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Goldin Stands by 'Faster, Better, Cheaper' Credo
By Alex Canizares
Special to
posted: 05:47 pm ET
14 December 1999


WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (States News Service) NASA Administrator Dan Goldin said Tuesday the agencys cost-cutting creed may have problems and need tweaking, but said he did not support going back to the old ways of billion-dollar projects.

Despite what he said were "problems" with faster, better, cheaper, Goldin defended his philosophy of more missions for less money.

Back-to-back Mars mission failures this fall have prompted questions about the efficacy of the cost-cutting creed.

"I feel that we have done absolutely the right thing in terms of theory, and we have found some bumps in the road, and we are going to do whatever it takes to correct them," he told a panel of advisors from industry and universities at NASA Headquarters. The panel was open to the public.

"I feel that we have done absolutely the right thing in terms of theory,and we have found some bumps in the road, and we are going to do whatever it takes to correct them."

Goldin suggested that the faster, better, cheaper policy could be modified, depending on the recommendations of a blue ribbon panel he has asked to examine pros and cons. The board has yet to be named or announced formally.

"We have to find out: What do we do wrong?; What do we do right? and Whats the path of correction?" Goldin said.

"Everything is on the table except turning to the past," he added, referring to NASAs pre-Goldin philosophy of big-money projects, such as the billion-dollar Mars Observer mission lost at Mars in 1993; the Galileo spacecraft that has been orbiting Mars and sending back data on Jupiter for more than four years and the $3.2-billion Cassini mission en route to Saturn.

Despite the failures, NASA is not slipping, Goldin said, and more funding is not necessarily the answer.

"I think the worst thing that happens in this agency is that because of some of the failures weve experienced, everyone asks me to put more money in without having a real rational plan to spend it. Im terrified of that," he said.

In particular, Goldin said he would ask the chairman of the panel, who has not been chosen yet, to scrutinize NASAs planetary exploration program, which includes the Mars mission.

"Ive asked everyone to check their egos at the door," he said, "and rely upon the guidance we get from that panel."


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