Abandon Ship!

What’s I say? This is what happens when you put all your eggs in the Russian technology basket and the basket falls apart.

Space station could be abandoned in November

Astronauts may need to temporarily withdraw from the International Space Station before the end of this year if Russia is unable to resume manned flights of its Soyuz rocket after a failed cargo launch last week, according to the NASA official in charge of the outpost.

Despite a delivery of important logistics by the final space shuttle mission in July, safety concerns with landing Soyuz capsules in the middle of winter could force the space station to fly unmanned beginning in November, according to Michael Suffredini, NASA’s space station program manager.

“Logistically, we can support [operations] almost forever, but eventually if we don’t see the Soyuz spacecraft, we’ll probably going to unmanned ops before the end of the year,” Suffredini said in an interview Thursday, one day after Russia lost a Soyuz rocket with an automated Progress resupply ship bound for the space station.

See also:
Will the Space Station be Abandoned?
International Space Station might be abandoned in November
Cargo Craft Loss Prompts ISS Concerns
NASA Sets Space Station Status Update Briefing for Monday
Roscosmos smarting after Progress loss
ISS crew safe despite supply failure: Russia, US
Matt Reed: After Russian crash, turn to the F-150 of American rockets
Progress Fails To Make Progress

Okay, so the Russian rockets are turning out to be piles of junk. Why can’t we launch the Progress cargo ship or the manned Soyuz capsule on top of the highly successful, dependable workhorse, Delta IV or Atlas V rockets? Where’s that old fashioned American ingenuity?

/and what about SpaceX, they’re already planning a rendezvous mission to dock with the ISS later this year, why can’t resources be poured into that and the schedule moved up?

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Two Up, Two Down

This is the second failed flight for the HTV-2, at $160 million per splash.

DARPA issues statement on failed flight of hypersonic aircraft

The Falcon launched at 7:45 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket, made by Orbital Sciences Corp.

After reaching an undisclosed sub-orbital altitude, the aircraft jettisoned from its protective cover atop the rocket, then nose-dived back toward Earth, leveled out and began to glide above the Pacific at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20.

Then the trouble began.

“Here’s what we know,” said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA’s program manager. “We know how to boost the aircraft to near space. We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight. We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It’s vexing; I’m confident there is a solution. We have to find it.”

See also:
Pentagon’s hypersonic flight test cut short by anomaly
Pentagon’s Mach 20 Missile Lost Over Pacific — Again
DARPA drops another HTV-2
Second Flop: DARPA Loses Contact With HTV-2
DARPA Launches and Loses Hypersonic Aircraft: Update
The Air Force Loses a Second Superfast Spaceplane
Falcon HTV-2 is lost during bid to become fastest ever plane
Falcon hypersonic vehicle test flight fails
Review Board Sets Up to Probe HTV-2 L
DARPA loses contact with hypersonic aircraft
Lost at sea. Military loses contact with hypersonic test plane
Misdirection, Always Watch What The Left Hand Is Doing

So, in order to find out what went wrong, the Air Force needs to find this tiny HTV-2 drone, that they lost contact with, somewhere in the vast Pacific ocean. Good luck with that, they never lost the first one the dunked.

/why do I get the feeling there’s not going to be a third time?

Not Good For A Secular Turkey

If you thought Turkey was already an unreliable NATO ally, this won’t help.

Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse

The chief of the Turkish armed forces, Isik Kosaner, has resigned along with the army, navy and air force heads.

They were furious about the arrest of senior officers, accused of plotting, shortly before a round of military promotions.

A series of meetings between General Kosaner and PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to resolve their differences.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul moved quickly to appoint General Necdet Ozel as the new army chief.

Gen Ozel is widely expected to be swiftly elevated to chief of the general staff in place of Gen Kosaner. Tradition dictates that only the head of the army can take over the top job.

There has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that parts of the military had been plotting a coup.

