NASA, Other

Griffin’s broadside against the administration

At an event Friday in Huntsville, former NASA administrator Mike Griffin accused the current administration of doing “everything it could to oppose human spaceflight”. That statement was not a one-time shot against the Obama Administration: in an op-ed in the current issue of Space News, he goes into great detail regarding his accusation that the administration opposes human spaceflight. That is the theme of his piece: that the administration is doing everything it can to block NASA’s human space exploration efforts, specifically the Space Launch System (SLS) launcher and the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).

And how is the administration doing that? Griffin makes a number of claims, ranging from the 2007 white paper from the Obama campaign that proposed delaying Constellation by five years and the White House’s original budget proposal from February 2010 that sought to completely kill Constellation to more recent efforts. He specifically cites leaking a cost estimate that pegged the cost of SLS and MPCV at $38 billion through 2021 as well as the cost estimate itself, which he says are based on “unrealistic schedule estimates, overly taxed budget allocations and suboptimal development sequencing and with NASA overhead being disproportionally charged to the exploration budget line — in other words, a mismanaged program.” Griffin argues that a “more realistic funding profile”, such as what was included in the NASA authorization act (which only goes through fiscal year 2013), could fund SLS at $1.6 billion a year and enable a 70-ton SLS to fly by 2017 and a 130-ton (“deep-space-capable”, as he describes it) SLS by 2020, allowing for annual flights thereafter. Griffin does not discuss the source of his cost estimates in his op-ed.

Griffin also doesn’t discuss why he thinks the Obama Administration is so dead set against human spaceflight, but concludes that the administration’s goal is its elimination. “Unfortunately, this administration is focused on killing human spaceflight by the death of a thousand cuts. Its plan wastes money, unnecessarily targets NASA’s highly skilled work force, jeopardizes future national security and, most importantly, cedes U.S. space leadership for the next two decades,” he concludes. The question is how convincing his argument will be: many supporters of SLS will sing Griffin’s praises, while critics (of SLS and/or Griffin and his tenure as administrator) will doubtless pick apart his arguments. Will his op-ed change any minds, or is it, in effect, a chance to vent?

83 comments to Griffin’s broadside against the administration

  • Robert G. Oler

    “Will his op-ed change any minds, or is it, in effect, a chance to vent?”

    Mike had a bad run as administrator and now he is having just a horrible run as an ex administrator. He is pandering to the worst of the far right ideologues (we have some here on this forum) that excuse poor performance in the federal programs that they like…because what the programs are doing is (in their mind) alone enough to justify them.

    Obama isnt killing human spaceflight. The politics and policy laid down by Bolden and others is making it more affordable and more integrated into American society. What Griffin is arguing for is more of the sloth and poor management that he had as administrator…all under reasons for being that long ago became extinct.

    Windy thinks Griffin was a good administrator…need I say more RGO

  • My vote is for “chance to vent.” My fear is a Griffin restoration with a clueless Republican president. I’m going to do what I can to educate the candidates between now and then.

  • tps

    Captain Ahab is still after his Great White Whale: Being recognized as the 2nd coming of Von Braun and Jim Webb.

  • It’s the oldest trick in the political book … When you can’t win an argument on merit, go for smears.

    Perhaps we should ask how much Mr. Griffin is being paid for his smearfest speaking tour — and who is paying him.

  • Robert G. Oler wrote:

    Obama isnt killing human spaceflight. The politics and policy laid down by Bolden and others is making it more affordable and more integrated into American society.

    The true hypocrisy here is that COTS started under Griffin in 2005. Why was it good then but bad now?

  • Doug Lassiter

    Interesting that Griffin waits until now to start venting like this. No it won’t change minds. But we’re starting to roll into election season, and Griffin might not only want to valiantly try to make space a national issue, but may also be using it to position himself for a new administration. That a major candidate for President has just appeared from a historical space state, with at least one notional VP candidate from another historical space state, makes it a good time to start dinging their presumptive opponent (who happens not to be from a space state). Note that he is not arguing against space policy, but against Obama’s space policy.

    One has to assume that if such a transition came to pass, Mike Griffin would desperately, and I mean DESPERATELY, like to see himself back as NASA Administrator. I can’t see him as wanting to be anything else. If he keeps firing his guns in the right direction, it’ll get noticed.

  • The biggest rationalizer of them all!

  • Anyone catch the video of the “Key to Space Exploration Forum” panel? Griffin says essentially the same as what is in the article, then hands it over to Steve Cook who inexplicably makes the argument that SLS is making great progress. No-one on the panel or in the audience seems to spot the cognitive dissonance.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWksx1K6yuY

  • Coastal Ron

    As Dr. Frederick Frankenstein would say: “You are talking about the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind!

    The man must feel that he’s trying to salvage what’s left of his legacy, and the only way he can do that is by lashing out at whoever doesn’t religiously agree with the direction he was forcing NASA to take. How sad.

    And just so we all remember, Griffin is the one that let two major programs be so mismanaged that Congress has already canceled one (Constellation) and is ready to cancel another (JWST). What a legacy.

    Even the SLS is likely his brainchild, and now that independent auditors think it’s cost estimates are ridiculously low compared to the Senate estimate (and that NASA is still low-balling theirs), he’s like a two-year old throwing a tantrum.

    He needs to go back to his teaching job and stop embarrassing himself.

  • E.P. Grondine

    RGO, MT –

    Mike doesn’t understand why the Ares 1 is really a crummy rocket for manned launch. My guess is he never will.

