NASA

Steve and the generals

You may recall a couple of weeks ago reports that the Obama Administration had narrowed down its list of candidates for NASA administrator to several, perhaps four, names. This afternoon the Orlando Sentinel reported who its sources say are those four. Three of the names have already come up in previous weeks: retired generals Charles Bolden, Scott Gration, and Lester Lyles. The fourth, those, is a new name to this race but a familiar name for many: Steve Isakowitz, the current CFO of the Energy Department and a former NASA and OMB official. (Some will also recognize him as the founding author of the International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems, a popular reference guide to launch vehicles whose fourth edition was published in 2004 with Isakowitz as one of three co-authors.) The Sentinel adds that Isakowitz is the “frontrunner”, but doesn’t indicate when the race for that job will end: after all, a number of other frontrunners, including the three other names on the list, were all considered frontrunners at some point in the past but haven’t (yet) gotten the job.

9 comments to Steve and the generals

  • sc220

    Oh Lordy. What a twist this would be! So much for the spendthrift ways of the last 5 years. Steve was never a lover of grandiose hand-waving arguments. He is definitely the person needed to challenge the current direction, and has the knowledge to do so. Plus, he’s knows one heck of a lot about EELVs.

    He kept Goldin in line, and wouldn’t have any qualms about doing the same with the same status quo.

  • red

    Dr. Griffin was confirmed by the Senate as NASA Administrator on April 13, 2005. A few days earlier …

    Profile: Steve Isakowitz – The View From the Inside
    Space News – 04 April 2005

    “Do you expect human exploration of the Moon to mirror the Apollo program?

    No. We fully understand that if we’re going to meet the president’s mandate to be sustainable and affordable, we must do things differently. We’re looking at new concepts for exploration that require innovative human-rated designs leveraged by robotics capabilities. We also plan non-traditional efforts to tap into entrepreneurial ideas and possible new markets, much like we’ve seen in the recent X Prize award for Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne. Indeed, we just announced prizes for technology efforts as part of our Centennial Challenges program. This type of innovation will be a big part of my new job if we’re going to succeed.”

  • SpaceMan

    Hmmmm, how interesting

  • xyz

    Isakowitz left with Steidle when Griffin took over.

  • Major Tom

    “Isakowitz left with Steidle when Griffin took over.”

    Actually, like Steidle, Isakowitz was pushed out of ESMD by Griffin. And just like Steidle, instead of taking reassignment, Isakowitz decided to leave the agency.

    Here’s hoping that the Sentinel’s reporting is true and that Isakowitz makes it through the gauntlet. For reforming NASA’s human space flight programs, there is no better candidate.

    FWIW…

  • You can never be 100% sure about someone in advance, but Steve definitely sounds like one of the best names that’s been floated so far. On the one hand, he’s expressed an understanding that business as usual isn’t going to fly. And he’s got enough of a technical background (both inside NASA and in industry) that nobody can accuse him of not knowing his stuff. But he’s also got a business development, management, and accounting background….

    Once again, I don’t really know enough about him to be sure, but what I’ve seen so far makes him sound a lot better than the other hopefuls. And he also sounds a lot more in line with how Obama has picked his other people.

    I just wonder if the guy is crazy/masochistic enough to take the job if they offered it to him.

    ~Jon

  • Dave Huntsman

    I don’t really know enough about him to be sure, but what I’ve seen so far makes him sound a lot better than the other hopefuls. And he also sounds a lot more in line with how Obama has picked his other people.xx

    That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now, word for word.

    He kept Goldin in line, and wouldn’t have any qualms about doing the same with the same status quo.

    sc220, just how did he do that? For example, the space shuttle and space station programs during that time were 110% controlled by George Abbey, who didn’t even consult Goldin on anything. Exactly what did Isakowitz do that kept Goldin in line? (Seriously, I’m asking).

  • [...] in pole position. Non solo perché ce lo dice l’Orlando Sentinel (e in parte anche SpacePolitics) o per la sua indubbia competenza; ma sul ritiro degli shuttle, per esempio, ha espresso in [...]

  • [...] couple things to keep in mind here. One, while Isakowitz was designated the frontrunner when his name came up two weeks ago, there was no consensus if that was really the case—or even if he was really being seriously [...]

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