When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his space advisory group at the end of January, one might reasonably have expected that the group would have gone to work producing some sort of plan for the candidate to run on in relatively short order.
Five months later, there is no sign of such a document. However, two members of that body — former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his former deputy, Scott Pace — showed up in Cleveland this week to scare people with allegations that the Obama Administration plans to cut back staff at the NASA Glenn Research Center.
They failed to mention, however, that Romney’s budget proposals would cut NASA’s spending plan even more.
AIAA President to Call for Space Exploration Policy Goals Which Transcend Partisan Political Concerns
Event Features AIAA President Dr. Michael Griffin
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will call on Congress to establish space exploration policy goals which transcend partisan political differences, enhancing the future of the US space program and its ability to cooperate more fully with its international partners.
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 22
The Marquette Room, L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza Southwest, Washington, D.C. held in conjunction with the Global Space Exploration Conference, May 22 – 24
Dr. Michael Griffin, president, AIAA, and King-McDonald Eminent Scholar and Professor, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Editor’s Note: This ought to be interesting. Griffin has done nothing but try to derail the current Administration’s space agenda. He is a member of space advisory board for Mitt Romney’s campaign. And he’d probably like nothing more than to have his old job back as NASA administrator in a Romney government.
All these activities are within his rights as an American. I’m just not sure he should be espousing on what qualifies as non-partisan space policy goals on behalf of an organization that is supposed to be largely above politics. He has to wear two hats here. It will be interesting to see how he manages it.
I have similar misgivings about Eric Anderson, who is also advising Romney on space policy while serving as chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He’s working to get Romney elected at the same time the federation he chairs needs all hands on deck to help push the Obama Administration’s space policy through Congress. The more successful the federation is at the latter, the more difficult the former objective becomes.
Here’s an interesting bit of news from Aviation Week:
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is expected to complete the sale of its Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne rocket propulsion arm within the next two weeks as part of efforts to raise $3 billion to help finance its acquisition of Goodrich Corp….
The group believed to be most strongly linked to the acquisition is thought to involve Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, former Scaled Composites CEO Burt Rutan and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin. The three are behind Stratolaunch Systems, the company founded in late 2011 to develop a next-generation, mobile, airborne launch system based on a hybrid aircraft formed from two Boeing 747s (Aerospace DAILY, Dec. 14). Another board member of Stratolaunch is Dave King, vice president of Dynetics, the Huntsville, Ala.-based company that will be responsible for integration of the launch vehicle and carrier aircraft systems.
It’s a bit of a puzzle why they would be purchasing PWR if they’re using Space Falcon rockets for Stratolaunch. A possible explanation is that they have other projects in mind that would use the company’s expertise.
We’ll follow this story and let you know more as information becomes available.
SFF PR — Jacksonville, FL — During last night’s Republican presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney stated that “a moonbase would be an enormous expense,” and later stated that if someone had come to him saying they had wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, he would’ve said “You’re fired.”
Today, it was revealed that former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is member of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. This is the same NASA Administrator who was the chief architect of an unaffordable and unsustainable plan to return humans to the Moon that would have cost about $200 Billion.
We can only assume that Gov. Romney did not know who Mike Griffin is or what he did as NASA Administrator when he asked Griffin to serve in his group of space policy leaders. At the time of its cancellation, the Augustine Committee, a national committee composed of military, civilian and commercial space leaders, concluded that Mike Griffin’s strategy would only work if NASA received a $3 Billion per year budget increase to $22 Billion. This would result in a total cost that was almost $200 Billion.
In a move destined to anger NewSpace advocates, Mitt Romney has released a letter of support signed by eight space leaders, including prominent commercial space critics Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Gene Cernan. Pace, in fact, is chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group.
“We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission,” the signers wrote. “This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation.”
Washington, Sep 26 – Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) continued his criticism of NASA’s new design for deep space exploration by sending a letter to former NASA’s Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin asking him to join Rohrabacher’s call for NASA to release their recent analysis and conclusions regarding on-orbit fuel depots. Dr. Griffin spoke about on-orbit technology during his testimony before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on September 22rd, 2011.
“I’m certain you are aware that on-orbit fuel depots were included in NASA’s initial Human Exploration Framework…as presented on May 25, 2010,” writes Rohrabacher. “Somewhere in the intervening time, depots were dropped from the plan. It is important for Congress and the American people to understand how and why that decision was made.”
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin blasts the Obama Administration’s space policy during a recent panel discussion in Huntsville.
This video, and Griffin’s op-ed today in Space News, erase all doubts as to his intentions: he wants his old job back. And this is the start of his unofficial campaign to reclaim the top spot at NASA. We can look forward to this right up through election day 2012. Fun times ahead!
