NASA, Decrepit, Woke, and Desperate, Is 14 Years Late On Hubble Replacement. Why?
September 13, 2021 (4mo ago)

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Remember the Hubble Space Telescope? It was a pretty big deal 30 years ago when it launched into low Earth orbit, where it remains today. Stuck with 20th century technology, cracking and in need of expensive repair, Hubble hangs out in the night sky as a sign of old American glory at the Cold War’s end.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) was supposed to update Hubble for the twenty-first century. Webb, we are told, boasts 15 times the collection area of Hubble and will be able to capture infrared images in high resolution. 

Pretty cool. And last week, NASA announced its new James Webb Space Telescope finally has a launch date: 

NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit Dec. 18, 2021, to serve as the premier deep space observatory for the next decade…

The highly complex space telescope is currently resting in its final stow configuration at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California.

“Webb is an exemplary mission that signifies the epitome of perseverance,” said Gregory L. Robinson, Webb’s program director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I am inspired by our dedicated team and our global partnerships that have made this incredible endeavor possible. Together, we’ve overcome technical obstacles along the way as well as challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. I also am grateful for the steadfast support of Congress. Now that we have an observatory and a rocket ready for launch, I am looking forward to the big day and the amazing science to come.” [NASA]

It all sounds very exciting until you realize what is left out of the press release.

One striking omission: even if Webb launches this year, it will be 14 years late and cost 20 times the original budget. 

Here’s how that happened:

The JWST started development in 1996, with a 2007 launch date. Originally budgeted to cost $500 million, that price tag has ballooned to $10 billion. And there is still nothing to show for it. $10 billion and 25 years in development, we are still taking space pics with the Cold War-era Hubble, while the JWST remains a beached whale.

The project’s Wikipedia page lists at least 14 times NASA has promised a launch date for the JWST, only to kick it back farther:

If the disastrous war in Afghanistan were a telescope, it would be the James Webb telescope.

When Americans squander decades of time and billions of dollars only to get nothing in return, they can rest assured a defense contractor is lurking somewhere in the storyline. 

Naturally, Northrop Grummon is the JWST’s prime contractor.

It’s the same story all over again at NASA. To this day, the most powerful rocket in US history remains the F-1 rocket engine. This was the engine used to propel the Apollo moon missions. But today, American rocket engineers are incapable of reproducing the F-1. They remarkably lack the skills and know-how to match earlier achievements from generations ago.

In other words, antiquated technology is as elusive to us today as future technology. America’s reached its high water mark for a task as rote and mechanical as rocket power over 50 years ago.

It’s not for lack of throwing money at the problem. The Space Launch System (“SLS”) was supposed to be NASA’s solution to rocket impotence problem. NASA began development on SLS 10 years ago, and despite costs to taxpayers ballooning up to $20 billion and counting, it still has never even launched.

NASA’s SLS has done nothing but miss deadlines, fail tests, and burn through budgets for a decade. It’s a beached whale, just like the JWST.

And like with the JWST, military contractors have cleaned out the US Treasury’s piggy bank as they failed their way forward. For the SLS, the prime contractor is Boeing.

Meanwhile, In China

For some reason, China doesn’t seem to be having any of these problems. In fact, they are absolutely cleaning America’s clock in outer space.

In 2019, China made history by becoming the first country to land a probe on the dark side of the moon.

China then proceeded to become the first country to grow plants on the moon.

As the US co-led International Space Station — still in orbit after 23 years — suffers cracks, pressure-drops and accidents, China is planning a great leap forward: a mile-long megaship over which it would have total national control.  

This summer, China has even matched the US’s feat of landing a rover on Mars

To be sure, the US does retain considerable advantages over China when it comes to space technology. China isn’t really that close to matching the SpaceX/NASA heavy lift capability or compete on price performance of American and European low weight to orbit capability any time soon. The US currently has roughly 2500 satellites orbiting the Earth, whereas China has roughly 430 satellites. But that figure already puts China as the world’s #2 satellite power, and new launches are happening rapidly in the Middle Kingdom. China launched four new satellites last week alone.

During the Cold War, Mao Zedong reportedly lamented that “China cannot even put a potato in space.” Today, China has come dangerously close to matching the US in virtually every facet of space competition. The two most notable exceptions are satellites, which are principally IT infrastructure, and manned moon missions. But with America unable to even replicate the rockets it used to send men to the moon, it’s unclear whether those missions can still be put in America’s column today.

Does anyone seriously believe the Globalist American Empire (GAE) will meet its ridiculous promise to put “the first woman” and “the first person of color” on the moon’s surface in 2024?

