…just made a dinner speech at #DC-X little of which I disagreed with.
Well, he needs to come in out of the wilderness some time, if he’s going to have a chance with the next administration. So what did he say?
Did he say .. he was always for commercial over a big government rocket and he was against constellation and he fought like hell against it but it was foisted upon him?
No, it was pretty non-specific, which is why it was reasonably non-objectionable. Note that I didn’t say it was anything to cheer about.
No, he hasn’t said those things; they’re really not appropriate or relevant at this event, nor would public criticism of him for them be. This is about DC-X and future X-Vehicles.
As Rand said, he was pretty non-specific. Oblique, even. I don’t agree it was non-objectionable, though; he seemed to me to be, obliquely, defending the indefensible. EG, he went on for a while about how they never could have succeeded with DC-X in the current internet climate, alluding to ad hominem blog-comments sniping as an example of the sort of thing that would allegedly have killed the program, since a small integrated engineering team like DC-X’s depends greatly on mutual respect.
It seems to me though that the ad hominem blog sniping he’s been subjected to and is presumably referring to is not among any integrated team, but is to a considerable extent a result of frustration over his ongoing failure to address the merits of the arguments against his policy choice to deep-six Steidle’s spiral development and commit NASA to a disastrously unaffordable Ares-based exploration plan, crippling NASA still in the form of SLS. This wasn’t one minor X-program, this is coming up on ten years of wasting the majority of NASA’s exploration budget on an unaffordable in-house NASA launch system. It’s a major ongoing hit on the nation’s available civil space resources. As such, I find his refusal to even address (elsewhere) the arguments against what he did (let alone acknowledge error) quite objectionable. As for his oblique complaints about the abuse he’s received over this, well, I don’t approve of internet ad hominem, but my sympathy in this case is quite limited.
I’ve also had some issues with him over the incident that led to the SSTO DC-X/DC-Y program being truncated to DC-X only SSRT – SDIO DC-Y suddenly sprouted a 25Klb operational mission (against explicit CACNSP advice) and was almost immediately killed – this was a major factor in making the X-33 rebid fiasco possible – but at least in that case he’s now said that, indeed, X-vehicles should not have operational missions loaded onto them or bad things will result. Not precisely an admission of error, but a useful quote to have handy the next time the issue might arise.
Damn Henry, you nailed it cold….
And I’d point out that a smarter approach to Internet criticism is to harness it as a free resource. If your project’s continuation is so critically dependent on walling off outside opinions about its merits, then your project is dependent on group-think, resulting in a hot-house flower, hangar queen, or white elephant.
If nothing else, NASA could try to construct something so vile that the development is paid for by the ad-revenue from the official forums where everyone shows up to denounce it. ^_^
Well said, Henry. BTW, the SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage may bring to fruition the DC-X dream of an SSTO.
Well, the DC-X dream of a high-performance VTVL reusable, at least.
SSTO is unlikely for the F9 1.1 first stage, at least reusable SSTO – it will depend on propulsive braking rather than passive thermal protection for an intact reentry, and carrying enough surplus propellant for a propulsive-braking return from orbit would be quite a trick.
It might well handle an expendable ssto flight as a stunt, though; it has a really impressive mass-ratio.
Did anybody videotape Griffin, or the other talks?
Perhaps it will be pasted on Youtube. (The year is 2013.)
I saw a camera running throughout. I’ll ask Cathy Harper what will happen with the results.
OK, I just talked to her. The plan is to put the dinner (including the Griffin speech) on a video, along with some other selected talks, and sell it to raise funds for the new DC-X display and replica (they estimate the latter to cost over a hundred grand).
Too bad. The value of this is a lot greater to society if it is given away. It is hard to capture the value of video these days.
This is why the Space Frontier Foundation posts YouTube videos of all the speakers/speeches online. The reason to go to the NewSpace conference is for the networking, not to listen to the speakers and panelists.
It will be hard to raise $100 grand.
If I recall the original engines from the DC-X were savaged and sent back to the manufacturer. Any word if they will be tracked down and added to display? The serial numbers should be on file somewhere.
Also the original control ring was also salvaged and sold for scape by NASA out of Huntsvile. A local rocket builder bought it to use for one of his projects, a sound rocket. Did they mention if they were able to recover it? I remember providing all the info to the Space Hall of Fame in the 1990′s…
I sincerely doubt Aerojet/PWR will let those engines leave inventory as they are company property and far too valuable
for some potential program.
One of the engines is there, along with significant fractions of the rest of DC-X, in a temporary building outside the main museum for now. I don’t know if it’s normally open for display or if that was just for this occasion; you’d have to check with the museum.
I suppose I could be one of those people who has engaged in ad hominem attacks. Back in 2009 he gave a speech which I commented on rather negatively on Griffin. I titled my piece An Interesting Side Comment by Michael Griffin. Yes, I did talk about myself a good bit to hopefully show people how I could make such observations as I did. This was not welcomed by some people who told me the piece was about myself. I obviously disagree.
Mike Griffin was a poor choice for NASA Administrator. Quite a few people have said that.
Mke Griffin was the 1st person I heard seriously advocating for a LaGrange pt. fuel depot, at a STAIF conference years ago. I suspect that the whole Apollo-on-steroids was not his 1st choice for NASA’s access to space, but he felt he had to compromise for political reasons. Nukes are kind of an emotional topic for some very vocal people. Still, if you can’t get your pebble-bed nuclear thermal rocket built then he actually had very well thought out reasons why he thought Apollo+ was the most economical path back to the moon:
Before you come down to hard on him, at least walk though his calculations. Full Disclosure: I think any modern, huge NASA procurement program will turn into an expensive boondoggle (and not the good kind you make at camp) and that commercial space access is the way to go. NASA should no more be designing giant rockets still to send their payloads to orbit than they should be designing giant planes to take their staff to conferences.
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