Author Topic: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?  (Read 109304 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #380 on: 09/05/2017 04:35 AM »
Yes, I also think NSC's role in recommending space policy is key. So I think the relationship between VP Pence and the NASA Administrator will be important for determining what happens at NASA. My reading is that Bridenstine is a good choice from that point of view. Also Bridenstine's space policy views are to me more forward looking and appropriate to the evolving space industry than other potential candidates (although I vehemently disagree with some of his stated views on other non-space issues).

In short, I think he's the best candidate that I could realistically expect from the Trump administration. He's going to need help though given his lack of large-scale management expertise. Wayne Hale's offer of help is encouraging in that regard.
« Last Edit: 09/05/2017 04:37 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #381 on: 09/05/2017 11:06 AM »
My point was that Bridenstine will have to coordinate with Vice President Pence and the National Space Council before proposing anything that he wants NASA to do, so he will have an added layer of bureaucracy to deal with that other more recent NASA Administrators have not had.


Which previous NASA administrators had to do with the National Security Council lead and OMB. This just shifts that responsibility. If anything, it should streamline space policy decision making. But the jury is still out on that. Yeah, I've read the executive order. I also happen to know the executive secretary (I taught a class for him last year when he was out of town). You don't understand how all this works and are speculating with limited info.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #382 on: 09/05/2017 11:25 AM »
My point was that Bridenstine will have to coordinate with Vice President Pence and the National Space Council before proposing anything that he wants NASA to do, so he will have an added layer of bureaucracy to deal with that other more recent NASA Administrators have not had.


Which previous NASA administrators had to do with the National Security Council lead and OMB. This just shifts that responsibility. If anything, it should streamline space policy decision making. But the jury is still out on that. Yeah, I've read the executive order. I also happen to know the executive secretary (I taught a class for him last year when he was out of town). You don't understand how all this works and are speculating with limited info.

Can you provide a snapshot of how this is supposed to work, considering the realities of the persons/process being put into play?
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #383 on: 09/05/2017 02:32 PM »
Don't expect activism.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #384 on: 09/05/2017 03:15 PM »
My point was that Bridenstine will have to coordinate with Vice President Pence and the National Space Council before proposing anything that he wants NASA to do, so he will have an added layer of bureaucracy to deal with that other more recent NASA Administrators have not had.


Which previous NASA administrators had to do with the National Security Council lead and OMB. This just shifts that responsibility. If anything, it should streamline space policy decision making. But the jury is still out on that. Yeah, I've read the executive order. I also happen to know the executive secretary (I taught a class for him last year when he was out of town). You don't understand how all this works and are speculating with limited info.

Can you provide a snapshot of how this is supposed to work, considering the realities of the persons/process being put into play?

Quote
Don't expect activism.

Info still limited... (Is 'activism' the opposite of 'maintaining the status quo'?)

Can you tell us how all this works so that we are not speculating with limited info?
« Last Edit: 09/05/2017 03:20 PM by AncientU »
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Offline bad_astra

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #385 on: 09/05/2017 06:27 PM »
Has  the congressman in question made any particular views about SLS? I am curious what the next administrator will make of it, going forward.
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Offline spacetraveler

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #386 on: 09/05/2017 07:29 PM »
Has  the congressman in question made any particular views about SLS? I am curious what the next administrator will make of it, going forward.
He expressed support for it in a speech in February.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2017/02/rep-bridenstine.html

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Bridenstine: on SLS /Orion - critical to America's pre-eminence in space. I fully support both programs

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #387 on: 09/06/2017 03:36 PM »
Has  the congressman in question made any particular views about SLS? I am curious what the next administrator will make of it, going forward.
He expressed support for it in a speech in February.

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2017/02/rep-bridenstine.html

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Bridenstine: on SLS /Orion - critical to America's pre-eminence in space. I fully support both programs

He's expressed support for a lot of things recently that were pretty close to 180 degree turns from where he was a couple of years ago, before he was in the running for NASA admin, and before he was in his (self imposed) final term and looking for a job.  Softening his opposition on climate research (his floor speech wasn't just about denying climate change, it was about opposing RESEARCH into climate change), supporting gov't owned and operated weather satellites, supporting SLS and Orion...all things he needed to do to secure the support of industry for his bid.

But regardless, I'm not even sure why his policy positions are all that important.  With the space council in place, the VP involved, and congress doing it's thing, seems like there are a lot of other places where space policy will be made.  The NASA administrator, on the other hand, is the only one who runs NASA.  As earlier posts have pointed out - he/she has to keep huge programs in line that are nearly all facing major challenges, and that's not something NASA has a great track record of doing.  He's also going to have to make some very tough calls on launching astronauts on first flights of vehicles. 

