Although I like Mr. Griffin’s statements and the way he approaches business, I was puzzled about his “mistake” statement on shuttle and the international space station (ISS), which by the way was picked up also by a major German newspaper with the appropriate adverse effect on the public opinion .

Without knowing the context or circumstances of the statement, it left a political odor that sometimes might be warranted for a new NASA administrator, but following it up in an editorial [“No Apology Required,” Nov. 7, 2005, page 18] and trying to prove the correctness was not necessary.

The fact that Mr. Griffin is starting a “$500-million commercial ISS resupply services program” and that the ISS partners insist on the completion of the NASA commitments are clear indications that the ISS was no mistake at all.

I would like to contradict the editorial author’s statement as well as his logic to “follow the money”:

– The ISS facilitated an unprecedented fruitful, reliable and synergetic international co-operation of the original ISS partners with Russia and established a true global space exploration approach.

– The ISS promoted and realized the first steps into the space tourism realm, a branch of space exploration to be heard of in the future.

Joachim J. Keh, German Aerospace Center, DLR, Columbus Operations Manager since 1984.