Feedback: What Do You Think Of Mike Griffin's Selection?

Editor's note: What do you think of President Bush's selection of Mike Griffin to be the next NASA Administrator? Send your comments to - and let us know if you are a NASA civil servant/contractor, general public, etc. If we can use your name/affiliation, please let us know.

Your comments so far:


Reading between the lines in some of Griffin's commentary over the last year, it seems like he might just have the stones to suggest that we drop the ISS into the ocean and use the money it frees up to pay for exploration. Now THAT would be a plan.

Don't use my name. I'm a 20 yr CS at GRC


I am a NASA GSFC civil servant. Please do not use my name, as my personal email address is very similar to my NASA email. That said:

Mr. Griffin has an opportunity to tilt NASA's Exploration vision toward science, or away from it. If it is away, NASA should be abolished.

1) There is no plan at all for any other spacecraft to leave the solar system this century. Restore the $23M--this is exploration!;
2) The Centrifuge Facility is the only (in my opinion) science on the ISS that relates to exploration--why is anyone even thinking of killing it?
3) NASA has two As. I think both are important. Killing one for the other is not right, nor in the best interest of the country.

None of the three points above benefits me, or my Center...

Also, I love the Hubble, but let it die. After hearing the presentation by the Dep. Program Manager of the Shuttle, last year at the PM Conf.,I am convinced that O'Keefe made the right decison (this stunned me personally).


The selection of Mr. Griffin appears to be a good one from all of the commentary, but it is too early to condemn him. He is inheriting a dysfunctional agency, which has failed miserably in virtually all its major programs over the last 15 years, including ISS, X33, X34, SLI, and OSP etc. Although some of these programs have declared success and moved on. It is clear, even to the layman, that the return on investment has been less then desirable. If one objectively analyzes the common elements one begins to see that many of the people contributing to these failures (many of them are up here right now) are now in place running the current "vision" and committing many of the same mistakes of the past. Mr. Griffin may be nothing more then a new leash on the same old dog. The agency needs a LEADER that gets EVERYONE moving in the same direction toward a common goal. Right nowtheexisting leadership behaves like abunch of cats all doing what they want with their own agendas, not only at the agency level but also within ESMD. If he is a LEADER with a clear vision then he may succeed in herding all of these "CATS" if not he will fail, its no more complicated then that. Ask this same question a year after he is confirmed, and see what progress or lack there of has been made.

NASA HQ Civil Servant who has seen it all before at HQ

please do not show my e-mail address

Mr. Griffin has a long road ahead of him. I have been part of our space program for 40 years. I see the present NASA employees with a look of apathy, despair and uncertainty. I have seen that look before. This was the look after the Challenger accident. In my opinion NASA needs an inspirational Leader. The men and women that put Americans on the moon had a shared vision. They have left NASA. The present generation needs a challenge and inspiration to share a new vision. Trust has been broken and Leadership absent. The people are willing to follow a Leader. Mr. Griffin inspire us.

A long time fan of NASA


I applaud the nomination of Dr. Griffin. Perhaps for the first time in NASA's history, a true, full-fledged aero engineer PhD will lead the agency. For too long, the head of NASA has been a political post - and the nation's space programs have suffered. After all, has the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation ever had a non-scientist in charge? Why should NASA be any different?

That said, I would strongly caution that Dr. Griffin not fall victim to "technological hubris". He must become fully aware of budgetary and programmatic realities. His optimistic - and somewhat contradictory - assumptions on costing in a recent Planetary Society report on exploration that he co-led seem to indicate that he needs more homework in this area.

Nevertheless, good luck to him and the new team that he will form (after flushing the system of many NASA staff that may be well intentioned, but completely lack the requisite technological skills and prowess).

Name with-held


(Yes, I'm a CS, but please don't use my name.)

I knew Mike Griffin when I worked in the Exploration Program Office at JSC in the early 90's. He is a very impressive man. Exceedingly competent, both with the rocket equation as well as budgets and schedules. I've been quietly hoping that he would get his chance as Administrator. I have thought he was the best person for the job since 1993. One caveat, however, he can be an impatient man. Should he ever think that the Bush Administration or the Congress has double-crossed him, he'll be outta there.

Exploration fan at GRC

I an independent planetary science reesearcher based in KENYA, EAST AFRICA.
I do beleave that given the support from all members of staff, MIKE will do his best,
best regards,


As retired NASA MSFC plus successful career in Aerospace Industry and 10 years as a Volunteer in Academia (UAH Propulsion Research Center), I am glad to endorse Dr. Griffin as NASA Administrator. Normally, I consider the NASA Administrator as a Political job rather than a technical job. However, Adm. Steidle has the agency so screwed up it will take someone of Dr. Griffin's caliber to straighten it out.

