What Mike Griffin *Really* Thinks About NRC's Space Station Report

Editor's note: The email exchanges below occurred between Mike Griffin and his senior staff between 22/23 November 2005 in reaction to the release of the NRC Report: Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station.

About the report itself, Griffin says: "I've read the report, and there is not much good in it for us. Not surprising, however, coming from Len Fisk. I'm copying a bunch of folks on this note because it concerns the nucleus of a strategic problem for us in going forward with the VSE. Bottom line, we're going to have to answer the specific issues in this report."



"From: "Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)"
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 13:43:50 -0500
To: "Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)"
Cc: "Horowitz, Scott J. (HQ-BA000)", "Cooke, Douglas (HQ-BA000)", "Dale, Shana (HQ-AA000)", "Geveden, Rex (HQ-AA000)", "Morrell, Paul (HQ-AA000)", "Shank, Christopher M. (HQ-AA000)", "Pace, Scott (HQ-FA000)", "Gerstenmaier, William H. (HQ-CA000)", "Cleave, Mary (HQ-DA000)", "Davis, Joseph H. (HQ-AA000)", "OBrien, Michael F. (HQ-ND000)", "Hanley, Jeffrey M. (HQ-FA000)", "Coats, Michael L. (JSC-AA)", "King, David A. (MSFC-DA01)", "Weiler, Edward J. (GSFC-100.0)", "Elachi, Charles (JPL-1000)[JPL]", "Hubbard, Scott (ARC-D)", "Whitlow, Woodrow (KSC)", "Roe, Lesa B. (LARC-A)", "Kennedy, James W. (KSC), "Petersen, Kevin L. (DFRC-X)", "Parsons, William W. (SSC-AA00)"

Subject: RE: ISS Research Plan

All-

Thanks to Trish. This is helpful. I've read the report, and there is not much good in it for us. Not surprising, however, coming from Len Fisk.

I'm copying a bunch of folks on this note because it concerns the nucleus of a strategic problem for us in going forward with the VSE. Bottom line, we're going to have to answer the specific issues in this report. We're going to have to define the program of activity for ISS that obtains from it the utility that it can provide. We may NOT be able to fund that activity at present; I consider that almost a fact on the ground. But we can put in place the kind of peer-reviewed science that we WOULD do, given the money, and that we WILL do, when we can afford it. This is the "non SMD science" to which Trish refers.

Scotty/Gerst, defining the program that gets the most out of ISS for Exploration is squarely in your court. But others can and will help where possible.

The next step out is the Moon. We're going to get, and probably already are getting, the same criticisms as for ISS. This is the "why go to the Moon?" theme.

We've got the architecture in place and generally accepted. That's the "interstate highway" analogy I've made. So now, we need to start talking about those exit ramps I've referred to. What ARE we going to do on the Moon? To what end? And with whom? I have ideas, of course. (I ALWAYS have ideas; it's a given.) But my ideas don't matter. Now is the time to start working with our own science community and with the Internationals to define the program of lunar activity that makes the most sense to the most people. I keep saying -- because it's true -- that it's not the trip that matters, it's the destination, and what we do there. We got to get started on this.

Shana will be taking the lead on working with Obie and the International Partners to get started down the track on pulling together an international coalition. They are annoyed and impatient with our delays since the Vision speech. We need to be, and be seen to be, proactive in seeking their involvement. We need to work with them, not prescribe to them, regarding what we can do together on the Moon.

Beyond the Moon is Mars, robots first. Most of the Internationals are at present more interested in Mars, as I hear the gossip. Fine, we can't tell them what to be interested in. But our road to Mars goes through the Moon, and we should be able to enlist them to join on that path.

Everyone on this address list wants to be part of making Exploration what NASA does. It won't survive if all we worry about is getting there. That was the essential first step. But it has to sell itself on what it is that we DO there. The kind of criticism we're receiving in connection with the ISS, in the report Trish references, needs to be addressed for ISS, and needs to be "headed off at the pass" for the Moon.

Mary and Scotty, what we do at our destinations is in your bailiwick. But let's resolve to get some runway behind us on this, and soon.

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 12:40 PM
To: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Subject: RE: ISS Research Plan

Agreed, though there may be ways to improve the management of what little we have and the manner is which we interact with the external communities (i.e., scientific community, Congress). I am pulling together some history and issues related to NASA science that falls outside the Science Mission Directorate for your consideration. -- Trish

________________________________
Trish Pengra
Studies and Analysis, Program Analysis and Evaluation
NASA

-----Original Message-----
From: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:12 AM
To: Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)
Subject: RE: ISS Research Plan

Trish-

I know, and thanks. The only logical answers come with "spend more money", and we don't right now have it to spend.

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 8:51 AM
To: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Subject: RE: ISS Research Plan

Hopefully, you got it within minutes of the email. We're developing a list of the questions logically raised by the review, but there are no ready answers.

Don't let it ruin your Thanksgiving.

Trish

________________________________
Trish Pengra
Studies and Analysis, Program Analysis and Evaluation
NASA

-----Original Message-----
From: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000)
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:22 PM
To: Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)
Subject: Re: ISS Research Plan

Just make sure I get one.

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Pengra, Trish (HQ-FB000)
To: Griffin, Michael D. (HQ-AA000); Pace, Scott (HQ-FA000); Horowitz, Scott J. (HQ-BA000); Williams, Richard S. (HQ-LJ000); Allen, Marc (HQ-DA000); Gerstenmaier, William H. (HQ-CA000); Chase, Brian E. (HQ-NC000); Geveden, Rex (HQ-AA000); Cleave, Mary (HQ-DF000); Ahlf, Peter R. (HQ-BF011); Walz, Carl (HQ-BF017)
CC: Lomax, Terri (HQ-FB000)
Sent: Tue Nov 22 15:20:10 2005
Subject: ISS Research Plan

All:
I just received and will deliver your advance copy of the NRC's Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station. The report will be publicly released next Monday, 28 November.

While there is little that is very new or unexpected in their findings and recommendations, the report is highly critical and likely to draw some attention. Since the review was requested by Congress, the NRC will be delivering copies to the Hill.

-- Trish

________________________________
Trish Pengra
Studies and Analysis, Program Analysis and Evaluation
NASA
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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 11, 2005 8:36 PM.

ESA Reiterates Support for ISS - and Klipper was the previous entry in this blog.

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