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NASA's Michael Griffin Interviewed

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the still-a-long-way-to-go dept.

Space 146

richvan writes "NASA administrator Michael Griffin was recently interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel about his first nine months on the job. He covers topics such as foam, Challenger, Mars, the budget, the astronaut corps and intelligent design. Describing the reasons for the foam loss, he states 'Cycling of the tanks with cryogenic propellants - in fact, [super-cold] liquid hydrogen, because we don't see this problem with liquid oxygen - causes or exacerbates voids in the bond between the foam insulation and the tank and produces cracks in the foam. If and when those cracks propagate to the surface, with a crack connecting a void to the surface, then you have a mechanism for cryopumping. When the tank is cold, air is ingested. It liquefies and goes into the voids. Then as the tank empties and the [air] warms up and evaporates, the resulting pressure blows the foam off.'"

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146 comments

Go wild! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602295)

Mac Blocker didn't have time for what was happening to him, but he couldn't stop it either. He needed to escape, but his orgasm was beginning to build again. He was security chief of this damned place, did Rothman really think he could stop him by locking him up.

He looked down, something was happening to his cock, it was changing shape. His balls had already become huge and hung low and had a fuzzy grey covering of fur. Fur was growing all over his body, he watched, half fascinated and half horrified as his red human hair began to disappear beneath the tan and grey fur on his chest and belly. He rubbed and scratched his abdomen. He was growing carpet of badger fur on his chest and felt it growing on his back. He felt his face and realized that it was happening there too. If he could have seen himself in a mirror, he would see the beginnings of the distinctive black and white stripes on his face and his nose and lips beginning to darken. The backs of his arms were growing dark with fur.

He was brought out of his musings about his growing furriness by his aching cock. He watched it finish changing into the proper shape for a badger, not that he had ever noticed an animal's cock before, but he guessed this was the right shape, given what was happening. His cock was growing huge and it demanded attention. His mind became simpler in thought as he began to stroke himself with a clawed hand that rivaled that of the ursine animorphs. Lustfully, he began to lick and suck on his own cock. Inside of his mind 'Mac the Man', the extremely heterosexual human male, was disgusted by what was happening, but 'Blocker the Badger' was in complete bliss. He was reliving his swollen balls of he last vestiges of Mac's human genetics. Blocker the Badger kneaded and fondled his balls with one growing clawed hand and pumped the elongated shaft with the other. If Mac had, had a cell mate, male or female, he would be releasing his load into whichever hole was first presented. It's what made the milking machines so easy to use; the animorph would bliss out and provide as much semen as the beast could pump out before it was sated. The beast didn't care as long as its sexual needs were fulfilled. Mac the Man went into a sort of hypnotic state as the Blocker the Badger gained complete control. The badger licked up and sucked down the last drops of human seed and was coaxing out the first badger-man sperm.

By the time Mac Blocker the badger-man had regained the balance in his mind between beast and man and could think clearly again, he was completely transformed.

Mac didn't like being changed against his will, but he had to admit, he had the best of both worlds now. Mack had been a stocky man since he was in high school and was on the wrestling team. His time in the army had just increased his muscular, stocky physique. Now, he noted that he was much more powerful than he had been before. That bastard Rothman had only done him a favor. He heard Billy and George in the other rooms. Though the rooms were generally sound proof to the human ear, his new ears were picking up their grunts and moans and garbled words that sounded like, "Oh, fuck, yeah!" and "God that's good!". He guessed the milking machines were providing them with the same kind of distraction his auto-fellatio had provided for him and he knew that the machine would still be attached and he'd still be blissfully shooting out loads if he hadn't acted so quickly.

In retrospect, sucking one's own cock wasn't that bad and he had rather enjoyed it. He had bragged to his buddies that if he could do such a thing, he'd never leave the house. Well, he found now that, that wasn't quite true. He wanted out of this cell more than he wanted to suck his cock again, though at the thought of doing it, his huge badger cock gave a jerk and his balls tingled in anticipation.

He'd fix Rothman, but first he had to get out of here and free his partners. George's new bulk and raw power would be of great use and Billy's new agility and wiry strength could help them all get out of here. The problem now was this: Mac the Man knew that his codes had been locked out by now, but he had a secret code he hadn't bothered telling anyone about that could free him he just needed to get to the keypad. Upon examining Blocker the Badger's hands, he realized it would be awhile before he was dexterous enough with the clawed hands to use them without hitting the wrong keys. He knew that if he were to break the reinforced glass, which he could easily do, he might reach the keypad by the door. But if he hit the wrong sequence, it would activate alarms and flood his cell with a neurotoxin that would kill him in seconds. The antechamber just before the holding cell would activate the air-tight seals against the gas and the solid steel doors would be locked tight as a bank vault.

There wasn't any immunity to that and it didn't matter how strong you were. He'd seen the same toxin used on test subjects to insure it's effectiveness on mammalian, reptilian and avian life. He'd also seen it used on animorphs and it was quite effective. Basic biology didn't change, just because you were a hybrid of two mammals. The neurotransmitters still required certain chemicals to function. These cells weren't the local county jail; they were designed to contain biohazard level life-forms, so Mac Blocker had to be careful.

Everything would be just fine, if he could just see to punch the keypad and if he could reach the keypad. There were no reflective surfaces in the antechamber and none available in the cell that he could squeeze through the 8"x8" window after he'd broken out the reinforced glass. Even the milker had been automatically retracted to a place he couldn't get to it when he'd removed if from his groin.