For instance, Adm. Steidle believes Space Flight is equivalent to building a Mach 3 airplane. There is a hell of lot difference in Mach 30 and Mack 3. If I understood President Bush's Space Exploration Initiative correctly, he said for us to return to the Moon and use the Moon as stepping stones to Mars and beyond. The President said that we have to develop a sustainable program for approximately $16 Billion per year. This was a great "go do", but the President's "go do" is one leg of a three legged stool. The second leg is Congressional Support (535 ladies and gentlemen elected to congress). The third leg of the stool is John Q. Public support.

Adm. Steidle came to town and fixed the schedule dates for the Space Exploration Program. Now if the funding is fixed, the schedule must be a variable. The Adm. also did not plan any new ETO Launch Vehicles. The reliability of the World's some 5,000 historical space launches are 0.95 to date. To improve this reliability, we must go to Reusable Launch Vehicles to ETO.

At least Dr. Griffin is competent in the areas of Manned Spaceflight and will be able to put some realism into the President's Space Exploration Initiative and get competent technical people who know how to get things done as we did in the "old NASA" in the early days. I believe the current set of rules and regulations would have stopped the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.

Jim Sanders

I think Mr. Griffin has a long road ahead of him. I have been part of our space program for 40 years. I see the present NASA employees with a look of apathy, despair and uncertainty. I have seen that look before. This was the look after the Challenger accident. In my opinion NASA needs an inspirational Leader. The men and women that put Americans on the moon had a shared vision. They have left NASA. The present generation needs a challenge and inspiration to share a new vision. Trust has been broken and Leadership absent. The people are willing to follow a Leader. Mr. Griffin inspire us.

A long time fan of NASA


I am very pro-Spaceexploration and not for looking for little green men (and NASA shouldn't be either)but to advance our knowledge of the universe. I'm employed bya large company that does work for defense; in the air, on land, on and under the sea and in space. The position of Director/Administrator of NASA needs to be someone who has an advanceddegree in science with a good track record and with a good finance head on their shoulders. When I read that the Hubble was about to be written offI knewthat NASA was hurting. I think that Mike Griffin will be a fresh breeze for the country and for NASA and we can get going back to the Moon and Mars and beyond. NASA needs a strong voice with a sense of itselffor the public and for Congress. We need a long range plan that is very forward looking. Let's not repeat the mistake we made after the Apollo program. I'd like to see the National Academy of Sciences have a bigger hand in NASA.

Richard Cox

I first met Mike Griffin when he was the Technical Vice-President ofthe American Rocket Company (AMROC), whose intellectual property rights SpaceDev acquired to build the SpaceShipOne hybrid motor. He isas good as it getsfor the job of Administrator. He has the brains, the education, the widely varied experiences(both inside and outside government)and the intellectual hunger needed forblastingNASA out of low earth orbit.NASA is in for a very interesting ride under his tutelage. Go, Mike.

Gil Moore, Director, Project Starshine, Monument, CO

What is mr. griffin's stand on the hubble? more knowledge and understanding of the universe has been acquired in the years of the hubble than all of the previous years of human existence combined. hire spaceship 0ne for the job ??

phillip lacock
roswell n.m.

Reading the Mike Griffin Resume, I consider that President Bush has made an excellent selection. Maybe the most intelligent of his administration. Mike Griffin has the perfect combination of manager and space scientific. As a friend told me, Griffin has the technology "Right Stuff" I hope that he has the enough politician support in order to modernize NASA and give to the US Program a strong reason to be, specially in the field of the manned flights. However, the History always has the last world.

Francisco Galu
space columnist and amateur astronomer
Maracaibo, Venezuela

Dear Keith,

I've not metMichael Griffin, but his record to date indicates an encouraging mastery of both technology and leadership. APL has an excellent record of building leading-edge space technology that works. Griffin's past statements on space policy are hopeful as well. The President may just have found the right man to tackle a seemingly impossible mission.

Griffin faces the dual challenge of reinvigorating the space agency while persuading Congress and the American people to think beyond next year's budget and the desire for short-term economic and political returns.If we wait until we have solved every human problem on Earth to everybody's satisfaction, we will wait forever, and Griffin must articulate this. While the space entrepreneurs are makingimportant contributions, the history of large-scale exploration shows that governments either led the way or created the right conditions. NASA cannot do the job alone, but NASA is the catalyst,the agency that must lead the United States and the world into an age of exploration that will inspire our children, demonstrate the greatness thatour nation and our people are capable of, and ensure the long-term survival andprosperity of humanity. The VSE is the last chance to expand our horizons for at least a generation. It cannot be allowed to fail. The future is worth fighting for, and Mike Griffin seems well aware of that.

Good luck, Dr. Griffin.

Matt Bille
Space writer/historian
Colorado Springs

It's hard to tell at this point but all indicators point to him being better than O'Keefe or Goldin. At least he has some NASA blood in him. If he can pronounce "library" and "nuclear" correctly then we're off to a good start.

