Editor's note: The trick to getting new work at your center? Run up obscene increases on a simple project, and then get your congressional delegation (i.e. Sen. Shelby) to whine and moan when the money runs out and demand that things get moved - all the while convincing them that the only way to do things is big, heavy, and expensive. Of course, this also keeps the marching armies back home fat and happy. I really thought Mike Griffin was smarter than this - and that he was able to stand up to such political threats with the backing of the White House.
It should be quite clear by now that neither Mike Griffin or Scott Horowitz are actually in charge of managing NASA's implementation of the VSE. Right now, Sen. Shelby is in charge by virtue of the political actions he has taken (with Dave King's urgings). No doubt Sen. Mikulski will eventually take her turn when LRO encounters problems (with Ed Weiler's urgings). JSC and KSC will get in the act soon enough as well. Meanwhile, the White House turns a blind eye to this foodfight.
This ain't the way to get back to the moon, folks.
"A lunar projects office reporting to LPRP with responsibility for developing small spacecraft to support exploration will be located at the Ames Research Center (ARC), which led the former RLEP program. ARC will also continue to lead the development of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) scheduled to fly in 2008."
Editor's note: Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz has decided to pull the RLEP (Robotic Lunar Exploration Program) program office out of NASA ARC (where it was put less than a year ago) and is moving it to MSFC.
It seems that Sen. Shelby (R-AL) and MSFC Center Director Dave King complained loudly about a number of things and wanted to have the program moved to MSFC - the home of $1 billion+ lunar landers. Horowitz is apparently concerned about the initial cost estimates ($1.2 - 1.4 billion) for MSFC's RLEP-2 and has asked that the entire RLEP effort be "reconceived". Horowitz reportedly has asked for three classes of RLEP missions with cost caps at $100 million, $200 million, and $300 million respectively. Apparently there will be a new round of RLEP proposals requested soon.
Reader note: "Has anyone mentioned yet that literally just hours before RLEP was yanked from ARC, the RLEP Program Office had passed its Non-Advocate Review (NAR) with flying colors and without the requirement for a delta-NAR?? I wish someone would total the hours of labor expended to establish a great program at ARC that are now heading straight for the toilet - all the Program Office documentation, all the work on the architecture, all the networking and information gathering done, ... everything a total waste. No one in their right mind believes that MSFC will adopt any of this. This is a true waste of taxpayer money."
- RLEP Changes at NASA HQ
- Letter from NASA ESMD Deputy Doug Cooke Regarding Robotic Lunar Exploration Program 2 Roles
- NASA ARC Internal Memo: Message from the Director Robotic Lunar Exploration Program at Ames
- NASA ARC Internal Memo: Message from the Deputy Director - RLEP Mission 2 Competition