    We could have had the NLS (DIRECT) for a fraction of the $10 billion mike wasted for ATK.

    Now if the military really really has to use NASA to keep its perchlorate manufacturing going, and ATK is that desperate…

    I think that that issue has been addressed. But since ATK is pressing it again, perhaps someone could repost those earlier DoD statements on this.

    ATK is pushing for 70 ton, instead of DIRECT’s 60 ton.
    It’s their 5 segs.
    And it has been their 5 segs since W. put Griffin into place.

    It’s as pathetic to watch them try to place this mess on Obama,
    as it is to watch the disruption caused by their greed.

  • Obama’s attempts to undermine NASA is actually hurting the commercial crew program. For a guy who loves to get his hands on tax payer dollars, even Elon admits that he hasn’t made a lot a friends in Congress because of his association with the Obama space policies. And private space programs wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the hundreds of billions of dollars invested by the government and the tax payers in our Federal space program over the past 60 years.

    We don’t need private spaceflight companies to replace government programs, we need private space companies to do there own thing– outside of government. Both government space programs and private space programs are mutually beneficial to each other.

  • Matt Wiser

    Chance to vent, nothing more. Even a successor administration (which should come on 20 Jan 2013) would be well advised to stay away from Mike Griffin. He’s just upset that the Administration let him go instead of keeping him on. He’d have more ammunition in his arguments if they had kept him on, cancelled CxP, and then he quits in protest.

  • More polls show that there is still no love for Obama’s manned mission to an asteroid:-)

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/30/7528922-space-agencies-set-two-courses

  • Stephen Metschan

    Mike Griffin is 100% correct, Obama is out to kill America’s Human Spaceflight program and he doesn’t care if he has to break the law HE SIGNED in order to achieve that objective.

    Ignoring the Constitution for a minute, for all those who dodge this issue with a well its for the best anyway because we can’t afford to keep America first and moving forward in space exploration and development;

    The money needed to fully fund the SLS/MPCV to full flight status wouldn’t even cover 10% of the just the Christmas bonuses given to the leaders of the international banking cartel last year. You know the bonuses they received only because the US taxpayer covered their risky bets, see its tails they win, heads we lose.

    So let’s see on one hand we have NASA workers and their contractors pushing the boundaries inspiring their countrymen and mankind now being laid off by the thousands and on the other we hand we have the international bank syndicate of FED/Wall Street that have turned our stock market into a 100/1 leveraged casino, debased our currency and committed fraud by selling CDO and other junk instruments they were betting against ‘at the same time’ to private and public pensions, blowing them up in the process. Looks the like Constitution can’t catch a break. And yet lawsuits brought against this clear case of fraud by the international banking cartel by the States AG are being forced out by Obama. Obama just can’t seem to execute the law. Well at least the law as defined as the Constitution anyway. Maybe he has in his pocket the law he is working to?

    Yep, a 10% haircut for fraudulent unconstitutional international banking cartel illegally printing US money is just too much to ask for in exchange for a vibrant Space program.

  • Mark Whittington

    Griffin cuts through the nonsense, though I think he ascribes to malice what is really happening because of rank incompetence One wonders if Griffin is positioning himself for a return to NASA when the current president is replaced next year,

  • David Teek

    One of the first things I recall about Griffin after he came in was the quote “I don’t ever want to hear another word about ‘spiral development’ again”.

    Griffin essentially ditched all of the principals of the VSE – evolvability, “go as you pay”, incorporating the solar system into the economic sphere that the policy review called for and that J. Marburger spoke so eloquently about.

    He also terminated shuttle production capabilities with extreme prejudice.

    Griffin’s strategy was essentially to make Constellation “too big to fail”.

    Which in the end, worked out about as well as that strategy usually does.

  • Fred Willett

    It’s all about money. Well converting money to pork.
    Dreaming won’t get us anywhere. And wasting money of an unaffordable HLV that won’t have its first flight for 10 years won’t get us anywhere either.
    The sad thing is that there are cheaper, and quicker, ways of doing space than NASA’s traditional me-buildum-big-rocket way.
    Fuel Depots. Reusable refuelable exploration vehicles like Nautilus-X.
    Just with these two items you can go anywhere in the Earth-Moon-Mars system in steps of less than 5dV.
    LEO to L4 or L5 is <5dV
    L4/5 to the Moon is <5dV
    L4/5 to Phobos is <5dV
    Phobos to Low Mars Orbit is <5dV
    Low Mars orbit to Mars surface is <5dV
    Do you see a patern here?
    An upper stage F9 or Centaur or Aces adapted for multiple uses can push stuff around in 30t chunks. You just take small steps refueling along the way.
    One simple reusable power plant + fuel depots and Mars, or anywhere else in the Earth-Moon-Mars system, is open to us.
    But Griffin is enamoured of his big rocket.
    What's the bet Shannon comes down in favour of an unaffordable HLV based DRM as well. Gotta have a use for the NASA rocket.
    The real question is do we want to start to explore or do we want to just build rockets endlessly.
    Me I want to go explore.

  • mike shupp

    It’s pushing things to say the Obama Administration is actively out to kill manned space flight. Other hand, to use metaphors, if the Obama people were in a car that passed a highway accident where NASA was left bleeding by the side of the road, I don’t think they’d make much of an effort to pick him up and get him to a hospital. Spaceflight doesn’t get a lot of attention in modern American society, and most of the attention it gets is unfriendly. Obama and his people didn’t create that situation, but they don’t have any interest in changing it.

