Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dr. Griffin on the Augustine Committee - Part 2 of 11

2) Since NASA's budget as outlined in 2005 was hardly one of rampant growth (only a slight increase above inflation was projected even then), and since the Commission did not report any evidence of substandard execution of the Program of Record - Constellation - one wonders why the Commission failed to recommend as its favored option that of simply restoring the funding necessary to do the job that has, since 2005, been codified in two strongly bi-partisan Congressional Authorization Acts. ...

I imagine that the Augustine Committee failed to recommend (or succeeded in not recommending) keeping Constellation as-is with a funding boost because the committee's charter includes the following objectives:

  • expediting a new U.S. capability to support utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) - Constellation does not do this.
  • stimulating commercial space flight capability - Constellation does not do this.
  • fitting within the current budget profile for NASA exploration activities - Constellation does not do this.
  • appropriate amount of research and development and complementary robotic activities needed to make human space flight activities most productive and affordable over the long term - Constellation does not have this.
  • appropriate opportunities for international collaboration - Constellation does not have this.
  • options for extending ISS operations beyond 2016 - Constellation does not allow this.

How could the Augustine Committee possibly prefer the program of record when the POR does almost none of the things the committee is for?

What does this have to do with the rate of growth of NASA's 2005 budget? Nothing. That budget is now history.

What does this have to do with the level of substandard execution of the POR? Nothing.

No matter what the rate of growth in NASA's 2005 budget, and no matter how good or bad the execution of the POR is, if Constellation doesn't address the items on the Augustine Committee charter (and it doesn't), how could the committee recommend the program of record as its favored option?

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