Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.


STUCK IN SPACE: A Real Life Parable Of Big Government And The Individual

You could scarecly script a more apt parable of Reagan's dangerous words quote than this

On the surface, we’ve got a straightforward story about a space mission gone wrong. But that small story tells a much, MUCH bigger one, too.

As you probably know by now, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams strapped themselves into a Boeing Starliner rocket for the first time Boeing sent people to space. This partnership with NASA was intended to serve as the new astronaut taxi to space, so that Americans don’t have to bum a lift off the Russians anymore.

Ever since the Space Shuttle program was decommissioned, getting astronauts into space has gotten more difficult for NASA. Current tensions with Russia aren’t helping any.

It was supposed to be a short trip. Liftoff on June 5th, back home again on the 18th. But as the calendar page turns to July, they’re still in orbit with the spaceflight equivalent of car trouble. The most recent reporting tells us new thruster problems unrelated to the helium leak were discovered since repair efforts began, and it could be 90 days or so before they come back.

The mission was plagued with problems from the very start. In May, before the launch, there were reports of a problem with the Helium systems. The flight went ahead anyway.

We’re not supposed to use the word ‘stranded’, apparently. Even though we still don’t have a date certain for their return.

“What we hope to do today is maybe clear up some information that’s been out there and any misunderstandings about the flight and our status,” said NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich during a press conference Friday afternoon. “I want to make it very clear that (NASA astronauts) Butch (Wilmore) and Suni (Williams) are not stranded in space. Our plan is to return them on Starliner and return them home at the right time. We have a little bit more work to do to get there for the final return but they’re safe on (the) space station, their spacecraft is working well and they’re enjoying their time on the space station.”

Stich said Boeing and NASA engineers are in the process of setting up ground-based tests of thrusters that are identical to the ones on Starliner’s service module that experienced failures during the capsule’s approach and docking procedures at the ISS earlier this month. Previous reports from NASA detailed that five of 28 maneuvering thrusters failed to perform as expected during Starliner’s docking at the space station on June 6. Engineers have also identified a total of five small helium leaks, some of which were detected before the spacecraft launched. Helium is used in the capsule’s thruster firing procedure. The issues have led to a series of delays for Starliner’s return flight. — DeseretNews

As if Boeing didn’t already have enough negative publicity to deal with.

It’s noteworthy that the very first public response to this crisis was ‘will Elon have to go pick them up and give them a ride home’?

Kids who grew up watching Space Shuttle launches now have grey hair and kids or grandkids of their own. NASA, whose entire purpose was centered on Space Travel burned through gazillions of dollars on pretty nearly everything but improving space flight. They have lots of opinions on the environment. Obama even tried to make NASA’s mission priorities include making the Muslim world feel good about their contributions to science.

There was no vision. There was no urgency. There was no bar against which they could measure success or failure. They were just another money-burning government agency with each department hellbent on justifying its own existance and fighting like hell to keep their budgets from being reduced.

All on the taxpayer’s dime.

We’ve seen massive changes in medicine, telecommunications, computers. Even the way cars are made have had massive innovations since the Nixon administration. Ditto Reagan.

The last Space Shuttle flew in July of 2011, looking essentially the same as it did in the early 80s. A child born on the day when Commander Gene Cernan became the last American to leave a footprint on the moon in the 20th Century would be fifty-two years old today, and would have never seen us return.

Meanwhile, in SpaceX, Elon had a specific vision in mind (Mars), with finite resources, an urgency to find as many ways to fail as rapidly as possible so that engineers can learn from those failures and make the necessary improvements and adjustments.

Elon has not only developed reusable rockets, he has managed to land them safely on floating barges. The savings on materials are reinvested into innovation.

Unless it has been unleashed on a particular goal like the Manhattan Project or the Moon Shot, the government’s main purpose is to justify its own existence and maintain its own budgets. This is inevitable, since the security of so many people is connected to perpetuating government funding.

A corporation — like Boeing — has some similar constraints. At a certain size it becomes beholden to boards and rules, risk mitigation, public relations games and a God-only-knows what other red tape and socio/political constraints.

It gets caught up in questions of boycotts and branding, of making ‘safe’ changes that will make sense in terms of reasonable ROI and cost-benefit analysis.

In corporations, we seldom see high-risk-high-reward damn-the-torpedos summit-or-plummet leadership. Those rare times we do, it’s in the context of an industry disruptor like (most recently) gig economies, digital platforms and social media.

Elon Musk has become (once again) the world’s wealthiest man because he does the exact opposite.

He builds big high-risk-high-gain disruptor companies with a big vision around a bold innovative idea: Space flight to Mars in our lifetime. Efficient underground travel. Electric vehicles that look more like a sports car than a glorified toaster.

He was mocked when his rocket blew up in a ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly’. But they keep learning lessons and keep progressing further down the line to a complete and workable project.

Because he’s not hampered by the glassy-eyed indifference of a government bureaucracy or the safety-over-innovation paradigm that rules so many corporations that have long since forgotten how they became giants in the first place.

Is it any wonder that the public’s kneejerk response when NASA and Boeing got themselves into trouble was to suggest Elon swing by and pick them up in one of his rockets.

Why has America been home to so much innovation in such a very short window of time? It was a country that by its very nature, invited (recruited, even) a personality profile of adventurer, the pioneer, and risk-taker.

You build a culture around that paradigm, and you pair it with the incentive structure of sky-is-the-limit entrepreneurship where you win by delivering a great product, instead of greasing the right hands and bribing the right officials for access to the markets.

It’s a powerful combination.

I Talk Back to the Devil is an action manual that sports thirty pure fire proclamations against the powers of darkness in three different categories covering, the wealth, the walk and the warfare of the Christian against Satan and his defeated ilk.

This NEW book will put a serrated edge on the Christian’s prayer life in these troubled times. This slim tome will embolden the believer to stop taking Satan’s crap.

Grab yours here.

Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck