I refrained from commenting on the Aldridge Commission’s final report because so much had already been said about its (leaked) contents before its release. (Also, I have been very busy the last several days.) There were a few tidbits about the release I wanted to point out:
- If you haven’t already watched it, check out the introductory video shown at the beginning of the press conference (available in Real and Windows Media formats.) Recognize the narrator? Hint: Buzz Aldrin was not in attendance at the press conference.
- Perhaps the most telling comment during the press conference was made by Pete Aldridge, when he was asked why the commission recommended converting NASA centers into FFRDCs instead of closing one or more centers: “We thought about it a long time, and our view was that if we put into our report that the Congress and NASA should undertake a base realignment and closure action, the report would probably have burned on the first day.”
- In addition to handing out copies of the report (both hardcopies and CDs), there were some other giveaways at the press conference, like lapel pins with the commission’s logo. Also, bizarrely, were miniature astronauts: foam rubber figures, about 12 cm tall, of a spacesuited astronaut clutching a wrench in his (her?) right hand, with the NASA logo and URL on the backpack. (See pictures of the front and back of the figure.) At one point dozens of these figures were lined up on a table, like soldiers standing in formation, free for the taking. (There were also several on another table, standing guard over a stack of press releases from organizations like the NSS and Space Foundation endorsing the commission’s report.) Perhaps if we can miniaturize astronauts, we won’t need a heavy-lift launch vehicle…