Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update on NASA's future

Updating the post on Lori Garver's speech (below):

Space News reports that it's very unlikely the $1B add-on will survive the House-Senate conference committee, adding considerable uncertainty to an already cloudy picture. Add to that: days after Garver's speech, NASA indicated that avoiding the "brain drain" would take another $2B the agency is highly unlikely to get.
COMMENT: I'm often less than complimentary about recent decisions from NASA management, but Mike Griffin and company are in an impossible position. Congress and the Administration want the agency to pursue a slate of missions that is flat-out impossible with the current funding level, made worse by Congressional earmarks and the political impossibility of closing any of NASA's ten centers. Limping along under these conditions makes it probable the desperate agency will try to cut corners anywhere it can - raising the odds of failed programs and, potentially, disasters. It's easy for me to say, but I can't see a solution without Griffin telling the Administration and Congress, "We can't do this. Either let us close centers, or give us enough money, or fire me, but do something."

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