Gingrich’s Space Plan

Is it science fiction?


By the way, did anyone else wonder why he asked about Atlas at the Cape, when Falcon 9 is already designed to human-rating specifications? Surely he’s aware of SpaceX.

[Update a few minutes later]

This is the most depressing thing I’ve seen all day, at least in terms of space policy:


Scott Pace, Chair of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group
Director, Space Policy Institute, The Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University
Former Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Mark Albrecht
Chairman of the Board, USSpace
Former Executive Secretary, National Space Council

Eric Anderson
Chairman and CEO, Space Adventures
Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Gene Cernan
Commander, Apollo XVII

Bob Crippen
Pilot, First Space Shuttle Mission
Former Director, NASA Space Shuttle Program

Michael Griffin
Former NASA Administrator
Former Head of the Space Department, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Peter Marquez
Former Director of Space Policy, National Security Council
Former Director of Special Programs, Department of Defense

William Martel
Associate Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Former Alan B. Shepard Chair of Space Technology and Policy Studies, Naval War College

This is the first thing that I’ve seen that makes me want to see Obama reelected. It almost certainly implies that a Romney presidency means a resurrection of Constellation.

[Update a few minutes later]

I’m both surprised and disappointed that Eric Anderson has signed on to this.

This is potentially a perfect storm of space policy disaster.

[Afternoon update]

It is very frightening to see the name of the once (and future?) NASA administrator there. Top. Men.

[Update a few minutes later]

Heh: “So Mitt Romney is looking to Mike Griffin for space advice? I thought Mitt didn’t like impractical $200 billion lunar projects.”

52 thoughts on “Gingrich’s Space Plan”

  1. In order to get the Republican nomination he needs to be against anything President Obama is for, so why would you expect anything different from Gov. Romney’s space policy?

    Really, if Gov. Romney is elected President I would not be surprised if Dr. Griffin is given a second tour as NASA Administrator. After all the main reason he left was because President Obama was elected.

  2. As I said on Twitter, if you really don’t want America to build a Moon Base, then Mike Griffin is your man. I don’t think there’s a more talented person in the world at making sure NASA spends billions per year without getting us any closer to a Moon Base (or any other useful result). Why if he were NASA admin again, I could guarantee you that no progress would be made on getting to a Moon Base on his watch.


  3. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The GOP is in thrall to the idea that Obama can’t abide US national greatness, and it’s all too easy to fold his support for NASA reform into that false narrative. Naturally that builds GOP support for a 180-degree change in NASA policy, back to Ares and Constellation. The fact that Romney desperately wants a win in Florida next week seals the deal.

        1. In my state, they only ask “Do you want a Republican Party ballot or a Democratic Party ballot?” The state parties don’t ask anything like “Say, do you identify as a Democrat or Republican”? Also, they *want* my vote. They send me tons of literature in my very own personal mail *asking me for my vote* — in the primaries as well as in the general election.

          1. Although, to be clear, it is the candidates asking me for my vote – the parties seem content to just ask me for money. But the Republican candidates ask just as much as the ones who are Democrats.

          2. This is the primary. I honestly want Newt to be the Republican nominee, although I’m open to Jim’s advice. Newt has a much better space policy than the other GOP candidates, and he has a history of interest in the space program and in futurism, Newt would be much more fun in the debates (and I love the debates – I’ve watched all but one of the 18(?) GOP debates so far), and best of all, in the general election, he would be more easily beaten by President Obama.

            Which would hurt the tea party Republicans more — a Romney loss or a Gingrich loss? A Romney loss might encourage the GOP to nominate a conservative next time, while a Gingrich loss might encourage the GOP to nominate someone boring next time.

          3. So when you vote for Newt, that’s an honest expression of whom you wish to see become president if Obama loses?

    1. No, that Obama narrative is precisely correct. He hates America, its people, and its traditions, and he demonstrates it in countless ways daily. His space policy is the equivalent of a blind squirrel finding a nut once in awhile.

      As Rand has said, the only reason he got it right is that he doesn’t care about space in the first place. If he did, he would have proposed massive new government programs. Think “Constellation on Steroids”.

        1. Interesting picture. The two guys on the left are smiling, the guy on the right is gritting his teeth.

    2. You’re right, though, that there are many Republicans and conservatives who think that Ares and Constellation are just peachy, and are pissed off at Obama for canceling them.

      So that makes Romney the panderer, not Gingrich.

  4. I guess we now have the membership of Romney’s space commission. I wonder what a President Romney will say when — as I suspect they will — propose a return to the moon? My suspicion that Romney will have forgotten by then his election era opposition.

      1. Rand, I know that Romney is not opposed to a return to the moon. His public opposition is a cynical election year ploy to try to make Newt look absurd. Mind, I have to disagree with you and assert that whatever these gentlemen come up with will likely be a vast improvement over the current program. Almost anything would be.

          1. You have a serious problem understanding reality, not to mention manners. Do we really have to roll the tape?

          2. Yes, roll the tape and show me where he opposed a return to the moon (and no, opposing spending hundreds of billions on a lunar colony is not opposing a return to the moon).

