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The goal of the X program was to build a test vehicle that could demonstrate the technologies needed for a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle — that is, the entire vehicle would go all the way into space and return, without dropping any stages on its way up. Unfortunately, Lockheed Martin had nearly no commercial experience since the s; the company was and still is almost exclusively a government contractor.

Its proposed business plan for VentureStar relied on taking over the existing communications satellite market and the space shuttle missions primarily to provide support to the International Space Station. One cynical view is that Lockheed Martin achieved its strategic business objective simply by winning the contract. If the X project was a success, Lockheed would take away business from its competitors. And if it was a failure, Lockheed would prevent the development of a new vehicle to compete against its own existing Atlas and Titan rockets and its stake in the space shuttle.

The Path Least Taken By- Nicholas Yao

In the end, the X never flew and the project was cancelled in early after spending more than a billion dollars. So what were the lessons of the X and the X, another failed Marshall program?

In reality, all that the X and X failures proved was that we did not have the technologies in place to build an X and an X But few, if any, of these technologies are essential to building a generic reusable launch system. This suggests that the key to low-cost and reliable launch is the following: a to stop throwing the launch vehicles away, in whole or in part, and b to fly them a lot.

If this is true, what are the implications for our national space policy, and in particular for the vision of space exploration articulated by President Bush? Not only were the X and X programs cancelled, but NASA also terminated the Space Launch Initiative last year, a program whose goal was to demonstrate the technologies needed for reusable launch vehicles. Instead, the administration has called for a return to the Apollo-era model of sending humans to and from orbit in capsules on expendable launchers. The Bush decision highlights a longstanding debate between two fundamentally different approaches to space operations.

The first approach is to launch everything required for a mission all at once. The second is to deliver things in pieces and assemble them in orbit.

The initial plan for reaching the Moon, developed by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, called for multiple launches whose payloads would be mated in orbit before heading off to the Moon. But at the time, we had very little experience with rendezvous and docking, and it was judged to be too risky. So NASA instead went with a plan that allowed the mission to be performed with a single launch of a huge launcher.

In those days, everything — including the science, the price, and the sustainability — was subordinate to the only real goal: beating the Soviets to the Moon.

Path Less Traveled | Darkling Door

That was then, this is now. First, we have to unburden ourselves of the confining myths of the old space age. We have been convinced by the shuttle experience that we cannot build affordable reusable launch vehicles, and we are convinced by the space station experience that we must avoid assembly in orbit. We try a particular technical approach, and when it fails spectacularly, we simply drop it and try something completely different, rather than examining what went wrong and incrementally improving the concept.

More fundamentally, the failure of both the shuttle and the International Space Station can be attributed to a failed paradigm: the belief in beneficent and competent government agencies as the trailblazer in space exploration, complete with five- and ten-year plans. Of necessity, in response to the Soviet space agency, we created a government agency of our own, except it was in the service of a democratic political system, not a totalitarian one.

It is encouraging that both the president and his advisory commission, led by former Air Force Secretary Pete Aldridge, urged NASA to work with space entrepreneurs and private enterprise and to integrate them into the vision. The chief problem with the Bush vision for NASA is not its technical approach, but its programmatic approach — or, at an even deeper level, its fundamental philosophy. This is not simply a Bush problem, but a NASA problem: When government takes an approach, it is an approach, not a variety of approaches.

Proposals are invited, the potential contractors study and compete, the government evaluates, but ultimately, a single solution is chosen with a contractor to build it. But in the end, there will still be only one. Likewise, if we decide to build a powerful new rocket, there will almost certainly be only one, since it will be enough of a challenge to get the funds for that one, let alone two.

Biologists teach us that monocultures are fragile. They are subject to catastrophic failure think of the Irish potato famine. Without Russian assistance, we cannot presently reach our one and only space station, because our one and only way of getting to it has been shut down since the Columbia accident. Dynamists are more interested in organic and emergent market-based solutions to problems — not as predictable, but ultimately more resilient and more satisfactory to individuals. Historically, the United States has been a dynamist nation.