Say what you want about Mike Griffin, but he had to intervene in some tough disagreements between the program and the safety community on safety of flight issues for shuttle post-columbia. The job this NASA administrator is going to have to do is going to be a lot more like Mike Griffin's task post-columbia (getting NASA flying again) than it is going to be like Sean O'keefe's job (getting the White House to buy off on the VSE). 

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #388 on: 09/06/2017 03:58 PM »
And the private sector is not going to spend one dollar to prop up the SLS and Orion programs, since there are no possible outcomes where spending private money makes the SLS & Orion affordable to use. That means that any efforts to create public/private partnerships are doomed to fail, since NASA won't be able to offer the right mix of assistance and funding since everything they offer will have to be tied to using (in some way) the SLS & Orion.

So a private company (say Bigelow) would turn down money to build a hab module because it would be launched on SLS? I guess you are saying that they won't get enough money but if SLS/Orion were canned there is no guarantee the funds would be redirected.

Important movers at both NASA and the commercial side have embraced the idea of private efforts working alongside SLS/Orion. I don't think such partnerships are "doomed to fail." Each group has problems the other can solve. For example:

SLS has a low flight rate. Not really a problem if partnered with commercial rockets like Falcon Heavy and Vulcan.

FH, Vulcan etc. don't have the payload capacity to send payloads over -20mt BLEO. Not really a problem if SLS is available.

Dragon 2 has enough delta V to make it to the DSG but not back to Earth. Use Orion (which does have the requisite delta V) for crew and Dragon 2 for resupply flights.

Commercial companies want to expand operations into cislunar space. DSG could provide a destination and staging area for the commercial side just like ISS is doing right now.

Even if "give all the money to company y or company z" was the solution (and I don't think it is) canceling SLS/Orion at this stage would not result in all the money getting sent to those efforts. Most likely it will leave the NASA budget and have no impact on the commercial side.

As for the nomination of Rep. Bridenstine I am cautiously optimistic. He seems to support the idea of traditional and commercial space working together and is very passionate about spaceflight. His Congressional background could turn out to be a blessing if it results in more support for NASA priorities.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2017 04:00 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #389 on: 09/06/2017 05:28 PM »
Even if "give all the money to company y or company z" was the solution ....

Could we please stop with this inaccurate caricature of SLS's skeptics.

Offline Lar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #390 on: 09/06/2017 08:00 PM »
This isn't an SLS bashing (or SLS boosting) thread.  Thank you.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #391 on: 09/06/2017 09:22 PM »
So a private company (say Bigelow) would turn down money to build a hab module because it would be launched on SLS?

Public/private partnerships, which Bridenstine supports, can be very effective uses of taxpayer money, but only if they are a win-win situation for both the private sector and the government.

So your theoretical "the government will throw money at Bigelow" is not descriptive enough to understand what the ROI would be for Bigelow besides getting paid to build a module and get it launched. What is the recurring revenue? What is the future market that it supports and how quickly could that market happen? Can Bigelow afford the risk?

As always, the devil is in the details, and so far there are no details.

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I guess you are saying that they won't get enough money but if SLS/Orion were canned there is no guarantee the funds would be redirected.

No, I have never said that, so stop assuming I have. However the SLS & Orion were funded out of a dying program (i.e. Constellation), so SLS & Orion supporters shouldn't be hypocrites about the possibility of something like this happening in the future, but I certainly don't advocate for it, and the conditions don't exist for money to be redirected to clean-sheet private sector initiatives.

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Important movers at both NASA and the commercial side have embraced the idea of private efforts working alongside SLS/Orion.

Reminds me of a line from Raiders of the Lost Ark:

Maj. Eaton: And it will be, I assure you, Doctor Brody, Doctor Jones. We have top men working on it right now.
Jones: Who?!
Maj. Eaton: Top... men.


Lots of people are amendable to lots of things when they are only concepts (i.e. nothing to lose when saying "yes"). Let's see what they say when there is money involved.

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Even if "give all the money to company y or company z" was the solution (and I don't think it is) canceling SLS/Orion at this stage would not result in all the money getting sent to those efforts. Most likely it will leave the NASA budget and have no impact on the commercial side.

My opinion has always been that the SLS & Orion stand or fall based on their own merits. The U.S. Government should not care a whit what Elon Musk does, since the SLS & Orion were created to take care of government needs, not private sector needs. So you should be more worried about what the U.S. Government needs (or doesn't need).

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As for the nomination of Rep. Bridenstine I am cautiously optimistic. He seems to support the idea of traditional and commercial space working together and is very passionate about spaceflight. His Congressional background could turn out to be a blessing if it results in more support for NASA priorities.

Everyone that wants to be a NASA Administrators will be "passionate about spaceflight", so this is a meaningless metric. Maybe Bridenstine will do well, but it remains to be seen whether being a politician will be a bonus for a job whose top skill needs to be the management of already funded programs.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #392 on: 09/07/2017 12:47 AM »
As for the nomination of Rep. Bridenstine I am cautiously optimistic. He seems to support the idea of traditional and commercial space working together and is very passionate about spaceflight. His Congressional background could turn out to be a blessing if it results in more support for NASA priorities.