Mac was sure he could do it; he just needed to figure out how. He sat and calmed himself, he had a plan. As he thought it through, he heard George and Billy in the throes of their final orgasm. He heard the milkers shut off and then he heard loud snoring. It was George was most certainly, the man had been his friend for years and he'd heard him snore many times when he'd fall asleep in Mac's recliner after dinner. He'd given Mac a job and stepped aside when this promotion came up so that Mac could take it. George said he was old, he had enough pay and he didn't need the headache. That was partly true, George had, had heart bypass surgery and he probably couldn't have taken the stress. George had been like a father to him and he was angered that Rothman had punished him, punished them, buy making them experiments for the army's use. It was Mac's fault that George and Billy too, were in this mess. He was just too ambitious. If it weren't for him talking them into selling out to Transgene, they'd both be home now, same as they had always been and not on their way to a breeding program.

Mac put aside all his anger and concern, mostly for George, and concentrated on the task ahead; he realized the incredible risk he was about to take.

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

delong (125205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602304)

For the first time EVAR!! I rule!

What the hell is this (3, Insightful)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602309)

How, exactly, to you go from discussing the technical aspect of space fuel tank construction, to starting a debate on friggin intelligent design?

Orlando Sentinel = troll.

Re:What the hell is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602343)

Yeah I saw the intelligent design in that paragraph and automatically Orlando lost all credibility...

SETI? (1, Insightful)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602391)

Well, if you see ID for what it really is, a front for religion, mightn't finding intelligent life well outside the scope of religion (which talks about man on earth as being God's little LEGO guys) pull a bit of the rug out from the ID folks?

Re:SETI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603704)

Nope. At the basis(I'm talking very basis, not all the extra stuff people, both ID proponents, and detractors try to add), all ID says is that we weren't the sum of JUST random mutations. It says that there was a higher force that guided it in some way. I tend to agree with this description of ID. With that in mind, I believe evolution did happen, pretty much exactly as modern day science describes(with a few personal exceptions I don't know if anyone else shares). I believe ID is somewhat of a science, not in that ID itself is science, but that it could benefit and coexist with science. Nothing says the two have to be at each others throats. Oh well, the day when scientists and religious nuts get off their respective high horses and play nice is the day hell freezes over I suppose.
If you want some interesting reading, read the first half of the science of god. It is actually a good read that, and what in my opinion, ID should be.(Don't read second half though, author goes a little overboard with guessing at stuff).

Re:SETI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603966)

Well the whole concept of other galaxies kinda screws up the 4004 BC type creationists doesn't it. (after all if the universe only began 6000 years ago or so, we wouldnt be able to see anything millions of light years away.

Re:What the hell is this (0, Troll)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602600)

Just because there is a small percent of people, like you apparently, that don't believe in God, it doesn't mean that this man doesn't. Believe it or not, some people like to talk about God, err, Intelligent Design, whatever you wanna call it.

Re:What the hell is this (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602731)

Well, you are indeed entitled to your opinion. This is the free world after all! You will always have the right to be wrong.

Re:What the hell is this (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602820)

Spoken like one that uses that right often.

Re:What the hell is this (4, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602998)

Believe it or not, some people like to talk about God, err, Intelligent Design, whatever you wanna call it.

Apparently, Griffin does not.

FTFA:
Griffin: NASA as an agency and I as its administrator should be mindful of the specific instructions we receive from the president and the Congress. That is what we do. If I obey my instructions from the Congress and follow the law, then I've done my job. When I was very young, I was told that a gentleman never engages in public discussions of politics, sex and religion. And I think I'll stay with that advice and not go beyond where I was, which is: my objective as administrator is to carry out the instructions I'm given by our elected representatives on behalf of the American people. The American people have very diverse views on politics, sex and religion and I believe I should leave them to it.

Re:What the hell is this (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603866)

Yeah, I was going to comment on that quote as well.

So, its clear that there are no gentlemen in politics, right?

At least by his understanding, but he politely does what the President and Congress tells him to do. Which President is adamant against same sex marriages? What laws are their against consenting adults doing what they want in their homes (regarding sex)?

Re:What the hell is this (1)

J05H (5625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604263)

OMG! Mike Griffin for President!! Dr G in 08!

Lets translate some of this (0, Troll)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603022)

When people snow you with jargin they're trying to tell you something:"Cycling of the tanks with cryogenic propellants - in fact, [super-cold] liquid hydrogen, because we don't see this problem with liquid oxygen - causes or exacerbates voids in the bond between the foam insulation and the tank and produces cracks in the foam. If and when those cracks propagate to the surface, with a crack connecting a void to the surface, then you have a mechanism for cryopumping. When the tank is cold, air is ingested. It liquefies and goes into the voids. Then as the tank empties and the [air] warms up and evaporates, the resulting pressure blows the foam off."

You're too dumb to understand. fsck off.

Re:Lets translate some of this (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603535)

If you didn't understand that, you need to go back to middle school. What word in there didn't you understand? Exacerbates? Propagates? Cryopumping (if you know what "cryo" means, you know what cryopumping means)?

It's not like he said something like "The K5NA on the ET is an effective TPS, but near the aft IEAs and the PIC it has a tendancy to experience explosive gassification..."

Re:What the hell is this (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603028)

Maybe because this was a interview, not a friggin discussion on the technical aspects of space fuel tanks construction.

Re:What the hell is this (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603582)

How, exactly, to you go from discussing the technical aspect of space fuel tank construction, to starting a debate on friggin intelligent design?

