Thursday, January 17, 2008

COTS Conundrum

The Emperor continued whining about the mess his predecessor left behind and then moved on to chastising his own boss in Austin last week. Complaining that his dominion did not get the $1B or so pledged by the president in 2005 to cover exploration systems development costs, the Emperor said he was pick-pocketed just two weeks after taking the throne to the tune of another $2B. And now Congress is reducing the resources for COTS.

Apparently his letter opener broke after he found the three letters in his desk when he took office. The Emperor just won't take responsibility and is still blaming everyone but himself for his misery.

But that's not what is really bothering us today. In the same speech, the Emperor said that he views COTS as the gap closer to ISS once the shuttle is retired. He said we "need to minimize this period of dependency, and that we need to get back into the game as soon as possible. If we cannot do that, we will have failed to lead. I find that an intolerable position for this nation.”

What is wrong with this picture?

By selecting an architecture which favored scale over just about every other metric, which favored building new rockets over using existing assets, and which is consuming enormous resources and schedule, the Emperor caused the "gap" to come into being in the first place. And all of that holds true for the first iteration of the architecture which will just fly to the same space station that COTS is expected to fly to. Do you see the Catch-22?

If the Emperor's minions with all their resources can not build a vehicle suitable to support ISS by 2010, how is possible that some Space 2.0 company is going to be successful? And if they are successful, then why do we need that first iteration of ORION/ARES in the first place? Why do we need the Emperor and the minions at that point? That is the conundrum.

We, no, the Emperor has failed to lead. And we do find that an intolerable position for this nation.

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