Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NASA Puts Down Mantle Of Galactic Overlord. Vassals Not Sure What To Do.

NASA Adminstrator Mike Griffin announced Monday that "NASA is not the galactic overlord and shouldn't be." This appeared to come as news to some in the audience at Utah State University.

Griffin's comment was in response to a plea by a former university professor championing student involvement in space who said:
"'There's no present access for students in space ... Can't you figure out a way to get us some opportunity to fly on U.S. launch vehicles?'" [Gil] Moore asked. "'We're not asking you to pay for the satellites. Just get us some rockets, get us some access to space.'"
Griffin's response is priceless, if a bit harsh in its bluntness.
"Griffin responded that he has a lot of problems ahead of that one. 'NASA cannot be responsible for everything that needs being done in the space community,' he said. 'NASA is not the galactic overlord of space and shouldn't be.' If educators want to negotiate with firms to get students' experiments into space, he added, 'I wish you well. But it is not my job to be the broker for those launches.'" (Here.)
It doesn't get much clearer than that. There's something tremendously refreshing about Griffin's candor and directness.

Reading the rest of the linked article, it's clear that Griffin doesn't see NASA's job as serving the special interests of the various elements that make up America's space community. Griffin sees his job as implementing the mandate he was given by the President. Those who want something else done in space are going to have to do an end run.

Remain a vassal and lobby Congress much like the Planetary Society has done with their SOS (Same Old Stuff) campaign to reinstate funding for their pet science missions. Or better yet, drop the role of vassal to the government's space program, take up Griffin's challenge, and find your own way to space.


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