Sudden Constellation Briefing Scheduled

NASA To Brief Reporters About Constellation Program

"NASA will host a media teleconference Monday, Aug. 11, at 3 p.m. EDT, to brief reporters about ongoing assessments regarding the budget and schedule for the Constellation Program. NASA managers will discuss evaluations being made as part of an annual budget planning cycle that considers program design and development activities in relation to available funds."

Editor's note: I asked Doug Cooke why ESMD was eager to highlight its success but was simultaneously reluctant to openly volunteer information about failures such as the recent Orion Parachute Test Vehicle crash on 31 July. Specifically, I asked why ESMD refused to release pictures of that test despite repeated requests for that imagery. Cooke replied that ESMD has "not received any pictures" of that test.

I then asked Jeff Hanley about his statements to the effect that additional money would not accelerate Orion development to any great extent yet Mike Griffin is on the record before Congress stating that additional funds would help to close the gap. Hanley said that he was "not privy" to what was contained within Mike Griffin's congressional testimony.

Hanley then went on to note that "the window to accelerate Orion is closing". He suggested that some things could be speed up "If new money should be available - and it depends on the timing of it - and it depends on where the program is."

Doug Cooke said "I do not think there is an inconsistency between what Mike Griffin said and what Jeff Hanley said."

Other notes (below):

Jeff Hanley and Doug Cooke are on the telecon.

Cooke: We are adhering to our commitment date of March 2015 for IOC. Working to aggressive IOC of Sept 2013. We wanted to press this date as hard as we could. We are shifting that date to Sept 2014.

This will provide impetus for some contract changes. We will be working internal program milestones. We have major committments in place. Hardware currently under design and undergoing testing.

Completed Ares 1-X CDR. Completed Lunar Capablity Concept Review.

Hanley: Do not have a lot to add. What you are seeing us do is complete first phase of programmatic formulation. It became clear that with available money that we needed to make some changes. We are looking to make a better alignment of schedule with available dollars. The September 2014 date is achievable with no additional dollars.

This realignment done over a period of a few months. It needs a little "shelf life" before I can say what the confidence level is.

Our confidence that the gap will get no worse than 5 years is actually improved.

Sept. 2014 is when we are saying that we will launch first crew on Orion. This will be the 3rd launch of Ares 1 - we dub it "Orion 2". Having schedule flexibility is key to keeping ourselves in a healthy posture.

Cooke: we do not know what budget will look like. We are cementing our understanding of the current planned budget with contingencies in place.

Hanley: We are not just blindly cutting out redundancy on this spacecraft (Orion). I cannot comment about who is happy or unhappy about this spacecraft.

Cooke: Not everyone is happy that they got what they wanted.

Hanley: Trying to teach this generation (agan) how to do these things.

Cooke: We are not inventing this. These spacecraft do have predecessors.

Cooke: Question regarding Ares 1 replacement rumour: I have never heard any discussion of that type.

Editor's earlier note: 2.5 hours advance notice for a ESMD PAO media briefing on major budget issues - one sent out at lunch time, for an event being held when Congress is out of town, while everyone is on vacation, and while a war grabs the headlines. Excellent timing to announce bad news, I must say.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 11, 2008 4:15 PM.

Griffin Admits Ares 1 Launch Delay - Sort Of was the previous entry in this blog.

ARC's New Information Technology Directorate is the next entry in this blog.

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