Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita puts a damper on space plans?

From the WaPo...Rita May Cause Tens of Billions in Damage

Looks as though Hurricane Rita doesn't want us to use the central offices for space exploration:

'You're looking at the southeast quadrant of the city of Houston, from downtown to Galveston Bay, being underwater,' said Chris Johnson, president of Dodson & Associates.

That area is home to about 700,000 people, 15 percent of the metro population. It includes the Johnson Space Center, which sits about 20 miles southeast of downtown Houston in a low-lying area threaded by bayous. NASA evacuated the space center Wednesday, shifting ground control over the International Space Station to a Russian space agency facility outside Moscow.

If Rita wipes out the Houston base, how long will the budget take to rebuild it (and, frankly, why should they? Shouldn't they consider making either Andrews AFB or Cape Canaveral into the primary Ground Control, since the only reason it was in TX in the first place was because LBJ was a Texan & wanted the pork to go to his home state?).

Of course, there are some very nice pieces of real estate up around the Dakotas, Nebraska, and that general area, which are only subject to occasional tornadoes & blizzards, and have yet to see a hurricane since the cretaceous period or so. Would it be problematic to move the geeks and radioheads to, say, the Omaha area, while we're reconstructing cities & bureaucracies? Crikey, we could even just move them over to New Mexico (Like, maybe, Alamagordo neighborhood), and they'd be more secure from this sort of event. And, the economies wouldn't suffer terribly, in either case... TX has oil, other states have room to develop.

O'course, nobody wants to change. It's too hard on the psyche. But hanging on to places which are too costly to maintain and secure... that's just nuts. (and, from experience, I know nuts when I see it)

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