Surly bonds

Try as I might, I just can’t get excited over the news that Lockheed Martin’s been awarded the contract to build the (cynically named?) Orion moonship.

For one thing, why should I care that a mammoth defense contractor has managed to land yet another oversight-free trip to the taxpayer-underwritten feeding trough? But beyond that, even beyond my suspicion of the uses to which the space program is being put by the current Administration, I wonder if manned spaceflight is still capable of returning anything meaningful to those of us left behind here on Earth.

It would be painful to admit that there is no part left of me capable of ascending with every launch, but that’s what I’m up against. And if they’ve lost me, they’re in a fair degree of trouble it terms of their ability to mobilize public approval, because I’m the guy that’s reasonably sympathetic to the pro-space program arguments. As of now, I feel a big nullity at the thought of what NASA is contemplating, or has been ordered to contemplate.

I might, of course, feel differently if the craft weren’t so cravenly a scaled-up Apollo. But that’s a discussion for a different day.

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