Monday, April 25, 2011 , 2-3:30 PM PDT. We welcome back former astronaut and planetary scientist Dr. Thomas Jones. We will be discussing the shuttle’s retirement and much more.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 7-8:30 PM PDT. We welcome former NASA Administrator Dr. Mike Griffin to the program. I will be assisted in this discussion on the engineering and technical issues by Dr. John Jurist, one of the Classroom co-hosts. I am expecting considerable listener participation so to afford a chance for everyone to participate, remember, civility is required, callers must be succinct & will be limited to one short question at a time. Email questions must be civil and succinct as I will not have time to read long emails or edit them as I do on most programs. I will start taking calls about 10-15 minutes into the program. Chat is not available for this program.
Friday, April 29 , 2011 , 9:30-11 AM PDT: We welcome back Rand Simberg to the program. Rand is an aerospace engineer, a space advocate, and he publishes the Transterrestrial Musings blog. We will be discussing space policy with the U.S. Congress.
Sunday, May 1, 2011, 12-1:30 PM PDT. This will be an OPEN LINES program. To make Open Lines work, we need callers and new participants with new comments and ideas. There will be no email or chat for this program, only the toll free phone line. Again, new participants, new ideas, and fresh comments are welcome and encouraged.
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin continues to insert himself into the debate over NASA’s future. In a widely circulated email, Griffin says he would rather have the space agency burned to the ground by inaction than to accept the Senate’s authorization bill:
As happened after the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia, it is time once again to ask ourselves whether we want to have a real space program, or not. If we do, then the Senate Bill won’t get us there. If we cannot do better than that, then I believe we have reached the point where it is better to allow the damage which has been brought about by the administration’s actions to play out to its conclusion than to accept half-measures in an attempt at remediation.”
I can’t remember a former head of a federal agency being this high profile in a debate over the organization after leaving his job. The only person I can think of is former FEMA Director Michael “heck of a job” Brown, who recently resurfaced to lambaste the Obama Administration over its handling of BP’s colossal oil spill in the Gulf.
Note to Mike: Brownie is not anyone you really want to emulate.
And according to Wayne Hale, NASA’s actual response to the Columbia tragedy was to construct a sand castle and then to stick its collective head in the ground when the tide rolled in. Your Constellation architecture didn’t seem to help matters any.
Mike, we all want a real space program. Some of us just don’t want YOUR space program.
The Space Transportation Association conducted a panel discussion yesterday during which some quite divergent views were expressed over the future of NASA and the Obama Administration’s commercial focus.
Griffinâ€™s critique of NASAâ€™s new direction Mike Griffin spent nearly four years in charge of NASA building up an exploration architecture that the administration now wants to dismantle in favor of a new approach to human space exploration. Jeff Foust reports on what Griffin said about that new direction, and what is a â€œrealâ€ space program, in a speech last week.
A milestone for solar sailing In June Japanâ€™s IKAROS spacecraft because the first to successfully deploy a solar sail in orbit, a long-awaited achievement for the small community of solar sailing exports. Kieran Carroll provides an overview of that achievement and the current state of solar sailing as discussed at a recent conference.
Public interest in space, by the numbers Itâ€™s challenging enough to measure the popularity of sports; is it possible to do the same with space? Drew Hagquist examines some metrics that can try to quantify public support for spaceflight.
Review: The Big Questions: The Universe Astronomy is the subject some of the biggest and most fundamental questions about out existence. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines some of these big questions, including both those that have been resolved and those still unanswered.
As one might expect, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin isn’t digging what the Augustine Commission had to say, the Orlando Sentinel reports:
Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin apparently has sent a scathing memo to friends and supporters in Washington, lashing out at the work of the presidential committee reviewing NASAâ€™s human space flight plans and calling some of its recommendationsÂ â€œirresponsible.â€
In the 11-point email sent out Wednesday and made available to the Orlando Sentinel today, Griffin — the intellectual architect and champion of NASAâ€™s Constellation Program of Ares rockets and Orion capsules — accused the committee of doing shoddy work and failing to make clear why Constellation isnâ€™t viable and whyÂ the Ares I is a failed rocket.
The Huntsville Times has a long profile of former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, who accepted a $300,000/year teaching/rainmaker position at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“The need for the (current space study commission headed by Norman Augustine) is motivated solely by the public controversy over whether NASA got it right, if you will, in the architectural choices being made following the (explosion of the shuttle Columbia in 2003),” he said.
AP Interview: Ex-NASA head critical of Obama move Associated Press
Griffin was pleased with Obama’s selection of former astronaut Charles Bolden as his successor. Griffin â€” who was sometimes faulted for what some described as a prickly personality â€” said Bolden has the experience, smarts and people skills for the job. (more…)
Exclusive interview with Griffin on US space funding WAFF 48
“We should be mad as hell and not going to take it any more,” said Griffin on the gap left between the shuttle retirement and Constellation project. “I am tempted to use the word disgusting, but at the very least, it is unseemly.”