POSTED BY BILL
As you probably know, NASA has warned that the space station (ISS) may be "termporarily" unmanned later this year if the Ruskies can't get their act together and figure out why an Progress supply capsule launch failed recently. Much of the same technology is used in their Soyuz manned capsules. THESE CAPSULES ARE NOW THE ONLY WAY to move crew to and from the ISS.
Bush, Obama, and Congress are all to blame for this. Bush prematurely set in motion the Space Shuttle retirement, Obama cancelled its replacement, and Congress does what Congress does - argue.
So now, shortly after being completed and fully staffed, a orbital complex representing the best technology and highest aspirations of our species is in jeopardy. The ISS is designed to be unmanned - for a time - but things break and many times astronauts have performed needed on the spot repairs. If the ISS loses its abilty to maintain stability, it will lose its solar power and if it begins to tumble will be very hard to control or ever dock with again. Unstable, it would also experience more atmospheric drag and without the ability to reboost its orbit, could make a fiery re-entry one year soon.
A small percentage of the money we've wasted on "stimlulous" programs could have easily kept the shuttle up and running indefinitely - while "saving" real jobs. NASA lost the funds, didn't get the replacement, and we have to pay the Russians high fees to orbit our astronauts - if they can.