Feb. 1st, 2010

radarrider: (Default)
It doesn't come as much of a surprise, actually, that the Obama administration is cancelling NASA's Project Constellation, thus effectively getting the United States government out of the manned spaceflight business. This includes the Ares 1 and Ares 5 launch vehicles, the Orion spacecraft, and the Altair lunar landing craft. Instead, the focus would be on the private sector ultimately to provide manned spaceflight service to and from the Space Station.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I'm all for letting the private sector do as much as possible, and the recent advances by various companies (Scaled Composites, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Armadillo Aerospace, etc.) mean that commercial manned orbital spaceflight is a very real possibility in the next few years. Because they're for-profit companies, they will very likely be more efficient, and I'd even say as safe or safer, than NASA. Especially if they can build off of at least some of NASA's experience. And private sector jobs are better for the economy than government jobs.

On the other hand, NASA's manned space program is an institution and there are some things that really only the federal government can pay for, even though it represents a miniscule portion of the total budget.

Obviously, NASA will still be responsible for robotic exploration of the solar system and beyond so it's not like they're going away. They'll be focused on research and technology development as before. I think, or at least I hope, that this will be a good course. We'll have to wait and see.
Feb. 1st, 2010 11:34 am

The N

radarrider: (Default)
Over the weekend I picked up an 802.11n wireless access point for downstairs. Although the bottleneck for Internet access is still the connection to Comcast, this will provide improved bandwidth for our laptops to the Windows Home Server so backups will go faster, and streaming hi-def video will run smoother. I also set both the new WAP, and the existing wireless router upstairs (still only 802.11g), to use WPA2 Personal with AES instead of WPA with TKIP so it's now more secure. We had to manually change the settings in Windows but it was easy to do, though I was a bit surprised that Windows didn't handle it automatically as the keyphrase hasn't changed. Interestingly, my iPhone didn't have that issue. Oh well....

At some point I'll probably upgrade the router, but since we mostly use the laptops downstairs, this should suffice for a while.


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