Timeline: The Griffin Sprint

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  Space News Business

Timeline: The Griffin Sprint

posted: 11 July 2005
12:04 pm ET


APRIL:

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> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> After a swift Senate confirmation process, Griffin is sworn in April 14 as NASA administrator.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> During his first press conference April 18 , Griffin identifies safe return to flight as his top priority, promises to reconsider the decision to cancel Hubble servicing mission, vows to accelerate development of Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and announces that he has tapped Scott Pace to head a new program analysis and evaluation office.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin solidifies NASA’s commitment to retire shuttle by 2010, saying the orbiters will be taken out of service regardless of whether the international space station is finished being built.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Replaces 13 strategic roadmap committees with a small, internal team led by former Orbital Science executive Doug Stanley to report back to Griffin by mid-July with an overall plan for returning to the Moon, including recommendations on the type of Crew Exploration Vehicle and launchers NASA will need.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Says he intends to revive hypersonics research at NASA in the years ahead.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Postpones s pace s huttle Discovery’s return to flight to mid-July from late May to allow additional debris hazard analysis and make a number of fixes, including outfitting the external tank with a heater. PRIVATE colorchange:<c”40% K”>

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”40% K”> MAY: PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”>

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Accepts CEV proposals from Lockheed Martin and the Northrop Grumman-Boeing team but promises to issue a series of calls for improvement intended to shave several years off the vehicle’s development.

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PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Puts on hold two so-called Broad Area Announcements expected to lead to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exploration-oriented research and technology contracts. Griffin warns that any of the $1 billion in such contracts awarded since 2004 could be canceled to help pay for CEV acceleration.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Responding to political pressure, NASA backs off plans to cancel the Glory greenhouse gas measuring satellite mission.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin sends Congress an operating plan spelling out programmatic and budget changes NASA intends to make through the end of 2005.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin announces during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing that the Project Prometheus nuclear initiative will be refocused on meeting the surface-power needs of astronauts sent to the Moon and Mars for extended stays. The shift represents a fatal blow for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, an $11 billion-plus nuclear electric propulsion demonstration that Griffin calls ill-conceived.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin says NASA will seek bids in fall 2005 from companies interested in providing cargo delivery services to the international space station.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Tells the House Science Committee during a June 28 hearing that turning off Voyager 1 and 2 just as they reach the outer boundary of the solar system “would be rather dumb.”

 

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”40% K”> JUNE: PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”>

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> NASA selects a non-nuclear powered Jupiter orbiter as its next New Horizons mission slated to launch no later than June 2010. The choice fulfills a Griffin pledge to fund a Jupiter-bound probe not dependent on the development of a nuclear propulsion system.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> NASA’s four associate administrators for exploration systems, space operations, science and aeronautics all announce they will be stepping down, one of the end results of a broader effort by Griffin to replace dozens of NASA’s senior executives in August, the fastest timetable U.S. law permits him to make such changes.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin meets with NASA’s international space station partners at the 46th Paris Air Show, offers assurance that their space station hardware will be launched.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin adds crew transport to the list of international space station services he wants NASA to buy from the private sector.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> The U.S. House of Representatives approves a $16.47 billion 2006 budget for NASA June 16 , about $15 million more than the White House requested.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> NASA selects Lockheed Martin and the Northrop Grumman-Boeing teams to compete for a contract to develop the CEV . No dollar value of the contract is announced — not even to the winners.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> NASA waives re-entry guidelines, permitting the popular Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission to continue operating until it runs out of fuel sometime late this decade.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> The Senate Appropriations Committee approves June 23 a $16.39 billion 2006 budget for NASA , about $60 million less than the White House requested.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> In a joint letter with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Griffin informs Congress that the White House will seek to amend the Iran Nonproliferation Act, which bars NASA from buying Soyuz and other space station-related hardware from Russia.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”40% K”> JULY:PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”>

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> NASA begins rolling out the results of the Stanley 60-day study effort, calling for the development of shuttle-derived launchers for the CEV and large Moon-bound cargo missions.

PRIVATE colorchange:<c”m100y100k20″> PRIVATE colorchange:<c”Black”> Griffin declares following a June 30 flight readiness review that the Space Shuttle Discovery is “go for launch” July 13.