Griffin: Shuttle, ISS Were Mistakes | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 07.20.15

Airborne 07.21.15

Airborne 07.22.15

Airborne 07.23.15

Airborne 07.24.15

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 07.20.15

Airborne 07.21.15

Airborne 07.22.15

Airborne 07.23.15

Airborne 07.24.15

EAA/ANN AirVenture Innovation Preview

AIP-#1 Vimeo

AIP-#2 Vimeo

AIP-Part 1 YouTube

AIP-Part 2 YouTube

Thu, Sep 29, 2005

Griffin: Shuttle, ISS Were Mistakes

Let's Roll Back 30 Years And Build On Apollo

by Aero-News Senior Correspondent Kevin R.C. "Hognose" O'Brien

In a Page 1A Story in USA Today NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told us what he thinks of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station projects: they were mistakes.

"It is now commonly accepted," Griffin told the newspaper's Editorial Board, that developing the Space Shuttle and discarding the progress of the space program to that date, including the moon-landing Apollo Project, "was not the right path."

Now he tells us.

But Griffin is only saying what a growing chorus of critics have said: the Shuttle never fulfilled its promise of cheap, fast, rapid-turn-around flight to orbit, and it never aimed higher than orbit.

Griffin sounded equally sour on the ISS, although he did not go so far as to say that a space station in general was a bad idea. "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in," is what he told the editors.

He faulted the Shuttle for being an "extremely aggressive [design] and just barely possible."

"We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can," Griffin said. The new NASA vision heads on, to the moon, to the planets. The trick is doing that while retaining NASA's massive investment in hardware -- and in people.

President Bush's vision for NASA sees a Space Shuttle retirement by 2010 and a return to manned interplanetary exploration.

The ISS as it's been understood up to now is probably doomed; without scores of additional shuttle flights it can't be finished, and a look at the sort of science it produces so far, as given in the expedition reports and schedules of the ISS crews, is disappointing -- there are a lot of experiments devised by somebody's middle-school science class in there.

In order to maintain the ISS schedule, NASA committed to abandonment of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has produced paradigm-shifting science.

USA Today consulted an expert who estimated the cost of the Shuttle at $150 billion  from 1971 to date, and the ISS at $100 million so far (although some of the latter cost has been born by such partners as Russia, Japan and Canada). To put that in perspective, it's about what the Louisiana congressional delegation has demanded for Katrina relief, and rather more than the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

The problem with money for NASA, especially for a NASA with an interplanetary focus, is that the moon and the planets are not in any Congressman's district. The recent highway bill with it's 6,300 earmarked projects, like the famous Don Young Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, illustrates where their priorities are.

So the Shuttle takes its place as one of the bad ideas of the 1970s, along with WIN buttons, tie-dyed bell bottoms, the Pinto, Vega and Gremlin, seatbelt-ignition interlocks, the Continental Tiara engine, and KC and the Sunshine Band.

That is unlikely to be accepted by any of the thousands of people who worked in the program during these last thirty years. Joe Rothenburg, head of manned programs during the second Clinton administration, defended the programs to USA Today, while admitting that there could have been other ways of doing things.

Changing an organization's direction is very hard -- it's especially hard to do without damaging employee morale, and the prouder the organization, the harder it gets. Mike Griffin has a leadership challenge on his hands. Can you imagine how it feels to be a shuttle astronaut, up in the air about whether you will ever fly, and now hearing that your organization is about to deep-six the system you have spent six years, or ten, or a career on? Imagine how the engineers feel, the ones who created this textbook example of extreme engineering and set it to fly in the most hostile conditions man has every traveled through.

What has Mike got to offer these people, in place of the dreams they had?

Well, there is the moon....

FMI: www.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Airborne At OSH15 Day 5 Redux: Inhofe's Mission, NextGen GA Fund, New Kitfox

Also: Cicare 8, Switchblade Update, Beringer Alaskan Bush Gear, Jack Pelton Interview - Final E-I-C Note: Regularly Daily Airborne Unlimited Programming will resume this Monday now>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (08.02.15)

"This is a prime example of where the synergies from the Orbital ATK merger are providing real benefits to our customers, by being able to deploy one launch team that possesses exp>[...]

Transaero Airlines Receives Its First A321

Airliner On Lease From ICBC Leasing Of China Transaero Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321 as a result of a long-term leasing agreement between the airline and ICB>[...]

October Conference Will Focus On Rotorcraft Certification Standards

Safety, ADS-B, HTAWS, Flight Data Monitoring All On The Agenda The first Rotorcraft Certification Summit is being planned for October 27th in Dallas, with organizers are expecting >[...]

Raytheon, Partners Develop Low-Cost, High-Tech Airframe For USAF Decoy

Airborne Deployed Decoys Can Drive The Bad Guys Crazy And Protect The Good Guys If you’re on the attack in any aircraft that is less than 100 percent stealth, avoiding being >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2015 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC