14 thoughts on “More From Lori Garver”

  1. If she is so smart, why did it take her this long to realize the uselessness of SLS? It sounds like the government teat ran dry so now she is trying to sell old information.

    1. Well, SLS was the Senate Launch System.
      And could be one of best things that the Senate has done.
      I continue to think SLS should be funded.
      And I continue to think NASA should not make a Lunar base. Or bases NASA should focus on are Mars bases.
      NASA should explore the Moon to determine if and where there is mineable lunar water. And NASA should not mine lunar water.
      A bigger issue than SLS costing +23 billion, is the time it wasted.
      The only vaguely good aspect of SLS, is it “appeared” to be faster way to make rocket- and that didn’t happen.
      SLS should be a +23 billion lesson in why NASA should not build a lunar base. And +23 billion is a cheap lesson- particularly cheap compared to Space Shuttle lesson- in what not to do.
      Anyhow, SLS can serve as back up, and I think need more back up {what deal with New Glenn?} though we getting other start up happening.
      One very good thing about SLS is it’s not govt funded competition or it’s unlikely anyone would think this.
      Anyways hard to explain how NASA can do the explore Moon and determine if and where there is mineable lunar, but if someone starting mining lunar water, then NASA can roughly can say it done. But it’s unlikely this will be so easy. Instead what more likely is lunar water mining will happen after NASA starts it’s Manned Mars exploration.
      NASA job is not to “make” lunar water mineable, it’s to discover if it might be mineable.
      It seems a purpose of Lunar exploration is testing whether NASA can explore, so it can/will explore Mars.
      NASA lunar exploration to determine if and where there is lunar water which is mineable is easy compared to exploring Mars.
      One thing NASA need to do with Mars is find Mars water which is mineable. And I would guess it involves drilling water wells. Or is there anywhere on Mars surface where one could drill a water well, and how deep [if even possible}. Another thing could involve finding caves and underground stuff. How places on Mars would this be?
      And I think NASA should use Venus orbit in order to explore Mars.
      But before Mars, we need to test artificial gravity, artificial Mars gravity..
      If NASA determines lunar water is mineable, it seems space agencies all around the world will want lunar bases. And NASA doesn’t need to “compete” with them.
      Or you guys do that, we going to explore Mars.

      1. “And could be one of best things that the Senate has done.”

        That’s like saying “Plan Nine From Outer Space is one of the best movies Ed Wood ever mad”.

    2. @Art, I think she knew all along but was up against Nelson, Shelby and others on the NASA pork & gravy train and therefore had to work behind the scenes while not appearing to upset the status quo.
      See recent approval for more SLS funding but cuts to HLS as an example of the pork training protecting itself and friends.

      1. I’m now working my way through the book. She covers this almost from the start and it is just as AO notes; she’s working against Nelson. While talking about how much she’s a Democrat supporter and star struck by Democrat politicians, she does make time to show her disappointment that twice Barack Obama deferred to Bill Nelson.

        This fits with my recollection within, as I felt Obama pretty much ignored NASA despite Garver’s suggestion of how much he helped. I think his help was mostly staying out of the way, which gave room for private space to flourish, but also kept the NASA/Congress/DoD procurement gravy train to flow unimpeded. Garver pointedly did not like this yet seems to have taken her wins (growth in private space) where she could get it. Perhaps her biggest win was keeping Nelson from reviving Shuttle after Bush left, but as she notes, it was already too late to save Shuttle by the time Obama took office. Again, this fits with what I was seeing in the Shuttle program.

  2. At the time I left NASA in 2013, I said “I think SLS is going to slip a year or two.”

    I understand this. When I left NASA in 2011, I said the only reason they wouldn’t lose any astronauts during a [US] launch in the next 5 years is because they wouldn’t be launching any astronauts.

    As for the first commenter; you do what you can from inside the system. Your job is not to air dirty laundry. If you want to badmouth NASA or the Administration, leave. Which she did. But while in the job, you try to work within the system to make improvements. Sadly, it is clear that much of NASA is about doing things the same way whether those things actually continue to work or not.

    SLS was about reuse of Shuttle technology, because it would “return us to flight faster”. The reality, the only thing reused were the contractors that backed their local Congressional reps. The SRB’s were changed, the tank ET was elongated and modified to accept the SSME’s, which were also slightly modified and expensive to be expendable as the ET. It now stands as a relic of a bygone era. Even if SLS successfully flies this year with no issues, the next flight is 2 years away, and you can safely bet it’s May 2024 launch date will slip to the right.

    1. “Sadly, it is clear that much of NASA is about doing things the same way whether those things actually continue to work or not.”

      See also, Air Force and the next generation fighter (NGAD), or whatever the acronym is.

  3. For at least 5 years, I’ve been saying that the first SLS launch would be NET 2023. That prediction looks like it’ll most likely fail (due to SLS getting off the pad in one or more pieces late this year) but it’s always been obvious that SLS would be a disaster on many levels.

    I will say this for SLS; it’s certainly exceeded expectations in one way, via being even worse (and more expensive) than even its harshest critics predicted.

  4. I notice that Garver has shifted from her assessment of NASA as being a “Patriarchal and Parochial.” She is quite nimble if nothing else.

  5. The real question that should be asked is: After all these years since Gagarin, why don’t we know if it’s even possible for humans to survive in 0/reduced-g long enough to get to Mars and back?

    1. We do know that. The year long ISS missions let us know what’s doable.

      What isn’t known is if lower gravity such as lunar or Mars is adequate to offset the bad effects that microgravity has. That was going to be investigated by the centrifuge module that was going to go on the ISS, but the microgravity studies “lobby” got it shelved due to possible vibration effects on ISS. I’ve heard that the current vibration environment on the ISS exceeds what the centrifuge module would have produced, but I don’t have a firm confirmation.

  6. I’m about half-way through and I’m tired of Garver’s fangirl stories of Democrats and celebrities along with repeating stories. It doesn’t help that the only thing Obama actually did that seems in line with Garver’s hopes and dreams for space travel was to give a speech on the crewed asteroid mission. She’s right that nobody at NASA really took it seriously, but that’s because it seemed a grandiose idea with no other purpose than a talking point for a speech; something she blames W. for when announcing Ares, but praises Obama as being sincere.

    As for advancing commercial cargo and crew; Musk did that. At best, Obama was so indifferent to space that he didn’t get into Musk’s way. Cynically, I think Obama simply wanted to slash NASA’s budget far more than he politically could, so he could send that money to social welfare programs rather than NASA/military industrial complex. Numerous times Garver notes the advice she gave Obama that he then acts against and like any fangirl, she blames someone else for Obama not carrying out her request.

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