Thursday, September 10, 2009

Former NASA Admin. Griffin Sounds Off

Oh boy, this is fun. Mike Griffin is a little red under the collar I see. Let's break this least my opinion of his comments. Here we go...

Point 1: I agree, it's about time someone official stepped up and said there wasn't enough money being given to accomplish the task assigned.

Point 2: Reiteration of point me the money. I concur.

Point 3: ISS matters a hell of a lot for the private industry, if it's used in that manner, but we'll see later how Mike feels about the private sector. I have always felt that it's stupid of us, the United States, to determine the fate of a station that has so many international partners. Do you think JAXA or ESA want the ISS flamed out after just getting their expensive stuff up there?!

Point 4: Blah, blah, cost/level/maturity, blah blah. Look, Ares is already behind schedule and we just started. Yeah, budgets suck, but even the initial pen and paper crap was late to the party. Puh-lease.

Point 5: I agree with this. If you call something out, prove it. The details may just be in the final whole report. Remember, this was in reply to just the summary.

Point 6: His pessimistic views of the private space industries development and growth is insulting. His head is buried in the government soup. Apparently he can't see the future through his government tainted goggles. Solid and tested private sector launch vehicles, manned and cargo, will be available long before this monster they call Constellation is ever ready to fly. I bet even before Ares I is up and running.

Point 7: Whaaaa, we worked real hard on this, so much so that we're now behind schedule and had to tinker with all kinds of fun issues and reduce our original capability. Oh wait, those last words are mine, not his.

Point 8: Ah...see point 7...the tail end. I like the verbal trick though. "Constellation issues are prevalent because we're doing something, and there are no other issues because nothing else is being done." Well, duh. It's not like we're running several full scale options all at the same time to directly compare, but at some point, common sense has to overtake pride and stubbornness.

Point 9: Ares 5 Lite doesn't thrill me either, and I'm definitely in favor of more lift capability when it comes to getting to the Moon.

Point 10: How the hell can he possibly argue against fuel depots, especially when that is a sure fire way to help the private industry gain solid footing in the market, providing fuel options to all players in the space game? If fuel depots require special technology, then great, let's do it and move on, especially if it's important to chemical and nuclear powered upper stages. Why NOT invest in something that also serves additional benefits?!

Point 11: The clear-eyed analysis of Constellation is that it's bunk! It costs way to much to get done, and could easily be duplicated by the private sector at a hell of a lot cheaper cost, because ANYTHING the private sector does will be cheaper than the government.

To me it basically sounds like he crying about his baby getting slammed a bit by the Commission.


Marcel F. Williams said...

"Finally, the Commission did not do that which would have been most valuable - rendering a clear-eyed, independent assessment of the progress and status of Constellation with respect to its ability to meet goals which have been established in two successive NASA Authorization Acts, followed by an assessment of what would be required to get and keep that program on track. Instead, the Commission sought to formulate new options for new programs, treating these options as if their level of maturity was comparable to that of the baseline upon which NASA has been working now for more than four years. This approach completely ignores the established body of law which has guided NASA's work for the last four years and which, until and unless that body of law is changed, must serve as the common reference standard for any proposed alternatives to Constellation as the program of record for the nation's existing human spaceflight program."Griffin.

I'm an opponent of the Ares 1 but I strongly agree with Mr. Griffin on this point.

The committee was supposed to assess the shuttle replacement and the lunar program and the legitimate alternative options to replace the shuttle and to get us back to the Moon: Ares 1 & V, the Sidemount-HLV, DIRECT, and the military booster and fuel depot options. The committee wasn't supposed to go off and make up their own alternate destination plans (trips to asteroids, Mars,the Moons of Mars, Venus?, and extending the ISS forever!).

We needed to know how much each shuttle replacement and back to the Moon options are going to cost and what the developmental time lines were going to be and whether we can do it with the current NASA budget.

