Sometimes its hard to see the forest for the trees. Truth is sometimes mistaken for personal criticism. Rather, we believe, incompetence speaks for itself.
Viceroy Hanley is throwing out the steroids. And the Constellation program right along with them.
At some level, we have to wonder if he ever even played with legos as a kid. From those experiences would come at least a basic understanding of how to build something. In an effort to make "his" 2015 schedule (ahhhh, Viceroy, the mandate was 2014, by the way), he is once again demonstrating his complete lack of systems engineering understanding. The Viceroy has proclaimed that he will reduce program content until he can achieve the magic date (we might interpret that to mean that he is reducing requirements, but that would mean that a stable set existed in the first place).
His first and foremost way of doing that is in the reduction of the Orion crew size from six to four, as was decided last week. Unfortunately, you still need all the same systems to keep four people alive as you do for six. Only some size and weight reductions result, maybe even enough to fit on the 2100 times safer than shuttle (so sayeth the former Chief Engineer of the Universe) ARES 1. But, as any competent manager would note, the critical development path is still going to march right through 2015 like Broomhilda's silhouette flying across the moon.
Of course, this does solve one problem. Weight. But, it appears that several other things have to go in order to meet that date. Like testing. That will be further minimized (remember the Ballad of Bill Arceneaux?). Instead, the program will now "verify" that all the correct paperwork is in place "validating" that the right work was accomplished.
As in every other program of recent note, some promised software will also be eliminated. No more unattended operation for Orion. Hard to put four people on the moon when one of them has to stay behind to steer.
You can see where this is going.
The Viceroy's solution is to castrate Orion from meeting its original lofty goal of being able to take people to the moon or elsewhere. Indeed, the new version will barely be able to make it to ISS. And despite these reductions, a big fat increase in cost is coming his way from the contractor he's been jerking around since day one.
The Stick Senator should start asking why we are getting a Pinto when we paid for the Cadillac? Our new President will be on solid ground when he cancels the program. He can say he was willing to sign up to the original budgets and schedules and goals, but now that Nunn-McCurdy are blushing, how can he possibly move forward with such a plan when he has to buy new iPods for improving relations with other heads of state? Ever wonder if a new Emperor has not taken the throne yet because there will be no throne to take?