|To Bold(en)ly Go Where NASA Has Gone Before|
|Written by Jeff Krukin|
|Sunday, 04 October 2009|
According to a Sept. 10th article in The Wall Street Journal, the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, headed by former Lockheed Martin Corp. Chairman Norman Augustine, "... is recommending that NASA shelve its goal of rapidly returning to the moon and instead focus on nurturing a robust commercial space industry that can handle short-term objectives of the nation's space program, such as ferrying cargo and crew to the international space station."
If you've followed my writing during the last few years, you know that I've long advocated a space exploration/settlement/development schedule that is synchronized with and nurtures the evolving capabilities of the NewSpace industry, rather than attempt to meet a politically mandated deadline.
The four big questions before us are 1) does NASA want to follow the above recommendation, 2) will President Obama direct NASA to do so, 3) will Congress support or interfere with such a directive, and 4) would NASA do what it is told to do if so directed?
Here are my thoughts about the four questions:
My interpretation: Bolden recognizes that NewSpace is important to NASA's success, yet he knows that there are many powerful NewSpace foes within NASA and Congress that he must either co-opt or crush if NASA and NewSpace are to achieve their full synergistic potential. Whichever path he chooses, it will be a path where NASA has already gone before, as it has already made both half-hearted and sincere efforts to nurture NewSpace, and it has worked hard to crush NewSpace companies such as Mir Corp. Perhaps even worse, it has ignored similar NewSpace advice from the past:
The results are the bleak options listed in the Augustine Committee report.
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