  • reader

    Mr. Griffin, dr. rocket scientist, sir, has it ever come to your attention that something as small as Delta II is “deep space capable” ?

  • Das Boese

    E.P. Grondine wrote @ August 30th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Mike doesn’t understand why the Ares 1 is really a crummy rocket for manned launch. My guess is he never will.

    The man holds multiple engineering degrees, he knows exactly why Ares 1 is not an ideal choice for any sort of launch, probably better than you do.
    He just doesn’t care.

  • Mark Whittington

    I wonder what all of the enablers of Obamaspace will say if we lose the ISS and hence the reason for commercial crew. Probably blame it on Griffin, I would imagine.

  • Mark Whittington

    Rand – I would love to be in the room when you try to “educate” Perry, Bachmann, Romney, or Palin. That would be entertaining.

  • @Das Boese
    “The man holds multiple engineering degrees, he knows exactly why Ares 1 is not an ideal choice for any sort of launch, probably better than you do.
    He just doesn’t care.”

    Exactly right. He saiid from the beginning that his primary goal with the Ares approach was to keep as much of the Shuttle work force as possible. He doesn’t have to have anything actually fly to do that.

  • @ Rick Boozer
    “[Griffin] saiid from the beginning that his primary goal with the Ares approach was to keep as much of the Shuttle work force as possible. He doesn’t have to have anything actually fly to do that”
    Of course, that philosophy is the same one that Shelby, Nelson, et al. have with SLS, but some people seem to have not caught on to this yet.

  • Vladislaw

    Mark Whittington wrote:

    “Rand – I would love to be in the room when you try to “educate” Perry, Bachmann, Romney, or Palin. That would be entertaining.”

    I can just see that, Rand would be seriously explaining the problems and then …

    SQUIRREL!

    And all their heads would be spinning looking for it.

  • tom

    COTS is good. NASA crewed deep space exploration is good. Killing one for the other is bad and a false argument. Griffin wanted American back on the moon and then on to Mars. Commercial cargo to ISS and when proven it’s safe commercial crew. That’s not what the current NASA admin wants. Commercial space will not take you to the Moon or Mars and for the next 20-30 years it will be limited to LEO and only happen via government paid for tickets and cargo contracts. If your vision is getting to the stars, Griffin is right. If you vision is LEO for the next 100 years then COTS is the way. I see us going to the stars with the moon a good place to workout technology and Mars the 1st place we apply it. Mars is the 1st step to getting out of the inner solar system. So support a balanced program of commercial and gov funded exploration. Griffin is right.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi everyone –

    That “shuttle work force” is a US tech base, and there was certainly nothing wrong in wanting to keep it. I know a lot of you here think that that tech was all 1970′s, but in the end IMO the best course is to evolve a tech base. For example, it really was guys who screwed around with transistors who first began to screw around with integrated circuits.

    But that is not the case here.
    It was ATK and the Ares 1, linked to that large capsule.

    Aside from that, the speculative mess occurred under W., with no resistance by the Democrats.

    Obama rolled out the asteroid visit as a step on the path to Mars, the old DPT system’s test architecture. The Mars Direct folks don’t like that – they want to go to Mars all in one step. Manned Moon fans don’t like it much either.

    Here’s the reality – the Earth is going to be in 73P’s debris stream in 2022. That debris stream may be dust, which may have a severe effect on climate, or it may have some bigger pieces left that will need to be dealt with. And if an intercept isn’t necessary then, it will be within all too short a time. Our detection systems are barely adequate, our intercept systems theoretical, and a co-ordinated warning system for small impacts non-existent.

  • @tom
    “Griffin wanted American back on the moon and then on to Mars.”
    Then he surely chose a f____d up way to do it!

  • E.P. Grondine

    And another reality – China will also develop NEO systems.
    By their operating requirements, China will have to be included in those NEO systems, so there is a necessity for talks before hand.
    While you and I may not like all of China’s policies, I don’t think a deliberate snub or a block to better relations is going to help things. There has got to be put in place some kind of modification or way of appealing in certain cases the current law on this.

  • Bennett

    Stephen Metschan wrote

    …for all those who dodge this issue with a “well its for the best anyway because we can’t afford to keep America first and moving forward in space exploration and development;”

    FAIL! When I read this whopper of a straw man argument, I stopped reading and moved on to the next comment.

    Sad.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Say an exemption clause for discussion of “humanitarian” systems, or some other word which does not come to mind.

  • amightywind

    Griffin also doesn’t discuss why he thinks the Obama Administration is so dead set against human spaceflight, but concludes that the administration’s goal is its elimination.

    Here we go again. Space Politics providing advocacy for and Administration and NASA leadership that has shown nothing but ineptitude and a Machiavellian contempt for congress. Mike Griffin’s conclusions are obvious. He is a welcome leader of adversaries of our rogue space agency.

  • Vladislaw

    tom wrote:

    “Commercial space will not take you to the Moon or Mars and for the next 20-30 years it will be limited to LEO and only happen via government paid for tickets and cargo contracts.”

    I believe the Russians and Space Adventures, who have already sold one ticket for a beyond LEO trip and are negotiating the second ticket as we speak, would disagree with you.

