December 31, 2018

China Admits it Will Seize the Moon and Mars -- Like the South China Sea

Please read this Wall Street Journal article. China often telegraphs it's global ambitions and we are fools to ignore their clearly stated warnings.

“The universe is like the ocean, the moon is like the Diaoyu Islands, and Mars is like Huangyan Island,” Ye Peijian, head of China’s moon missions, said in a 2017 interview with state TV, using China’s names for islands in the South and East China Seas that China is trying to illegally seize. “We will be blamed by our descendants if we don’t go there…and others get there before us.”


Note that this is not just a commentator testing the waters or rattling sabers as with a recent threat to sink two American aircraft carriers (which would mean war and an end to China's dominance in manufacturing), but is effectively the official position of China's moon program. Of note is that China has an high official specifically in charge of sending astronauts and robots to the surface of the moon--and the U.S. doesn't.

The South and East China Seas are the current and initial battlegrounds in China's ambitions to violate 400 years of freedom of the seas, international law, the Law of the Sea treaty, and the sovereign territories of many nations in the region. 

Search for China's "first island chain" scheme that swallows the South China, East China and Yellow Seas as well as Taiwan, the "second island chain" which swallows Japan and Indonesia, the "third" which could reach to Hawaii, the "fourth" which could encircle Australia and India, and the "fifth island chain" which could reach to the shores of Africa and you'll see the magnitude of their possible illegal conquest of half of the world's seas and many nations' sovereignty.

Lately, China has been very clear that they will be staking out the lunar south pole, and this is of alarm because the lunar pole craters contain water ice, making them the only place humanity can ever build permanent bases and cities on the Moon.

To further this goal, Starting as soon as next year, China plans to send their Chang'e-6 lunar rover to the south pole, followed by Chang'e-7

"Experts are still discussing and verifying the feasibility of subsequent projects, but it's confirmed that there will be another three missions after Chang'e-5," said Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the CNSA, at a press conference of the State Council Information Office.

According to Wu, the Chang'e-6 mission will be designed to bring samples back from the South Pole of the moon.

"Whether the probe will land on the near side or the far side of the moon, we will make the decision according to the performance of Chang'e-5," he said.

The Chang'e-7 mission will carry out comprehensive surveys around the South Pole, including studying terrain and landform, physical composition as well as the space environment in the region.

The Chang'e-8 mission, in addition to scientific surveys and experiments, will test key technologies to lay the groundwork for the construction of a science and research base on the moon.

The deputy director of China’s Lunar exploration center, Pei Zhaoyu, stated at a 2018 ESA/Chinese lunar cooperation workshop that, “NASA will focus on building the LOP-G. CNSA, (China’s military-led space agency), will build the lunar scientific research station on the surface. LOP-G has low economic effectiveness.”

Liu Jizhong, director of China Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center amplified on this in 2017: “China is planning and designing its future lunar exploration program. We will focus on the south pole region of the moon. The research on water and the permanent shadow area of the lunar south pole region will bring greater scientific discoveries.”

Another plan that received initial funding is for their military-run space program is to place a giant manned military radar on the moon to map in near-real time every military asset in the world. China's concept of "vertical sovereignty" in violation of the Outer Space Treaty is yet another effort to seize outer space.

American astronauts left plaques on the moon declaring "we came in peace for all mankind," yet China is now signaling they may not have such peaceful plans for the Moon and Mars. The above quote should be taken seriously by the White House and Congress, and industry should ready plans for near-term lunar landing and base-construction programs.

Our continued access to space is a non-partisan issue and should be supported by both parties, or we face a catastrophic defeat for our future in access to space, high technology, national prestige and national security.

In 2014, then NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated: “We will never lead a mission to the moon in my lifetime, in spite of our ISS partners begging us to do so!” It is time to move beyond this holdover restriction from the previous administration, and lead the way back to the surface of the Moon, this time for keeps.

The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration is making it the number one priority in 2019 to advocate replacing NASA's "Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway" (LOP-G) with actual crewed lunar landings at the south pole in the early not late 2020s, and constructing a permanent crewed base there, all with our partners on the International Space Station. India, South Korea and UAE should be invited to participate as well.