But our national space policy, largely because of the nature of its birth in the fear and urgency of the Cold War, has been one of stasism. Imagine, instead of launching a few government employees once every few months, daily trips into space by hundreds or thousands of private citizens by multiple vehicle types, just as our airline industry today uses Boeings and Airbuses.

Some conduct research at private orbital laboratories, some head to orbital resorts, others board cruise liners for trips around the Moon. There are hotels in high inclination orbits for spectacular views of Earth, and vehicle assembly hangars in low inclination for departure to points beyond Earth orbit. There are huge radio telescopes on the far side of the Moon, protected from the incessant radio noise of our industrial planet, and at the poles are research facilities and tourist spots, using the water ice hidden in the craters there.

The vast majority of the funding comes from private expenditures made by people seeking their own adventures off-planet, and NASA has little involvement, other than to take advantage of the dramatic reductions in cost and dramatic improvements in technology to do those things that only it can do, such as expeditions to the outer planets. Is this a science-fiction fantasy, or is it economically and technologically realistic? How could we get there from where we are now? They sundered the skies, probing the upper reaches of the atmosphere and even temporarily leaving it.

These were the first, tentative space vehicles, and had they not been interrupted by the urgency of beating the Soviets to the Moon, their successors might have continued. They might have flown higher, and faster, and faster yet, until at last they flew fast enough to defy the gravity of the Earth and reach orbit.

That might have been another road to space, a path not taken — one that might have provided a more incremental, affordable, and reliable approach, instead of one in which we put small capsules on unreliable and expensive munitions, and hoped for the best. But perhaps we saw the germ of a new, dynamist space age — one that was bypassed decades ago by the demands of the Cold War — in the clear blue skies over the Mojave in June. SpaceShipOne was built in response to the Ansari X-Prize, a private purse put up to urge private activities to seek the heavens, just as a private purse drew Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic in In fact, SpaceShipOne itself has reportedly cost more than double the prize value, but no one complains.

Contrast this to the cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts of the traditional aerospace industry. If all goes well, in early October of this year, the prize will have been won, and private astronauts will have flown into space on a privately-built reusable spacecraft twice within two weeks. But the important thing is not that there will be a winner, but that there will also be runners-up and other competitors with their own plans. The vehicle that wins the X-Prize may not be the vehicle that taps the potential new space markets.

Competition of this sort will be critical to affordably opening up the cosmos to humanity. The government approach to low-cost spaceflight has been to figure out first how to achieve a high performance level, and then figure out how to make it cheap. In the shuttle era, the approach failed utterly, in terms of delivering affordable and routine access to space. In this approach, vehicles are tested incrementally, slowly expanding the envelope of performance. The emphasis is on low cost from the outset.

Thus the suborbital spacecraft in private development today can be scaled up to reach greater altitudes, extending the performance envelope further with new vehicle designs, while still maintaining low costs per flight. Mach 5 can become Mach 7, Mach 7 can become Mach 12, Mach 12 can eventually become Mach 25 and orbit, as experience is gained and designs evolve. The fundamental question, of course, is what will be the economic driver for it?

Are there adequate private markets? Harleen Potter grows up loved and cared for, and is inseparable from her cousin. At the age of seven, Dudley has his own bought of accidental magic. Both children will soon be heading to Hogwarts and neither will be messed with. Harry Slight Weasley Bashing. Some Dumbledore Bashing. She had a perfect husband, a perfect son and a perfect house in a perfect neighbourhood with perfect friends and perfect curtains.