  • Martijn Meijering

    Fuel Depots. Reusable refuelable exploration vehicles like Nautilus-X.
    Just with these two items you can go anywhere in the Earth-Moon-Mars system in steps of less than 5dV

    You don’t even need refuelable depots initially, a refuelable Nautilus would be good enough. Even with just storable propellant, which we can do today.

  • Justin Kugler

    Whittington, to pretend that Griffin didn’t have a role in creating the current situation with NASA is, frankly, absurd. He failed to close the business case for Constellation. He did not exercise the COTS-D option. He couldn’t get Shuttle ramped down fast enough, so much so that Wayne Hale was saying the program was too far gone even before the 2008 election was over. Even when focused on the ISS crew mission only, Orion and Ares-I were still chasing each other’s tails on requirements. The lunar mission had already been descoped.

    For a NASA administrator, Mike Griffin is a fantastic engineer. That’s not what the agency needs. It needs someone who can manage all of the various stakeholder relationships and get the agency the resources it needs to perform the job given to it by Congress and the President. Griffin already failed at that task once. What exactly has he done since then to earn a second chance? Doubling down on the same approach that put us in this situation isn’t going to cut it.

  • Vladislaw

    windy wrote:

    “Here we go again. Space Politics providing advocacy for and Administration and NASA leadership that has shown nothing but ineptitude and a Machiavellian contempt for congress.”

    The Whitehouse, under President Bush, presented the VSE, the Congress passed the VSE. Dr. Griffin tossed the VSE under the bus with the ESAS. The Constellation program ran over budget, and past schedules, so you are correct, Dr. Griffin displayed both ineptitude for failing to run a program on time and budget and a Machiavellian contempt for Congress when he went off the reservation came up with the two rockets to nowhere when the VSE stated NASA wasn’t going to build new rockets but instead have commercial space do cargo and crew to the ISS.

  • amightywind

    Dr. Griffin displayed both ineptitude for failing to run a program on time and budget and a Machiavellian contempt for Congress when he went off the reservation came up with the two rockets to nowhere

    ‘Apollo on steroids’ enjoyed popular and congressional support. Indeed it fired the imaginations of a new generation of Americans. Ares I-X was called the best invention of the year in 2009 by Time magazine. Commercial space wasn’t really important to anyone other than those with vested interests in a lame duck ISS, like many who post here. Speaking of on time and on budget, we are in the 7th year of commercial space, and the astronauts on ISS are still dirty and hungry from a lack of deliveries. They have their hands out for more and more money.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Mark Whittington wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Rand – I would love to be in the room when you try to “educate” Perry, Bachmann, Romney, or Palin. That would be entertaining.”

    I would to, one would have to use a lot of single syllable words and have a lot of simple pictures.

    The reality is that none of the folks you mention who have spoke on space and human spaceflight in a debate (the question was asked) have indicated that they support what you advocate.

    Who knows about good hair Rick…I am pretty sure that outside “the faithful” he will have a pretty hard time explaining how he has done for Texas what Bush did for the US…

    If Griffin is the level of talent that these people have to draw from; even they will lose to Obama and that would be quite a feat RGO

  • Marcel drooled: For a guy who loves to get his hands on tax payer dollars, even Elon

    Why do you repeat this mindless slander? ATK doesn’t like to get its hands on taxpayer dollars? Lockheed Martin doesn’t, and tens of billions of them? At least Elon is putting his own money in.

  • Coastal Ron

    mike shupp wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 1:28 am

    It’s pushing things to say the Obama Administration is actively out to kill manned space flight.

    Yes, submitting a budget that reflects a $6B increase in NASA’s budget and supporting multiple commercial systems for our astronauts to get to space is a sure sign he hates manned spaceflight.

    Whereas cutting NASA’s budget by 10%, criticizing a plan that provides redundant and low cost access to space for our astronauts, while supporting the building of the most expensive rocket in history, is a sure sign of support for manned spaceflight.

    Not!

  • Robert G. Oler

    Stephen Metschan wrote @ August 30th, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    “Ignoring the Constitution for a minute, for all those who dodge this issue with a well its for the best anyway because we can’t afford to keep America first and moving forward in space exploration and development; ”

    you dont read well, I dont think anyone here is saying that…what they are saying is that the way you are “evangelizing” for sucks and the only thing that it does is perpetuate a “big government” approach HSF…that is focused on mindless exploration by humans and then tries to pawn that off as “America First”.

    I dont like Republican economics either. The entire notion of the “rich getting richer” and the middle class struggling harder and harder to pay for that pleasure is to me absurd. The example you cite of high bonuses among the “class” that brought the economy to its knees is just one example of how Reagan’s doctrine has been perverted by the lackies (or Bush’s) that followed him…but the argument that you pipe, that the bonuses would pay for SLS or Direct or whatever you are calling it…manages to make even GOP economics look less goofy.

    I am sorry for the “middle class” layoffs after shuttle but those are the breaks. These people were on the government dole for long periods of time, they had great well paying jobs that offered good benefits; things that the GOP right wing doesnt like anymore…and they had something else that most Americans did not have…and that is lots of warning that their jobs were going away.

    I know that they assumed that they would get another government featherbed contract…but Mike G and all the other band of idiots spent 15 billion on the rockets and “couldnt get them up” as the saying goes…so who they should blame is not the folks who pulled the plug, but the idiots who couldnt get the system to work.

    And that is actually a good thing for the American future in space. To the main point; the way of a large government rocket system that has no customers other then the agency that struggled to build it is over. There is no future there, it is a dead end canyon from which we cannot get out of.

