credit NASA / caption: Obama enjoys phone call to ISS but stays silent on space agency's future
It was with a forlorn hope that Hyperbola listened to the president Barack Obama teleconference with the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station (ISS) crews yesterday wondering if there might be a clue to what is happening to the space agency under this administration (see the video of the teleconference in the extended portion of this blog and read the transcript here) and unsurprisingly it was just warm words, as welcome as they are
With the news that all the rumoured NASA administrator candidates have gone by the by Hyperbola understands that the search will have to start all over again and once again a process taking up to two months will take a hold at which point (late May, early June) there maybe another series of candidates, one of whom will face Congressional hearings, or should I say join a queue of the many, many people yet to be approved for the many government departments, that could last another two months. In all likelihood acting administrator Christopher Scolese's successor will not be approved until August (anybody know when Congress goes on its summer holiday?) with probably just five or six weeks of fiscal year 2009 remaining
So Hyperbola thought it would trawl recent NASA history to see if there were any candidates that might fit the bill. And what is that bill?
[The Obama ISS telecon video is at the bottom of this entry]
One of the most immediate issues for NASA, as stated by the Office of Management and Budgets (or was it the Congressional Budget Office?), is the Space Shuttle programme
Whether the orbiters are retired in 2010 or 2012 (the Congressional Budget Office predicts a December 2011 end to ISS missions not 2010) the agency needs leadership that will understand what it means to shut that $6 billion a year programme down and what the transition to Constellation, which former NASA administrator Michael Griffin said was the biggest challenge the agency had, means for the organisation and Florida in particular
Hyperbola is too busy with other things today but in due course this blog will propose its own candidates, are you listening Senator Nelson...?