This is an interview on several topics relevant to NASA. If you read the article, you would see that they were not debating intelligent design. The interviewer asked if NASA should be mindful of it. Obviously, some people in the USA believe in it, most do not. Part of NASA's job is to search for clues about the creation of the universe, solar system, Earth, and life itself. This falls squarely in the arena of religion and intelligent designm, because they seek to answer the same questions. I really liked Michael Griffin's response: he isn't going to discuss politics, sex, or religion. He just follows orders given to him by Congress and the President.

He says intelligent design is a myth! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602322)

...in the case of the shuttle.

No shit. (4, Informative)

s20451 (410424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602903)

Recently, he said [usatoday.com] that the shuttle and ISS were mistakes, and that the trick will be to re-make the space program without causing too much damage (like irritating the ISS partner nations).

Hubble mission still a possiblity! (4, Insightful)

alanh (29068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602379)

Orlando Sentinel: Whats the status of a Hubble [Space Telescope] servicing mission on the shuttle?

Griffin: If the shuttle performs as we expect in May, we will have the data that we need to go forward now with completion of the station. And as Ive said, if all that turns out positively, we will do a Hubble mission.


From my perspective, this is possibly the best news here. Hubble actually generates science whereas the ISS seems to do less interesting things [nasa.gov] .

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602740)

Griffin said the risks involved in a Hubble mission are the same as an ISS mission. Further proof that O'Keefe, the previous administrator, is a tool. I never liked O'Keefe from the beginning.

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (2, Interesting)

helioquake (841463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602999)

The ISS cannot do anything until the station is staffed with adequate number of astroengineers and researchers.

To make that happen, it has to have a capacity of evacuating the entire staff in case of emergency.

To make that happen, it has to have a vehicle(s) capable of carrying back 10+ humans to the Earth. Also it requires more ports to hitch vehicles.

Since we have no vehicle capable of doing such in a foreseeable future, you can imagine the fate of the ISS in the next decade or so.

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603676)

Yes, but you should also compare the cost of a single Hubble servicing mission than building a hubble replacement and launching it on an Atlas V.

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (2, Informative)

mbrother (739193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604050)

No you don't. We've already got a "replacement" scheduled to go up (although it will be better in some ways, it won't duplicate everything Hubble can do). The thing is, the replacement, the James Webb Telescope, won't go up before 2012, and Hubble is the only available optical space telescope until then. Let it die, you lose optical space-based observations until 2012 at the earliest.

There's zero chance to build and launch a duplicate Hubble on the timescale of a repair mission plus a few years.

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (2, Informative)

alanh (29068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604471)

And even then, the James Webb is optimized for IR observations and doesn't completely overlap the observable spectrum available on the Hubble, which include UV. The two compliment each other.

From the James Web Space Telescope site [nasa.gov] What kind of detectors will JWST have?
JWST will have two types of detectors: visible and near-infrared arrays with 2,048 x 2,048 pixels, and mid-infrared arrays with about 1,024 x 1,024 pixels

From The Advanced Camera for Surveys site [jhu.edu] : It consists of three electronic cameras and a complement of filters and dispersers that detect light from the ultraviolet to the near infrared (1200 - 10,000 angstroms).

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (1)

mbrother (739193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604527)

Yes, excellent points. There are no confirmed plans for an ultraviolet telescope after Hubble (one that can take spectra anyway) so this is a big issue. At least to astronomers.

Re:Hubble mission still a possiblity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604053)

From my perspective, this is possibly the best news here.


It's not news, though. Griffin has been saying this practically since he became administrator last year. For some reason, though, people around here haven't picked up on it yet. (It's very well known in the spaceflight and astronomy communities, and heavily covered in the media.)

Now that's hostile (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602389)

Q: What about the foam.
A: We'll see how the changes work.
Q: But what if there's more foam.
A: That would be bad and we'll have to figure it out.
Q: But what if the foam destroys the space program!
A: I don't want to talk about it.
Q: But what about THE FOAM?!
A: NNNNgggghhhh....
Q: What if the foam makes another Challenger happen?
A: The Challenger was a sad accident.
Q: How do you think you've changed things? (Like with the foam?)
A: NNNNnnnnnggghhh!
Q: Do you think foam is intelligently designed?

That pretty much sums it up.

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602590)

Hah. That is funny. Props.

Re:Now that's hostile (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602612)

Hold still, I think you've got a little foam on you...

Re:Now that's hostile (3, Informative)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602840)

Foam caused the Columbia to become damaged, and subsequently be destroyed on re-rentry.

A bad seal cause the Challenger to explode.

Get your disasters right! (granted we have too many to choose from...)

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

Armadni General (869957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602858)

Why don't you get your disasters right? Challenger didn't explode.

Re:Now that's hostile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602995)

Sure it did, I saw a guy on TV that said that the guy he talked to earlier said that he saw it esplode.

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

Armadni General (869957) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603307)

Good for you. But, for God's sake, the thing was on the front page of /. only a few days ago. Really now.

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603326)

I thought The Thing was a character from the Fantastic Four or some other comic. Or was it the name of a really bad movie?

Re:Now that's hostile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603764)

"your head a-splode!"

Re:Now that's hostile (2, Informative)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603398)

Okay, if you want to be really picky...

The external tank violently disassembled causing the orbiter, Challenger, to likewise be disassembled. (The big fireball confused a lot of people.)

While being too close to an IED doesn't mean you exploded, you might as well have, especially if you have been reduced to red mist.

The primary cause of the confusion seems to be that so many (even some folks here at /.) do not differentiate between Challenger, the orbiter, and Challenger, the mission. The entire stack is commonly refered to as Challenger, or just "the shuttle", not the "orbiter, ET and SRB's".