    Stop saying that just because people do not support another bloated government agency only program they do not support a bright American future in space. That is BS on par with GOP economic theory; and about as intellectually sourced Robert G. Oler

  • mike shupp

    Coastal Ron -

    Ah! You feel loved.

    I am so happy for you.

  • rpatituc

    What anti-sls people dont understand is that sls will be built!
    Work has been done on it for 6 years, the core stage, the solid
    rocket boosters, the J2. This will be nasa’s only government rocket it
    will have to launch humans into space BEO and, it will not give it up. I dont think the US government will allow nasa not to have government
    vehicle. The idea that nasa does not want to build it is nuts. Maybe Obama does not want to build it because he does not have space exploration in his heart. The congress and the senate support building
    sls.

  • Mark Whittington

    Vlad, anyone who knows me knows that a squirrel is the woodland animal I least resemble. Rand seriously explaining anything would be a first, by the way. I predict a meltdown when the question and answer session starts and he starts calling candidates and their advisors names.

  • “‘Apollo on steroids’ …fired the imaginations of a new generation of Americans.”

    Is there so much as a rumor that ‘a generation of Americans’ have even *heard* of this, outside of a few days of press surrounding Ares1-X?

    “Ares I-X was called the best invention of the year in 2009 by Time magazine.”

    Oh. Yeah. That really proves something…

  • Vladislaw

    amightywind wrote:

    ” ‘Apollo on steroids’ enjoyed popular and congressional support. Indeed it fired the imaginations of a new generation of Americans.”

    I highly doubt it enjoyed that much popular support as most Americans hardly pay attention to anything related to space other than Dancing with ‘Stars’.

    As far as congressional support, they can borrow a line from Kerry when he ran for President: I was for it before I was against it. When the wheels started coming off of the Constellation program because of Griffin’s failure to keep it on time and budget then congress was against it and canceled it.

    “Ares I-X was called the best invention of the year in 2009 by Time magazine.”

    Actually it was the Ares 1 and 5 that was the best invention of the year. The failed parts of the Ares 1-x is why congress started having doubts. Burning and destroying part of the launch pad, failure of the parachutes, not utilizing any of the future systems, an Admiral’s launch didn’t cut it for many in congress after billions were spent.

    Time magazine also had this to say:

    “Troublingly for Ares partisans, the same commission that called for such creative uses for the new rockets also called into question how affordable they are, arguing that it might be better simply to modify boosters now used to carry satellites and put a capsule on top.”

    and this:

    “There’s no way of knowing if those projections are too rosy,”

    As we now know after blowing through 13+ billion that Griffin’s projections had been too rosy.

    You continue:

    “Commercial space wasn’t really important to anyone other than those with vested interests in a lame duck ISS, like many who post here. Speaking of on time and on budget.”

    Constellation was canceled because it wasn’t really important to any congressional members other than those with vested interests in a lame duck Ares 1, like Shelby, Hatch, Nelson et cetera.

    Speaking on time and budget, commercial space is on budget, it is a fixed price, milestone based contract. They have to put of the money themselves to complete a milestone, regardless of how much time it takes, if it goes past schedule, it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. The contractor doesn’t get paid until the milestone is completed. Not like the cost plus-fixed fee abomination called Ares 1. BILLIONS with a B were spent, millions were spent on COTS.. just a TAD difference there to the taxpayer.

    you finished with:

    “we are in the 7th year of commercial space, and the astronauts on ISS are still dirty and hungry from a lack of deliveries. They have their hands out for more and more money”

    They are not dirty and hungry from the lack of deliveries, President Obama pushed through the 600 mil for a final flight of the Space Shuttle and they have supplies for a year.
    And just think, if only 10% of that wasted 13 billion had been pushed into commercial projects like COTS-D we would be a lot closer to actually launching something.

  • I predict a meltdown when the question and answer session starts and he starts calling candidates and their advisors names.

    Like all your predictions, this is another one doomed to failure.

  • Griffin killed so many NASA initiatives it’s no surprise he’s doing his best to kill anything that doesn’t have his very personal OK. Mike Griffin and his heritage is one part of what’s wrong with NASA.

  • Robert G. Oler

    rpatituc wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 11:59 am

    “What anti-sls people dont understand is that sls will be built!”

    watch, by next year SLS wont even be part of the debate…the death panels are pulling the plugs on it now ….RGO

  • Matt Wiser

    “Death Panels….” Not if Congress has a say-and you can BET that they will. And besides, Oler’s opposition to HSF is well known, anyway.

    Gents: have a look at this from MSNBC’s Alan Boyle.

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/30/7528922-space-agencies-set-two-courses

    Some very interesting proposals, and once this stuff gets officially released, the ball can get rolling. And the twist: lunar exploration is officially back on the table. Somethind this POTUS dissed as “been there, done that.”

  • @Oler:

    “watch, by next year SLS wont even be part of the debate…the death panels are pulling the plugs on it now ….RGO”

    A government-built super heavy lifter will be part of the debate until such time as an alternative emerges.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Hi DB –

    I’ll have to disagree with your assessment.

    Griffin is not a pschopath; he estimated that the 5 segs would work, and that ATK could deliver them at a reasonable cost. Even with his multiple degrees, Grffin did not foresee the combustion oscillation and abort problems- they probably didn’t cover that in enough depth in his courses.

    I do think that with some $10,000,000,000 down the drain, he is in a state of denial, which is being used well by others for their own purposes.

