Campaign '12

Gingrich offers a lukewarm endorsement of Romney’s space policy

It’s been almost exactly eight months since former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, running for the Republican presidential nomination, offered his own vision for America’s future in space in a campaign stop in Cocoa, Florida, including establishing a lunar base by 2020 that might, eventually, lead to statehood. While that proposal was ridiculed in some quarters (including, perhaps most famously, in a Saturday Night Live skit), it certainly was a strong contrast to the approach around the same time by eventual nominee Mitt Romney, who focused more at the time on how he would develop a new space policy than what it would feature.

Given that difference, it’s not surprising that Gingrich is, perhaps, a little disappointed in the space policy white paper the Romney campaign issued Saturday. “The Romney plan for space starts to move in the right direction but could be much more robust,” he told NBC News on Sunday. “We could move into space much, much faster than we are. Romney is better than [President] Obama on space but could be bolder and more visionary.”

Gingrich didn’t specify in what ways Romney’s space policy was better that Obama’s. However, back in 2010 Gingrich and former House Science Committee chairman Bob Walker praised the Obama Administration’s “brave reboot” of NASA, in particular its emphasis on commercial partners, something the Romney space policy paper also supports.

52 comments to Gingrich offers a lukewarm endorsement of Romney’s space policy

  • Robert G. Oler

    That sound you hear is that of “rats leaving the ship” as it “departs” Newt is in his own way trying to start the drumbeat as to why Willard lost…you can if you go to Red State and Hot air and a few other places where the crazies hang out see the “well Mitt is not (insert favorite thing here)” and so when he loses that will set the stage for “how we win in 16″.

    The not so strange thing is that at least in this case Newt more or less gets is correct. Willard is losing because of two things 1) he has been unable to articulate a specific vision of what “he” would do differently and 2) that has allowed Obama to skate from a) what he has done and b) what he would do in a second term.

    Romney’s space policy is summed up at Parabolic arc which is “NASA needs clear goals which I’ll figure out after the election”…this is done because clear goals now would stop people who are Romney supporters from fantasizing that his goals would be their goals. Those people range from Scott Pace to Mark Whittington…

    If Newt had been the GOP nominee he might have suffered other issues but his policies from Space to the Mideast to taxes to whatever would be crystal clear and he would be stomping on Obama’s tail demanding that Obama come up and say what his are and would be.

    And that is something Obama would have in my view a hard time with if the performance of Bolden/Garver at NASA is any indication.

    Romney…the last Edsel RGO

  • DCSCA

    “Newt Gingrich, Moon President.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  • DCSCA

    @Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    ‘Romney…the last Edsel RGO’

    Hmmm. Read that someplace before. ;-)

  • Coastal Ron

    DCSCA wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hmmm. Read that someplace before.

    Yep, the Rachel Maddow show back in July.

    What, you thought you were original?

  • GeeSpace

    Gingrich should be disappointed with Romney’s space policy. It’s nowhere close to Gingrich’s strong, aggressive space development and human settlewment proposal.

    Gingrich for U.S.Presindent.

  • amightywind

    Gingrich’s political career is over, unless he is considering a run in 2016 on a third party ticket.

  • DCSCA

    @amightywind wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    “Gingrich’s political career is over, unless he is considering a run in 2016 on a third party ticket.”

    Are you kidding? He makes for great tee-vee and is the last, entertaining gadfly carrying water for the Reagan days– even though Reagan had little to do with him.

  • Mary

    Obama’s plan has always been George Bush’s plan, for. CxP was DOA anyway. Any plan is better than no plan at all, but Mittens is just too afraid to present one. He’ll get called out on it during one of the debates.

  • Robert G. Oler

    amightywind wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Gingrich’s political career is over>>

    that is not at all for certain.

    IF Romney, as seems likely losses the GOP is going to be at one of those grand moments in politics where it is going to have to decide how to “reinvent” itself.

    Obama is vunerable but the primary season and now the general have displayed the dysfunctional side of the party…

    Gingrich has many flaws but he at least is grounded in semi reality and he knows how to play hardball politics having learned it by being spanked by Bill Clinton.

    I can see it where he gets swept out with the broom that the “adults” of the party tired of losing might bring in..and I can see the GOP going into the political equivelent of a death march as it figures out that the only reason they lost was “Ryan wasnt Ryan” in which case they are in for another slapping in 16.

    They have to face a sad fact (for them) their notions of politics are hated. RGO

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Gingrich should be disappointed with Romney’s space policy. It’s nowhere close to Gingrich’s strong, aggressive space development and human settlewment proposal.

    It’s also nowhere close to Gingrich’s cluelessness about what the nation will support. Gingrich can be as strong and aggressive as he wants while he’s holding his can on the street.

    Is his political career over? Certainly not. Congress is full of clueless, strong, and aggressive folks.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Heinrich Monroe wrote @ September 24th, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    It’s also nowhere close to Gingrich’s cluelessness about what the nation will support>

    Sigh

    I really dont want to be in a position of defending Newt…if Muncy wants to he can delurk and do that.

