Stop the presses: a Martian suicide bomber downed the Shuttle!

Charles Jannuzi b_rieux at
Mon Feb 3 23:56:13 MST 2003

Specific subject: how military the space shuttle
program is (or not).

1. The newly refurbished Columbia was the most
likely space shuttle for use on future military
missions from 2001 onward because it was
designated as not for use on the space station.

2. What's dismaying about this mission is that
Columbia was newly re-done by Boeing and the
joint venture consortium that Boeing has half
interest in (with Lockheed) AT GREAT EXPENSE, and
this was supposed to be the safest of the space
shuttles. Apparently it wasn't.

3. The entire US space program is largely
militarized. For one, look at NASA's main
contractors and by no coincidence they largely
overlap with typical defense contractors (Boeing,
Lockheed Martin, Carlyle Group Holdings, even
Halliburton shows up on the lsit. , etc.). That
doesn't prove the point, but if you go into the
issue you soon see the dual use as a considerable
part of any explanation.

4. Finally, I already made the military
connection but make it here again for emphasis.
Because of the overlap both within the federal
government and within its key contractors between
the military and NASA, the US's preparations for
war against Iraq (so soon after a major bombing
campaign of Afghanistan) most likely pulled
valuable resources (management, technical
expertise, supply, money, laboring personnel)
away from things like NASA and towards the war
preparations. Moreover, this shift in priorities
is mirrored in the behaviour of companies like
Boeing, which is both laying off workers and
restructuring civilian aerospace and its virtual
NASA monoploy even as it rushes to expand
capacity for highly profitable war contracting.

Charles Jannuzi
Fukui, Japan

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