The names of the Democratic Party donors on the 475nm Ribbon Panel are now starting to leak out, weeks after the review was first put in motion. And almost a week after one of E Street's former finest was coerced into taking a job he does not really want, with a deputy not of his own choosing (that he does not really want), we can start to see where the road is taking us. Not that anyone connected to the White House really cares about any of this much ado about nothing anyway.
So what are the real objectives of the Panel, you may ask? Well, Norm said he wants to see that the stated program goals are achievable within the now decapitated budget. He will also want to see if the gap can be closed, either by a.) flying the shuttle longer or b.) speeding up the replacement.
We can help with that one. Take b.) and replace some Viceroys. Watch 2016 (65% confidence) become 2013 (99.999% confidence).
But let's look at the Panel closer before we go too much further. We have the first female astronaut, another former astronaut, an Air Force general, a commercial space dreamer, a couple of academics, a certified shuttle hugger, and a think tank CEO, among a couple others, led by a former aerospace CEO.
What? How come there are no real "architects" are on the prestigious list? Perhaps architecture is not on the table? More likely, there won't really be any budget for an architecture to be developed anyway.
Then there is the time element. With the late start and a fixed end point (driven by budget input requirements), just how much "deep thought" can go into such a study? Not much, we surmise.
And where is the data going to come from anyway? Why the nation's premier space agency, of course (think four segment SRB/SSME). And maybe a little side show from some Alabamians who work underground at night (think Direct) undermining the work they are doing for their day jobs (think Constellation). Talk about schizophrenia! Which side of the their mouths should we listen to?
The contractors will do nothing to jeopardize their existing relationships and contracts. When the Panel starts its hearings, start counting how many times the air is filled with, "Stay the course!"
COTS-D? Ha! Ask Sen. StickMan about that!
To summarize, no architects, no time, no budget, no credible options. Time to place your bets.
Our chips are on Viceroy Gerst.