    BUT one think Newt Gingrich, in my view understands; that I KNOW Mitt Romney does not and maybe Obama has an incomplete understanding of…is that the US, the nation can be rallied by a good leader to support a lot of things that seem on their own merit “less”.

    Bush43 is in my view one of the worst Presidents in terms of results this nation has ever had…we are in all instances worse off after 8 years of him and his administration then we were when he took “the deck”…but one thing Bush43 (and his father who I have very high respect for) was is a leader.

    I dont like where he lead us…but both Bushs had the ability to summon the nation to do things which on just a paper analysis seem hopeless in terms of getting support for.

    Newt is enough of a historian to recognize the power of a real leader…how do you talk people into attacking the Germans at Trenton when they are in rags with no powder, how do you talk people into holding the Alamo in the face of certain death…to put up a good fight against the Japanese at Corrigedor when its hopeless….

    OK thats wartime examples but that same leadership can filter down to “other things”…and I dont nkow if Newt can actually do it; but Newt thinks he can….

    the “neat” thing about Elon Musk is that he is one such person. I am adamantly opposed (as must be obvious from even a modest reading of my post here) to any emphasis on Mars…but Musk is infectuous in terms of spreading the gospel of what he believes could be done there…and how it would change not only the US but our society as “humans”.

    we dont have anyone in power now, and that certainly includes Garver and sadly Charlie Bolden who are “leading” in terms of spreading the “gospel” of what a space vision for people is…Musk does that…and Newt thinks he could.

    He might not be able to but he thinks he could…Romney doesnt even think that and Obama doesnt even try. RGO

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I wonder if you are not mistaking charisma for leadership somehow. Charisma may be part of leadership as I think your hero has shown. But there are different ways for leadership including or not advocacy. Some are complaining that Charlie Bolden lacks leadership. What I think they are complaining about is that Bolden lacks advocacy. But it is not his job as far as I know. His job is to make this darn agency work. Under his leadership nonetheless Commercial Space has grown and is becoming, so far, successful. That is leadership. He may not have the charisma to make the perfect FY-11 roll out BUT he has the leadership to make other things happen, including Curiosity. Leaders cannot only blame for their failures they should be complimented for their success as well! I don’t want to enter the budget argument here, granted it is important. Under his leadership thousand of people did not lose their jobs on SLS/MPCV. And that regardless whether we think they should be preserved. So far I see some one who was given a terrible situation and has (partly) reverse the course so that there may be more successes to come forward.

    So leadership is not advocacy and is not charisma. It is making sure you do the job you are given. Compare this with what happened before Charlie.

    FWIW.

  • DCSCA

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Even “Newt Gingrich, Moon President acknowledged on camera, when out campaigning for Akin, that talking about ‘moonbases’ was a “stupid comment” — as his wife, so he says, keeps reminding him. butm as SNL reminded us, she’s more of a ‘Mars Attacks!’ spouse.

  • common sense

    Not to defend him ;) but if Newt had been smart on this one he would have tried to visit SNL… He could have turned the whole thing. Still not my choice.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    the nation can be rallied by a good leader to support a lot of things that seem on their own merit “less”

    No cigar. If something on it’s own merit seems “meritless”, it’s not a “good leader” that gets people to follow it. It’s a cult leader or a huckster. I think you mean to say that a good leader can articulate merit where others might not be able to. But no one, I mean NO ONE, should follow something that seems to them meritless. More power to them in not doing so.

    Newt is confusing grandiose ideas with grand leadership. That’s a common confusion. Grand leadership is about vision that helps people see a bright future for themselves. Cities on the Moon offer no such vision. At least Newt never communicated that. Only space nerds and lunatics really aspire to living (as in settling, and putting down roots) on the Moon. Newt wants us to think of ourselves as being strong, dominant, and powerful. His perverse vision of that is expressed in the form of cities on the Moon, where our connection with our home planet is in the form of earthshaking rockets blazing fierce fire. There are many other ways of presenting ourselves as strong, dominant, and powerful, but Newt is evidently too clueless to see them. Actually, a sad perspective from a sometime history and geography professor.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    “I wonder if you are not mistaking charisma for leadership somehow. Charisma may be part of leadership as I think your hero has shown. But there are different ways for leadership including or not advocacy. Some are complaining that Charlie Bolden lacks leadership. What I think they are complaining about is that Bolden lacks advocacy”

    “my hero”? Who is that curious

    Anyway leadership to me is well “vision”; it is a describing a “place” that hard work and effort and a lot of other things can “take us to”…

    and I dont see that from Charlie…or really Obama and Romney doesnt have a clue.

    Newt did…and I agree that he could have gone on SNL and made a difference in how he was perceived. He also could have listened to good political talent. RGO

  • NeilShipley

    common sense wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    ‘So leadership is not advocacy and is not charisma. It is making sure you do the job you are given.’
    Yes leadership is that but it is more.
    Leadership is also about vision and selling the future. So on this front, Bolden receives a fail grade. There’s no vision from him whereas Musk is doing both the job and selling his vision for the future. Without a vision for the future, how do you know where you’re going. I don’t think NASA really does but I do think the Musk has a very clear picture of where SpaceX is going. Plans change and the one think that Musk has demonstrated is the ability to change and adapt to changing circumstances a la COTS and CCDev (now CCiCap).
    He’s in fact, been very smart in molding circumstance to further his aims and turn vision into fact.