        1. The current “program” originated in Congress. My main problem with Obama is that he didn’t fight for a plan that even Newt said was a good idea. There is no indication that Romney or his “top men,” as Michael Mealling put it, have any idea how to get around that. Given Griffin’s “magical thinking” about funding Constellation, I don’t hold high hopes.

          I just see a lot of pablum about blaming the current President for decades of poor leadership in Congress, the White House, and HQS. Now, where have I seen that before? … Oh. Right.

        2. whatever these gentlemen come up with will likely be a vast improvement over the current program.

          Spending hundreds of billions to [not] build a lunar base is a vast improvement over spending much less to not build a lunar base?

          Now, there’s the big-spending, big-government Mark Whittington we all know and love.

          Clearly, the problem with the economy is too much money remaining in the private sector! 🙂

    1. Mark, for me the real question is what will the former NASA people on that list get out of supporting Romney?

  5. This is of course exactly the know-nothing ‘policy’ that I most feared would come from the Romney camp.

    Eight more years of “Mike Griffin and his Dead-End Gang”? Maybe the Space Coast can get their jobs back building launch towers to nowhere.

    I agree with you Rand, just about the first thing making me ready to go for Obama. Doesn’t matter in Massachusetts anyway, it’ll go for him for sure, I might as well vote on the narrow issue I care about.

    What the hell, with Romney I can just give up on any hopes of seeing real BEO activity before I’m dead, so I don’t give a rat’s behind.

  6. Sigh.

    Romney on Thursday: I’d fire anyone who approached me with an unaffordable moon base plan.

    Romney on Friday: I’m getting space advice from Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Gene Cernan.

    Good grief. Romney doesn’t know about space, he doesn’t care, and he really thought the nomination race would be over before Florida. His approach to the whole subject has been vague, insensitive to unemployed workers, and lazy.

  7. To me it just highlights our need to get our proverbial rocket eggs out of our Florida basket. Then we won’t have candidates arguing to extremes over space issues.

  8. Ugh. Looking at that list made me throw up in my mouth a little.

    The trans-pale absurdity (noun form of pale, not adj.) has become overwhelming, and thoroughly nauseating. That these people are our “leaders” is just…

    (yeah, and I was a bit surprised by Eric Anderson being on there, but then again, look at his customer base, and the fact that under the status quo he basically has a monopoly on this stuff)

    P.S. These are my personal opinions only. The Moon Society (of which I am president) is taking no position on the political stuff. The goal of The Moon Society is people living and working on the Moon. Period. Full Stop.

  9. Looking at that list, I can only surmise that the aliens have gotten the control chip into Govenor Romney’s head. Talk about brainwashed.

    1. Damn, that’s quite a conundrum, the way you put it.

      Personally, I don’t think either Gingrich or Romney can beat Obama. Or Santorum. Paul would get more votes from independents and young people than the rest of them combined, but he would lose because many Republicans would rather stay home and pout.

      We’re in fine shape here. Just fine.

  10. @Ken Murphy:

    The Moon Society (of which I am president) is taking no position on the political stuff. The goal of The Moon Society is people living and working on the Moon. Period. Full Stop.

    Then if you want this goal to be achieved, here’s what you have to get your elected representative(s) to do:

    1) They would have to raise taxes on the wealthiest of all American and on corporations-and ONLY on the wealthiest of all Americans and on corporations (which they won’t do because they’re in thrall to them-more so than people say Obama is.)

    2)They would have to cut the military budget to a nub, and end the war in Afghanistan NOW, as well as cease and desist all of the posturing towards Iran. (which most of them won’t do because they’re likely in thrall to them-more so than people say Obama is.)

    3) With the money saved from those two previous tasks, THEN the USA can start building the spacecraft necessary to get to the moon and build a moon base. But only if the first two things are done.

  11. Trent,
    Last time I checked you are a citizen of Australia. We Americans are the ones who are going to have to “take 4 or 8 more years of Griffin (or Pace)”. I been waiting for human spaceflight progress to be gotten with my tax dollars since Apollo, now that I see some progress start to happen again I don’t want it quashed. Over 40 years has been a long time to wait. I want to see something substantive happen before I’m dead.

    1. Guess what, I get no vote but I have to live with the stupid economic decisions of your government.. and, like it or not, the world’s space policy also follows your sick and pathetic space policy.

      Sucks, but there it is. So yes, I do have an opinion on US politics. It directly affects my life.

      1. Putting Griffin back in charge would be one of those “stupid economic decisions of your government” giving us another “sick and pathetic space policy”. Be careful what you wish for.

  12. I’ll pass on the food fights and answer one of Rand’s original questions. Yes, Newt is aware of SpaceX. He praised Elon Musk in an interview with Gretta Van Susteran broadcast last night.

    1. The obvious answer is that he mentioned Atlas because the Atlas program employs more people at the Cape than the Falcon program. And most SpaceX employs are probably “pre-sold” on Gingrich’s plan.

    2. I ran into Gretta yesterday at BWI and asked her to not diss Newt on the lunar thing as if we are to make progress as a nation, we must have ideas, not just Obama with an R by his name.

      1. Dennis, Gingrich and Obama are closer to each other than either is to Romney (with regard to space), so why call Romney a Republican Obama (with regard to space)?

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