March 27, 2018 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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Embedded below the fold in two parts. The first part of this podcast is definitely worth listening to. I go after NASA for both SLS and Webb, which seem to be projects in a competition to see who can last the longest without accomplishing anything. Both are now creeping towards project length’s exceeding two decades, and neither is close to flying.



  • Localfluff

    The reason NASA shifted focus to the Moon has to do with the difficulties getting an administrator approved. So they need someone who moonlights.

  • J Fincannon

    From your show featuring SLS and Webb, you made what was an apparent general statement about people at NASA.

    Do you really feel that at NASA “No one really cares if they actually build something that works.”?

    That is a pretty comprehensive generalization. I mean, it sounds like you are saying 100% of all workers do not care if something works.

    Also, both you and John stated NASA is a jobs program and pension program. I am not sure what the latter means. Pensions are not paid by NASA, but by the Federal government. NASA gets a certain allocation of jobs to do its multitude of missions. So, it seems that both of you are saying that none of the work at NASA is worth it and could easily not be done by NASA with nothing missed. Am I understanding you right? You both have investigated the entirety of NASA missions and can now generalize and say it is a 100% jobs program?

  • J Fincannon: I know you work at NASA and I know you do good work. I was expressing my disgust mostly with SLS/Orion/Webb and NASA’s management and didn’t parse my words as nicely or as perfectly as reality demands. Moreover, I thought I had said that “no one really cares if they actually build something that actually flies.” SLS especially is a waste. It is too expensive. It will never make it possible to explore the solar system. Linked with LOP-G, the only things these projects accomplish is to suck money from the taxpayer to pay for the jobs at NASA and at the big contractors.

    We all are personally responsible. Every engineer working on SLS knows its a boondoggle, and has gone along for two decades to get that paycheck. LOP-G is the same. Faced with working on this junk I would have quit to go do real work. (That is not false braggadocio. I have done exactly that several times in my life. It is the reason I don’t make a lot of money in what I do, but can sleep at night.)

    That so many continue working there for projects that are empty promises reveals to me their true priorities. I make no apologizes for that conclusion.

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