  • Vladislaw

    There is a difference though, Musk has the freedom to sell a vision then act on it. Bolden can not give a vision on how he wants to proceed and then execute it. Even a President can’t lead if half the congress says, “ah it doesn’t matter what you say, we are going to do the exact opposite” if the little indians are not willing to follow the chief it is a moot point.

    I can not imagine how the President could have sold anything to this congress. Musk does have the freedom because he controls the checkbook. The President, nor Bolden control the Nation’s checkbook.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    There is a difference though, Musk has the freedom to sell a vision then act on it. Bolden can not give a vision on how he wants to proceed and then execute it. Even a President can’t lead if half the congress says, “ah it doesn’t matter what you say, we are going to do the exact opposite” if the little indians are not willing to follow the chief it is a moot point.>>

    Sorry dont agree with that.

    First I do agree (grin) that Musk has a freedom that say Charlie doesnt but it is really a trivial matter…Musk has to sale a vision as a function of the success of his own company. Musk is a modern day Herb Kelleher (Southwest airlines)…it wasnt just that Herb was selling transportation it was well “Spreading love all over Texas” (some visions from childhood running through head here)…and that was what made the airline in large measure a success.

    But Charlie needs to sell a vision as well…a vision of what commercial crew/cargo or SLS or both is going to do for the nation.

    There are two problems here however.

    First I dont think Charlie or Garver (well I am sure of the later) dont have a clue. Really Garver is hopeless when it comes to trying to imagine a future that is really different from today. Of course this is par for space policy there has not been a vision at NASA in 50 years…even as far back as the lunar program…WVB might have had a vision but he and the rest of the ex Germans had it alone…few of the people doing the “program” saw it as more then a “program”.

    second…Obama doesnt have a vision. Thats OK Romney doesnt either…the strange thing is that I am starting to believe that both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan actually do…but that aside Obama’s campaign doesnt have to have a vision because Romney gets up in the morning and figures out how to unload his six shooter into his own foot.

    If you put Charlie or Lori in a chair and said “How do you see Commercial crew/cargo or SLS (just pick one) changing America?”

    I dont think that they could give you a vision statement at all.

    See I think Newt could. I could (well not for SLS because it is visionless) RGO

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    ““my hero”? Who is that curious”

    I think you refer to him as “Ronaldus the Great “?

    “Anyway leadership to me is well “vision”; it is a describing a “place” that hard work and effort and a lot of other things can “take us to”…”

    Possibly but it is not always so. Would you qualify all military leaders in that way? It is a romantic vision of a leader. Not that I don’t like it but in the corporate world it does not necessarily exist. Actually it is often pushed back.

    “and I dont see that from Charlie…or really Obama and Romney doesnt have a clue.”

    Charlie was given an agency in disarray. It’ll take more than 4 years to fix it. You will see the result of his leadership on a longer time scale but I think that he’s already done a lot. Romney has no clue I agree but Obama is well ahead of the pack. Think where we were heading 4 years ago and where we are today. Could be better? Sure. But it could be a lot worse. Considering that Romney, the Romney who brought healthcare to his State is no longer with us…

    “Newt did…and I agree that he could have gone on SNL and made a difference in how he was perceived. He also could have listened to good political talent.”

    Gingrich is not my man but I can tell his humor and wit at times. SNL was the perfect venue for him to turn this gaffe around. I was under the impression that he only listens to him. Not the trait of a great leader…

  • common sense

    @NeilShipley wrote @ September 25th, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    “Leadership is also about vision and selling the future.”

    No it is not true. It is your notion of leadership. Leadership is the ability to lead from place A to place B. Those places may have been defined for you and all that it matters is that you reach place B no matter what.

    “There’s no vision from him whereas Musk is doing both the job and selling his vision for the future.”

    Musk is an entrepreneur who is PR savvy. What do you know about his quality as a leader inside his company(ies) for example? You may want to inquire before making such statements. Yes he has some leadership qualities that may be appealing to you from the outside but again this is your perception. I know quite a few people who would disagree with you.

    “Without a vision for the future, how do you know where you’re going.”

    This is not the job of a NASA Administrator. You need to have experience in the corporate world again. You can not associate Bolden’s job with that of Musk’s.

    “I don’t think NASA really does but I do think the Musk has a very clear picture of where SpaceX is going. Plans change and the one think that Musk has demonstrated is the ability to change and adapt to changing circumstances a la COTS and CCDev (now CCiCap).”

    Well without NASA leadership there would be no COTS, CCDev nor CCiCap. So there. Again Musk and Bolden is like the famous apple and not less famous orange.

    “He’s in fact, been very smart in molding circumstance to further his aims and turn vision into fact.”

    Musk is a businessman. Bolden an Administrator. Musk can have whatever vision he fancies for him and his various enterprises. Bolden cannot. Period.

  • common sense

    @ Vladislaw wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    “There is a difference though, Musk has the freedom to sell a vision then act on it. Bolden can not give a vision on how he wants to proceed and then execute it.”