That’s a manned moon mission before the next presidential election — and we haven’t even gotten the test rocket to lift off the ground yet. The spacesuits alone, marred by gender identity politics, somehow now cost $1 billion each and the impossibility of easily conforming specs to women is now being floated as an official excuse to delay the mission entirely.

Again and again, that’s the story with modern NASA: An organization which used to have the sole objective of greatness has been sidetracked into chasing solely political objectives. A scientist with decades of experience working with NASA spoke bluntly with Revolver about the nature of the problem.

“NASA is clearly more focused on ‘diversity’ set asides than technological achievement — when I submit a NASA grant application I focus more on making sure my team looks diverse and I’ve got the right outreach buzzwords than on the science,” the scientist said.

Close your eyes and try to imagine China kneecapping its national glory because Chinese females and Uyghur Muslims must be artificially injected into every nook and cranny of its space program’s leadership, science and engineering personnel, and specific mission team selection.

No, China systematically prioritizes National Greatness over Racial And Gender Grievance. The United States used to prioritize greatness as well, and in fact became the greatest space-faring nation ever to exist on account of its singular dedication to victory and excellence. But our priorities have now changed and our supremacy in the 21st century is increasingly uncertain, even doubtful, as a result. 

Greatness VS. Grievance: Choose One

It is hard to overstate NASA’s emphasis on “diversity, inclusion and equity” over any actual achievements in recent history.

In July 2010, President Obama’s NASA Chief Charles Bolden told Al-Jazeera:

When I became the NASA administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things. One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering. []

Note the word “foremost.” The head of NASA was told by the US President that his foremost task was to make foreign citizens, of racially and religiously preferred backgrounds, artificially “feel good” about their own STEM field contributions.

The 2016 NASA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Implementation Plan made sure there was no escape from racial and gender diversity quotas and the dismantling of merit hiring and promotion standards, both internally and across NASA’s contractors.

In 2018, NASA’s “Strategic Plan” repeatedly framed hitting its diversity quotas and dismantling merit as critical to “addressing national challenges” and “optimizing capabilities.” No “strategic analysis,” however, appeared to be done on how artificial diversity at the cost of competence and cohesion was supposed to translate into unity and strength, rather than incompetence and division.

Most recently, this summer, in June 2021, NASA launched “Mission Equity”:

NASA this week launched a new “equity” mission to recruit people from more diverse backgrounds — but it was quickly derided online as an unnecessary woke step toward “critical space theory.”

The space agency launched its “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants” program on Tuesday, sharing a video of staffers of varying racial backgrounds delivering the new inclusive message.

“At NASA, we’re on a mission of equity, launching opportunity … to reach those we’ve never reached before … To shatter boundaries and break down barriers across America,” the staffers say.

The agency said it wants to reach those who are “Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color” as well as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons.” …

NASA is a 21st-century agency with 22nd-century goals. To be successful, it’s critical that NASA takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges to equity we see today,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. [NY Post]

“22nd-Century goals” is apparently a euphemism for NASA’s prime contractors in the defense sector that were recently humiliated by 12th century Taliban forces. They’re so far forwards, you see, that the unenlightened perceive them as moving backwards.

No self-reflection is allowed at NASA. There is only the permanent ugliness of failure and waste. See how many minutes you can make it into NASA’s 29:36 “Mission Equity: Making NASA Accessible to All” and post your score in the comments:

In 2014, Peter Thiel argued that, effectively, “technology stalled in 1970.” What Thiel suggested was that, if ones subtract information technology – which is designed to supplement hard technologies and infrastructure — there were very few “advancements” that were tangible and real:

According to Thiel, developments in computers and the Internet haven’t significantly improved our quality of life. In a new book, he warns entrepreneurs that conventional business wisdom is preventing them and society as a whole from making major advances in areas, such as energy or health, where technology could make the world a better place…

[Q:]One of the most striking claims in your book is that we haven’t had significant technological progress since around 1970. What about computing?

Progress in computers and the Internet helps with communications, and it’s enabled us to make things far more efficient. On the other hand, most other fields of engineering have been bad things to go into since the 1970s: nuclear engineering, aero- and astronautical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, even electrical engineering. We are living in a material world, so that’s pretty big to miss out on. I don’t think we’re living in an incredibly fast technological age.