Yes, life was perfect. When the daughter of her deceased sister and her husband came to live with them, Petunia Dursley had become consumed with fear that her perfect life was shattered beyond repair. Her sister and her freakish husband had produced a freakish daughter that had been shoved into their perfect lives where she didn't belong. It was fear that forced Petunia Durlsey to take custody of her freakish niece, fear of a powerful, yet dark entity that had ended the lives of many respectable normal people such as herself and thousands more freaks like her niece. Although she feared the unnatural freakishness her niece possessed and feared she would infect her beloved child, Petunia Dursley feared death even more.

For five years, the Dursley's tolerated the unnaturalness that was Harleen Potter, trying to see if they could punish the freakishness out and make her into a respectable, normal person. One night though, everything changed. On Christmas Eve, , a candle caught alight on the perfect kitchen curtains as Petunia readied breakfast for Christmas morning, causing flames to consume the house, killing Petunia's husband, Vernon whilst he slept and trapping Petunia and her precious Dudley in the lounge room.

In a truly selfless, and somewhat odd act, a skinny, mistreated Harleen Potter saved both Petunia and Dudley with her unnatural freakishness. Being forced to live in a hotel whilst her house was fixed, a week after the event that took her husband, Petunia witnessed her freakish niece comforting Dudley for the loss of his father and his home.

That night, she revaluated her treatment of her freakish niece that looked too much like her once beloved, little sister. The cousins fell asleep hugging each other on the couch, Dudley's tears long since gone and a somewhat small smile on his face. She sat up all night, firmly determined to treat both Dudley and Harleen exactly the same. Petunia couldn't believe how she had allowed her jealousy and husbands fear to corrupt her treatment of her niece.

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Lily Potter, nee Evans, would be turning in her grave. If it had been her and Vernon that were brutally murdered, Lily would have taken Dudley in and cared for him as her own, because that was the nature of Lily Potter. She was kind and forgiving and Petunia used to be like that. When Dudley and Harleen awoke the next morning, Petunia was fixing breakfast.


She turned the TV on and told the young children with a smile, that they were to enjoy their Sunday morning cartoons. Dudley dove into an explanation of his favourite shows, Harleen glued on the item she had never been allowed to watch before. She awoke the next morning to find herself in the middle of a chubby blonde boy and a flaming red head girl with a lightning bolt scar on her head. Petunia found herself smiling her first true smile as her heart was consumed with love for these two children-her two children. Things became easier for the three once Petunia tearfully buried her husband.

The insurance money came in, she sold her husband's land at Number Four Private Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, and moved to London to get away from the memories. The three moved into a three bedroom apartment, laughter rang from the rooms of her children as they attempted to paint their bedrooms.

Watching Harleen laugh always made Petunia think of Lily, the little girl had seen so many photos of her mothers and aunt as children. Petunia had gotten a job in the same school Dudley and Harleen attended. She worked in the administration building as the principal's secretary and she found she thoroughly loved the work. Even though it stressed her at some points. Thomas was killed two years later in the Battle of Arras. It reads naturally or conversationally, and begins as a kind of photographic depiction of a quiet moment in woods.

It consists of four stanzas of 5 lines each. The meter is basically iambic tetrameter , with each line having four two-syllable feet. Though in almost every line, in different positions, an iamb is replaced with an anapest.

The path less trodden

The variation of the rhythm gives naturalness, a feeling of thought occurring spontaneously, and it also affects the reader's sense of expectation. It is one of Frost's most popular works. Some have said that it is one of his most misunderstood poems, claiming that it is not simply a poem that champions the idea of "following your own path", but that the poem, they suggest, expresses some irony regarding that idea. Frost's biographer Lawrance Thompson suggests that the poem's narrator is "one who habitually wastes energy in regretting any choice made: belatedly but wistfully he sighs over the attractive alternative rejected".

In Frost's words, Thomas was "a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way. Regarding the "sigh" that is mentioned in the last stanza, it may be seen as an expression of regret or of satisfaction, but there is significance in the difference between what the speaker has just said of the two roads, and what he will say in the future. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Poem by Robert Frost. For other uses, see The Road Not Taken disambiguation. The Road Not Taken. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 9 August