    Assuming those f*******g 5 segs go away sooner rather than later, I’ll probably actually have some sympathy for him.

    I once drove V. Mishin to screams and tears going through the N1 failure with him; it would have been more pleasant to have talked with him about the good times, when he was working through the fascist’s (Nazi’s) weapons designs.

  • E.P. Grondine

    Correction: “as long as those f******g 5 segs go away for manned and “sensitive” launches sooner rather than later”

  • Das Boese

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Gents: have a look at this from MSNBC’s Alan Boyle.

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/30/7528922-space-agencies-set-two-courses

    Some very interesting proposals, and once this stuff gets officially released, the ball can get rolling. And the twist: lunar exploration is officially back on the table. Somethind this POTUS dissed as “been there, done that.”

    Lunar exploration can’t be “back on the table” because it was never “off the table”. It just wasn’t considered a priority, and nothing in the article indicates that this has changed.

    I noticed however that China, a member of ISECG, was absent from the list of conference participants. Unless this is voluntary on the part of the Chinese, it’s a mistake to exclude them.

  • Das Boese

    Mark Whittington wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I wonder what all of the enablers of Obamaspace will say if we lose the ISS and hence the reason for commercial crew. Probably blame it on Griffin, I would imagine.

    They would be correct, since Griffin’s boneheaded refusal to go ahead with COTS-D and his failure to develop Ares I/Orion on time and budget is the primary reason why the US has no operational crew launch vehicle.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    ” Not if Congress has a say-and you can BET that they will. And besides, Oler’s opposition to HSF is well known, anyway. ”

    First off your conclusion about my opposition to HSF is a lie…It is so bizzare as to defy understanding.

    Congress wont have any say. You can see how deftly Bolden is “sidestepping” them.

    Wait until the super committee gets finished and then you will find the “missions” in the link you stated are dead. There is no political enthusiasm for high priced human exploration. Sorry…

    Lets put it another way. How many times have you been wrong and how many times have I been wrong about space policy and where it was going? A suggestion is to try and think with your mind not emotions RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Prez Cannady wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    “A government-built super heavy lifter will be part of the debate until such time as an alternative emerges.”

    of course it will be part of the “conversation” it just wont be built or even pursued. What the “exploration” groupies cannot quite get in their head, is that there is not any political will for billion dollar a year exploration programs…that NASA is thankfully dying.

    Didnt most of the shuttle folks get axed today? RGO

  • Vladislaw

    Mark Whittington wrote:

    “Vlad, anyone who knows me knows that a squirrel is the woodland animal I least resemble. Rand seriously explaining anything would be a first, by the way. I predict a meltdown when the question and answer session starts and he starts calling candidates and their advisors names.”

    (gets out a chalkboard and draws a flowchart of the joke for Mark)

    Mark, the squirrel comment was not about you. It was about the four names you listed. I have not seen any policy whitepapers by them, as it relates the Nation’s space program, only jabs at the President. Everything they have stated so far is “What position did President Obama take? Ok, well I am for the exact opposite, whatever it was.”

    You may not like Rand’s particular brand of advocacy on here but I know from personal experience whenever he has called me on something (and he would never bother to type out the why I was wrong, only that it was a dumb position) and forced me to do the DD (due diligence) and read up on the subject it would turn out his position was supported by the facts. It was that alone that has honed my opinions and what I advocate for.

    Because he refuses to suffer fools or may tends to be more gruff in comments does not automatically discount the message.

    I believe after reading his articles and comments, that last few years, it is pretty easy for anyone, with an 8th grade education, to gain an insight and understanding for what he advocates. That you need more of a serious explaination only implies to me that you are not reading with an open mind but wearing tinted glasses and if does not pass your personal litmus test it doesn’t matter what is said.

  • Because he refuses to suffer fools or may tends to be more gruff in comments does not automatically discount the message.

    Thank you, Vladislaw, but beyond that, the notion that if I had the opportunity to personally discuss these topics with the candidates (I have no illusions that this will happen) and that I would devolve to “melt down” and “call them names” is beyond ludicrous. It’s all a part of Mark’s inability to discern other human’s emotions with any accuracy whatsoever (he often fantasizes that I get “enraged,” or “leap the length of my (nonexistent) chain”), at least on the Internet.

  • ok then

    Famous last words: I’m Mike Griffin and I’m here to help the space program.

  • @Oler: “of course it will be part of the “conversation” it just wont be built or even pursued. What the “exploration” groupies cannot quite get in their head, is that there is not any political will for billion dollar a year exploration programs…that NASA is thankfully dying.”

    Whether or not it will be built is an open question, but the 2010 authorization and the President’s caving on the point clearly demonstrated the political will to pursue it–damned or not. That there is no scheduled appropriation for SLS activity is a result of the appropriation fight from the end of last year.

    This fall will be critical for super heavy lift supporters. If an appropriation

  • @Oler: “And that is actually a good thing for the American future in space. To the main point; the way of a large government rocket system that has no customers other then the agency that struggled to build it is over. There is no future there, it is a dead end canyon from which we cannot get out of.”

    Here’s hoping so. And if you’re right, we can spend God knows how long waiting out the rise and fall of the government built, assembled in orbit deep space vehicle.

  • DCSCA

    Griffin has nothing further to contribute to HSF planning and policy.

    His show has folded.