Example: "the shuttle lifted off". What exactly are you calling "the shuttle"? Is it just the orbiter, or is it the entire stack or launch system?

It sort of like pointing to the monitor, and calling it the computer. It is only one component of the system, but a most visible and identifyable component. It's the part everyone can identify. And so, almost everyone I work with points to the monitor, and says "computer". Nevermind that there is a lot more there that they don't want to be confused by.

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603831)

picky picky.

In engineering terms, an explosion is when a supersonic shockwave travels through a fuel-oxidant compound, which causes a spontaneous chemical decomposition. There's a strict technical difference between an 'explosion' and a very rapid combustion.

In the real world nobody gives a fuck. There was a big fireball. The damn thing exploded, OK?

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

mbrother (739193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604060)

I agree. Giant fireball in the sky is something I can call an explosion with a clear conscience, and I usually nitpick the hell out of things.

Re:Now that's hostile (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603422)

RTFA. First he's stuck on the foam, then he unhelpfully kicks off on the Challenger anniversary.

BTW, look out for that...

*WHUMP*

foam.

Never mind.

ID research done in space! (-1, Offtopic)

OneSeventeen (867010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602443)

With the boredome with AJAX, the technical industry quickly shifted focus to Windows Security holes and inconsistencies between IE and global standards. After realizing those were also quite boring, we quickly shifted to Intelligent Design, where even athiest start arguing as though it is even a valid scientific topic to be argued about.

Seriously, let's talk about AJAX again, or Blackberry lawsuits, because ID isn't geek related, and isn't even a scientific theory IMO. It is a religious theory that has no bearing on anything anyway. (As a Christian, I believe in Intelligent Design, in that God created the world, but that's faith-based, and has nothing to do with science whatsoever and should therefore be excluded from scientific discussions.)

The real question we should be asking NASA's Michael Griffin is will Internet Explorer 7's adherance to XML HTTP Requests lead to a Windows security vulnerability when accessing AJAX applications from windows-powered blackberries that contain file footage of the MPAA making illegal copies of DVDs that explain the bee's ability to fly? ... in space?

And where's my flying car? 3-2-1 Contact and Isaac Asimov both promised those by the year 2000!

Tempurpedic Foam? (5, Funny)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602450)

Maybe they should use Tempurpedic mattress foam. Instead of damaging the shuttle, it would just conform to the shape of the portion it struck, resulting in a night of wonderful sleep for all of Mission Command.

they DO say it was designed by NASA..... (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603597)

C'mon NASA! If you designed it, might as well give it a try!

Tempurpedic Foam in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604125)

the real kicker is, why in the hell would you need a mattress (foam or not) to sleep on in ZERO GRAVITY.

yeah yeah, I meant weightlessness

Duct Tape (2, Funny)

Bananaas (950442) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602524)

If and when those cracks propagate to the surface, with a crack connecting a void to the surface, then you have a mechanism for cryopumping. When the tank is cold, air is ingested. It liquefies and goes into the voids. Then as the tank empties and the [air] warms up and evaporates, the resulting pressure blows the foam off.

How about this idea... DUCT TAPE! It might also solve that so-called heat tile problem...

Re:Duct Tape (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603442)

How about lower density foam areas designed the let the air-out without a complete structural failure of the foam?

Fix foam again? Start anew? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602541)

I followed the documentary some time ago as they outlined the new procedures in applying the foam since the Columbia disaster in 2003. I witnessed as they applied new layering techniques for the foam and implemented space walk tile recovery and repair technologies. Quite frankly, I wasn't convinced then and am even more skeptical now with foam separations occurring from recent launches.

Has anyone heard or read of any new technologies to replace the current foam application completely? Does anyone have any percentage or statistical data illustrating the success to failure ratio of past Shuttle deployments to (say) Saturn rockets (or past similar systems)? It would be a nice graph comparing the ~20 years of shuttle incident vs. ~20 years of Saturn incidents (or similar). Surely, those studies have occurred somewhere.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602635)

20 years of Saturn incidents

There were no operational failures. How's that for a quick statistical comparison?

KFG

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602710)

There were no operational failures. How's that for a quick statistical comparison?

There were also only 13 flights. The Space Shuttle also experienced zero operational failures within the first 13 flights. (It was the 25th flight, I believe, when the Challenger was lost.)

I'm not really saying that the Saturn V would have seen as much failure (it certainly wasn't as sophisticated of a design as the Space Shuttle), but it certainly wasn't flown for as long or as often. If you take the Apollo capsules into account as part of the complete space vehicle, it actually has a much poorer track record.

The truth is that the Space Shuttle is a marvel of engineering. The problem is that it was supposed to be a very focused piece of equipment (a shuttle to get people up and down) and ended up having to fill the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none role. Thanks Nixon.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602752)

. . .it certainly wasn't as sophisticated of a design as the Space Shuttle

The shuttle is a more complicated design. There is a difference.

If you take the Apollo capsules into account . . .

I was very careful not to do that. :)

The truth is that the Space Shuttle is a marvel of engineering.

In the sense that you look at it and shake your head in wonder and disbelief, yeah.

KFG

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602816)

The shuttle is a more complicated design. There is a difference.

Oh no, it's quite sophisticated in its design. Just about every scrap of technology at the disposal of our engineers went into creating the Space Shuttle. Unfortunately, the budgets given to the engineers to make the Shuttle into an all-in-one-dream-machine ended up also making it a more complicated design in addition to it being sophisticated.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603010)

Just about every scrap of technology at the disposal of our engineers went into creating the Space Shuttle.

