Last week at the Kennedy Space Center, President Obama offered clarifications to his space policy for human spaceflight. If you’ve followed this topic in recent months, his space policy and the changes implied by it were first revealed as a budget action in his FY2011 budget released on February 1, and has been much debated and argued since by the space community. Several excellent analyses of the President’s remarks are offered by Justin Kugler, Paul Spudis, Jeff Foust, and the Christian Science Monitor. Being a student and practitioner of innovative leadership for high-performance teams, I’ll add to the conversation by examining this: what is the potential contained in the remarks that show a way for a vision – and more – we all can believe in?
It’s the day before President Obama makes his trip to the Kennedy Space Center to “deliver remarks on the bold new course the Administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight.” The blogosphere and office hallway conversations have heated up with early releases in the last 24 hours (see this factsheet from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and this factsheet from NASA). Rumors are also swirling around about shifts in human spaceflight policy; depending on one’s stance, these shifts are either nit-noids or noteworthy. I won’t focus on the rumors or details in the early release today. Instead, today I’ll focus on what seems to me to be a clear void in the dialogue: it’s what’s missing.
It has been fairly quiet recently, which is my excuse for not posting a blog entry for the past three weeks.
On the space policy front, no new news has emerged of great impact in recent weeks. The President’s scheduled appearance in Florida next week to presumably outline the fundamentals of his proposed space policy ought to stoke the fires of conversation and action. Meanwhile, we’re left with arguments over whether the Augustine Committee inconsistently inflated the cost numbers and schedule dates for the Program of Record versus commercial carriers (be the judge for yourself), and the space blogeratti on NASAwatch and spacepolitics continue posturing and yelling at each other for the “I told you so” bragging rights to come – at least, that is the only reason I can figure out why they keep rehashing the same tired positions. Oh, and by the way, Discovery launched this morning as STS-131 on its penultimate mission to the International Space Station; barring any change in direction next week, that leaves us with three more shuttle missions before we stand down for the near future on a US-provided capability to low earth orbit.
(Two of the astronauts flying on STS-131, Clay Anderson and Rick Mastracchio, are former colleagues of mine dating back to the days before they were selected to the astronaut corps. It’s kind of nice to see those two riding to space together onboard a remarkable spaceship.)
What else is happening?