See also:
In Turkey, top military figures apparently resign en masse
Turkey’s military has at last stood aside
Turkey’s top generals resign in apparent rift with Erdogan government
Turkey’s military chiefs of staff resign
Turkish military’s chiefs of staff step down
Turkey’s top military leaders resign in protest of staff arrestsTurkey’s resignations, a sign of military decline
Turkey’s military chiefs quit ahead of key meeting
How Turkey’s military upheaval will affect NATO
Turkey’s reset
Analysis: Turkish government strengthens control on military
Government prepares for major overhaul of Turkish military
A Prime Minister’s Push Reshapes Turkish Politics

Traditionally, in Turkey, the military has served as check on Islamist forces and a key to maintaining a secular government.

/obviously, this development represents a substantial consolidation of power in the hands of Erdogan’s Islamist AK party and a big blow to the future of secularism in Turkey

Definitely Not Mission Creep In A Not War

There’s nothing to see here, move along, it’s all just part of enforcing the U.N. mandated humanitarian no fly zone to, ahem, protect civilians. It’s definitely not ramping up NATO offensive military operations in support of one side in a civil war.

Liam Fox denies Apache strikes are a change of tactics

The Apaches hit targets near the Libyan town of Brega during the latest wave of Nato strikes against forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the MoD said.

The Defence Secretary, epeaking at a security forum in Singapore, said that the use of British Apache attack helicopters in Libya was a logical continuation of the Nato-led military operation against Muanmar Gaddafi’s forces and did not mean that fighter jet attacks had failed.

“It’s not plan B at all,” said Dr Fox.

“The use of the attack helicopters is a logical extension of we have already been doing. We already have fast jets in action, this gives us a chance to target new targets in a way we weren’t able to do.

See also:
NATO uses attack helicopters for first time in Libya air assault
British, French helicopters strike Gadhafi troops
U.K., French helicopters strike Qaddafi troops
NATO Attack Helicopters Strike Libya Targets for First Time
NATO helicopters hit targets in Libya
Combat helicopters enter Libya fray
British, French helicopters strike Gadhafi troops
Army Apache helicopters launch first British helicopter strikes in Libya against Gaddafi’s forces
British Apache helicopters strike Gaddafi’s forces for first time
Night strikes by French Tigre helicopters
NATO launches helicopter strikes in Libya

So now NATO is using attack helicopters, where the hell in U.N. Resolution 1973 is that authorized? The current NATO operations are now way beyond what was ever intended or mandated by the original, authorized, humanitarian U.N. mission. Seriously, can ground troops be far behind the attack helicopters?

/just how kinetic does a humanitarian kinetic military action have to get before one may dare call it direct, offensive, one sided, military intervention in a civil war?

The “Stimulus” That Keeps On Sucking

It’s bad enough that we borrowed a trillion dollars from China to waste on a “stimulus” program that actually destroyed 595,000 jobs, but it turns out that we lavished $24 billion of the massively useless pork potpourri on tax criminals! How cool was that?

Stimulus recipients found to be tax cheats

One construction company that won multiple awards of money under President Obama’s 2009 stimulus program was delinquent on its federal tax bill to the tune of $700,000, even as a company executive was blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars at casinos.

Yet another company failed to pay taxes, entered into a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service, and then repeatedly defaulted on that agreement – and still won stimulus contracts worth more than $1 million, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

All told, government investigators found that during the period they examined, one out of every six stimulus contract or grant dollars went to a known tax cheat, according to Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican who, along with several colleagues, requested the GAO review.

The review found that at least 3,700 stimulus recipients owed a total of more than $757 million in taxes, but were awarded $24 billion in stimulus money.

