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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Griffin's Speech on the 2008 Budget

Michael Griffin gave a speech to the National Space Club on February 7 about the 2008 budget.

I believe that everyone here knows that "the gap", as we have labeled it, between shuttle retirement in 2010 and operational deployment of Orion and Ares has been a publicly stated concern of mine since my Senate confirmation hearing. I know that I am joined in this concern by many of you, and by many others in the space policy arena, in both the legislative and executive branches of government. This is expressed in the NASA Authorization Act by the requirement that we develop the capability of "launching the crew exploration vehicle as close to 2010 as possible". But despite that concern, given the press of our existing commitments, the best we had been able to do was to hold the presidentially mandated date of "not later than 2014".

That date is now in jeopardy. For at least four years, and maybe more, we will be forced to rely on services-for-hire from our international partners to meet our logistics and crew rotation requirements for the International Space Station. We're trying to hedge our bets with the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreements, whereby we're providing "seed money" for the development of commercial capability. But by the very nature of the Space Act agreements underpinning the COTS effort, NASA cannot guarantee a successful outcome for these ventures.

It is interesting to note that he says the Ares/Orion development is in jeopardy of missing their 2014 drop dead date and the COTS program is a "hedge." So we are pitting one gamble against another. That's America at its best.

1 comment:

Darnell Clayton said...

So we are pitting one gamble against another. That's America at its best.

Whether or not its at its best, it sure will make an interesting story if or when COTS pulls through.

One good thing about the cut backs to NASA is that the space agency is rediscovering not only its soul in space flight, but also becoming more efficient by leaning on the private sector.