America’s elevation of Grievance over Greatness is yet another, and perhaps decisive, factor in the stagnation Thiel describes. The very fact that we cannot even conceive of another moon mission without reframing it as a women’s rights and minority rights objective is instructive. In the Globalist American Empire, every major undertaking must be recast in light of our underlying ideological obsession with racial and gender grievance. Even the dramatic failure in Afghanistan had to be cast in terms of a mission to promote women’s rights.

Is greatness possible under such conditions?

In the 1960s, America’s frenzied push for national excellence was so powerful, that it eagerly employed Wernher von Braun, a former SS member implicated in the use of slave labor by the Third Reich. In contrast, is there any doubt today that any NASA engineer, no matter how talented or important, would be completely ruined if a tape surfaced of them using the N-word five years ago?

What is the last Great Work the USA has even embarked on, let alone accomplished? Take a moment to ponder that question silently to yourself. The Hoover Dam? The Interstate Highway system? The Apollo moon landing? 

Of course, it’s possible that the James Webb Space Telescope launches this year, albeit 14 years late. It’s possible the Space Launch System finally gets off the ground, despite a decade of failing to replicate horsepower levels we had in the 1960s.

But would these qualify as truly Great Works like putting humans on the moon in 2024?

From a practical standpoint, it is hard enough to achieve some great objective without attaching a massive, and likely, futile egalitarian social engineering condition on top of it. At a certain point the all-consuming imperatives of racial, gender, and LGBTQ grievance overwhelm whatever other objective they might be attached to, even to the point of becoming a consolation prize for failure.

In other words, there’s an underlying sense that if we can’t accomplish some great feat in a “woke” fashion, it’s not worth accomplishing at all. And if we aren’t able to accomplish the feat in question (say, returning to the moon) it’s not such a big deal because it’s the wokeness, not the achievement that counts. If China beats us back to the moon, we possess the moral victory because we intended to put a black woman in a wheelchair on the moon, whereas China put an ordinary Chinese person on the moon. If we are routed and humiliated in Afghanistan after 20 years and trillions of dollars spent, it is unfortunate, but we still have the high ground because we care about women’s rights there.

The Globalist American Empire’s woke obsession therefore not only propels us to failure, it serves as a palliative helping to condition us to failure as the new normal. The more America humiliates itself on the global stage, the more desperately its regime and its institutions will cling to “wokeness” as the consolation prize for a failing and diminishing empire.

The truth is quite simple. The 21st Century does not belong to nations that care about “racism” and “sexism.” A nation such as ours that would care far more about a General using the N-word than losing a war is not a serious one.

If we want any chance of restoring seriousness to our once great nation, there is no choice but to discredit and delegitimize the woke religion that currently animates it — along with all of the regime’s institutions that embrace this woke religion. Unless this is achieved, other, more worthy nations will surpass us — and our former Greatness will prove far more remote than the stars.

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4 months ago

Stars are all in the same places thay they were 14 years ago.
There, fixed.

no thanks
4 months ago

Trump commissioned the 2024 moon landing, not the GAE, unless you are insinuating something.

frank speecher
4 months ago

thus is all fakery….CGI and video manipulation got us to the moon and mars. The earth is flat, and NASA is a blackops funding black hole.

4 months ago

Well, Since Hubble is a repurposed military spy satellite, NASA had to wait for more donations from the military. That happened recently and they now have two more satellites that the military doesn’t want as they now have better.”The United States’ spy satellite agency is giving NASA two spare space telescopes free of charge, each potentially more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA officials announced today (June 4).

The two spy satellite telescopes were originally built to fly space-based surveillance missions for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), but will be repurposed by NASA for astronomical research instead. Their donation to NASA was revealed in a surprise announcement.

Both NRO space telescopes have a main mirror nearly 8 feet wide (2.4 meters), rivaling the Hubble Space Telescope, and also carry a secondary mirror to enhance image sharpness, according to press reports. NASA’s Hubble telescope is a space icon that has been beaming stunning photos to Earth for 22 years.

NASA and NRO officials did not elaborate on the original design or mission for the reconnaissance telescopes, though officials told the Washington Post that the earliest either of the instruments could be recycled into a new space telescope and launched into orbit would be 2020. Finding the funding necessary to refit and launch the telescopes is a major hurdle, officials said.”

Donald Holland
4 months ago

Just pay space x to launch it. Oh wait, it’s using a French rocket? We can all watch 10 billion worth of debris rain down on the south Atlantic.

4 months ago

Is it possible that affirmative action put the best and brightest in key positions? No? Oh.

4 months ago

Hubble is 100% CGI and flat out BS, that is why nothing happens with it.

Shawn G Kelly
4 months ago

At Least NASA is consistent with the trials and tribulations of our feckless government. I can remember when NASA was respected I also remember when we had rotary phones. Such is life–Right!!

