Filed under: Author's comments, People Looking at the Stars | Tags: Barack Obama, Constellation program, DIRECT program, Jupiter Direct, moon, NASA, Politics, Ralph Kramden, random, The Honeymooners
NASA chief Mike Griffin caused a bit of a ruckus several weeks ago when the Obama Administration transition team came a knockin’. Griffin, whose baby is the Constellation program (which was a direct result of President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration policy in 2004) has gotten very testy during questioning by Obama representatives about the state of the project.
Check out Dvorak Uncensored’s “NASA resisting Obama efforts to ‘check under the hood’.” It looks like change may not be such a welcome thing in some government agencies.
And apparently NASA has some competition. An article on popularmechanics.com suggests that the incoming Administration has met with “a group of renegade space vehicle designers” who are offering a less expensive alternative to the Constellation project. This, the Jupiter DIRECT initiative, proposes to recycle parts from the retired Space Shuttle program, thereby saving tens of millions of dollars, as well as trimming years off the timeline for launch. For a more detailed view on the origins of this “renegade” plan, see David Noland’s great article in Popular Mechanics magazine, “NASA & Its Discontents: Frustrated Engineers Battle with NASA over the Future of Spaceflight.”
Of course, President-Elect Obama has made his discontentment with the Bush Administration’s position on NASA quite public. In a letter to Congressional leaders in September 2008, he outlined steps Congress should take to preserve the United States’ investment in the International Space Station, as well as called for preservation of the Space Shuttle program beyond 2010 (the proposed year of its retirement) to avoid the U.S. being dependent upon–and paying–Russia for transporting U.S. astronauts aboard Soyuz for some years until a viable NASA alternative was available.
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