Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Submariner In Space (Again)!

CAPT Stephen Bowen, former XO of (then) PCU Virginia (SSN 774), blasted into space for his second flight yesterday, aboard Atlantis. This is planned to be the last mission for the Atlantis. This makes CAPT Bowen the first Submariner to go into space twice. Good luck to CAPT Bowen and the rest of the crew!


Blogger John Byron said...

Watched it fly through 10X glasses from front yard...

5/15/2010 12:45 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

Wonder what kind of initiation they do up there for nub astronauts.

King Neptune in space!

The time of the space truck will soon be over.

5/15/2010 5:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How in the hell do we afford this space shit anyway?

We can't even have enough money for half the shit our boats are tasked with completeing let alone a blast in to space. The words PROPPER PRIORITIES seem to come to mind. What are we trying to do?...keep up with the jones?...oops I mean the Cosmonauts? we have more important shit to do down here on the earth. Let's stay out of space for awhile shall we?

5/15/2010 6:24 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I think we would be just fine with a boomer fleet half the size to keep a decent space program going if it came to that - but, of course the boomer fleet is already built. "PROPPER", huh...sheesh...

5/15/2010 8:48 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

I agree with Mark. Boomers can target their package without leaving the pier. The scientific advances we get from NASA may not give great media benefit, but all the technological advances help to fuel what keeps us ahead of everybody else. It is essentially the civilian equivalent of DARPA.

5/16/2010 12:58 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

The science spinoffs from the shuttle are pretty thin - less there than meets the eye. Ditto space station. When we lost COLUMBIA, one of the most touted scientific efforts aboard was a high-school (not kidding) experiment to breed tropical fish in space ("The Mating Medakas"). That's shuttle science. BTW, note the failure rate of shuttles: we've lost 40% of them, with all on board.

Wobbling around the earth in low-earth orbit has pretty well run out of value for humans and is well-established engineering for unmanned craft. The NASA budget proposed by Obama is the first intelligent space budget since Apollo. Shuttle has become fully evolved into a jobs program - workfare - and shutting it down, though painful for communities like mine (I'm 18 miles from the shuttle pad), is essential to get NASA's budget out of operations and back into science and exploration.

NASA's budget has been pretty much frozen for years. Obama is pumping an extra $5 billion into it over the next 5 years. Not a big drag on the economy and does not compete directly with defense funding (different appropriation).

5/16/2010 5:32 AM

Blogger Aught Severn said...

"we've lost 40% of them, with all on board"

Would seem to imply that the shuttle has a 40% failure rate, when the failure rate is more like 1.5% (2 of 132). Talk with people in the space industry and you'll get agreement that the shuttles are expensive and unsafe pieces of advanced technology (the Main Engines themselves...quite an amazing advancement in the area of rocket motors), but if you try and imply that they have a 40% failure rate (by saying "we've lost 40% of them") you'll probably have a lot of slide rulers and pocket protectors thrown at you.

Other than that, I tend to agree with everything else you said.

5/16/2010 8:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uninformed opinions times 2:

"I think we would be just fine with a boomer fleet half the size"

Not and keep an alert boat on each coast at all times. It's a massive struggle enough as it is.

"Boomers can target their package without leaving the pier."

Does 'survivable asset' mean anything to you? ICBM's can reach their targets without leaving land, but that's why they're worthless, because their location is known.

5/16/2010 9:30 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

port tack start: Losses as a function of total flights, not hull count?

In WW-II, we lost 52 boats, 18% of the total. But I assume you'd prefer boats-against-patrols. That's 52 boats in 1550 patrols, a loss rate of less than 3.5%. Sounds better, eh? 18% is the figure submariners use.

And people. We lost 3505 submariners in WW-II, 16% of the officers and 13% of the sailors who made war patrols. Or should we calculate those percentages against an overall man-patrol count? That would be under 3%. 14% overall is the number submariners use.

The chances of an astronaut losing her life in a shuttle flight is calculated by NASA at 1 in 100. In 132 shuttle flights, we've lost 2 birds, 1-in-66 and a bit worse than the NASA estimate. But overall, 2 of the 5 shuttles returned to earth in pieces. That's 40% and a meaningful measure of the technology and operations involved.

