8 Mar. 2007

Dicks In Space

Richard Tonkin at Webdiary sees dark forces at work around Woomera:
How do you feel about the idea that the new work at Spaceport Woomera isn't really about the conquest of space, but actually the control of other nations? What if South Australia is set to become a base from which the US could deploy troops to anywhere in the world? It may sound a little like the plot for Capricorn One, but for one man such an idea is far from impossible to achieve. He's tried something similar before and failed. His name is Richard Cheney...

President Bush's announcement of efforts to travel to Mars on January 14 2004 included a mandate that the space shuttles were to be grounded after the assembly of the international space station. . A 2004 US Senate hearing into the matter was told that "After that, NASA must decide whether it will develop a new heavy-lift expendable rocket, convert the Shuttle (which is a heavy-lift vehicle) into a configuration designed to carry only cargo, or use or modify existing expendable launch vehicles, which are not capable of launching the heaviest loads. The vision also calls for NASA to develop a new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to carry humans back to the Moon as early as 2015."

It all sounds like a noble endeavour. Am I being too cynical in wondering if this new slant on the space program is merely a disguise for testing new military technology?

Australia, according to the Attorney general's Department, deems that to "launch a space object means launch the object into an area beyond the distance of 100 km above mean sea level, or attempt to do so." In creating this demarcation, this country has defined what is air space and what is outer space. Given that outer space isn't owned by any nation, we now have a border that sets our territory apart from these new "international waters" on which the ships we launch will sail.

Soon a new craft will begin its maiden voyages. One the shuttle's potential replacements, proposed by private corporation Rocketplane Kistler, is due to be tested from Woomera over the next few years. The Kistler K-1 is a two-stage vehicle designed for full reusability. It is 121 feet (36.9 m) in overall length, 22 feet (6.7 m) in diameter and weighs 841,000 pounds (382,300 kg) at liftoff. and is designed to be reused 100 times. Rocketplane-Kistler is a partnership that includes Lockheed-Martin and Northrop Grumman, two companies who are already bringing their technologies to South Australia to participate in the warship construction.

Kistler's plan's for Woomera aren't as new as they sound in the NASA announcements. It was noted in the 1998 memorandum on the Australian Space Activities Bill that the company's subsidiary Kistler Woomera Pty Ltd had applied to build a facility. It appears that taking the project to the defence giants has given the scheme the firepower it needed to become attractive to NASA.

It's noted in the document linked above (circulated by the same Senator Nick Minchin who is currently showing of a possible model for the new warships at Port Adelaide) that Kistler at that time were expected to be the first to utilise the legislation. This makes you wonder who had the Prime Minister's ear in order to get the legalities sorted out so quickly. Given the amount of momentum development in South Australia was given by Dick Cheney's visit to Australia in 1997, it would be unsurprising if the aspiring US Vice President had a word in John Howard's ear.

What I'm now beginning to believe is that experiments that Rocketplane-Kistler are carrying out are maybe not just to carry staff and supplies to one space station. I'm thinking more about a US Military ability to put American troops anywhere in the world as soon as Cheney snaps his fingers.
There is even more info at the link. Meanwhile, please ignore rumours that Cheney is about to resign to "save" Bush’s presidency. The only reason Cheney might resign would be to save his own ass, and resignation won't help that none right now.