There is no doubt that there is a good deal of very good engineering embodied in the shuttle, but sophisticated subsystems do not imply a sophisticated system.

KFG

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602947)

"The truth is that the Space Shuttle is a marvel of engineering"

I think the Space Shuttle is a marvel of Congressional pork barreling, Air Force mission creep, barely held together by the heroic efforts of some sharp engineers, working under hostile management.

Marvel of how not to do engineering if you ask me.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604008)

Personally knowing some of the Shuttle engineers, they will say EXACTLY that. If left to the orginal ideas w/o porking they would have had something simple, safe and sturdy. The Shuttle is over-engineered. OR maybe I should say it had too many requirements to meet that were "critical".

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

Naito (667851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603113)

I wouldn't call hte first 25 flights free of failure. From the very first Columbia flight, tiles were lost due to improper sound suppression on the launch pad, SSME sensors shutdown 1 and then almost a second engine during launch of Challenger once, causing them to have to Abort to Orbit. There was an APU fire during landing that wasn't caught until after the shuttle had landed. Many flights before Challenger experienced burn of the O-Rings, just they weren't bad enough to fail.

It was fortunate that the shuttle was engineered to the point that it was able to absorb all of these failures without loss of the crew. It had so much safety margin that everyone started to see that margin as "normal operational deviance", when it was really supposed to be just an emergency buffer.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604038)

Challenger's O-rings really didn't fail, they were being used outside the safe operational envelope so no one really knew if they would still work. Can't blame the O-rings but you can blame the NASA Management system for pressuring engineers to agree to a lauch outside the normal envelope. The design wasn't that great and was later improved but it was working OK within it's window. I recall there were already some ideas being discussed to rework the O-rings soon before Challenger. Also note that even WITH the new O-ring design no launches are allowed below 40 degrees F. outside air temp.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603118)

"The Space Shuttle also experienced zero operational failures within the first 13 flights."

It had some close calls, though. John Young had to take manual control during part of the re-entry on the first flight because the aerodynamics didn't match the model programmed into the computer, tow of the APUs caught fire on another flight (I seem to remember they actually exploded after the landing), and one pilot almost stuffed up the landing.

To be fair, one of the early unmanned Apollo flights had two engines out, and the pogo on Apollo 13 would have destroyed the Saturn V if the center engine hadn't shut down: of course the crew would have escaped since they were in a capsule with parachutes, not a brick with wings.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603151)

"two of the APUs caught fire on another flight (I seem to remember they actually exploded after the landing)"

Ah, they did:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/news/columbia/anomaly/STS9 .pdf [nasa.gov]

I forgot the dodgy brakes and the numerous computer failures, which could also have been bad news in different circumstances.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602896)

Not like they didn't come close [yarchive.net] ... (search for "pogo oscillation")

Old freon based foam was best. (2, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602680)

IIRC there were no foam related failures untill they removed freon from the process.

I propose giving the EPA the finger and using the really old un-PC foam process until a suitable replacement has been built and tested.

Re:Old freon based foam was best. (3, Interesting)

ferrety (115567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603128)

You could not be more wrong.

The foam had been causing problems since mid eighties.

The NASA was given exempt on the freon ban (of 1997?), and even thought they did change the formula, the pieces of foam believed to have caused the Columbia disaster were using the old formula (with freon).

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

microarray (950769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602714)

"Does anyone have any percentage or statistical data illustrating the success to failure ratio of past Shuttle deployments to (say) Saturn rockets (or past similar systems)?" No doubt a few minutes work with Google, and you'd have one. But something far more interesting would be say, ratio of engineers:management compared to Saturn and Shuttle. Or even engineers salaries:management salaries compared to accidents.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (4, Interesting)

cyclone96 (129449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603054)

Engineers salaries:management salaries is probably higher on NASA programs than about anywhere.

While working level engineers who work directly for NASA are paid fairly competitively, government rules cap salaries of management. Everything is defined by the federal payscales, available here [opm.gov]

An engineer with 10 years of experience is typically a GS-13. In Houston, for example, he's making somewhere around $90,000/year. His immediate manager is probably a GS-14 making around $105k, and that guy's boss is probably a GS-15 who makes around $130k. The numbers vary depending on years in service. Most astronauts are falling into these ranges as well.

Griffin, as the head of NASA, is paid on the SES (Senior Executive Service) scale, which caps out at $162,000. That's here. [opm.gov]

Contractor management is a little better (the CEOs of the likes of Boeing and Lockheed can pull in over $10 million annually with bonuses and stock), but it's very unusual to run into a NASA contractor (manager or otherwise) making more than $200,000/year.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

pedroloco (778593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602722)

Has anyone heard or read of any new technologies to replace the current foam application completely?

Yes. The form application process will be made moot by replacing the shuttle with the Crew Exploration Vehicle [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603108)

Does anyone have any percentage or statistical data illustrating the success to failure ratio of past Shuttle deployments to (say) Saturn rockets (or past similar systems)? It would be a nice graph comparing the ~20 years of shuttle incident vs. ~20 years of Saturn incidents (or similar). Surely, those studies have occurred somewhere.
You can't usefully compare Shuttle to Saturn any more than you can compare apples to oranges. Among other things, Saturn doesn't face the re-entry and landing phase, and is essentially dead within a few hours after launch. It's an expendable, not a re-useable. Furthermore, no rocket has accumulated enough flights for any statistical analysis to be completely valid.

