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Strife Between NASA’s Griffin and Obama Transition Over Constellation? (News) December 12, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Constellation, Current News, NASA, Obama.

A report from the Orlando Sentinel describes problems that are arising between the Obama space transition team (headed by a former associate administrator of NASA, Lori Garver) and the current NASA administrator, Mike Griffin:

“In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.

In addition, Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency’s moon program, sources said.”
– “NASA has become a transition problem for Obama”, by Robert Block, Orlando Sentinel

It’s probably naive to assume that all government relations, especially in a transition where one’s legacy could be at stake (Griffin’s), are going to be peachy-keen and happy. High-level leaders are always going to have a certain amount of ego, and they’re always going to clash (the films “Thirteen Days” and “W.” demonstrate the White House Cabinet brand of this pretty well).

The article goes on to illustrate examples that suggest this strife is simply an example of that, and not indicative of actual problems with Constellation that the Obama team would have.

Obama has shown consistent support for Constellation, even getting involved with allowing the NASA purchase of Soyuz craft in the middle of the campaign (with help from Joe Biden), and the article from today mentions an idea from NASA that I think hits the nail on the head (and that I’ve talked about here before on my own): that the Obama administration “could take ownership of the [Constellation] program and ‘re-brand’ it as their own with minor tweaks.””

With all the bad news about, the Obama administraion’s going to need some good, inspirational PR, and the Constellation program could prove an excellent source for that.

And regardless, even if the Constellation program was (by some strange series of occurances) seriously delayed or cancelled, the probably more-relevant-anyways private sector will still be rolling along, and other countries are going to the Moon (and in my opinion, will win the ‘Base Race’ anyways; more motivation, with Apollo being ‘old hat’ here), so mankind’s integration and colonization of the Moon will go on, with or without NASA.


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