But the real test will be in what he actually does. Will he have the guts to do as Admiral Gehman suggested and get rid of those who have caused such deterioration in the Agency? If not then I will not be impressed. The overhead problem at Langley is the same as all over the Agency. It's more about managers who are more of the problem than the solution than it is about money.

Langley technician - one of a dying breed

A good plan, first a NASA Administrator who comes in and cleans up the books (so to speak), clears a bit of the dead wood, resets the path and then a second NASA Administrator who has exploration in his bones. Let's hope for the best!

As a bonafide rocket scientist, Mr. Griffin will no doubt bring a complete mastery of boosters, upper stages, propellents, upmass/downmass, habitable volumes, rendezvous/docking, debris/radiation mitigation, long-duration life support and countless other challenges to reaching the Moon and Mars. But will he be able to grapple that harmless little piece of paper, known as a dollar bill, that in sufficient numbers could delay or cripple major program objectives? I'm glad to see his resume includes an MBA, in addition to all his scientifically-oriented credentials.

Eric Fischer
Pittsburgh, pa

I am very pleased and impressed by Mike Griffin and look forward to his tenure as NASA Administrator. His experience, education, as well as comments from colleagues who have worked with him lead me to believe he is extremely qualified person to lead the Agency out of what has been a rather tumultuous transformation onto executing our ambitious vision for space exploration. He certainly has my full support and confidence.

I am a civil servant at NASA Ames and my opinions are my own. You may use my name and affiliation.

Greg Dorais, NASA ARC

Mike Griffin appears to be a good choice But in reality about anyone would have been a huge improvement, I feel. Holding back the Shuttles to protect the Astronauts is about as futile a plan as one could have. No one in the program has any doubt of the danger or risks involved and the last thing anyone involved likely wants is politicians trying to protect them thereby getting us behind in the overall Space race. Like it or not, it still exists and We Are No Longer Leading, Thank You, Oh Great Protectors. Many of the People in the program desire the risk and the rush, not to feel sheltered by mis-guided efforts of politically motivated people with whatever interests leading them. I believe NASA needs a true leader with militant characteristics that will allow people to be heroes when heroes are needed. No one involved is Not willing to give their life IF it must be that way But let's DO make Every effort to make All the programs the very safest we can possibly put in the air. And that is One radical viewpoint from where else but Oregon.

J Gilliland

Griffin is the perfect choice to lead NASA in implementing the VSE. As a true believer in space exploration and human settlement in space he has exactly what is needed to return NASA to what once was and should always be its core mission. With his background, education and experience he should satisfy all those who believe that the NASA Administrator should be either an engineer, an accountant or an managerial type as he has done them all. And Keith, your appraisal of him as someone who stands on principal means a lot with me. That is possibly needed as much or more than any of his other qualifications.

I firmly believe Griffin has the potential to be the best Administrator NASA has ever had.

No name please.

Michael Griffin appears to have what is needed to take NASA to the next level. He has the technical background and the business acumen to make the right decisions. His challenge is to cut through the !@#$ that the current leaders in NASA will try to present. If he takes a hard look at the agency's vision, streamline the core competencies to what is needed for Space Exploration and disband what is not needed, he will be able to succeed. He probably needs an outside peer review of what the agency is currently saying is needed for Space Exploration. He needs to start the process of reducing the overburdened complement of civil servants and contractors. Then and only then can he accomplish the space exploration mission within the budget identified by the administration.

I am a former NASA employee (ret. 1995) and a current NASA contractor. I do not want my name used.

Good morning,

Mr Griffin is an unknown to me so I cannot comment on his fitness to lead NASA. I do know that the last two Administrators have done absolutely nothing to protect and help NASA in it's quest to maintain a technological edge. We have been lead from one social experiment to another without accomplishing much in the way of hard science, and that is a terrible waste of the outstanding scientists we have witnin NASA. I am a believer in exploration; not for what will be ultimately found but rather for the technology that must be developed to achieve deep-space exploration. From those technologies come the spin-offs that benefit all mankind. Please identify me only as an MSFC contractor. Thank you.

Great! When does he start kicking butt? (NASA LaRC)


I am withholding judgement on the selection of Mike Griffin until he has had sufficient time to demonstrate whether he will work to undo the deterioration in aeronautics research funding that has occurred over the last several years. I am afraid that he will do no such thing, and foolishly continue the obsession with the exploration vision that Mr. O'Keefe began, but I will continue to hope otherwise, unless and until his actions destroy these hopes.

(I am a NASA Civil Servant at Langley Research Center. You may identify me as Michael @ NASA Langley, but please do not use my full name.)

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 17, 2005 7:28 AM.

Substantial Cuts Ahead For NASA Space Life Science? was the previous entry in this blog.

Griffin Moves from Designee to Nominee is the next entry in this blog.

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