All those disclaimers aside - what you do get from the current numbers is this, comparing only the launch phase: Booster reliability (non Shuttle) = approx 98%. Shuttle reliability = approx 98%.

In other words, contrary to popular belief, the difference in reliability between Shuttle and 'more traditional rockets' is insignificant.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603249)

"In other words, contrary to popular belief, the difference in reliability between Shuttle and 'more traditional rockets' is insignificant."

The difference is, when a shuttle launch is 'unreliable', you lose an irreplaceable multi-billion dollar spacecraft and kill the crew... when, say, a Soyuz launch is 'unreliable', you lose a launcher that you were going to throw away anyway, and the crew get an exciting ride.

Heck, if I remember correctly one Soyuz even survived entering the atmosphere backwards: try that with a shuttle and see how far you get.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604491)

It is all about designing stuff without getting yourself cornered - always have a way out

On Soyuz, if booster fails, there is a small escape rocket that is capable to carry the craft up and away far enough to clear the explosion (happened twice I believe)
And if navigation, etc. fails during the descent, the shape and mass of the lander is just so it is going to eventually perform a ballistic reentry. The crew would have to endure much higher than normal G forces but likely to be alive (happened several times).

Shuttle has very few safety measures and adding them would further reduce the value of the program.


98% reliability seems to be a constant for all of the rocket-based contraptions, no matter who builds them. It just a matter of turning odds in your favour.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604596)

In other words, contrary to popular belief, the difference in reliability between Shuttle and 'more traditional rockets' is insignificant."

The difference is, when a shuttle launch is 'unreliable', you lose an irreplaceable multi-billion dollar spacecraft and kill the crew...

Only in some fantasy world where every 'unreliable' launch ends in complete vehicle failure. Here in the real world, we've already had two launch failures - one destroyed the vehicle, and the other resulted in an Abort-to-Orbit. (The resulting orbit was too low for the payload, so they landed and flew it again later.) Yes, there are scenarios that lead to a complete LOCV or LOV - but there are also many more that lead to a crew and craft standing on Terra Firma making brave statements at the press conference after.
when, say, a Soyuz launch is 'unreliable', you lose a launcher that you were going to throw away anyway, and the crew get an exciting ride.
In a universe where the Soyuz was (unlike everything else) perfect, and everything else imperfect - that would be true. Here in the real world where the Soyuz emergency escape system performed marginally the one time it was used, and where Soyuz seems to have an ongoing problem with automatic sequences... I'd suspect it's not true.

Soyuz has had two launch accidents - in the first (a fire on the pad) the was not engaged, which meant the crew had to beg the ground to activate it - which they finally did with less than a second between activation and the launch vehicle exploding. In the second, the first stage failed to seperate - and again, the automatic system failed, requiring manual intervention, and again - almost too late.

Heck, if I remember correctly one Soyuz even survived entering the atmosphere backwards: try that with a shuttle and see how far you get.
You don't remember correctly.

Let's see - Soyuz re-entry accidents; six that I can think of offhand, two of which were fatal - and the remaining four only missed being so by sheer luck. (Out of 87 flights, and not mentioning at least five landing accidents.) Shuttle - one reentry accident, fatal. (Out of 114 flights, with only one landing accident.)

Which vehicle has the worse record? The bald fact is that Soyuz, in 87 flights, has racked up a worse record in every single category you can name when you compare it to the Shuttle's record in 114 flights.

Re:Fix foam again? Start anew? (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603337)

You know, I'm sure the NASA engineers know a lot more about the foam than some armchair Discovery Channel-watching Anonymous Coward. I'm sure you are not convinced, but I'm also pretty sure that you don't know what you're talking about.

Thermal Cycling of Liquified Air (3, Insightful)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602724)

Let me see if I have this right...

A micro crack occurs.
Atmosphere fills the voids.
The atmosphere liquifies inside the voids.
When the LH is removed, the liquified atmospheric gases are returned to gaseous form.
The change in pressure blows out the foam from the inside, because the liquid air is gasified within the foam crack and has nowhere to go.

Result: sporatic delamination.

Where I come from we have to deal with this all the time. They are called pot-holes!

Re:Thermal Cycling of Liquified Air (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603346)

True, potholes are exactly what the foam failuers seem to match. One solution is to never let the tanks thaw. Another is to simply use the tanks as they were originally designed, as launchable raw materials for space construction so you never use the same one twice, but that ran into fascinating budget and design problems which look insoluble.

The solution is to scrap the Space Shuttle: it was a badly designed source of boondoggles, and there are a half-dozen solid industrial projects to replace it, such as the X-Project awarded Phoenix, that are much better ideas and will cost less in every budget but the first 2 years.

Re:Thermal Cycling of Liquified Air (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603448)

They don't reuse the tanks, they burn up on reentry. They reuse the boosters which are dropped much earlier and parachute down.

New Foam Idea (3, Interesting)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602730)

Hey, I know, put the foam insulation on the inside.

BTM

Re:New Foam Idea (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602783)

Actually, I think that's brilliant. Have to make it not absorb and hold onto too much fuel, though.

Re:New Foam Idea (4, Interesting)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603541)

Insulation on the inside means you have to make the tank larger to hold more fuel.

Larger tank means more metal. More metal means more weight. More weight means more fuel. More fuel means more cold. Tricky balance there. Remember, this is the tank where they stopped painting the foam because the paint added too much weight.

Also, it'll be hard to find a porous material that doesn't absorb hydrogen, the smallest atoms in existence.