Sadly, we must protect our access to the bright 'space age' future we dream of before we could lose access to the Moon and Mars short of war to defend our rights.

December 25, 2018

50 Years after Apollo 8

This Christmas marks the 50th anniversary of the spectacular Apollo 8 mission around the moon. We still are awed by the famous 'Earthrise' photo and the incredible progress in going to the moon less than eight years from President Kennedy's challenge to go "in this decade."

Apollo 8 was the mission that validated our ability to go to the moon and return safely, which set the stage for further validating flights of Apollo 9 and 10. Only then were we ready to safely land Americans on the Moon.

A half century later, we haven't been back to the moon or gone on from there to Mars, a fact that would have outraged anyone living in the Apollo era. "Of course we will have lunar and martian bases by the year 2000," they might have exclaimed.

In spite of learning how to successfully go to the Moon 50 years ago, NASA's current plans might only return Americans to the surface of the moon by the late 2020s--perhaps in time for the 60th anniversary of Apollo 8 or Apollo 11.

Yet the surface of the Moon is where we will learn how to live on Mars, and where cities and commerce will one day arise. But there's a serious race for the only parts of the Moon where humans can live: the poles where there is water ice in the craters.  America might not be participating in this race, unlike in the original race to the Moon, however China has set their plans to conquer the poles. The danger is they will claim the strategic poles as theirs, following the example they are setting to try to seize the international waters and sovereign territories of the South China Sea.

It's time to get our priorities correct for the 2020s, with a determined program to land Americans back on the moon in the early 2020s followed by constructing a permanent lunar base with our partners from the International Space Station, and then, with lessons learned, go to Mars in the 2030s!

Watch the Apollo 8 astronaut's Christmas Eve broadcast from the Moon, including reading from Genesis:

April 20, 2018

The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration congratulates the Honorable Jim Bridenstine on the occasion of his Senate confirmation as NASA Administrator.

Administrator Bridenstine can now roll up his sleeves and change policies from the previous administration to accelerate our journeys to the Moon and Mars.

These are exciting times for the space program! The president and vice president are great supporters of reinvigorating our space program, and the National Space Council is reviewing our entire space program to focus more on human space exploration and better utilize commercial space ventures.

Commercial space is booming and set to launch American astronauts on American rockets within a year or two, and companies like Bigelow are building habitats that can be used in orbit or on the Moon and Mars. Students are getting hands-on experience building cubesats and Mars rovers, and new small and large rockets are cutting launch costs.

Congress has provided additional funds, though even more is needed to avoid delays that cost far more over additional years.

We are at the beginning of a new golden era in space, and Administrator Bridenstine can harness the best of commercial space to return to the surface of the Moon, learn how to live on another world and then go to Mars--far sooner than in plans from the past administration.

America salutes Bridenstine's experience, dedication and passion to restore our space program and lead us to new frontiers.

February 12, 2018

Congratulations to SpaceX for Successful Falcon Heavy Launch!

Launch of Falcon Heavy
Landing of First Stages
A private company, on their own dime, built the most powerful rocket operational in the world--and launched it on a test mission towards and beyond Mars!

SpaceX spent years developing the rocket, which will be capable of carrying larger satellites to orbit, larger rovers and probes to Mars and other planets, and astronauts beyond earth orbit. With refueling, the FH could even send astronauts to land on the moon and perhaps Mars.

Elon Musk, president of SpaceX had predicted a high chance of failure with this new design, but it performed flawlessly.

Oh, the payload was Elon Musk's Tesla roadster, the first car in space, which is on course to pass Mars and orbit in space for perhaps a billion years.

Car in Space!
The Falcon Heavy and successors could be major players in reaching beyond low earth orbit to build a base on the Moon in the 2020s and then, with lessons learned, go to Mars in the 2030s.

View the videos of the launch, first stage landings and the Tesla car in space:

Read more about the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration's recommendations to policy makers on the future of our space program and our global competitiveness in space exploration.

