because getting there would be too dangerous and besides he wants to see his children and grandchildren grow up.

        Boy what insane lengths some goofy Cold War drum beating politicians and spy folks will go to in order to avoid doing Lunar space missions with Russia.

        Yep, if Elon’s goofy and nonscientific Mars Colony drivel weren’t so pathetic and inane, it would simply be a bad joke instead of an essential element of the previous administration’s policy of ‘keep our astronauts lost in space so we can thumb our noses at the Russians’.

        Mars fever is mostly for people like SE Jones who can only endlessly hum and screech specious and nationalistic jingoes in praise of Chairman Musk.

        And so the geopolitical games and Mars noise continues.

        As for me, I’m in favor of doing international industrialization of the Moon so we can build and launch large nuclear pulse Orion spaceships and go out and tap the resources of our Solar System.

        Note: No quote today because the deep state’s Anti-Trump and Anti-Russia war drums are beating and SE Jones is again screeching far too loudly. Sorry.

  6. Since some good folks don’t understand what is happening in President Trump’s attempt to drain the NASA leadership swamp, perhaps a bit of national swamp draining perspective is needed:

    “At this point Trump has no alternative but to fight. He can take down the secret police agencies and the presstitute media conglomerates, or they will take him down. Dismissing Flynn was the worse thing to do. He should have kept Flynn and fired the ‘leakers’ who are actively using disinformation against him. The NSA would have to know who the leakers are. Trump should clean out the corrupt NSA management and install officials who will identify the leakers. Then Trump should prosecute the leakers to the full extent of the law.

    No president can survive secret police agencies determined to destroy him. If Trump’s advisers don’t know this, Trump desperately needs new advisers.”

    From: “The Stakes for Trump and All of Us” By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts February 19, 2017

    Note: “Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.”

  7. Or another perspective on draining the swamp.

    “Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.”

    From: “Greenwald: Empowering the ‘Deep State’ to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy”
    By Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald February 16, 2017

  8. The SpaceX fanboys commenting here need to be moderated. Nobody wants to comment on a forum where they will just be insulted.

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