Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Like Ike! I mean Mike!

Andy alerted me to the text of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's comments yesterday at the Workshop on Space Exploration and International Cooperation. These comments give some perspective and focus to the recent ESAS report on NASA's "Vision" plans. He first gives some background on how President Eisenhower pushed hard for the development of the US interstate highway system in the 1950's, and how the resulting network of (sometimes!) high-speed roads has had great economic benefit. Griffin says that NASA's work in developing next-generation spacecraft and launch systems is to provide analogous infrastructure for future space programs, but that the work of creating and running (and funding) those future programs needs to be shared with international partners and with private space ventures.

I suppose this has all been said before, but Griffin really emphasizes that it is NASA's job to reach out and make sure these partnerships are developed and used. I like the tone of these remarks and the strong implication that NASA mainly wants to build the roads, not define what is driven on them. I also like this sentence:
It will be required of NASA that we be open to commercial offerings in preference to the development of government-only systems, whenever possible. If exploration is to become "what NASA does", we must recognize that in a world of limited resources we must, to quote Ben Franklin, "all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately".
As I said in my post on October 24, let a thousand space programs bloom.

1 comment:

Anthony Kendall said...

I, too, have been greatly encouraged by what Mike Griffin has been saying. The way his situation looks to me is that he is trying to force a bit of innovation and free thinking into a beaurocracy long paralyzed by its association with the major aerospace contractors. I only hope that he is allowed to continue his work independently of the politics in Washington (disasters, deficits, administrations...).