Photo credits: SpaceX

January 18, 2018

Confirm Bridenstine for NASA Administrator Now -- YOU Can Help

LATEST: NASA's acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot is retiring on April 30, which will leave NASA truly leaderless. It's time to confirm the president's choice to lead NASA back to bold exploration. McCain and Rubio should drop their destructive 'holds' and join other Republican Senators in confirming Bridenstine.

It is critical that the Senate vote to confirm the Honorable Jim Bridenstine's nomination as NASA Administrator as soon as possible. Bridenstine has a passion for refocusing NASA on deep space human exploration, to actually take us back to the Moon and on to Mars, and he is willing to give up a Congressional seat he could have held for twenty years so he can help restore our space program.

Past NASA administrators were confirmed by unanimous consent or voice vote. Never before have partisan battles been used against the leadership at NASA.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved Bridenstine's nomination on January 18, and the full Senate must now vote to confirm him.

Call members of the committee in support of the nomination, because they should help gain votes for the nomination -- 202-224-3121 

A leaderless NASA will give China and other nations more of a head start, and harm our economy and our space leadership and global competitiveness. President Trump has outlined great plans to restore our space program to return to the Moon, and with lessons learned, go to Mars.

Hopefully NASA will not detour from landing on the Moon to building the "Deep Space Gateway" that would delay going back to the Moon until the 2030s and thus move Mars to sometime in the 2040s or beyond. Without a permanent Administrator, the task will be much more difficult and result in delays.

Here's how you can help:

Call Senator Mitch McConnell's Majority Leader office -- 202-224-3135
Ask that he secure the necessary votes, get the Senators who placed "holds" on the nomination to remove them. Then file 'cloture' to hold a vote and schedule the floor vote on the nomination.

Call Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- 202-224-5922
Senator Cruz is chairman of the Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee, and supports Bridenstine. Ask him to work with Majority Leader McConnell to secure the votes and schedule the vote, and to appeal to those who placed holds.

Call Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) -- 202-224-3954 
Senator Manchin represents a very 'Red' state, and may be the Democratic Senator most likely to support Bridenstine.

Call Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) 202-224-4124
Senator Jones was elected by a very small margin in a very GOP and very pro-space state--the Marshall NASA center is a serious space tech hub in Alabama. Voting against the president's NASA nominee on partisan grounds would harm our space program and offend the Republican voters he needs to be re-elected.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- 202-224-2235
Senator McCain placed a "hold" on the nomination--he should remove the hold to allow a fair vote. Remind McCain that American leadership in space and by extension America's standing in world affairs are weakened without a NASA Administrator to the benefit of our enemies and foreign countries. The Senator's absence this year from the Senate might preclude his vote, however, he should respect the tradition of the Senate and allow a fair vote in his absence.

Call Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) -- 202-224-5274
Call Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) -- 202-224-3041
Please remind the two Senators from Florida that the future of the space coast economy and America's space competitiveness are at risk if NASA remains effectively leaderless. Both Senators Rubio and Nelson placed a "hold" on the nomination--they should remove the holds to allow a fair vote. Rubio's hold reportedly dates to disagreements during the 2016 campaign, but it is believed he would vote to confirm if a vote is held.

Call Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), the Senator appointed to replace Thad Cochran -- 202-224-5054
Sen. Hyde-Smith has the opportunity to take a lead in the Senate to line up votes for Bridenstine, and persuade her colleagues to drop their holds and opposition. Sen. Cochran had placed a "hold" on the nomination, and his retirement reduced the active holds to three. Mississippi has the Stennis NASA center that tests rocket engines, and continued delays in confirming the president's NASA nominee would harm our space program--and Mississippi's economy.

Regardless of the partisan battles in Congress, everyone should agree that Bridenstine deserves a simple up-or-down vote.  

Forward this to your friends and on social media--especially to people in the above states.

Call radio talk shows to alert more people.

Write letters to the editor urging rapid confirmation.

These quick actions can make a difference! 

Photo credit: Tom Kimmell   This is the Bridenstine "whip list."