It’s Not Important Whether You Win or Lose…

…it’s how you place the blame. Or at least that’s how a friend of mine at NASA once put it.

Apparently, in the wake of yet more news leaks about severe technical issues on Ares I, Mike Griffin decides to play the blame game (hat tip: Space Politics):

A: Let me get down to the bottom of it. There were winners and losers in the contractor community as to who was going to get to do what on the next system post shuttle. And we didn’t pick (Lockheed Martin’s) Atlas 5, in consultation with the Air Force for that matter, because it wasn’t the right vehicle for the lunar job. Obviously, we did pick others. So people who didn’t get picked see an opportunity to throw the issue into controversy and maybe have it come out their way.

I’m sure the guys in Denver are getting a hoot out of this. Of all the people who have a reason to be upset at the massive waste that is Ares-I/Ares-V, the LM/ULA guys I know have actually been rather politic about their complaints.

You see, they’re too busy working on making a vehicle that’s safe enough to fly people and affordable enough to do so entirely on the private market, without needing multi-billion dollar sole-source contracts from NASA. Of course, Mike may actually have a point though. If there is anyone outside of NASA HQ who is to blame for making Ares-I look bad, it probably is the Atlas V guys…

Just not in the way Griffin is insinuating…

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to It’s Not Important Whether You Win or Lose…

  1. David Stever says:

    Let’s start playing “what-if” games. We all love games, right?What if the new democratic pesident comes in and tosses out the Ares development deals (or instructs the NASA Admin to do this). If the capsule contract moved forward (does everyone agree that it moves forward, or does that get thrown out?), can enough be done with a new launcher to regain the time lost to inventing The Stick?

    If they came back and said okay guys, we’re going to use an off-the-shelf launcher to put the Orion into orbit, and an off-the-shelf launcher to throw the LEM (I’m sorry, did I say LEM?) into orbit for rendezvous, how much time can be made up in this schedule? When can we have a crew in orbit, when could the first lunar mission be launched?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Jon. I found your site recently and am enjoying reading your analyses. But I can’t find an e-mail address to contact you directly. I’d like to ask you a question relating to Earth-Moon passenger transit infrastructure for a talk I’m doing soon at the British Interplanetary Society in London. Would it be possible to contact me directly please?


    Stephen Ashworth
    Oxford, UK
    12 Feb. 2008

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