Navin R Johnson
4 months ago

Just a small correction, it was actually the Saturn V rocket, not the F1. The F1 was the model of engine they developed for the first stage…that today’s woke affirmative action engineers are incapable of building. 😀

1 month ago

The people who built the F1 are retired or dead. Like it or not, but those early rockets were largely built with bailing wire and chewing gum, and the specific number of wire wraps and gum chews were omitted from the plans.

And this is ignoring the fact we don’t make steel in the US anymore; do you want to be sending (more) rocket plans to China for fabrication?

1 month ago

Correction: I know we still make steel, I meant we don’t make *anywhere near as much* steel here anymore. Our industry has largely been offshored and forgotten.

4 months ago

Welcome to Canada.

Johnny Hooker
4 months ago

The Earth is flat an unmoving. Space is a lie and NASA is the biggest money laundering scheme in history.

4 months ago

Please back off. China only has those capabilities because they steal them from us and the Erupeans. Those were not developed in house, in China. Additionally, have you ever been part of building a one off complex system? I would like to state that it isn’t a cake walk. Complex systems continually throw you curve balls that must be solved. You may also be developing technology that doesn’t even exist when you start a project. So let’s cut these Uber intelligent men and women some slack and celebrate their victory in doing something that has never been done before. Now the Chinese will be able to produce this next year after they steal the technology we spent $20B to produce.

Sean Sullivan
4 months ago

That’s because math is racist. Old guys smoking luck strikes with pocket protectors and a lead pencil behind their ear designed the best rockets and Jets. They didn’t have super computers they had skills we use to teach in our schools.

4 months ago

1619 was the year the first Scot/Irish slaves were brought to America

Is Your Butt Wiped?
4 months ago

Anyone remember the Florida International University pedestrian bridge that was touted by “officials” as a project led by mostly women and minorities? While nearing completion, all the media, university officials, and other woke morons could do was rub it in the face of White men that THIS project was THEIRS. Done without needing Whitey and his racist/sexist engineering principles. But there was a problem. Wokeness cannot defy the laws of physics and before the project was completed, on March 15, 2018, the bridge collapsed killing 6 people, mostly car passengers in the crushed autos below. This wasn’t some high-traffic bridge handling moving loads of tractor-trailers and automobiles. It was a pedestrian bridge and hadn’t had ANY real load of moving anything because it wasn’t even open to the public yet. Don’t look for the “woke” angle in the interwebs as most of THAT angle has been scrubbed and swept into the memory hole. This same woke attitude has engulfed NASA, and is the reason you will continue to see huge cost overruns/blown budgets, delay after delay after delay of important projects, and worst of all, catastrophic failures that WILL lead to loss of life and complete embarrassment to the former United States.

Miss Debra
4 months ago

NASA can’t deceive us anymore with fake moon landings and fake space pictures. The Patriots and Truthers now have the technology to debunk them.

4 months ago

@dually, stars have their own proper motion through space which is expanding. That aside, Hubble is used for far more than “looking at stars” as you said. For example, Hubble is used to plot pockets of dark matter.

As to why NASA is too busy to upgrade Hubble, could it have something to do with the reports they are allegedly assisting with the cartel-Democrat human trafficking operation of illegal aliens into the United States? And what those reports of them partnering with Iran to build better rockets under Obama, has that been restarted?

4 months ago
Reply to  American

Hubble is used to collect electronic noise so animation artists from the movie industry can transform the doctored data from the noise into 3D graphs. I’m not sure Hubble can even take an actual photograph.

Is it even believable that light travels at c speed for 70 years? On what? When I switch off a lightbulb, instant darkness all around except for the bulb’s dimming. Wouldn’t the light from the bulb keep traveling outwards anyway, for 70 years, detectable by some instrument, and will you give me a billion dollars so me and my friends can research it?

4 months ago

“On what?” This was the place of “ether” in old-time physics, acting as a medium for light.

Lankes Cheryl
4 months ago

Pretty sure Space X had the South African connection to gain all the contracts during the Obama administration. What kind of commercial program gleans all the government contracts?

