On the verge of his planned departure from NASA, Administrator Michael Griffin is characteristically blunt when asked about what was perhaps the most controversial decision of his tenure—basing NASA’s next-generation Ares launch systems on heritage space shuttle hardware rather than on U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles or new rockets. “Other contractors than those whom we selected would prefer if we had made a different decision,” he says. “Well, I’m sorry, but my job is ...


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