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - I understand that, but with all the options thrown at them, why not stretch the goal and list more than what was asked for. They have provided the options requested, but they are so sadly limited by the budget that their hands are tied. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip. :)

Norman Copeland said...

This is the problem I have when going to work, I must approach government representatives for liscenses for mining permission of government owned land, even if the land is private owned it is still required that any mining must be agreed with and must be a direct dividend of government resource {mineral wealth}.

So, sometimes we want to do things that may perhaps not be possible because of current trend and it can be really difficult to explain. Many times resulting with u turns while agreements exist.

For instance the blood diamond treaty has been deemed disfunctional and africa's mines have been banned again.

The congo is the 'PRIME' example with new militia wanting control of it's countries mines and constantly enlisting help of the surrounding countries to destabilise and replace the current government.

Of all the kings and kingship of the 'ATLAS', this place could be universally operating programmes like the constellation, using rockets like the titan companion of the Taurus...

I just sigh when some greedy little boy hasn't done his diplomatic homework...

Still, you could learn loads from studying flags.

Chris Astro said...

Liftoff :)

Douglas Mallette said...

Norman - What in the hell are you talking about? lol.

Norman Copeland said...

The navy, air force, army, CIA, NSA, DoD, all superseed NASA administration operatives, many people who do not have obvious responsibilities to building spaceships and the space programme have significant influence because of their career paths.

This is a very politically involved infrastructure which has a lot of stealth positioning according to performance from one sector among another.

War is what creates difficulties among countries and obstacles can be very long term according to 'star' performances of the administration.

America itself spends large sums of cash on war, if it were not what would the money do.

Lots of people learn what success is, is it just the very lucky who get it...

Some generals are warmongers some are pacifists, I imagine some men want to build spaceships and some actually want to fly them.

Marcel F. Williams said...

Doug, I'm a bit prejudice against any manned spaceflight options that deviate too far from a primary focus on pioneering and colonization. If all we want to do is explore, then machines can do that much more cheaply and efficiently that human sortie missions. I believe that most people support the manned space program because they believe that it will lead to human colonization. And colonizing exotic new places has been part of our natural human instinct since our genus first emerged in Africa more than 2.5 million years ago!

I wish the NASA budget was close to that of the Apollo era (~30 billion a year in today's dollars). If NASA boldly advocated colonization as a means to enhance human survival and security, I believe we'd probably easily get that kind of money from the public and the congress.

However, I think Obama will support a $3 billion dollar increase in the NASA budget so that we can return to the Moon. I'm just scared that NASA will get too timid again and get only lukewarm public support by focusing on lunar sorties (Apollo redux) instead of launching lunar base components to establish a permanent and continuously growing human presence on the lunar surface which would be much more exciting, IMO.

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - I somewhat disagree, because it depends on what level of exploring you want to do. Exploration leads to settlement. People will be the ones setting up the habitats, not robots. Well, robots can maybe drop down and set up the basics, but it will be people who follow for the fine details.

Still, it's the exploration drive in our DNA that beckons us to the stars, not robots, even though they do have their part in the game. :)

Marcel F. Williams said...

I agree with you that exploration leads to settlement. But we explored the Moon 6 times during the Apollo era. So its time to set up a base, IMO. But I also believe that the convenience of permanent settlements can lead to a more thorough exploration of an alien environment.

I'm not so sure if astronauts will have as much to do with habitat construction as the folks back on Earth at NASA. Ever notice how guys like to stop and look and the activities going on at a construction site? Tele-robotics could be a construction toy heaven for NASA personal back on Earth. Astronauts could arrive on the Moon with habitat modules already tele-remotely joined and regolith shielded. Robots remote controlled from Earth might do a lot more exploring and rock collecting than the lunar colonist will.

Douglas Mallette said...

I agree with the Moon base notion. That should have been the international partnership, not the ISS.

The time delay with tele-robotic construction would be problematic, especially when you think about Mars. Now, send a ship with people on it to orbit Mars and drive the robots on the surface with no time delay, and that's a better plan.