Re:New Foam Idea (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604683)

The volume of the foam does not have to be that much since it could be mostly open-cell - all it has to do is prevent convection reaching the outer skin. Once the skin heats up enough when the liquid level drops, any remaining H2 in the foam will become gas and help push the last of the liquid H2 out. Also, even if the usable tank volume goes down, the volume - weight relation for a tank is cube - square, so it isn't that big a hit, considering the safety improvement and the fact that the oustide foam weight would have been greater. OTOH, any foam that did break off would have to be strained out so no big pieces go through the turbopump.

Re:New Foam Idea (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603136)

Insulation on the inside was done on the S-IVb. The only reason you couldn't do it for the shuttle is that you would have to completely redesign the tank.

      Brett

NOT a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604227)

yours is a dumb idea, and here is why:

Insulation is there to protect the metal walls of the tank from burning off due to high heat generated by air friction. If you put foam on the inside, the tanks will burn off, and you got no walls, except the foam and liquid gases (at very high pressure, going 4+ miles/s) --> gg

Here is an analogy:

Your wife is using those oven mitts to handle baking trays... Now imagine you tell her that in order to preserve the glove, she should just hold the tray with her bare hands, while she has that oven glove on the "inside" (shove it up the ass, you know).

"Insightfull"

What about Propellant Cycling ? (4, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602736)

It wasn't mentioned, but does the cycling of propellants due to aborted launch attempts add significant additional strain to the foam?

Were there any launch aborts before the final Columbia mission?

Re:What about Propellant Cycling ? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603368)

I think so, but that one I'm not sure about. The last successful one did have some cycling, because they had fuel tank sensor problems.


Since the interview talks of freezing/expansion being a significant part of the problem, then yes. The more you cycle the tanks, the more cracking in the foam. In fact, it's slightly worse than that. Once cracks have formed, they'll gather moisture. When the fuel is reloaded, this will not only cause the regular cracking, but you'll get freeze-cracking from the ice forming on the inside of the foam.


Apparently, a researcher has produced webbing that the foam can be formed around, which will add enough integrity that foam cannot fall off in chunks. NASA has apparently declined to invest in the idea, but there doesn't seem to be any clear reason on why.

Re:What about Propellant Cycling ? (1)

DarrylM (170047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603404)

It wasn't mentioned, but does the cycling of propellants due to aborted launch attempts add significant additional strain to the foam?

From the interview, near the top of the page:

Orlando Sentinel: What is the exact mechanism [for foam loss] that you now think you understand?

Griffin: Cycling of the tanks with cryogenic propellants - in fact, [super-cold] liquid hydrogen, because we dont see this problem with liquid oxygen causes or exacerbates voids in the bond between the foam insulation and the tank and produces cracks in the foam. If and when those cracks propagate to the surface, with a crack connecting a void to the surface, then you have a mechanism for cryopumping. When the tank is cold, air is ingested. It liquefies and goes into the voids. Then as the tank empties and the [air] warms up and evaporates, the resulting pressure blows the foam off.

Look at his credentials (4, Informative)

chickenmonger (614989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602901)

http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/griffin_bio.h tml [nasa.gov]

He's not only the author of the book I'm currently using for my undergraduate Spacecraft Systems course, but he's also got way more degrees than anyone should have. From the bio:

"Griffin received a bachelor's degree in Physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in Aerospace Science from Catholic University of America; a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland; a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California; a master's degree in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in Business Administration from Loyola College; and a master's degree in Civil Engineering from George Washington University."

I still wouldn't say he's overqualified for the job. The NASA admin -should- be one of the country's smart people.

Re:Look at his credentials (3, Insightful)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603061)

Shame that you don't require the same for presidents and congressmen! (Patriot Act, DRM, software patents, Iraq, Lewinsky)

Re:Look at his credentials (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603347)

The NASA admin -should- be one of the country's smart people

Just because someone received a bachelor's degree in Physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in Aerospace Science from Catholic University of America; a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland; a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California; a master's degree in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master's degree in Business Administration from Loyola College; and a master's degree in Civil Engineering from George Washington University, doesn't mean they're smart.

Re:Look at his credentials (1)

RussP (247375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603805)

You left out one:

He is a certified flight instructor with instrument and multiengine ratings.

I remember reading this guy's bio several years ago when he was running for some AIAA office. I was amazed.

What posesses a guy to get that many degrees and certifications? Most people would spend their entire "career" just getting that many degrees!

Re:Look at his credentials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603881)

Sadly none of those qualifications make him anything less than a puppet for the Bush white house, who are destroying NASA science.

13 Years to go the Moon?!? (3, Interesting)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603101)

It really bugs me when people complain about how the first time we went to the moon it took less than 10 years from Kennedy's speech and now it takes us 13 years, or worse, that it's taking us half a century to return to the moon. Well read his answer and shutup!

People keep asking me 'Why are you taking until 2018 or whatever it takes us to get back to the moon when we did it in eight years the first time?' The reason is that we're not being given the kind of money necessary to do that in eight years, but we are being given the kind of money necessary to do that in 12, 13, 14 years.

Re:13 Years to go the Moon?!? (1, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603933)

really bugs me when people complain about how the first time we went to the moon it took less than 10 years from Kennedy's speech and now it takes us 13 years, or worse, that it's taking us half a century to return to the moon. Well read his answer and shutup!
People keep asking me 'Why are you taking until 2018 or whatever it takes us to get back to the moon when we did it in eight years the first time?' The reason is that we're not being given the kind of money necessary to do that in eight years, but we are being given the kind of money necessary to do that in 12, 13, 14 years.
I still call bullshit. You mean to tell me that since 1969 we have learned nothing about rockets, material science, or space flight? I would bet that the extra 13+ years of salaries of all of the NASA engineers costs more than the materials to just do it today with what we know.

