STS and ISS ‘A mistake’ – Griffin

by Chris Bergin

NASA head Mike Griffin has made an astonishing statement claiming the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station were a “mistake.”

In an interview to be published in tomorrow’s edition of USA Today, Griffin pulled no punches in claiming the last 30 years of NASA work was taken on “the wrong path.”

Attacking the last 30 years of NASA’s manned space flight program, Griffin gave enough negative sound bytes to fill an already sceptical US public with dread at the continuation of their money being spent on what is now NASA’s self proclaimed errors.

Griffin’s comments have added damage as they come at a time where the question of whether NASA is worth the billions of dollars spent on it on behalf of US taxpayers – given the cash burden of the War Against Terrorism and the decimation of the Gulf Coast from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Finding nothing positive to say about NASA’s achievements, Griffin noted that the Space Shuttle was literally ahead of its time and was only just possible to build at its conception – raising questions on why the agency subsequently went ahead with the program which resulted in 14 deaths and the loss of two Orbiters.

“My opinion is that it was (a mistake),” he noted in the interview with USA Today. “It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible.”

While it is universally accepted that the Shuttle’s design a huge jump – maybe too far a jump – from previously proven methods of space travel, Griffin failed to give any positives on what has been a testament to those involved in the STS (Space Transportation System) program in managing over 100 hugely successful missions.

The Shuttle fleet will be retired in 2010 – with their final role to complete the construction of the International Space Station. However, after Griffin firmly placed a negative on the Shuttle, he then found time to give his thumbs down to what is the agency’s primary role for the next four to five years.

“Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we’re building in the orbit we’re building it in,” he said.

While his honesty is admirable, the already negative US mainstream media will find the boss of NASA throwing more negativity in their direction like a red flag to a bull.

“It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path,” Griffin added. “We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can.”

However, the damage may now have indirectly been done. Some lawmakers in Washington may even see the reduction of the damage being the removal of some of NASA’s abilities – removing the cash that allow the continuation of self-admitted mistakes.

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