Read the report:

Thousands of Recovery Act Contract and Grant Recipients
Owe Hundreds of Millions in Federal Taxes

See also:
Report: Stimulus recipients owe $750 million in taxes
Companies that got stimulus money owe millions in back taxes
Stimulus contractors owe millions in back taxes
Stimulus Recipients Owe Back Taxes
Report: Stimulus Recipients Owe Hundreds Of Millions In Taxes
Stimulus money recipients owe billions in US taxes-GAO
GAO Report: 3,700 Stimulus Fund Recipients Owe Millions in Taxes
GAO Voices Concerns (Again) About Contracts, Grants Awarded to Delinquent Taxpayers
Senators: Tax delinquency issue larger than stimulus
Report: Tax dodgers pocketed $24B+

Now, you need to ask yourself, if the Obama administration was this incompetent that they gave $24 billion to known tax cheats, just how inept were they in frittering away the rest of the trillion dollars? If they couldn’t even catch the obvious gaming of the “stimulus” program, how much more undetected abuse and fraud is out there? I bet it totals in the hundreds of billions. And you, your children and grandchildren will get stuck paying for Obama’s “stimulus” folly, because we borrowed the trillion he wasted.

/Obama, putting the boon in boondoggle

Splish Splash, Glory Takes A Bath

Apparently, Russia isn’t the only country that can pitch multi-million dollar satellites into the ocean.

NASA’s Glory satellite launch fails

A rocket, standing more than nine stories tall, blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base but failed to lift a NASA Earth-observation satellite into orbit and plummeted into the Pacific Ocean. The failed mission cost $424 million, the space agency said.

It is the second consecutive time that NASA has encountered the problem with the Taurus XL rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

NASA scientists believe the launch on Friday failed because the satellite’s protective cover, which opens like a clamshell, did not separate as expected.

“Obviously, this is a terrific disappointment and we feel bad for letting NASA … down,” said Barron Beneski, an Orbital Sciences spokesman. “People have dedicated years of their lives into this.”

NASA’s Glory satellite was designed to help scientists understand how the sun and particles of matter in the atmosphere called aerosols affect the Earth’s climate. It was also built by Orbital in Virginia.

See also:
Pesky Nose-Cone Problem Downs NASA’s Glory Satellite
NASA’s Glory Satellite Crashes in Pacific; Agency Blames Nose Cone
NASA science satellite lost in $424 million launch failure
NASA’s ‘Glory’ research satellite plunges into the sea
Glory climate satellite fails: information & reactions$424 million satellite mission deemed a failure
NASA research satellite plunges into the sea
Climate-Tracker Satellite Crashes During Launch
New Satellite Crashes Into Ocean After Launch
NASA’s Glory mission fails to reach orbit (photos)
Kentucky satellite lost in rocket failure
Glory (satellite)
Glory Mission
Glory

Gee, you’d think NASA would have figured out what the problem was after the first time it happened. It’s more than embarrassing, not to mention incredibly expensive, to have the exact same failure occur twice in a row.

/oh well, I suppose it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t a human payload

Just How Stupid Are U.S. Kids?

Apparently, they’re really dumb. Seriously, how smart do you have to be to enlist in the Army?

Fourth of students fail military entrance exam

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a study released Tuesday.

The report by The Education Trust bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

“Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career — and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the AP.

Read the report:

Shut Out of the Military:
Today’s High School Education Doesn’t Mean You’re Ready for Today’s Army

Take the test:

ASVAB Practice Test

See also:
APNewsBreak: Nearly 1 in 4 fails military exam
APNewsBreak: Nearly 1 in 4 fails military exam
1 in 4 high school graduates unable to pass military entrance exams
Shut Out of the Military: More than one in five young people do not meet the minimum standard required for Army enlistment
APNewsBreak: 23 percent can’t pass military exam
New study finds U.S. high school grads not ready for military
Nearly 17% of young Utahns score too low on military exam to enlist
Almost half of state’s young black Army applicants failed enlistment exam, study finds
The Education Trust

And the Pentagon and Michelle Obama think childhood obesity is a threat to national security? What about childhood imbecility? Fat is a lot easier to correct than stupidity. What a total national embarrassment, what the bloody hell has happened to the education system in this country?

/don’t bother answering that, it was a rhetorical question, remember, the Jimmy Carter created United States Department of Education has only been around for the last 30 years and, apparently, they’re doing a damn fine job of steadily stupefying our kids to the point of illiterate idiocy