Norman Copeland said...

What would happen if we sent a fleet...

Marcel F. Williams said...

I agree, if we had used the money for the ISS to build a Shuttle C, heavy lift vehicle, we probably could have built a Moon base and also launched a simple and cheap Skylab-like space station for us-- and the international community could have payed us about $10 billion to launch one for them too.

I absolutely agree with you on Mars! We're going to have to place permanent space stations, hopefully artificial gravity space stations, in Mars orbit first before we proceed with any manned Mars landings or Mars base construction.

Of course, astronauts could also visit and even exploit the regolith resources of the Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, while they're in orbit. That would be an extremely exciting prelude to setting up bases on the Martian surface!

Douglas Mallette said...

Norman, I'm going to publish this post, but it has nothing to do with space and these off the wall youtube links are driving me nuts.

I know you go on weird tangents every now and then on, but I want to stick to solid comments based on the topic. Thanks.

Norman Copeland said...

I realise my attitude to talking about space issues is unorthadox, but, you must be crazy if you can really say that anyone has got a better idea of what really happens with all these rockets and planes budgets anymore than anyone else, I'm not even sure if the president has got more clues, I visit people's business's and information gathering for the clues and answers to these questions which, so, many of us have, it is an absolute myriad and is daunting for a lot of people who may have a fleeting glimpse of something they might or mightn't not like.

Basically, I inspire interest with people's inner most thought's by knocking the stuff out of them first, so I can have a real clear path to what I want to consider, I guess that's why I'll sit here and talk rockets with you guys all day and all night long, because I have that sort of rocket fuel operating my own body functions for the subject.

How can you say I go off on weird tangents with all the rocket programmes that have rescheduled and been abandoned, your saying that my approach is any different to what seems like modern ettiquette among the space business.

I really care about getting into space, perhaps more than I can explain, but, I realise it isn't a strong emotion for most people and, I can explain it sometimes with other peoples conviction of explanation.

We all need people who can help explain how much we need them, all languages can give us a better chance of learning something that was vital to progress. I can't have any prejudice towards any culture I haven't totally studied and learnt, I would cringe if someone were not telling me what they really felt like saying.

It's horrible when people do not say what they feel, especially when it's the truth.

I want to be a first class gentleman, I can't do that if I'm scared of communities or under represented in them. And this is the problem we're having at the start of our evolution into space.


Douglas Mallette said...

Norman - Maybe so, but you do realize that there are many people who think you're a nut. Sometimes your comments are from left field, and totally off from the topic at hand. You cite strange quotes, or off references, that baffle more than anything else. Sorry, but I prefer straight talk, definitive statements on topic, and genuine opinions on the subject matter.

Throwing up youtube clips of music videos does nothing to stimulate the topic as far as I'm concerned. If you want to say something...well...then just say it. :)

Ernie Acosta said...

It is sad to Mike Griffin in this light. The Commission and Mr. Augustine did what was asked of them, to the point of nauseum.

On point 4) Goals:
It appears to some that NASA should have a goad of going to the Moon - I couldn't disagree more! The goal of NASA, like its predecessor NACA, is to further the capabilities of the Aerospace industry.

It makes no sense to advocate a trip to the Moon or to "colonize the Moon". What would be the economic incentive?

ISS: Shouldn't the elements be independent so that when one becomes too obsolete or damaged - it can be disgarded separately - prolonging the use of the good parts. The original idea was to have "independent" habitation modules for subsequent rebuilding. De-orbiting ISS doesn't make sense, as if we didn't learn from the experiences with Skylab and MIR.

I would like to see NASA push for more reliable components in the SSME (hopefully the J-2x will be less leading edge, less likely to fail) and possibly there would be a 2nd generation shuttle - much smaller, less capable, less man hours to operate, but more reliable :)

Norman Copeland said...

An example...


