Providing a great service to the space community, NasaWatch has a copy of Charlie Bolden’s Saturday press conference at Kennedy Space Center. It isn’t pretty. On many occasions, Administrator Bolden doesn’t answer the questions that point out some of the…well, issues, of his decision to cancel Constellation and our country’s human space flight program. Instead, he seques into tangential issues. Three reporters stood out: Todd Halvorson of Florida Today, Ken Chang of the New York Times, and Tony Winton of Associated Press. These three asked the most pressing and pointed questions of the whole event.
Gary Miles analysis of Bolden’s Saturday press conference at Kennedy Space Center was spot on, that is:
1) Constellation program was within its funding profile.
2) Constellation was not over budget.
3) The greatest significant factor in Constellation schedule delay, timeline, was level of funding.
4) The reason for cancellation of Constellation program was purely budgetary.
5) Technical problems with Ares I was not a significant factor or even a factor at all in Constellation cancellation or in delay of program.
I’ll add that, towards the end of the event, Bolden states that he doesn’t see HLV flights until decade between 2020 – 2030
Here are a couple of good Q & A’s from the event:
Todd Halvorson – Florida Today
You want to talk to Congress about destinations. What do you tell Congress when it says that we’ve already had that conversation in 2005 and 2008 and affirmed the program of record (Constellation)?
NASA Administrator Bolden
We could not get where we want to go using the program of record and that was purely budgetary. There is no criticism of Constellation on technical capability. The engineers who designed Constellation were competent and capable. Constellation was well run. Mike Griffin never had enough money but since he worked for the President, he couldn’t stand on a mountain top and shout that out. This nation was blessed to have someone like Mike Griffin, a rocket scientist, lead NASA and help design Constellation. We are better for it.
Ken Chang – NYTimes
For last couple of years, Constellation managers said program was facing some typical technical challenges but was on schedule and budget and Ares I would fly in 2017 and commercial 2016. Why is NASA much more confident in commercial 2016 and not confident with NASA’s own people’s claim that Ares I would fly in 2015?
Starts talking about how a program is on-budget. All programs remain on budget but stretches out the program schedule. But the time-horizon had stretched out. Bolden depends upon the Augustine Committee as his technical analysis of Constellation and Ares I in particular. Bolden agrees with almost all of Augustine Committee conclusions. He hears what commercials are saying of their launch date and costs, but doesn’t know if its true. Could be differences between what Augustine Committee knew or where they are today.