    Yep.

    “Even a President can’t lead if half the congress says, “ah it doesn’t matter what you say, we are going to do the exact opposite” if the little indians are not willing to follow the chief it is a moot point.”

    Slightly different issue but yep too.

    “I can not imagine how the President could have sold anything to this congress. Musk does have the freedom because he controls the checkbook. The President, nor Bolden control the Nation’s checkbook.”

    Okay that too. But the first statement is closer to the problem.

    Another thing to consider. If we had the Great Leader of them all then s/he would get a lot of the spot light and I would venture that it is the least any WH wants with any of their employees, especially not from NASA.

    FWIW.

  • Vladislaw

    Robert wrote:

    “First I do agree (grin) that Musk has a freedom that say Charlie doesnt but it is really a trivial matter…Musk has to sale a vision as a function of the success of his own company”

    You are closing in on the problem. People invest in Musk because of their own personal self interest. They hope that He will turn a profit for their investment. That the investor also believes in what Musk is doing, that is just gravy.

    When the President is selling a Vision to Congress they are also going to vote what is in their own political self interest. It may not be a monetary profit (although some votes are done for that reason) but for political profit. For the Republicans to vote in favor of the President’s vision will create a success for the President. You can not vote for a political success for the President at the same time you are trying to make this an unsuccessful President so that he is a one term President. Those are mutually exclusive goals. Unless the oppostition party just appears to be supportive but instead loads the bill up with crap and then turn around and not vote for it becasue it is filled with crap.

    You added:

    “But Charlie needs to sell a vision as well…a vision of what commercial crew/cargo or SLS or both is going to do for the nation”

    Is that what this congressional committees want to hear from Bolden? Really? That commercial crew not the SLS is the godsend we need?

    I honestly do not think that will make Wolf and boys all warm and fuzzy at the next hearing he has before them. Charlie seems to not want to sell their vision.. the SLS … and seems to keep quiet about CC and not rub any noses with it.

    Is it a good strategy? Personally, I am more with you on there should be more of a sales pitch and there was a lot of lost opportunity to exploit the commercial crew aspect to the voting public. But for whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have never been able to talk to someone so high up on a one on one to hear what they really think. For the most part.. space just doesn’t register on the political meter.

    I think some NASA personal should fall on their sword and tell congress:

    “sorry Representive that is batshit crazy”
    “No I am sorry Senator, that is just plain nuts”
    “Senator.. was someone handing out crazy pills?”

    Breath a little sunshine on the debate.

  • Mary

    Are you really selling a program to the American people? Look at SLS, do you think anyone respects costs? Not only is it mandated but it overrated as well. NASA is considering another micro-gravity environment using ISS leftovers for an L2 platform instead of inflatables and calling it a so-called deep space outpost, all in the name of keeping SLS alive.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I wrote:
    “Anyway leadership to me is well “vision”; it is a describing a “place” that hard work and effort and a lot of other things can “take us to”…”

    You replied:
    Possibly but it is not always so. Would you qualify all military leaders in that way? It is a romantic vision of a leader. Not that I don’t like it but in the corporate world it does not necessarily exist. Actually it is often pushed back.”

    “leadership” and “vision” are inseparable…you can have “command” by virtue of the office you hold but leadership does not get automatically conferred when you “take the deck” or assume the “big chair” or get the window office…you have to at some point motivate people to do what “you are suggesting” by policy…and that occurs “badly” through simple performance of job or outstandingly by motivation in terms of what is being accomplished.

    A vision directed can be of one for the greater good or it can be for personal good…but in the end one has to communicate to the people who you want to do the things you have in mind some sense of “personal commitment” that they should give beyond just the paycheck.

    Now all this is on a slidding scale of course. Willard has passed out large bonus to some of the people on his campaign so I guess that there personal vision was fullfilled…but no amount of money, no promise of land, no notion of “we will name a county or city after you” could have convinced say the folks at the Alamo to hang on to the end. I dont know what Travis said to those people when he “drew the line in the sand”, but I am pretty sure it sounded a lot like what was said in the last movie on the Alamo. When George Moore commanding the Corregidor garrison knew for a fact that “no one was coming” what he said to the people who were going to “lose” that battle is pretty well known and it was a vision for the greater good of the country. Corregidor’s garrison fought not as a symbolic show but more or less to the last round of ammunition.

    I realize that Charlie picked up an agency in disarray but he has played that act before. He was picked in large measure because since his time at Canoe U that is what he does…he turned the 3MAW from a “so so” unit to a tiger…

    The competing policies for spending money on spaceflight (Human) at NASA other then ISS are commercial cargo/crew and SLS/Orion and both he and Garver have in my view given lip service to both. Neither have explained how either (grin) would or would not change America and instead mostly give platitudes in their speeches.

    That wont work…but really it is an Obama administration staple. HE (Obama) doesnt do that either on almost anything. and its a shame because there are hints that he could. His speech to the UN I thought was bordering on greatness. He just cant make that last FDR or JFK or RWR step.

    Ronaldus the Great…sorry I should have picked up on that.

