For Jose and other Shuttle==civilian mission only ppl

Adam Levenstein cleon42 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 10 00:02:47 MST 2003


--- Armand Diego <causebellum at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I have to confess, I also cheered the few times that
> the oUSSRUSRR beat the shit out of the US in the space
> race.

"Few times?" Hardly.

First satellite (Sputnik)
First creature in space (Laika)
First human in space (Yuri Gagarin)
First person to orbit the Earth (Gagarin again)
First space station (Salyut 1)
Longest-lasting space station (Mir)
First space tourist (post-USSR, but still)

AFAIK, the only thing the US beat the Soviets on was landing someone on
the moon.

> I would fight for the repair and extension of the US
> highway system.  Their present state of disrepair and
> gridlock, doesn't seem to indicate that is a priority
> for US generals and the Commander in Chief and I don't
> see them showcasing them as one of the main
> achievements of US imperialism.  Do they?

I agree with Jose, that the blanket characterization of the space
program as a military R&D wing and/or a multi-gazillion-dollar
propaganda program is inaccurate.

Further, I think that the comparison with the interstate highway system
is quite apt, more so than, say, Amtrak. Eisenhower set up the
interstate system as a way, should the need arise, to get the entire US
army from one side of the country to the other. (I'm not making this
up.) So in a very real sense, it IS a military program; there's a
reason why the interstate number signs are all shields. Those potholes
you swear at on the way to work would provide a real obstacle, no
matter how minor, to military forces. Therefore, the potholes and
cracks ARE a direct blow to the US military, whereas the shuttle going
boom won't disrupt them one little bit.

But, of course, the majority of the vehicles that use the interstates
aren't military. The program has grown way beyond its original purpose,
which is largely obsolete anyway. Same goes for the space program. Many
of my neighbors have satellite TV--those satellites that send them
their signal were put in space by the US space program. Satellites are
used for much (most?) intercontinental communication. Most of the guys
in my motorcycle club use GPS systems. (Of course, GPS was originally a
military program that has been commercialized.) The Hubble telescope,
ISS, Voyager and Pioneer craft, Galileo, Mars Pathfinder--none of these
have any military value whatsoever, unless you're concerned about alien
invasions.

But of course, we can't forget the most important, life-enriching,
nonmilitary result of the space program--Tang. Oh, and that weird
"astronaut ice cream" they sell in Discovery Channel stores.

Adam


=====
-----------------------------------------------------------
Adam Levenstein                          cleon42 at yahoo.com
ICQ: 17125158

Microsoft will make something that doesn't suck when
they start manufacturing vacuum cleaners.

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