In Search of Charlie Bolden's Solid Plan for NASA


According to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden in yesterday's budget press conference, "The time for debate about our future is over. We have a solid plan, a sustainable plan, and we are moving out to implement it, opening the next great chapter of American exploration."

"Solid plan"? Quite the contrary. When I asked NASA Human Exploration and Operations Directorare Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier yesterday why the agency can not say with any specificity when it will be going to the places it claims it wants to go and the names of these places he replied that a study was needed first. I asked, for example, if a human return to the Moon is in the plans - yes or no. He replied that it is "not on or off the books". An honest answer, but not very precise in terms of where it is this giant SLS rocket is supposed to be going - and when. The "we need to form a committee..." preamble is, of course, the standard NASA response. NASA always needs to do another study. Its what they do.

Months, maybe a year later, there will be answers or findings from the study - but only a partial once since another group will need to go form an architecture based on that study. And then implementation options need to be worked. Then the formal pitch to upper management needs to be formulated and presented such that they can then recommend it higher up the chain until someone with actual authority can say yes, no, or maybe. More time doing studies is clearly needed Charlie. That is what NASA does.

And then a new budget cycle hits and you reset the process to zero and start again. Lots of reports, a big rocket with no clear mission, and yet NASA's Administrator says "the time for debate about our future is over. We had a solid plan."

I beg to differ. NASA still has have a lot of work ahead of it and little to show for the past three years. With regard to the "solid plan", can you show us the plan Charlie?

Where can we download it?

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