    After the 1976 campaign I never stepped in horse manure or saw a turd pile on the ground and have not had that thought flash through my mind “where is the horse”?

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    yeah

    One of the reason Musk is in my view unique (and just like HK) is the way he talks about people who he wants investing in his company…people who share not only a love for profits but his vision. My two year old daughter (sounding like Carter in the REagan debate) loves that speech he gives…

    The Congress that just adjourned headed into a lame duck is not quite but near unique in the annuals of the countries history. It is one where blatant partisanship has just overwhelmed any sense of duty or patriotism.

    IF Obama said “the sky is blue” the GOP nuts would say “No its pink” and if Obama said “OK its pink” they would say “did we say pink no really its azure and why the hell are you changing your position?”

    BUT part of countering that is vision and selling it to the American people.

    How do you think REagan got his way? (OK the Congress he had oppossing him was not this horrific…really this congress the GOP elements in it are the worst since oh I dont know the do nothing under HST) RGO

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Your reference to leadership still is of the romantic nature. Again I am not against it in general but believe me if you will corporations usually don’t like this. At all. And Bolden is in the strangest corporation of them all. To me so far he is doing rather well.

    The ultimate proof will come later. Nature of the beast. Just like for the President. What you or I want him to do he just can’t considering the political environment.

    I can’t remember a Congress whose declared goal was to make a President, any President a failure. Bear that in mind when you think of Obama. Puts things in perspective.

  • Vladislaw

    For me, a good leader has to be a good salesman and the first rule of sales is “Sell the sizzle not the steak”

    I understand why you are saying no Mr. Jones, and that is exactly why you should buy this turnip twaddler today, just imagine how your friends and family will see you when you are operating this bad boy.

    Any vision sold has to bring the public along for the ride. America, watching Pan Am selling seats for the moon and Hilton talking about hotels .. really thought we were going along. They soon lost interest when it was just a reality tv show about people working. (funny how times change, now cable is loaded with shows about people just doing their job)

    The space shuttle was going to bring the public along.. until a teacher was tragically killed in an accident. So long for the idea of people coming along for the ride. Once again people tuned out. Until SpaceShipOne and excitement is building for actually going along for the ride.

    I just do not see that vision selling for anything NASA does (in human spaceflight) that is not opening it up to be more inclusive, like Commercial cargo and crew did, it is a great start.

    I really think the idea of dual use should be a part of all the conversations, commercial should be brought with this time every foot of the way. Bring the public with and we get excitement.

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Leadership is the ability to lead from place A to place B. Those places may have been defined for you and all that it matters is that you reach place B no matter what.

    I have a lot of trouble with that. A leader is one who can articulate the value of place B, and incentivize followers. A service dog leads a blind person from point A to point B, but they aren’t going to get any awards for “leadership”.

    Newt couldn’t tell us why lunar cities were important, but he wanted to lead us there. Is that “leadership”? Nope.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    yes…but be careful.

    In my view one of the somber messages of this election is that WSC notion of Americans is finally being borne out “we do the right thing but only after all other options are exhausted”….Look Romney is self destructing (at least today) but even had he not been a flawed candidate I dont think that the “nominal” GOP aka Paul Ryan message would sell anymore to other then the “true believers”

    after a lot of decades of various GOP slogans that didnt work out so well (and we can argue why) Americans have come to what a call “the era of reality” in terms of a lot of things…tax policy (A second Obama term will see taxes go up on the very well off) etc etc and that includes space policy.

    Most Americans realize that there are not going to be seats on the Pan Am Space Clipper or a Hilton in space…in the next decade or two or three…but they also reject fully the notino of a space effort consisting of a few NASA astronauts going “Roger and AOK” (with compliments to The Backyardigans)

    The sizzle on commercial crew/cargo is saleable…it is the notion of American private industry doing in space what it can do on Earth…and that is a “mission” that NASA should embrace and Charlie and Lori etc should triumph.

    Garver doesnt see that but I would hope Charlie does.

    RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Your reference to leadership still is of the romantic nature. Again I am not against it in general but believe me if you will corporations usually don’t like this.>

    but 1) why should we care what kind of leadership corporations have and 2) I agree corporations have different leadership “visions” then nations do.

    RGO

  • common sense

    It is not for NASA to sell a vision. Those who allocate pubic dollars are in Congress. They are selling us their “vision” of NASA, HSF and the likes. The fact that we don’t care that much is why they do what they do with SLS and MPCV for example.

    The job of the Administrator is to manage NASA and apply the WH policy provided of course s/he has a budget to do it. Otherwise it’s just managing.

    Who was the last NASA Admin who had a vision? And was selling that vision? And was successful at it?

    NASA is supporting commercial crew and fighting for some budget. In essence as we saw going against their customers, i.e. Congress. And the Congress who are the customers does not even represent the US in its entirety.

    Public will come along. And when VG is successful said public will see that they may have a role in this adventure but it still is going to be a long shot. Unlike aviation there is no destination in space for any one to go to. For now. What I suspect might work first is a space line company allowing for rapid travel between two points but even that, to some extent, may be defeated by the Internet, for business say.