Everyone that wants to be a NASA Administrators will be "passionate about spaceflight", so this is a meaningless metric. Maybe Bridenstine will do well, but it remains to be seen whether being a politician will be a bonus for a job whose top skill needs to be the management of already funded programs.

You are assuming that someone else out there would be better for the job. But you don't know who else was being considered. Bridenstine may have been the best candidate by far. As far as I know, the only other person whose name had circulated was Scott Pace. Personally, I prefer a politician to a university professor. The fact that he is from Oklahoma is also a plus as he will not have any vested interest. He is a good speaker and that is important for a NASA Administrator whose job includes selling NASA's programs and objectives to Congress. The best way to judge what Bridenstine will be like is to watch the space related presentations he gave in the last year or so (some were linked in this thread). It will give you a good idea of what he will be like as an administrator.

It will be interesting to see what kind of relationship Bridenstine will have with OMB. Griffin confronted OMB but Bolden not so much. 
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 01:11 AM by yg1968 »

Offline butters

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #393 on: 09/08/2017 02:18 PM »
Nothing new, but a good summary of Bridenstine's space policy views and the bill he introduced last year:

https://www.aip.org/fyi/2017/nasa-nominee-jim-bridenstine-has-bold-vision-space-unclear-intentions-science

It's easy to see that he prioritizes human spaceflight and space-based infrastructure (including commercial opportunities) over earth science and aeronautics (and robotic planetary science as well?). Where his views become difficult to read is his support for weather forecasting, which could come into conflict with his animosity toward climate research.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #394 on: 09/08/2017 04:14 PM »
Nothing new, but a good summary of Bridenstine's space policy views and the bill he introduced last year:

https://www.aip.org/fyi/2017/nasa-nominee-jim-bridenstine-has-bold-vision-space-unclear-intentions-science

It's easy to see that he prioritizes human spaceflight and space-based infrastructure (including commercial opportunities) over earth science and aeronautics (and robotic planetary science as well?). Where his views become difficult to read is his support for weather forecasting, which could come into conflict with his animosity toward climate research.

We'll see how it goes but I am sure that Bridenstine understands the difference between being a politician and a public servant. He is not a career politician.

Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #395 on: 09/13/2017 10:26 PM »
Hard to know how much of an issue this will be:

Gay rights advocates target Trump's NASA nominee - POLITICO

Circling back to an earlier comment:

In short, I think he's the best candidate that I could realistically expect from the Trump administration.

I think this is a good perspective - the best we can expect from Trump. Not necessarily the best that we could expect from all the available people that could be qualified and would want the job under a generic president, but the best that could be expected from a President who holds the views Trump does, and how few people want to work in his administration.

I'm not going to ignore all of Bridenstine's flaws just because he may be the best we can expect from Trump - that would not feel right to me. We should always be trying to improve on what has been given to us...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Lar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #396 on: 09/14/2017 02:23 AM »
starting to veer into general politics
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Offline Lar

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #397 on: 09/14/2017 01:23 PM »
starting to veer into general politics

Apparently I wasn't clear enough. DON'T veer into general politics. LGBTQIA issues are not space related. Not remotely. Nor is Trump's competence or lack therof. Locked while I decide if I want to try to clean it out or just archive the whole thing.

PS - arguing with moderators is also Not On.

PPS - cleaned some posts out. One more try but if we veer into general politics again, locked and archived.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2017 01:38 PM by Lar »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #398 on: 09/14/2017 02:57 PM »
Hard to know how much of an issue this will be:

Gay rights advocates target Trump's NASA nominee - POLITICO


I'm going to try to address this in a way that, best as I can tell, is in bounds and relevant to this forum...but mods please feel free to delete if I'm off base.

The bottom line is this will be relevant in the confirmation process, as it is a very important issue to a lot of the members who will be voting for or against confirming him, because it is an important issue to a lot of their constituents, and it is an important issue for a lot of the men and women at NASA that the Administrator needs to lead.

Given this, given his statements on climate, given his public positions on any number of other issues, it's hard to see any democratic senator supporting him. So at best he'd get confirmed on a party-line vote, which in and of itself is concerning for the community who thinks NASA should be kept out of partisan politics. There's also at least one republican senator who's already expressed doubts in him.

Back to the title of this thread - "Who should be NASA administrator?"  Surely there are candidates out there that could get confirmed with more support from congress and start off on a better foot.  Aren't there?


 

Offline yg1968

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Re: Who should be the next NASA Administrator?
« Reply #399 on: 09/14/2017 03:28 PM »
Confirmation requires 60 votes in the Senate (unless the nuclear option is used which is rare). So Democratic votes are required. I don't know of any Democratic Senator that said they would vote against him.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2017 03:31 PM by yg1968 »

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