There is yet another post, this one at SpacePolitics.com, referencing NASA Administrator Mike Griffin’s comments at the Goddard Symposium that space exploration supporters should self-censor. I commented on SpacePolitic’s site.
I have written below that I agree with this idea, to a large extent. I believe the biggest impediment to public support for our manned space program, and the funding that follows from such support, is that the space advocacy community is too divided to be effective. The proof is pretty clear; public support for space exploration is tepid.
And why shouldn’t it be? After all, the public gets so many different views of what we “should” be doing in space, most of which start by boasting how incompetent NASA is. Mind you, most of these groups are led by folks like me, people with good intentions but who have never actually worked very long, if at all, for NASA or any of its contractors.
I keep asking for these critics to show me one time when public criticsm of NASA has led to additional funding for what is NASA’s perennial problem of being asked to do so much with so little. I ask critics of NASA to demonstrate how their ideas are demonstrably better than what NASA has instead chosen to do, e.g. the Atlas V vs. Ares I choice for launching the Orion spacecraft. And none of these people answer back except by saying that I’m wrong. OK…yet, where’s the beef?
Maybe there’s an approach that I should take that begins with what we know about going to the Moon, what NASA chose to get the job done, and how those choices stack up against those options being bandied about by NASA’s critics? It may get a bit technical, but the devil is surely in the details as the rest is just philosophical, which has no place in a technical discussion. Long ago, I earned a Master’s in aerospace engineering that centered on Mission Planning, so I’m going to put my background to work.
The first such posting of this nature will focus on the Ares I vs. Atlas V choice for launcher of the Orion manned spacecraft and will be posted tomorrow. This, and other postings that follow, will be updated as needed when new information comes to play.