In the eyes of the layman, science has been dead for quite some time. I'm not saying we can't still use the scientific method. I certainly will, its the best way of learning and doing things that I know of (science has not ended dangling prepositions:). But we know absolute zero, the speed of light, how to put a man on the moon, how to land on Mars, how to go beyond our solar system and still receive communications. What more is there to really do? Bare with me, I know I'm burning my karma on a few nerds here.

There is little that is new or interesting that a layman can talk about science today. The only frontier is really science to make better entertainment for people to include CSI kinda stuff. "Normal" people simply don't care about particle physics. Sorry. Normal people got bored with going to the moon back in the 70s. Normal people stopped caring about the space shuttle after the 2nd or 3rd launch, and only gained interest when they started blowing up (car wreck phenomenon).

Seriously, what is really new to discover? A list of one or more things would be suffice to justify my flamebait mods.

Re:13 Years to go the Moon?!? (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604656)

I still call bullshit. You mean to tell me that since 1969 we have learned nothing about rockets, material science, or space flight? I would bet that the extra 13+ years of salaries of all of the NASA engineers costs more than the materials to just do it today with what we know.

You don't get it, do you? A space mission is not about the materials or the technologies available. It's about ensuring everything works perfectly, ensuring there are contingency plans and backups for everything, and so on. That's what the engineers really do. And guess what: more engineers = more money = less time to develop stuff. Less money = more time. And there haven't even been too many advances made since 1969, since most of the research was discontinued soon thereafter.

What about using a net? (4, Interesting)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603112)

Seems to me one wway to prevent the foam from faling off in chunks is to embed a net over the foam. Make a fishnet out of Kevlar or Spectra fiber. Put the net over the foam. These fibers are strong. in the worst case the foam still comes off but not after being forced through the holes in the net and in the process being cut into many very small pieces. These fibers are stronger then stainless steel of the same size and much lighter. Of couse the other option is to re-design the tank so that the insilation is _inside_ the aluminum skin but then that adds weight

Re:What about using a net? (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603502)

If a large piece breaks loose inside the net, the wind catching it at hundreds or even thousands of MPH will suddenly put a massive pull on the net. That net would then abuse the hell out of the rest of the foam on the tank. For containment like that to work it would have to cover the whole tank and not have holes like a net for wind to pass through. Think saran wrap or a giant nylon sock or something.

Re:What about using a net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604660)

Make a fishnet out of Kevlar or Spectra fiber. Put the net over the foam. These fibers are strong. in the worst case the foam still comes off but not after being forced through the holes in the net and in the process being cut into many very small pieces.
No, in the worst case you have superstrong supersonic kevlar cables ripping through the orbiter.

Someone Should Ask Him About NASA Censorship (1)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603132)

Specifically Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director James E. Hansen's allegations of censorship by NASA's public affairs staff. [nytimes.com] According to him commisars upset with his stand on global warming have been denying journalists official access to him and censoring his lectures, papers and postings on the Goddard Web site.

slow news day (0, Troll)

slackaddict (950042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603323)

wow, that was about as interesting as a core dump. thanks slashdot!

Cover the damn foam! (1)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603519)

Just Wrap the whole thing in shrink wrap, and keep out nearly all the air and moisture.

Annoying Semantic Nazi strikes again... (1)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603848)

Griffin: We think now that we understand in substantial technical detail the mechanism by which the foam is and was liberated.

It wasn't a liberation, it was an occupation, I tell you!!! That foam never even wanted to be liberated!

Seriously, why not just say "detached", "stripped", or some other, more relevant word? ::rolleyes::

Almost as much turnover as my dayjob (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603944)

There's a guy who is required to do whatever the president wants, no matter how rediculous, and given no money to do it. Not suprising those NASA representatives turn over almost as fast as software managers.

This would suggest a variety a ways ... (1)

constantnormal (512494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604047)

... to deal with the problem.

1) as Billy the Mountain (225541) suggests, put the foam on the inside

2) after every fueling, inspect (xray, ultrasound, ?) the foam, looking for crack propagation through it, stripping and re-foaming as needed

3) change the foam to a series of interspersed layers of foam and a sealant layer

and others, all of which are designed to prevent the cryopumping action by disrupting crack propagation through the foam to the atmosphere. All that remains is to perform some tests and analyses to determine the intersection of the cost curve and the effectiveness curve to select the best method.

Other problems exist (tile damage from other sources (e.g., bird strike, lightning) springs to mind), but those would seem to be manageable.

While the shuttle is still an obsolete and expensive vehicle, it would appear that we can continue to get some mileage out of our investment in shuttle technology -- at least until the replacement is ready to launch.

Michael Griffin lies through his teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604674)

Michael Griffin continually claims that "no money is being taken out of science." He always says that exploration keeps its money, and science keeps its money.

But that's where the BS is: he's not talking about "exploration" and "science." He's talking about the "Exploration Directorate" and the "Science Directorate." So when "no money is leaving science," it actually means "no money is leaving the science directorate."

And here's the kicker: there was A LOT of science stuff going on in the Exploration Directorate... possibly more than half of NASA's science was actually in the Exploration Directorate. All of that science is being/has been cut without actually touching the Science Directorate "sub-line." I personally know ~30 people who were laid off because of these semantics. I know that about 1000 more were laid off.

Griffin may have an engineering degree, but he's a cold-hearted politician. And I despise him. You should too.
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