Tag Archives: Bolden

NASA administrator Bolden met with former Apollo astronauts today to smooth over his agency’s attempt to prevent their ability to sell artifacts from their missions.

NASA administrator Bolden met with former Apollo astronauts today to smooth over his agency’s attempt to prevent their ability to sell artifacts from their missions.

NASA stalls, Texas lawmakers fume

The law is such an inconvenient thing: In a bipartisan effort, Texas lawmakers roast NASA administrator Charles Bolden for not meeting mandated Congressional deadlines for Congress’s personally designed rocket, the program-formerly-called-Constellation.

The heavy-lift rocket and capsule that Congress insists NASA build is a complete waste of money and nothing more than pork. It will never get built, mainly because Congress has given NASA less money and less time to build it than they did for Constellation under the Bush administration. Unfortunately, the reason they continue to require NASA to build it is to provide pork to their districts.

In a perfect world this funding would be cut now, especially considering the state of the federal debt.
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Bolden says Orion to be scaled back

Surprise! NASA administrator Charles Bolden told lawmakers on Monday that with the new budget the Orion capsule had to be scaled back somehow.

Watch over the next few years as Orion and the new heavy-lift vehicle (the program-formerly-called-Constellation) slowly evaporate, even as both cost us billions in money we no longer can afford.

Charles Bolden has come out of hiding

Today NASA administrator Charles Bolden spoke at the AIAA meeting in Orlando. According to Florida Today, he said two things of interest:

  • He is proud of the achievements of the shuttle program and is sad the program is ending.
  • He believes flying three more shuttle missions would be safe.

Considering that his administration has done nothing to save the program, and in fact has almost seemed eager to shut it down at times, his sadness seems incredibly insincere and self-serving.

As for his second comment about the shuttle’s safety, I wonder how he knows this, especially since his own engineers are currently struggling to pin down the root cause of the external tank cracks that have delayed the last flight of Discovery, and appear to be a chronic problem that needs to be fixed before any shuttle can once again fly.

More criticism of Bolden emerges as he heads to China

More criticism of NASA administrator Charles Bolden emerges as he heads to China. Key quote:

Since taking charge of NASA in July 2009, the 64-year-old Bolden has visited 14 countries and has been missing at critical moments. Last year, he skipped one of the first shuttle flights under his watch to visit Japan and most recently was on a trip to Europe and the Middle East when the U.S. House nearly defeated the NASA vision endorsed by the Obama administration. “How about saving the manned space program — in America?” said U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

Bolden cleared by IG of ethical violations

Though NASA’s Inspector General has cleared [pdf] NASA administrator Charles Bolden of ethical violations in connection with his communications with the Marathon Oil corporation during discussions about awarding research money to a Marathon competitor, the IG also noted that Bolden’s actions were inappropriate. Key quote:

We concluded that Bolden’s contact with Marathon regarding OMEGA did not violate federal laws or regulations pertaining to conflicts of interest. However, we found that the contact was not consistent with the Ethics Pledge he, as an Administration appointee, had signed, and that it raised concerns about an appearance of a conflict of interest involving the NASA Administrator and a large oil company to which he had financial ties.

NASA outreach to the Arab world

Keith Cowing and Frank Sietzen at SpaceRef report that NASA administrator Charles Bolden will soon be heading to Saudia Arabia, ostentively to continue NASA outreach to the Muslim world, with other less obvious motives pertaining to Israeli/Palestine peace negotiations. Key quote:

According to one of several sources knowledgeable on the subject “expect to see a wave of mid-level Administration appointees embarking on a round of carrot-and-stick sweetener overtures” to Saudi officials to entice them to join the Obama effort. For their part, the Saudi government wants the U.S. to exert greater pressure on Israel to stop construction of settlements in occupied territories that might someday be a key in a peace accord. In the meantime the Obama administration is trying to give the Saudis every incentive to craft a stronger relationship with the U.S.

You’ve got to play the game

The release of the Senate’s draft language for NASA’s 2011 budget yesterday reveals a great deal about the failures of the Obama administration. Despite months of advocacy by administration officials as well as the upper management of NASA, it appears that the Senate (soon to be followed in a similar manner by the House) is eagerly willing to dismantle much of what the Obama administration is proposing for NASA, and is going to micromanage its own space program.

Why this happened is all very simple: You’ve got to play the game.

If you are going to request major changes to any government program that requires the approval of elected officials beholden to the people in their districts, you have to provide those elected officials some cover for their actions. You simply can’t shutdown these programs willy-nilly without any negotiation and expect members of Congress to go along — even if what you propose is a good idea and makes sense.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Obama administration has done. They have not only shown an astonishing incompetence at playing the political game, they have often acted as if politics is completely irrelevant to their needs, a position that is both stupid and counter-productive considering that Obama is a politician who has to get the agreement of the politicians in Congress. » Read more

Bolden’s al-Jazeera interview, part 2

The reports of NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s al-Jazeera interview have so far focused mostly on Bolden’s claim that his “foremost” priority at NASA is to reach out to the Muslim world in order “to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

Though this statement is both idiotic and condescending, I don’t think it was the most idiotic thing Bolden said. Instead, I think the prize-winner is this quote near the end of the interview (at around 21:30), where Bolden describes why we need to find out the make-up of all asteroids:

Is it sand or is it metal? If it is sand we’re not really worried that much about it because it’s probably going to impact the Earth and, you know, go away. Metal would be a bad day. We could have another ice age and instead of the extinction of the dinosaurs it would be the extinction of you and me.

Asteroids made of “sand” are merely going to “go away” if they hit the Earth? I would really like to see the scientific research Bolden is relying on for this statement.

Bolden interview with al-Jazeera

This interview of Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, is another example (in a long list of examples) of the clearly misplaced priorities of the Obama administration when it comes to NASA and space exploration.

The key quote is in the first two minutes of the interview [emphasis mine]:

Bolden: When I became the NASA Administrator – before I became the NASA Administrator – [President Obama] charged me with three things: One was that he wanted me to re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, that he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

Though all three of these priorities (inspire kids, international cooperation, and help the Muslim world develop) sound nice, none have anything to do with space exploration. More specifically, they have absolutely nothing to do with NASA’s original charter, which was to explore the solar system and encourage the development of the American aerospace industry.

At about 9:50, Bolden then states that “We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it. China can’t do it. No single nation is going to go to a place like Mars alone.”

Gee, I wonder what international consortium put those men on the Moon? I always thought the U.S. did it alone. According to Bolden, however, that was impossible: No single nation can do anything alone beyond Earth orbit.

There are more inanities in this interview. Listen for example to his clueless discussion of solar flares at around 19:00 and his statement at 20:30 where he claims an asteroid made of “sand” poses no threat to the Earth.

With leadership like this, the future does not look good for the American aerospace industry.