    So there are a lot of ifs. NASA is not in a position to provide a vision of any kind. Only do as they are told.

    Private entrepreneurs MUST justify a market for their companies to thrive. If the government is willing to support for a while the emergence of a new market so much the better.

    But I think that’s about it.

    The vision and leadership some are looking for would not work in this day and age. This is not what the (relevant) public wants to hear or be led to.

    FWIW.

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    “but 1) why should we care what kind of leadership corporations have and 2) I agree corporations have different leadership “visions” then nations do.”

    Because NASA is closer to a corporation than it is to a start-up in its mode of operation. Come on. You know that. So asking for Bolden to act like Musk (you did not ask that others did) is irrelevant. Same for asking Bolden to be Patton. We are not at war. And NASA is not the military.

    So what would you actually like Bolden to do? I don’t understand since your reference do not apply.

    I am willing to be wrong just explain it to me why.

  • common sense

    @ Heinrich Monroe wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    “I have a lot of trouble with that.”

    I understand.

    “A leader is one who can articulate the value of place B, and incentivize followers.”

    You want an inspirational leader. It is very different. There are leaders of may different kinds.

    “A service dog leads a blind person from point A to point B, but they aren’t going to get any awards for “leadership”.”

    You need to receive “awards” to be a leader??? Since when? I guess then there are very few leaders in this world. And who will deliver the award?

    “Newt couldn’t tell us why lunar cities were important, but he wanted to lead us there. Is that “leadership”? Nope.”

    He could not since they are not important. As simple as that. Not when compared with anything happening today like unemployment, healthcare, terrorism, etc. Seems obvious to me. Not to you? Who will follow a “leader” to set up multi-billion dollar station on the Moon. Is this real?

    Now I know you will not like this but here

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/leadership

    lead·er·ship   [lee-der-ship] Show IPA
    noun
    1. the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group: He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition. Synonyms: administration, management, directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony.
    2.ability to lead: As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkable leadership potential. Synonyms: authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness; sway, clout.
    3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction: They prospered under his strong leadership.
    4. the leaders of a group: The union leadership agreed to arbitrate.

  • Robert G. Oler

    common sense wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    So what would you actually like Bolden to do? I don’t understand since your reference do not apply.

    I am willing to be wrong just explain it to me why.>>

    the administrator of NASA is in a tough spot right now. There are three things that are just tearing him and the agency apart.

    The first is that unlike the FBI, FAA you name it his agency in its premier money spending roll has no clear cut mission or reason for being.

    Second is that the spending right now is on two tracks; one is commercial which is in some measure succeeding and the second is the SLS/Orion gig which is floundering.

    Third there is no real support in Congress (at least now that might change after Nov) to fix things…and if that does change then he the administrator needs to take command of the change; not be driven by it.

    The answer to this is for Bolden to pick which side of the commercial/SLS ledger he comes down on and start advocating the “worth” of whichever position he picks, the vision the end game of either project…and its not the “Frees NASA up to do great things in the exploration field”.

    It might get him fired (I doubt it) to advocate such a move and then execute it…but next eyar if he does not do this then as the petty bickering starts about how to deal with the loss of money or the reality that SLS is over budget or….then he will have established no clear direction HE wants the agency to go in acting as a proxy for the POTUS.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Without a vision the people perish…

    “Alex Castellanos, the GOP ad man who advised Romney’s 2008 campaign, said that what Romney’s still missing is a positive, uplifting theme that shows Americans he can lead them into the future better than Obama.

    Said Castellanos: “A president’s job is to be Moses. He is supposed to take you to the Promised Land.”

    and I would add without a vision; you dont lead the people.

    RGO

  • Heinrich Monroe

    Now I know you will not like this but here
    lead·er·ship   [lee-der-ship]

    Point noted. But I think the word “leader” has a range of connotations. By that dictionary definition, every manager is a “leader”. By that dictionary definition every politician is a “leader”. Why? Because they led a majority to vote for them.

    By the way, the service dog doesn’t need a medal. I’m just wondering if people will gaze at it and say “Wow. There’s a real leader!” No, when I see a service dog, that word never comes to mind. I suppose the person walking a dog with a leash is a “leader” too, by the dictionary definition. If someone drags me, kicking and screaming, yep, they can call themselves a “leader”. That sucks, doesn’t it?

    Yes, I want not just tracks to follow, but an “inspirational leader”. Newt wants to be one of those, but with regard to space, the only folks he’s inspiring are the space nerds and lunatics.

  • NeilShipley

    CR Ok if Bolden is simply an ‘Administrator’ then it explains why NASA is in trouble trying to gain public support. If indeed that’s what is required. Perhaps you subscribe to the view that the President and Congress should be selling the vision for NASA or maybe you think NASA doesn’t need a vision? Help me out please.
    In terms of Leadership, I find your definition quite limited. And don’t agree, but that’s ok, friends? can do that. I think that even governments and corporations, teachers, doctors, business men and women, parents, uncles, aunts, in fact all these people, in fact almost everyone, at one point or another in their lives, will be called upon to ‘lead’. Most in terms of your narrow view but some under my broader definition. I’m pretty sure that if you discuss ‘Leadership’ with academics and others that specialise in organisational behaviour, you’ll find that they will mostly subscribe to the broader view.
    Cheers.

