Author Topic: NASA: Too big to fail? and Michael Griffin  (Read 1610 times)

Offline mike robel

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NASA: Too big to fail? and Michael Griffin
« on: 06/23/2018 09:24 pm »
An interesting article about some internal attitudes in NASA and program management.


Too Big to Fail - funding will continue and scientific return counters the expense.
Plays down technical difficulty and risk to get project sold
Funding Instability (my emphasis)
Developing and Retaining project managers

And it reports Michael Griffin is in the defense department as Under Secretary of Defense of Research and Engineering, who has said: "the goal of a NASA project manager “becomes that of getting [a project] started, no matter what has to be said or done to accomplish it.”
« Last Edit: 06/23/2018 09:25 pm by mike robel »

Offline AncientU

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Re: NASA: Too big to fail? and Michael Griffin
« Reply #1 on: 06/24/2018 12:59 pm »
Some would call that dishonest... or fraudulent.

I'd call it business as usual.
How else could you spend $10B and 20 years on a $1B/7year telescope?
No one is that incompetent.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline Tea Party Space Czar

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Re: NASA: Too big to fail? and Michael Griffin
« Reply #2 on: 06/24/2018 06:34 pm »
There is no such thing as "too big to fail".  Everything fails.  It might be propped up for decades but we see failure, and know failure, when it happens.  CxP "failed".  Griffin "failed".  JWST might launch someday but it fails again and again and again. 

Failure is a good thing when those who fail actually value the failure and use it as a learning tool.  NASA is failing with what I will call the "Apollo Crash Model" of space exploration.  NASA doesn't even mention settlement or the infinite economy. 

The proven public-private partnerships used in conjunction with funded and unfunded Space Act Agreements has proven to be the most successful model over the past eight years.  This is not even debatable.  Failures have occurred with this model too.  However, those failures have not been nearly as large, fiscally, as those with CxP, SLS, or JWST.

The bottom line is that we do need government in some instances - but in the end we never end government programs in the manner we should.  See Apollo and Shuttle.  We just pour dollars into that program and hope for a solution.

BFR and New Glenn will fly before SLS and Orion will never make it to Mars in any meaningful capacity.  We all know that. 

Empower the things that work and cut those things that do not.

Andrew Gasser

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Re: NASA: Too big to fail? and Michael Griffin
« Reply #3 on: 06/28/2018 08:59 pm »
Wow that article is very, very disingenuous in how it presents what Griffin said. If you go look at the speech, he was pointing out the need to AVOID that type of behavior - to increase rigor in cost estimation and technical competence and to improve NASA's credibility when it comes to predicting costs.  He also, notably, talks about the importance of reliance on the private sector in bringing down the cost of space activities.  Here's a snippet:

I must also point out that there have been many instances where proponents of individual missions have downplayed the technical difficulty and risk of their individual mission, or grossly underestimated the cost and effort involved to solve the problems, in order to gain "new start" funds for particular project. Everyone knows that, once started, any given mission is nearly impossible to cancel, so the goal becomes that of getting started, no matter what has to be said or done to accomplish it. I am speaking here not only to industry and scientific investigators, but also to organizations within NASA. This is a matter of integrity for our community. NASA managers, the White House, and Congress have seen this behavior too many times, and the Agency has lost a great deal of credibility over the decades as a result. There was a time - I remember it, and many of you will also - when what "NASA" said could be taken to the bank. Anyone here think it's like that today? Show of hands? ... I didn't think so.

I have spent a good portion of my time as Administrator trying to rebuild that credibility with more rigorous technical review and independent cost estimating processes. But, folks, we are in this together. We will not be trusted with more funding to carry out great, new, exciting space missions in the future, human or robotic, if we oversell and underdeliver on our commitments today. Across the board, we must be realistic in our assessments of cost and technical risk if we are to be trusted with funds provided to us by the American taxpayer.
« Last Edit: 06/29/2018 01:54 pm by incoming »