  • josh

    it doesn’t really matter what griffin has to say. sls will not fly, whether ot not congress cancels it before billions are wasted. nasa is simply not capable of developing launch vehicles anymore (small wonder if you think about it: do you really think someone with windy’s intellectual means could pull it off?).

    commercial will just keep moving forward, with or without nasa funding, probably slower than we’d all like to see but there will be private manned orbital missions and maybe even the first private orbital station in this decade. nasa is fast becoming irrelevant when it comes to hsf and that is a very good thing indeed.

  • Matt Wiser

    Boese: Did you see POTUS’ speech last year at the Cape? He sure took it off the table then and there with that “been there, done that” remark. BIG mistake on his part. All he had to say was something like “I have decided to challenge NASA by having them visit an asteroid before returning to the lunar surface.” Instead, he dissed the whole idea and it took Congress in the 2010 Authorization Act to include the Moon as a destination. The argument here is which should be first: NEO or the Moon. I’d prefer the moon, then head further out. Others may disagree.

  • Boese: Did you see POTUS’ speech last year at the Cape? He sure took it off the table then and there with that “been there, done that” remark. BIG mistake on his part.

    The notion that a POTUS can take off the table something that will happen after he is out of office is so politically clueless as to be completely laughable.

  • Bennett

    Vladislaw wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Seconded.

    I’ve learned a lot from Rand, and many of the regulars who comment on his blog.

  • Paul Spudis blogs on Moon v. NEO on 8/31.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    goofy …one reason that I knew back oh about two minutes after Bush the last had made his “lets redo JFK’s thing and go back to the Moon” speech was that NOTHING and I mean NOTHING was going to happen in his Presidential term…Presidents can only control what happens in their terms…and to say that a person in the Oval today could control what happens in 2020 is to show a total disregard for politics and political effort.

    Like it or not (and I like it) Obama (but more Correctly Charlie Bolden) is making sure his legacy flies AND that the thing which would perpetuate the agency he wants to change does not. In Obama’s term (even if he has only one and who knows about that now) commercial space will fly, and SLS will die.

    If Obama had said “wow we are going to go back to the Moon in 2020″ I would have turned off the TV laughing. At best he will be history on Jan 2017 and what happens in 2020 is someone elses problem.

    Were you homeschooled or something? RGO

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    All he had to say was something like “I have decided to challenge NASA by having them visit an asteroid before returning to the lunar surface.”

    Do you hear yourself Matt? That you need President Obama to say the word “Moon” in order for your lunar fantasies to be validated?

    That’s called “obsession”, and you should seek out professional help…

  • Das Boese

    Matt Wiser wrote @ August 31st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Boese: Did you see POTUS’ speech last year at the Cape? He sure took it off the table then and there with that “been there, done that” remark.

    Yes, Matt, I saw it. This is what he said (whitehouse.gov):
    Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before. Buzz has been there. There’s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do. So I believe it’s more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach — and operate at — a series of increasingly demanding targets, while advancing our technological capabilities with each step forward. And that’s what this strategy does. And that’s how we will ensure that our leadership in space is even stronger in this new century than it was in the last.
    and earlier in that same speech

    We’re no longer competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the Moon.

    I marked the important word in bold for you.
    As you can see, nothing he said rules out a return to the lunar surface, however it dispenses with the notion that this should be the primary goal.

    In fact, it dispenses with the notion of set-in-stone targets altogether, in favor of an approach that develops capabilities and identifies targets of opportunity as they come online, which is a far more sensible approach to space exploration in the 21st century than the Apollo way of “go to [place] by [date]“.

  • Matt Wiser

    Boese: It’s not necessarily the message itself: but the TONE of the message. When he said that “been there, done that,” it came across as dismissing lunar return. THAT was and is unacceptable. The argument is not whether or not the Moon is the main goal: it’s not. That is Mars. The disagreement here is whether or not the Moon should be the INITIAL DESTINATION. I prefer Moon first, then go further out. Moon, L-Points, NEO, then Mars. In that order. Remember: it was the preception that he was dissing lunar return that ensured continued Congressional (and other) criticism that guaranteed that even the revised FY 11 Budget would be DOA on The Hill-the 2010 Authorization Act resulted. As Mellberg pointed out in a previous thread, the Administration failed to “sell” their goals and plans for NASA, and they are still paying the price for that.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ September 1st, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    It’s not necessarily the message itself: but the TONE of the message.

    I guess you hear what you want to hear Matt. You don’t like the President, so anything he says has the wrong tone. That’s your personal problem, and one not shared by others.

    it was the preception that he was dissing lunar return that ensured continued Congressional (and other) criticism that guaranteed that even the revised FY 11 Budget would be DOA on The Hill

    What a load of horse-pucky. No one in Congress is pushing for us to get back to the Moon, and their budget proves it.

    And all Administration budgets are mere suggestions, since it’s up to the House to create spending bills, not the Administration. Learn some civics.

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron: the politics was lining up against what the Administration wanted after that disaster known as FY 11. And that was a Congress friendly to the Administration! Even Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) had problems with the revised proposal-and was very critical of Dr. Holdren and Gen. Bolden at the final Senate Committee hearing (the one with Neil Armstrong, Capt. Cernan, and Dr. Augustine in Panel II) in some aspects-commercial crew being one. He didn’t like Bolden holding off on HLV as well, and you can bet he was one along with Shelby and Hutchinson pushing for that in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. The Administration “didn’t make the sale.” Professor Crawley did.

