To Russia With Bucks?

Keith's note: On 31 January 1997 Dan had to cut short a trip to California to return to DC for a White House meeting. The topic was Russia and the Space Station in preparation for the Gore/Chernomyrdin talks. Between 5 and 6 February Gore and Chernomyrdin had their meetings. On 7 February Chernomyrdin vowed to VP Gore that he'd release $100M by 28 February to get things rolling again. Also on 7 February, NRL ICM development (Clementine Upper Stage) was all set to be terminated by NASA. On 10 February the effort was brought back to life until the end of February.

On 12 February 1997 Dan testified before Congress and gave the Russians until 28 February to decide whether they are going to live up to Victor Chernomyrdin's pledge and provide the money to build the Service Module. Dan also broached the possibility of a 6 month slip to accommodate Russian hardware delays. Space News quotes Rep. Sensenbrenner as saying on 12 February that "It may be time to give this program [the space station] some tough love".

Between 16-21 February House Science Committee Chair Rep. Sensenbrenner and Space Subcommittee chair Rep. Rohrabacher will be in Russia to see the situation for themselves. On 22-23 February Dan and RSA Director General Yuri Koptev meet at JSC. A week after Reps Sensenbrenner and Rohrabacher get back, and 5 days after the Dan/Yuri showdown, 28 February (Dan's due date) arrives.

Will Dan actually bite the bullet and make a tough decision (for once) - one which this program - and this agency - clearly needs to make - now? Or will Dan wimp out and initiate yet another 90 day study complete with a rubber stamp Blue Ribbon panel designed to stall for time and obscure the issue while he puts his finger in the wind so as to decide what to do next?

RIF Watch really wonders whether Dan can indeed make the decision to bypass the Russian government and contract directly with Russian companies. To do so would to be to admit that the Russian government is not a reliable partner and cannot be depended upon to meet its commitments. Some might view this as an embarrassment not only to the Russian government but also to the Clinton Administration which has placed a lot of political investment in this program.

Doesn't this also make all of Dan's glowing promises about Russia's ability to meet schedules during the 1993/1994 space station redesign ring a bit hollow?

If Dan was so wrong about this ...

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 19, 1997 4:42 PM.

Employee Letter To Dan Goldin About Valuing of NASA Personnel was the previous entry in this blog.

Update: The Photo Op From Hell is the next entry in this blog.

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