  • NeilShipley

    Apologies, my last post should have been addressed to common sense not Coastal Ron.
    Cheers.

  • Coastal Ron

    I think Bolden is doing a great job of “leadership”, definitely from getting NASA’s house in order on managing their funded programs. JWST owes it’s continued existence on his ability to get it back in shape and convince Congress it IS on a predictable track to be completed within the budget Congress will allow.

    That is leadership.

    As to “vision”, who says that is a prerequisite for the job of NASA Administrator? Is the prime job of that person to articulate a “visionary” plan for NASA, or is it to carry out the policies of the person in the White House? Pick one.

    For space exploration, a visionary doesn’t have to be the NASA Administrator, it could be anyone that steps forward to articulate a vision and build support for it. Someone in Congress, the President, someone from academia, or even someone from industry. There is no limit to where visionaries came come from.

    Oh, and I’m OK with neither of the Presidential candidates being a “space visionary”. I’d prefer they are better nation leaders, and at most I would want them to recognize when a “space visionary” does appear, and support them. Who knows when that would happen though…

  • Coastal Ron

    NeilShipley wrote @ September 26th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Apologies, my last post should have been addressed to common sense not Coastal Ron.

    Maybe you were being prescient? ;-)

    On the topic of leaders, managers and visionaries, if you think that the job of the NASA Administrator is supposed to be “visionary”, then who does the administrating?

    Maybe that was what was wrong with Griffin’s term as administrator, that he was too busy “having visions” and didn’t pay enough attention to all the over-budget and over-schedule programs? I’d prefer not to repeat that experience again.

    As I said before, I think the job of the NASA Administrator is to be a manager/leader – to run the department effectively and efficiently. Besides, there are few people on this planet that can be both a visionary AND an effective leader. One died recently (Steve Jobs), and the other known ones are busy running their own businesses, so it’s not a large pool to draw from if you require those two attributes.

    And how many of those care about space enough to be “visionary” about it? You’re making this an impossibly small pool of people to choose from. That’s why I think splitting up those two functions make so much sense. If you disagree, fine, but maybe you should provide the long list of prior NASA Administrators that were both “visionary” and effective leaders so we can refresh our memories of what we’re missing.

  • common sense

    More tomorrow abut the NASA Admin job but

    Coastal Ron A+

    Everyone else I am afraid from F to D.
    ;) right?

  • common sense

    Another quick thing then I have to go.

    POTUS is not equal to NASA Admin.

    Newt is not equal to Bolden is not equal to Obama etc

    I hope y’all see why, right?

    So pick your leader wisely.

    Re ;)

  • NeilShipley

    Ok CR, I agree that we can split the job into managing and associated tasks and in that case I’ll give Bolden a credit pass since I think he’s doing a reasonable job with that. In so far as leading the organisation in those terms then ok. Perhaps the NASA Administrator doesn’t need to be a leader in the way say Elon or Steve Jobs is/was. But with an organisation like NASA that is supposed to be running missions that are effectively cutting edge, then are they simply relying on the expertise within each mission to do the leading? Perhaps so.

  • Coastal Ron

    NeilShipley wrote @ September 27th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Perhaps the NASA Administrator doesn’t need to be a leader in the way say Elon or Steve Jobs is/was.

    I was at a workshop recently where the presenter was making the case that “visionaries” aren’t recognized as such until pretty far down the road from when they supposedly were being “visionary”. For instance, Steve Jobs is touted as a visionary, but that moniker didn’t aways apply, and certainly not when he was churning out Apple I & II computers.

    Elon Musk is what I would still call “on the cusp” of being a visionary, in that he has done a number of things in the past and present, but it’s the past that truly solidifies ones entrance into the lofty club of “visionary”.

    So for me at least, while I do wish for someone in NASA to stick out as presenting a vision of the future that can unify and excite the space community and interest the general population, I don’t know who that should be. The Administrator? One of the leading scientists? Or someone outside of NASA in the space community? But again, our lack of such person has been ongoing for decades, so this is has become more of a wish for the future than a requirement for each administration. In the meantime I’ll settle for competent management.

    My $0.02

  • common sense

    Not only the NASA Administrator should not be a visionary person in the Steve Jobs kind of way but ifs/he were it might be detrimental to the WH or NASA. What if you have a Newt like guy who’s going to put both feet in the mouth, embarrassing the WH. For whatever flaws they may have I cannot imagine the members of Congress dealing with such a visionary person. Suffice to see how they handle Musk and they have very little they can do to him. There are many different ways to get the job done and a visionary would not be able to get anything done in this system. Nope. On the other hand. The NASA Admin may hire “visionaries” to run the different orgs within NASA. And somehow it is happening. However again the flow of power is such that it is not enough to make substantial changes as some would love to have. If commercial space is a success that will be plenty for decades to come to give a leadership award to Bolden.

  • Barack Obama: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!

  • Vladislaw

    Chris Castro wrote:

    “Barack Obama: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!”

