Sunday, August 30, 2009


While the Mayans had trouble counting past the number, the President's men and women will no doubt be busy counting votes on a cold night in November a few years hence. How those votes stack up, and where the dollars will fly in from beforehand, is the subject of much debate for those reviewing the 475nm Ribbon Panel options.

Really there are only two paths when faced with a fixed budget. Think small or go big and long. And its not clear cut that either option will help push the home team over the top next time at bat.

If you take the first path, some pain must be endured. Infrastructure and people pain. However, while memories are conjured when placing items on the table in the driveway for sale, our garages are emptied making room for new stuff that makes us happy again.

The second path requires patience. Only by adding years to the schedule can we accrue enough dollars from future budgets to build a rocket worthy of Shelbyville. But assuming that rocket will grace a launch pad some 10-12 years after the next election (and that's a big if considering the track record of the Shelbyvillians), do we care?

How best to get the Shelbyvillians to help staff the garage sale then? They won't believe its needed until they see it for themselves, that's for sure. So why not give them a couple of dollars, tell them to go pick out a rocket of their choice, and when they come back saying two dollars isn't enough, shrug our shoulders and say, "sorry."

We gave you a chance (several actually). Now its time to make room.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I am against giving them any more money. The last series of 'goat ropes' are more than enough to turn any self respecting engineer away from these kinds of endeavors forever.

NASA never knew what it wanted but enjoyed the prestige of the program. Then NASA decided that heritage designs would get the job done but wound up modifying them so much that they were no longer recognizable. When others tried to steer them back on course, they retaliated.

It is for certain that NASA has yet to learn that Level 1, 2 and 3 does not a system make. Program structure is not the same as corporate structure for a reason! NASA has yet to learn that competence does not correlate to those various programmatic levels. NASA has yet to learn that there comes a time when PowerPoint charts cannot be substituted for real engineering. NASA has yet to learn that there are others in the rocket field that know more about getting into space than they ever will.

Retirement happens soon and I will not look back on this program with relish or delight!