Why use an on loan B-52 from the air force division and why the single most important aeroplane?

Why the oldest B-52?

Why was it used to launch the x-15?

Why drop the x-43A at 20,000ft?

Why was the programme 'shelved'?

Why is the programme starting again now?

Why test above the western californian sea basin?

Why did the B-52 drop test the wingless lifting bodies {which conributed to the development of the space shuttle}?

[and using world war planes].

Pegasus, pegasus, pegasus...

The first flight engine was ''mated'' to the x-43 flight vehicle... {what are they doing?}

Why didn't they just go straight to the x-43A...
{4 months later}

Any of the audience got the answers...

{Piloted. Unpiloted}.

Douglas Mallette said...

Ernie - From my point of view, going to the Moon to establish a base IS furthering our Aerospace capabilities. By setting such a high goal, you basically ensure technological development which is beneficial to the Aerospace Industry as a whole. Now, not everything should be done by NASA to achieve the goal, but the goal itself leads to further development.

ISS - The way the ISS is built, the only true independent part is the Russian segment, because it has the thrusters, a bathroom and food storage capability. They (Russians) could, at any time, disconnect from the rest of the ISS and be self sufficient. The Gyro's on the main truss can't help the rest of the station maintain its orbit, and it would gently fall to Earth. Plus, the way that thing is puzzled together, the newest segments are dependent on the older segments.

My version of Shuttle 2.0 is basically the size of a Learjet Model 80. There are 3 of them, one for crew only and their luggage, one for cargo only (gutted and automated), one a refueling tanker (automated and gutted to only hold Oxy or Hyd). All three launched by a Maglev Mass Driver in N.M. :)


Norman - Sadly, I'm not well versed on the X-plane program, so I can't comment on any of this. :(

Marcel F. Williams said...

We're never going to Mars unless we set up a Moon base first, IMO. The Mars first advocates simply don't understand this because they view the Moon program as the Apollo program and the Mars program as the next Apollo program!

But we don't need any new Apollo programs! We need a lunar base program. We need to go to the Moon to stay!

And when we finally go to Mars, we're also going to have to go there to stay and set up a base! But if we can't settle a place as easy and close to us as the Moon then there's no way we're ever going to Mars!

I strongly believe that if we'd set up a lunar base back in the late 1970s or 1980s or even the 1990s, we'd probably already have bases on the Martian surface and our current economy would be much richer today because of these endeavors.

Norman Copeland said...

Saturn V to the moon with same budget paying for satelite integration to enceladus. The heavier and bulkier vehicle frame for water neutron mid planetary atmospheric integrity on possible colony planetoids gives us a hint that nuetrons can be used to generate more heat for ionising satelite power which if directed to the proper channels can increase the integrity of the signal speed and strength.
That's why I beleive the j-2x should now be evolved to a reusable version.

As I've said with previous posts, I beleive that some sort of asteroid will suffice for a good reliable space station. Something that could research why duck's fly home when they do.

Again, it's.

Who dares wins.

[Additional reading for the x-43a]

I'm not sure we're we stand on the moon considering it's path as a planetoid that is being positioned by our planet, as I'm sure at some stage the technology of teleporting magnetism will be utilised for Light Amplification of Stimulated Emissions of Radiation regional space demographic topography.

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - Hell, even Buzz Aldrin thinks we need to go to Mars over going back to the Moon. I can't stand that line of thinking, even though I respect Buzz as an astronaut.

We never really DID anything on the Moon. What, drive around, hit a golf ball and bring home some rocks?! Please, we need to do much more on our closest neighbor and really work out the kinks of long duration human settlement on another body. The Moon is the safest and most convenient location for that, period.

And I completely agree that our economic situation would be better if we had done this already, because we'd be a nation of exportation of space services, not a nation of consumers who revolve money through the banks, who treat it oh so well as we've seen. lol.

Ernie Acosta said...

The military will need to have their input on this.