5/16/2010 10:09 AM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I think I indicated that the boomer argument was moot anyway, by observing that they were already built. But seriously, we can't keep 25% of our boomers on station, for real? I work for a shipyard BTW, and know what needs to be done on them, but 25%? And I know that irrespective of the Duck's bullshit stats, the shuttle platform is done - just sayin' that keeping a space program advancing is the kind of thing a national government should be involved in, until it advances to the point where it makes sense for private industry - not creating an unsustainable welfare state in the model of the EU. If we open our eyes (talkin' to you, Duck), we can see how well that's working out.

5/16/2010 10:10 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Recovering from the Bush economic crash. Best monthly job growth in 4 years. Winding down the two bullshit wars Bush started (and could not finish or win). Increased spending in defense. Working out well, eh?

And the welfare state. Those who turn back their retirement checks, social security, and medicare coverage are free to decry a welfare state. So are those who on active duty refused Navy housing, commissary and exchange shopping, health care, and the rest of the military welfare package. mark/MM1(ss): you not in those categories? Then shut up.

5/16/2010 11:12 AM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I'm sorry, Duck - I assumed you knew what "EU" meant, my bad. That's one hell of a leap BTW, going from the Euro/Obama welfare state to benefits that are only proper for the folks serving in the military for putting up with what they endure. Typical of the straw man arguments so often used by the left. For what it's worth (not much) I never lived in Navy housing, and shopped in the commissary once, to learn there was no advantage to it. I suppose as a fed employee, I'm still not pure though; but I can live with myself, having paid my dues on boats to a large extent. STFU yourself...

5/16/2010 12:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who turn back their retirement checks, social security, and medicare coverage are free to decry a welfare state. So are those who on active duty refused Navy housing, commissary and exchange shopping, health care, and the rest of the military welfare package. mark/MM1(ss): you not in those categories? Then shut up.

Wrong. I've been paying SS for 25 years, and I will get every FUCKING dime of it back - even if I have to break into an Army reserve armory and steal ammo to sell.

The active duty benefits you listed were/are part of the deal. You sign on the dotted line and the crap you listed was part of the compensation package. Period.

The more of your posts that I read, the more I realize just what a stupid old fuck you are.

5/16/2010 1:35 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Welfare's welfare. Enjoy...

5/16/2010 1:39 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/16/2010 1:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Break into an Army reserve armory and steal ammo to sell"

Not there. There just isn't any.

5/16/2010 1:44 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

Well Ducky, You can call it welfare, but like it or not, part of our paycheck is the benefits you decry. Yup, we get some housing, and commissary, but average out the hours submariners work versus the pay they receive, and see how we come out. I guess you are advocating that the junior guys live on board as well.

@ Anon 930am: I understand survivable asset. I did a boomer tour in the early 90's about the time we quit targeting the Russians and started targeting ocean. I know we can re-target quickly, but really, who are we hiding from right now? In a few years when China picks up a bit, I'll agree that deterrent is useful again.

5/17/2010 12:40 AM

Blogger Old Salt said...

But anyway, once again the blog rolls in odd directions. Congrats to Capt. Bowen and the crew on one of the last missions. From the deep blue to the black of space. What a career.

5/17/2010 12:50 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Old Salt: excellent discussion of the benefits issue here: Full disclosure: I started the posting, but it's the range and thoughtfulness of response that really matters.

Of note to all: The Best Defense is a superb military blog and a prizewinner:

5/17/2010 5:02 AM

Anonymous Cocoa nuts cracker said...

The reason why the Duck is big on the blog he's pointing at.

Broken record much, John?

5/17/2010 7:52 AM

Anonymous Cocoa nuts cracker said...

Jabs aside, I liked your article and the discussion, "RD."

Some of your less truthful thoughts aren't your own, due largely to being caught up in group-think on often-political topics, but the military model/comp foundations you're poking at deserve a good solid poke...and some fixing. BZ.

5/17/2010 8:36 AM

Anonymous Cocoa nuts cracker said...