    And Ron: you know full well the old D.C. Adage: “The Administration proposes, but the Congress disposes.” The Congress properly disposed of the FY 11 NASA Budget and wrote their own. As is their RIGHT to do so. Remember, perception counts in politics, and in this case, the Administration was perceived as being hostile to HSF, statements to the contrary, and so far, NO amount of damage control and spin has changed that perception where it counts: on Capitol Hill.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ September 2nd, 2011 at 12:01 am

    the politics was lining up against what the Administration wanted after that disaster known as FY 11

    Potato, Po-tah-to – I say good budget proposal, you say bad.

    And that was a Congress friendly to the Administration!

    Oh yes, that Republican House was super friendly to the Democratic President. Yep, no doubt.

    You are only hearing what you want to hear Matt, and you are naively believing that politicians only act in the interests of the nation. And politics, both local and national, don’t play a part. If only that were true, but it’s not.

    As onr piece of evidence, I said:

    And all Administration budgets are mere suggestions, since it’s up to the House to create spending bills, not the Administration. Learn some civics.

    And you said:

    The Congress properly disposed of the FY 11 NASA Budget and wrote their own. As is their RIGHT to do so.

    See Matt? You’re not listening. You’re just arguing for the sake of arguing.

    But that’s OK, because as Eugene Cernan would tell you, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

    Unless, that is, you can finally answer the question many of us have been asking you – who is going to use the SLS, and when will Congress approve the funding for the millions of pounds of payload that only the SLS can carry?

    Any answers yet? Or is Cernan right about you?

  • Vladislaw

    “And that was a Congress friendly to the Administration”

    Was that the friendly congress that set a filibuster record?

  • Martijn Meijering

    the politics was lining up against what the Administration wanted after that disaster known as FY 11.

    Not after FY11. Obama was going after the Shuttle political industrial complex, of course they were going to be furious. He deliberately kept them in the dark for as long as possible so they couldn’t coordinate a unified response. No mere communications strategy could have brought them on board. You are simply spouting propaganda.

  • Matt Wiser

    Ron: the congress that disposed of the original FY 11 budget request and produced the 2010 Authorization Act was a Democratic-controlled Congress. The Authorization Act was passed in a lame-duck session prior to the GOP taking over. The Democrats were not friendly to the Administration’s proposals for NASA, any more than the GOP has been, even under Nancy Pelosi as Speaker….

    And No, I didn’t vote for this President, but I was willing to give him a chance-not just on space, but other issues. Again, it was the perception that the Administration being hostile to HSF that generated the opposition. And in case you forgot, it was bipartisan. The politics of the day ensured that the original FY 11 budget-as it was presented, was DOA on The Hill. Even the revised plan submitted after Dr. Holdren and General Bolden were in front of the Senate-again, the hearing where Neil Armstrong, Capt. Cernan, and Dr. Augustine testified in Panel II-faced an uphill battle. So Congress threw out the original and revised plan and wrote their own. Don’t like what resulted? Try and get your Senators or Congresscritter to change things.

    Again, that “space summit” was just the choir meeting. NO contrary views presented at all: just the same song sheet. What should’ve happened was the President’s speech, then a real summit, with speakers pro and con of the Administration’s plans, with opportunity for alternative proposals. If that takes 2-3 days to carry out, so be it.

    The article from MSNBC’s Alan Boyle is a good start. NASA and other agencies were putting “meat on the bones” of what, so far, is a very thin exploration outline. Which is what critics have been saying ever since the Administration put out that botch of a rollout on 1 Feb 10. Details, missions to specific destinations, and so on. Vague promises are one thing. Actual plans are another, and the article (and this related one) help flesh FlexPath out.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/206245/20110830/nasa-mars.htm

    I agree: the ultimate destination is Mars. The arguing is how to get there, and where to go on the way.

  • Coastal Ron

    Matt Wiser wrote @ September 2nd, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    the congress that disposed of the original FY 11 budget request and produced the 2010 Authorization Act was a Democratic-controlled Congress. The Authorization Act was passed in a lame-duck session prior to the GOP taking over.

    Matt you keep forgetting what was in the FY11 Budget proposed by the Administration:

    1. Cancel Constellation (Approved)
    2. Extend the life of the ISS (Approved)
    3. Fund Commercial Crew (Approved)
    4. Keep the Orion as the MPCV (Approved)

    Now what the Administration didn’t want was the SLS, but since the Senators that proposed it stated that it was to preserve jobs, it’s not unexpected to get Congressional support after canceling such a large program like Constellation.

    So where is this big failure and repudiation that you’re talking about? We all had a party and celebrated the victory for the future of NASA HSF, because that’s what it was.

    You keep focusing on the things that don’t matter, like what people say. All that matters is what Congress funds, and since the President got most of what he wanted, it was a victory.

  • Coastal Ron

    Will McLean wrote @ September 4th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    If you want to discuss something on Space Politics, then say it here. Otherwise it looks like you’re just trying to use Jeff’s blog to advertise for your own (i.e. SPAM). A little courtesy here.

    Oh, and don’t just copy what you said over there to here, because that would be spamming too. If you have an original thought, bring it forth.

  • Ron:

    No discourtesy was intended. I thought the link was as on-topic as others that have been posted here, but if Jeff would prefer that commenters not post links to their own site I will comply with with whatever he prefers.

    To return to the topic at hand, I will ask, if Griffin wants the SLS budget increased by $400 million a year through the end of the next decade, where does he propose NASA finds that funding?

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