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Space Program

July 2, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The Russian Proton-M rocket that blew up seconds after blastoff Tuesday destroyed three satellites worth $200 million, spurred authorities to indefinitely delay two other launches this month and damaged the image of Russia's lucrative commercial space industry. The rocket, which appeared to stall and roll about 10 seconds after it was launched, also spewed 600 tons of toxic fuel across the launch pad and surrounding steppe of the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, raising fears of contamination and further strain in Moscow's relationship with its former Soviet sister republic.
March 5, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
Los Angeles billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive of Hawthorne rocket maker SpaceX, testified before Congress that the U.S. Air Force and other agencies are paying too high a price to launch its most valuable satellites into orbit. The government pays billions to a sole provider to launch nearly all of its spy satellites and other high-profile spacecraft, without seeking competitive bids. That provider is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace behemoths Lockheed Martin Corp.
April 26, 1988
I was pleased to read several recent opinion articles on the U.S. space program in The Times recently. They represent, perhaps, a wider appreciation of the sorrowful condition of this country's program. Since Apollo the government and public have relied on NASA to select the nation's goals in space. Apparently they were satisfied with the space shuttle, until the Challenger disaster. It is not, however, NASA's role to determine our future in space; that is the responsibility of the President and Congress.
March 1, 2014 | By Joe Mozingo
Wearing a nitrogen-powered jet pack, Dale Gardner stepped from the space shuttle, alone and untethered, 224 miles above Earth. Armed with a 5-foot probe called a stinger, Gardner drifted toward a wayward satellite, the Westar 6, which was spinning slowly, 35 feet away. When he got close enough Gardner inserted the stinger into the orbiter's spent rocket nozzle and brought it to a halt. "I got it," he exclaimed. The mission to salvage the Westar and another communications satellite, the Palapa B-2, in November 1984 marked a high point of the space shuttle program, feeding a growing sense of NASA's infallibility that would end just a year later, when the Challenger exploded just after launch over Florida.
September 14, 2009 | William Sweet, William Sweet is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. His views are his own.
For the last five years, the United States has been saddled with a space program that manages to be both unrealistic and uninspiring. It's unrealistic because it depends on funding and technology that are not available, and uninspiring because it proposes a mere repeat visit to the moon -- and not very soon at that -- and a trip to Mars that is way too far off to excite any young person alive today. Last week, a panel of former astronauts and space entrepreneurs convened by the Obama administration to review the 2004 program released its preliminary findings, which offer a way out of our space dilemma.
December 15, 1996
I am an eighth-grader at Aliso Viejo Middle School. Last year, when we spent a brief two weeks studying the space program in science, we learned all about the first mission into space. We followed the triumph of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they took that famous first step, and the missions to the moon following Apollo 11. After that, things seemed to come to a standstill. All we did was go around and around the Earth like a carousel. We put a space station up, but after visiting it a few times we just let it fall back into our atmosphere.
December 8, 1992
In his column (Opinion, Nov. 29) on America's space program, Gregg Easterbrook's tired anti-space shuttle, anti-manned space flight argument serves neither the public's interest nor the interest of informed public debate. Easterbrook is so eager to mothball the shuttle that he is apparently blind to the contribution it continues to make to America's space program; nor does he acknowledge the technical and budgetary challenges of replacing the orbiter. He fails to point out that a replacement system would take 10 to 15 years to develop, with no guarantee that the cost to operate that system would be significantly, if at all, less than for the shuttle.
February 19, 2014 | By Carla Hall
Anyone who thinks the U.S. space program is done with and permanently parked at the California Science Center in the form of the space shuttle Endeavour hasn't heard NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and aerospace engineer Camille Alleyne (yes, a rocket scientist) talk about the International Space Station. Which is what they were doing on a very earthbound mission this week in Los Angeles to promote NASA's involvement in the space station and the exhibit, “Destination: Station,” showcasing what it's like to live aboard the International Space Station.
February 14, 2014 | James Barragan
Bob Thompson fondly remembers when Downey was buzzing with pride and payrolls as a major hub for work on the Apollo space program and the construction site for six space shuttles. "Since the beginning of time, we had all these world leaders who looked up at the moon," said Thompson, a 72-year-old local history buff who worked for 34 years on the site where the spacecraft were built. "Here in Downey we built the vehicles that put the first man on the moon, and that is why it's a great source of pride.
January 5, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
The gig: Wanda M. Austin, 59, is the president and chief executive of Aerospace Corp., an El Segundo brain trust for the Pentagon's space program. Although not well known outside defense circles, it is regarded as one of the nation's most important assets. Classified space: For decades, Aerospace, which receives federal funds, has provided oversight for development of highly secretive spy satellites, ballistic missiles and launch vehicles. Aerospace scientists and engineers oversee the technical side of contracts awarded to defense firms to ensure the work is being done properly.
December 9, 2013 | By Louis Friedman
Some 10 years ago, during testimony before Congress, I was asked by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), "Do you think we are in a space race with China?" I quickly answered "no" and proceeded to explain that, in my view, the concept of a space race represented old thinking. The modern way forward in space would be through international cooperation and coordination. Today, I think my insistence that the space race was over was naive. There are now many space races. One is taking place between China and India, dramatized by India's launch of a Mars orbiter last month and China's launch this month of a lunar lander and rover.
November 2, 2013 | By James S. Fell
Col. Chris Hadfield, who until recently was commander of the International Space Station, has a workout regimen that is out of this world. Sorry. Couldn't resist. Hadfield's new book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," goes into detail about what it takes to be in shape for space travel. What kind of shape do you need to be in to qualify for the space program? To qualify to live on the space station, you have to pass the hardest physical exam in the world. There has to be a high lack of a probability of a problem, whether it's your appendix or an injury.
September 14, 2013
Re "NASA confirms Voyager milestone," Sept. 13 Iread of Voyager 1 leaving our solar system with more excitement, pride and soaring emotion than I had expected. I'm a retired teacher, and I remember the excitement that Voyager 1 stirred when it was launched in 1977. It was proof of American ingenuity, a measure of our national resolve to be first in everything we tried to accomplish. My students' imaginations were fired up by America's achievements in space. In fact, two of them went on to earn seats on space shuttle missions.
August 6, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Charles used to work at NASA and wants to stay in touch with the space program via NASA TV, the cable channel paid for by tax dollars and provided free to telecom companies. Turns out, though, that his AT&T U-verse package doesn't include NASA TV. To receive the channel, he was told, he'd have to pay for a more expensive programming package. More videos from Ask Laz Charles' question: Why should NASA TV be considered a premium channel considering that taxpayers have already paid for it?
July 27, 2013 | By Monte Morin
Before they were sedated and loaded into the nose cone of a stubby Jupiter missile, the monkeys Able and Baker were just the latest in a growing number of rocket-test animals who, more often than not, met a violent end. But on May 25, 1959, after reaching the very edge of space about 60 miles above Earth's surface, the primates splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, and were recovered by U.S. Navy frogmen. "Able/Baker perfect," came the radio message. "No injuries or other difficulties.
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