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The Sciences

"Leaked" email by NASA's Mike Griffin

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitSeptember 8, 2008 10:43 PM


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The Aero-News Network reports having an email by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin which was leaked to the press. I don't know the pedigree of it, though it sounds like him, and he evidently issued a public disclaimer about it (also posted at the Aero-News site). I can see Griffin's frustration here. Mandated to do two different things (retire the Shuttle, build Ares) and not having enough money, with the added fun of a 4-5 year gap between losing the Shuttle and launching the first Ares (which would still mean some years before having it ready to lift a human into space). In the meantime, the Russians are playing stupid games in Georgia, and that means we lose their help getting to the station. The Space Station was a bad idea since its current implementation was picked, and now we're stuck with it, a 100 billion dollar albatross. And we can't even get to it after 2010! This situation is insane, and I hope the next president coming in can do something about it... but even then he'll be limited in his capabilities. There simply cannot be a new rocket before 2014, and I don't think they can stretch the Shuttle that long. It'll be 1975 - 1981 all over again (after Apollo-Soyuz but before the Shuttle). NASA is a political agency, but the nature of short-term thinking coupled with ridiculous political decisions are crippling our ability to get people into space. The government has always been penny-wise and pound foolish, but now this is costing us a lot of pounds.

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