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Archive for September, 2014

NASA’s plans, Sept. 11, 1969, and what they mean today

Sep. 11, 2014, under call to action, history, opinions, space t/e/d

In today’s Space History Newsletter, you will find this information:

Program information, NASA manned space flight after 1969

Two major directions were identified for NASA’s manned space flight in the next decade on 11 September 1969. These were further exploration of the Moon, with possibly the establishment of a permanent Lunar surface base, and the continued development of manned flight in Earth orbit, leading to a permanent manned space station supported by a low-cost shuttle system. To maintain direction, the following key milestones were proposed:

  • 1972 AAP operations using a Saturn V launched Workshop
  • 1973 Start of post-Apollo lunar exploration
  • 1974 Start of suborbital flight tests of Earth to orbit shuttle
  •   Launch of a second Saturn V Workshop
  • 1975 Initial space station operations
  •   Orbital shuttle flights
  • 1976 Lunar orbit station
  •   Full shuttle operations
  • 1977 Nuclear stage flight test
  • 1978 Nuclear shuttle operations-orbit to orbit
  • 1979 Space station in synchronous orbit

By 1990

  •   Earth orbit space base
  •   Lunar surface base
  •   Possible Mars landing

(The acronym “AAP” stands for the “Apollo Applications Program” established by NASA headquarters in 1968 to develop science-based manned space missions using surplus material from the Apollo program.)

Harvest Moon, 98% Illuminated, September 7, 2014, by Fred Koschara

Obviously, things didn’t work that way – in effect none of those objectives were achieved:

  • the Saturn V Workshop was downgraded to Skylab, with only one workshop launched, and which was later abandoned (see 11 July 1979 Skylab fell – and the American public was robbed)
  • Lunar exploration stopped after Apollo 17, never mind putting up a Lunar orbit station or surface base, foisting on Gene Cernan the dubious title of being the Last Man on the Moon
  • the “low-cost shuttle” turned into the “Space Transportation System” which proved to be one of the most expensive launch options whose first flight didn’t occur until 1982 and never achieved the number of flights per year that was predicted when the project was proposed, and now discontinued, leaving America without a way to send humans to orbit on our own
  • the space station in synchronous orbit never happened, and the Earth orbit space base that was supposed to be in place by 1990 devolved into the International Space Station now with a “permanent” crew of 3-6 occupants
  • NASA’s initial space station operations didn’t begin until the first ISS resident crew consisting of one American (commander) and two Russians arrived in November 2000 in the Russian Soyuz TM-31 capsule
  • the nuclear stage and nuclear shuttle for orbit to orbit operations have been completely abandoned
  • the first human Mars landing hadn’t occurred by 1990, current predictions are that the earliest it will happen is in the 2030’s

So, what went wrong? Essentially, it boils down to politics – President Richard Nixon decided that the American public wasn’t interested in space travel, and cut NASA’s budget drastically, putting the money into the military and social welfare programs. Rather than continuing the peaceful development of space exploration and travel which was driving innovation and economic growth at an amazing pace, America was turned to a weapons manufacturer where “need” is given higher precedence than ability or reason. Among other things, that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center in New York and the subsequent “war on terror” that has stripped American citizens of so many of their fundamental rights, and to an economy on the brink of collapse due to uncontrolled expansion of the “entitlement” mentality.

Can this be fixed?

I believe it can – but not if space travel and the economy are left in the hands of the government.

Historically, two things have led to growth of the American economy – expansion into new frontiers, and innovation – creation of new industries, and new methods for existing ones. Since there are no longer any frontiers available on the Earth, there’s only one option left: Innovation is what has to drive economic growth. While there have been bursts of development such as introduction of personal computers and the whole set of industries that grew out of that innovation, and there are many fields where incremental innovation can be seen today, the whole-economy blast of innovation painted in broad strokes that led to six pairs of astronauts landing on the Moon hasn’t been seen since the government-funded space program was castrated in the early 1970’s. Developing a strong space exploration and development program, one that can and will achieve the kind of plans laid out in NASA’s 1969 outline, will require a lot of innovation, in nearly every field of endeavor. That is how to solve the economic woes the country now finds itself mired under.

Does that mean the only way we can get back on track is through another expansion of the government-run space program, by pouring more dollars into NASA? No! For example, America’s transcontinental railroad system wasn’t built as a government project – it was built by investors who recognized a tremendous market opportunity and put their money into it. The “advantage” of using tax dollars to put money into space programs is everybody participates – whether they want to or not. Wouldn’t you rather make your own choices about how your money is being invested, and where future growth will come from? I know I would – which is why I think the government needs to get out of the space “business” and let private enterprise take over.

In order for a healthy space exploration and development business to come to reality, funding has to come from everywhere – from kids bagging groceries, from multinational corporations, and everywhere in between. People and institutions that want to invest into the project need to have a mechanism for doing so, with an understandable and believable way to get a return on their investment. The L5 National Bank bonds briefly outlined on the Space Power Now Development Plan page are a system I am trying to build to make that possible: The objective is to provide investors, large and small, with a good way to invest in the future, to build a space program that will open new frontiers, solve the world’s energy problems, and boost the American economy back into high gear. Building the space business will make the military-industrial complex obsolete, creating jobs that will reduce dependency on social welfare programs, the only realistic solution to their cancerous growth.

It’s going to take political action to stop the “war on terror” and its cohorts – unconstitutional domestic surveillance, militarization of police departments, etc., and people will find it a lot easier to focus on those issues if they don’t have a failing economy about to bury them.

Space – the next frontier – the cure for what ails you!


We are going to run out of oil. Before that happens, we MUST have a replacement source of energy, and feed stock for our civilization that has become so dependent on plastic. The time to act is NOW!! Please visit SpacePowerNow.org to help build a solution.

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Two particularly interesting photos in two days on PhotoByFred

Sep. 11, 2014, under art

I was really happy with the way the pictures came out for Tuesday and Wednesday:

Full Harvest Moon Rising Over Crystal Pond, Peabody, Mass.
Full Harvest Moon Rising Over Crystal Pond, Peabody, Mass., photo by Fred Koschara, displayed Sept. 9, 2014 on PhotoByFred.com
( Click the image for a larger view )

Gull Swooping In For The Kill, Marblehead, Massachusetts
Gull Swooping In For The Kill, Marblehead, Massachusetts, photo by Fred Koschara, displayed Sept. 10, 2014 on PhotoByFred.com
( Click the image for a larger view )

One of these days I will have time to implement a comment system so you can share your opinions about the photos. In the mean time, you can send me email…


I post a new picture each day on PhotoByFred.com. As of Sept. 11, 2014, there are 3608 daily pictures that have been displayed there since I first put the site online, on October 26, 2004. Limited edition printed copies of the photos can be purchased from LimitedEditionPhoto.com, and I’m writing a Kickstarter proposal to create a movie of the pictures that have been shown on Photo By Fred. (At 1/3 second per image, it’s going to be a 20 minute movie!) There’s a form on Photo By Fred where you can let me know if you’re interested in hearing about the movie’s progress, or comment on the idea.


We are going to run out of oil. Before that happens, we MUST have a replacement source of energy and feed stock for our civilization that has become so dependent on plastic. The time to act is NOW!! Please visit SpacePowerNow.org to help build a solution.

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SPAM tools in the wrong hands

Sep. 01, 2014, under opinions

At best, SPAM tools in the wrong hands are a nuisance. An example is the user failing to configure their program properly, resulting in noise emails with Subject lines containing strings such as [?var that are easily filtered out.

August 28th was a day where some truly incompetent SPAM wannabe launched their campaign without even bothering to include a “payload” (e.g., a link to a Web site they want you to visit). On that date, I received nearly 400 SPAM messages with unpatterned From addresses and plausible Subject lines, each containing two lines of random text selections, mostly at least semi-complete sentences – and nothing else. It made finding real messages nearly impossible, and setting up an automated filter to block the noise unfeasible.

There were a couple things I noticed in the noise that made me decide I wanted to save the lot for inspection and contemplation, tidbits of at least marginally useful or interesting information, such as “PLANC is a language in the PASCAL family” (a fact I’m sure I knew at one point but had forgotten) and “Therefore, it takes an average worker over one year to make as much money as his boss makes in one day” (I’m curious to know where that conclusion came from.) I copied the messages to a file whose contents you can find here if you’re interested.

By the time I’d gone through the lot, marked them as SPAM, then went through Thunderbird’s Trash folder to delete them again to make sure I hadn’t thrown a baby out with the bath water, I’d lost a couple of hours more than I usually do to the SPAM problem for the day.

All of which begs the question “what are the right hands for SPAM tools to be in?” I had some thoughts on the matter in my previous SPAMmers are *so* stupid – or are they? post…


We are going to run out of oil. Before that happens, we MUST have a replacement source of energy and feed stock for our civilization that has become so dependent on plastic. The time to act is NOW!! Please visit SpacePowerNow.org to help build a solution.

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