4 months ago

I retired from NASA in late 2012 because of Obama and the lack of any vision/mission for NASA. I wanted NASA’s goal to be a permanent human presence on the Moon and to learn how to live on two separate heavenly bodies. This would be a huge accomplishment for the human race. I wanted NASA to embrace the new space companies (Space X, Blue Origin, etc.) and play them against the old space companies (Boeing, Lockheed, etc). I pictured an ever expanding sphere around the Earth that went out to GEO expanding to the Moon. Everything inside the sphere NASA would pay for services (No SLS launch system). NASA expertise had shifted from the government to industry inside the sphere. NASA would still control the design of vehicles and equipment outside the Sphere where no one has every built a Lunar base, but they would highly leverage the manufacturing and design capability of the ever expanding new space companies and the old space to design to make the elements needed to establish a Lunar Base. The primary goal of the base would be totally self sufficiency from Earth except for humans. Live off the land and become a two heavenly body race.

President Trump fixed the vision but the culture of NASA was in need of major repair. Prior to retirement only a few shared my ambitious vision. Most view the agency as theirs and only wanted to do their pet projects with no over reaching goal. The culture has just gotten worst since I retired. I grew up wanting to explore and expand the human race. Starting with Star Trek and now the Expanse, the technology march of the human race is what I sought for the betterment of mankind.

Webb was disaster when I was at NASA. I also told my bosses that the SLS was a total waste of money, but Senator Shelby, the republican from Alabama, wanted his public works project for Huntsville Alabama. Space X has made the Marshall Space Flight Center look like dinosaurs.

We probably need to rebuild NASA from the bottom up. Unfortunately some agency/group needs to be the architecture of what we do in Space.

4 months ago

Earth is pretty flat.

4 months ago

Of course.they have to criminalize the love of freedom. That’s how they plan to turn the U.S. into a banana republic.

Stan Zorin
4 months ago


4 months ago

Well we live on a flat earth so that’s probably a part of the issue, still can’t break the firmament

4 months ago

Space exploration is a waste of money and time. Boomers are too attached to Cold War stupidity.

4 months ago

If one wants NASA to be successful, Only the brightest and best should be hired. Diversity, equity and affirmative action does not build superior systems but puta useless people in positions that they can never accomplish.

4 months ago

Hiring Diversity, Equity and Affirmative action people is a recipe to disaster for NASA.

Brian Duffy
1 month ago

Its not the inclusion of qualified minorities that is holding back American greatness. Its the corruption and gridlock of our government.

alan s.
1 month ago

NASA is a fraud!

Daryl Masterson
1 month ago

“Everything woke turns to shit” and NASA proves it again and again

1 month ago

Here’s your problem….and parts of it have always existed.

First, NASA exists at the whim of politicians…main problem. Why are there “space centers” in at least half a dozen different states (I can’t keep track of all the name changes so there could be more or less….some troll can figure it out)? Because every one wanted their piece of the pie…so the whole Florida and Texas thing has nothing to do with anything but politics…it could easily all be in one big location. Huge money pit. Hugely inefficient…but that was how NASA greased the palms of the politicians and got what funding they were able to acquire.

Second, NASA has a long history of getting their funding jerked around on a routine basis which prevents any semblance of anything resembling long term planning. The Space Station is a prime example. Original cost estimates of $20 billion were pared down to $9 billion as I recall by Slick William and his mafia (you’re free to correct me on that too as I work from 30 year old memories). So, the schedule was mutilated to meet the funding goal, which in turn causes Everything to cost even more and take even longer in the end….pretty typical of any gummint program for the most part. Then it got turned into a foreign aid program and the cost ballooned back up well past the original estimates. Mission accomplished…and quite frankly for the “science” it bought, a huge waste.

Third, space is hard and without continuous programming to build constantly on the last successes, it causes NASA to go through regular boom and bust cycles. The talent pool fluctuates widely as the most talented go find something better to do. And as we now see in recent years, you are left with large populations of quota hires hanging on to their gummint gravy train.

I am certainly no fan of NASA having observed their schtick first hand from the contractor side of things for many years on many different programs. And their problems are legion, while the contractors they employ are required to play ball to get the big contracts. So it is an incestual relationship at best as folks flow freely back and forth between the organizations. Not unlike the so called military/industrial complex.

Now pile all this social engineering garbage on top of this heap of rubbish, and you have a dumpster fire which will burn brightly without end. It’s a sad state of affairs….glad I am long gone from it.

1 month ago

July 2010:
In a far-reaching restatement of goals for the nation’s space agency, NASA administrator Charles Bolden says President Obama has ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand our international relationships,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.”

1 month ago

I’m a Republican and I am VERY MAD that I don’t understand space or science or engineering. Therefore it is all FAKE!

1 month ago

The very story you link to explains that the F1 engine COULD be built today, in fact they NASA just chose to make new engines from scratch. They could build the F1-B which would be more efficient, but they DON’T NEED IT.

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