Despite $10 billion Constellation rocket program failure Mike Griffin may lead US defense procurement

Michael Griffin led the NASA Constellation rocket program which spent over $10 billion (2004-2010) before it was cancelled.

Led a program that spent a lot of money but delivered nothing

Mike Griffin has been nominated by the Trump administration to be the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

At the first meeting of the National Space Council Oct. 5, Griffin warned that U.S. adversaries have “figured out that space is critical to the United States’ method of fighting and winning wars, and they are taking, with all deliberate speed, steps to nullify that advantage.

The Ares I prototype, Ares I-X, successfully completed a test launch on October 28, 2009. Launch Pad 39B was damaged more than with a Space Shuttle launch. During descent, one of the three parachutes of the Ares I-X’s first stage failed to open, and another opened only partially, causing the booster to splash down harder and suffer structural damage. The launch accomplished all primary test objectives.

Delays in the Ares I development schedule due to budgetary pressures and unforeseen engineering and technical difficulties would have increased the gap between the end of the Space Shuttle program and the first operational flight of Ares I. Because the Constellation program was never allocated the funding originally projected, the total estimated cost to develop the Ares I through 2015 rose from $28 billion in 2006 to more than $40 billion in 2009. In December 2011, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden testified to congress that the Ares I would cost $4–4.5 billion a year, and $1.6 billion per flight.

Now talking big about spending a lot of money on aviation and space

What is needed is an “overarching commitment of the United States in all things aerospace,” Griffin said. That would require a concerted effort to ensure “We will never again fail to have a human presence in space. We will never again have a slower airplane than we used to have. We will never have, again, an airplane that can’t fly as high as we used to have. We will never retreat from the frontiers of aviation and space.” This is a concept that the Chinese and Russians understand well, Griffin added.

The Chinese are building and have tested hypersonic systems that can “overfly our air defense and underfly our missile defense,” he said. If the secretary of defense ordered an aircraft carrier into the South China Sea and China didn’t want it there, “that carrier would be at risk,” he said. “If this is a position that the United States cares to accept going forward, then I would submit that we are on our way to being the American version of losing the British Empire.”

It does not sound like Mike Griffin has learned any lessons about having more efficient development. He mainly argues for turning open the procurement taps wide and leaving them open.

For those support pacificism, Mike Griffin will continue the US overpayment for military and space systems. So the US will continue to get less bang for the bucks.

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