To explain the political comment a bit, hard-core partisans generally ignore - and actually even fight against - 25% of the truth, as either side of the political nut-job spectrum is flat-out wrong 50% of the time.

For a great, *geo*-political book on why we're at war in the Middle East, read this book (America's Secret War by Dr. George Friedman). Peruse it with the vastly open mind that you're fully capable of, and you may learn something of high value: a greater truth.

Semper Fidelis.

5/17/2010 8:58 AM

Anonymous JackRyan said...

"BTW, note the failure rate of shuttles: we've lost 40% of them, with all on board."

40% is a quantity, not a rate. To call that number a 'failure rate' is totally misleading and inaccurate. Sounds like Democrat math to me.

5/17/2010 9:04 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Jesus H. Christ. "In mathematics, a rate is a ratio between two measurements..." 2/5 = 40%.

Not all life is radcon math and not all knowledge resident in skillfully boiling water while staring at indicators. Get out more.

5/17/2010 9:11 AM

Anonymous jackryan said...

From the Webster's College Dictionary sitting on my desk:

rate: a quantity, amount, or degree of something measured per unit of something else.

When you talk about failure rate, that is the applicable definition. Some of us actually work in the real world and use these concepts on a daily business. But, I guess you just enjoy being an narcissistic dick.

5/17/2010 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Ducky's definition, the failure rate of any part that ever fails is 100%.

5/17/2010 10:31 AM

Blogger commoncents said...

Thank You for posting! Your blog rocks!!!

Common Cents

ps. Link Exchange???

5/17/2010 1:50 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I was watching some of the video of the work they were doing in space today. Saw some good sights!

What I noticed was, the nuke officer in space did not have his written procedures out to work on the components.

I am sure Rickover is rolling over in his grave! :D


5/17/2010 4:55 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

I've heard that socialism comment several times in the last week. The first time was on NPR news. The lady interviewed was a military brat, and said she grew up in the closest thing to socialism that we have. I think there is great merit to the article. It would be interesting to overhaul the whole thing, and see what happens. A certain amount of transition assistance is required for professions that move around a lot though. I have friends that are traveling nurses, and their company has some great perks (apartments, cars, etc) to help them adjust.

5/17/2010 5:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear about Stephen Bowen - he was a year ahead of me in high school. Nice guy. Was in Naval Reactors if I recall correctly while I was out on the Grant. I was impressed when he got picked up by NASA for the program - very difficult to get into and even more impressive to get a second chance to get into space. It is a small world when you realize that you know someone currently up in space.

I love the fact that within 20 comments the discussion degenerated into a discussion of what a "rate" is and how to define the casualty rate of American Space Shuttles! Good Grief as Charlie Brown used to say...

As for my opinion the benefits of space exploration far outweigh the costs, but I realize mine is a minority opinion. Heinlein covered this subject in an essay in his Expanded Universe book back before the shuttle even started flying - the benefits have increased from what he wrote about.

5/17/2010 8:47 PM

Anonymous Casual Observer said...

The fundamental problem with NASA's space program is it's underlying message:

"America is going into space...and you're not invited."

As the next-gen, hypersonic, extreme altitude planes eventually evolve into reality, people will finally feel like they're invited.

But my best guess is that these planes will not say "NASA" on the tailfin.

5/18/2010 9:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if he has taken dolphins into space.

5/18/2010 3:01 PM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

Waiting pateiently for NASA to announce nuclear operator positions in space.

5/18/2010 5:17 PM

Anonymous ret.cob said...


5/19/2010 6:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong. I've been paying SS for 25 years, and I will get every FUCKING dime of it back

And probably a few other people's dimes too, if you're lucky enough to outlive your pay-in.

(which is kinda the point)

5/19/2010 10:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Served with CAPT Bowen on the Parche - Great guy he made the news today in a big way

5/20/2010 12:03 AM

Blogger T said...

Getting other people's dimes is also kinda the problem. If we were only get our own dimes back, the whole thing wouldn't be heading towards insolvency.

5/20/2010 12:46 AM

Anonymous said...

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11/04/2011 1:11 AM

Anonymous Roberta said...

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9/20/2012 6:28 AM


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