President's Space Plan A Trajectory to Nowhere

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Scott "Doc" Horowitz

AmericaSpace Note: What can we say but that we like Doc Horowitz, who now runs Doc’s Aerospace, and his straight-talk. Many may not like what he communicates. Yet, what Horowitz writes is truthful. And it would be difficult to claim that Horowitz is ignorant of what he is talking about. Hopefully there will soon be more open and honest discussion at NASA in the coming months once the current “debate” is finished.

In a post on Mars Society by former Shuttle Commander and Air Force Colonel Scott “Doc” Horowitz,“A Trajectory to Nowhere”, he lays bare the 3 myths driving the current proposal to cancel the Constellation Program,

    Myth 1: The current debate is about technical and programmatic issues with NASA’s Constellation Program.
    Myth 2: The Constellation Program is on an “unsustainable trajectory” [AmericaSpace Note: This one is a real favorite of NASA Administrator Bolden and Deputy Administrator Garver.]
    Myth 3: The Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) is capable of safely transporting our astronauts to the ISS sooner and for significantly less money than the government developed system.

and then proceeds to rebut the underlying arguments supporting each while making clear who he feels is driving these myths.

For example, to those who state that Constellation was incapable of success, Horowitz quotes Norm Augustine,

We did review the program, its management. We believe it to be soundly managed… We saw no problems that appear to be unsolvable given the proper engineering talent, the attention, and the funds to solve them.

As for supporters of commercial crewed space who feel our national human space program must be ended for commercial to thrive, Doc Horowitz writes,

I am a big fan of commercial space. I ‘wrote the check’ to RpK and SpaceX for $500M to provide seed money that initiated COTS. Unfortunately, RpK failed to meet their milestones and had their Space Act Agreement terminated. The original SpaceX manifest included six test flights of the Falcon 9 rocket to be completed by September 2009 [AmericaSpace Note: See GAO-09-618, p. 19-21]. Currently their first test flight is scheduled for May 2010 (this rocket stuff is more difficult than it looks). All of the reviews of alternative methods to deliver a crewed capsule to ISS estimate that the earliest operational date would be 2016.

As always, Horowitz pulls few punches in his analysis.

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