    Using your logic:

    President Kennedy: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Ford: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Carter: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Reagan: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Bush Sr.: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Clinton: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!
    President Bush Jr.: Low Earth Orbit President. Truly enough said!

    To quote a great American:

    “What ah maroon” – Bugs Bunny

    Only Johnson and Nixon fit your profile of worthy Presidents. Since Johnson was the one to stop ordering Saturn V’s, which started the production lines closing and Nixon switched to the Space Shuttle .. gosh .. there really is no such thing as a President worthy of you.

  • Newt Gingrich at least believed in Lunar industrial development, preceded naturally by (1) renewed manned exploration missions and (2) an intermittently or permanently occupied manned base. President Obama wants a 2010′s & 2020′s space policy firmly anchored & chained to Low Earth Orbit, doing just the exact same boring stuff that we’ve been doing for the last forty years! The same dull, REPEAT AFTER REPEAT astronauts-being-emplaced-in-a-space-station-for-six-months-at-a-time thing. When does THAT thing ever get passe?! Doesn’t it ever get old?! So yeah, Mr. Obama tossing into the dumpster, our one great opportunity of getting our astronauts OUT of LEO, by killing off Project Constellation, certainly denigrates him, in my mind, from being a worthy President, with regard to space policy!

  • Coastal Ron

    Chris Castro wrote @ October 1st, 2012 at 4:27 am

    President Obama wants a 2010′s & 2020′s space policy firmly anchored & chained to Low Earth Orbit…

    … by going to an asteroid by the mid-2020′s, and going to Mars by the mid-2030′s.

    As usual Chris, you keep forgetting what people have really said.

  • Those two announcements by the President were bogus & delusional!!! The interplanetary habitat module that’d be used to reach the said asteroid would have to be twenty times more complicated to build & operate than a lunar lander craft would have to be! The basic requirements of such a module or set of modules, would entail situations that a Moon landing craft would never need to deal with, not the least of which is: having to maintain life support & accompanying supplies & systems for a multiple months-long stretch of time with NO regular resupply from Earth. I mention camparison to an L-SAM type of vehicle, specialized to landing on the Moon, because it is precisely all these Flexible Path people who are dead set against the building of any such lander, because they find it to be “way too complex & expensive”. These people should ask themselves: why on Earth would building and operating a lunar lander be such an impossible-seeming task?! Once the Heavy-Lift rocket comes into line, plus the smaller rocket needed to fly the Orion capsule, just what is the “stumbling block” that would make constructing a new lunar module so prohibitingly costly, that gloomy, too-far-into-the-future year dates had been given by those who were anti-Moon all along: such as 2028 or 2035?!?! These projections of ready-to-fly dates were given as a way to discourage & psychologically roadblock the Lunar partisans. So that “other things” would ensnare the center stage. But the truth is that NASA has absolutely NO experience with sending astronauts off into deep space, for multiple-months, with nothing but just what they brought aboard with them, with which to rely on to stay alive and well. Such experience would be best acheived during the course of conducting manned Moon flights. Plus this intermediate goal, gets us OUT of LEO, once and for all!

  • Coastal Ron

    Chris Castro wrote @ October 2nd, 2012 at 5:59 am

    The interplanetary habitat module that’d be used to reach the said asteroid would have to be twenty times more complicated to build & operate than a lunar lander craft would have to be!

    Yikes! Hit a nerve I guess.

    We’re already testing out a long-term habitat in that place that you don’t like to talk about (i.e. the ISS in LEO). As to cost, your 20x figure is pretty fictitious since a design for either has not been set. More on cost later.

    I mention camparison to an L-SAM type of vehicle, specialized to landing on the Moon, because it is precisely all these Flexible Path people who are dead set against the building of any such lander, because they find it to be “way too complex & expensive”.

    The LSAM that you see in promotional pictures is a pretty stupid design, with the astronauts having to climb up and down a 20-30 foot ladder. I like the ULA ACES modular lander design far better, since it’s a horizontal lander (walk out to surface), and it’s reusable. The proposed NASA LSAM was another of a long line of disposable vehicles – that’s no way to expand our presence into space.

    As to the “way too complex & expensive” comment, that has always been about the architecture, not just the lander. For instance, today it will cost $30B in order to get a lander to LEO using the SLS. Then it will take untold more $Billions to build an EDS so that lander can get to lunar orbit. We can do that today using existing rockets, so that is why the Constellation-style hardware is “way too complex & expensive”.

    Once the Heavy-Lift rocket comes into line, plus the smaller rocket needed to fly the Orion capsule, just what is the “stumbling block” that would make constructing a new lunar module so prohibitingly costly…

    We can build the lunar lander today if we stop building the SLS. Which do you want?

    See, that’s the bottom line here. NASA only has a very limited budget to work with, so if you want an unneeded rocket like the SLS, then you can’t have the lunar lander. If you want the lunar lander, then there are already rockets that can get it to LEO today, and all that would need to be developed are the things we need to develop anyways for us to expand out into space – fuel depots, mission assembly stations, the EML way-station, and other logical space infrastructure.

    You have to pick Chris – the U.S. Taxpayer is not going to fund every space fantasy you have.

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