Era’s of change are often defined by leaders who make an organization do new things – or better yet do things differently. One sign that such a leader is in demand is when people routinely ask “what would so and so do?” – in this case. As to invoke leadership where the vacancy exists. This article from the LA Times, asks plainly and loudly if NASA can learn to change its ways.
Early this month, Hawthorne-based rocket venture SpaceX launched an unmanned version of its Dragon capsule into orbit, took it for a few spins around Earth and then brought it home with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The total cost — including design, manufacture, testing and launch of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket and the capsule — was about $800 million.
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In the world of government spaceflight, that’s almost a rounding error. And the ability of SpaceX to do so much with so little money is raising serious questions about NASA.
The agency that once stood for American technical wizardry is starting to lose its luster. Inside NASA, some employees have taken to wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the letters “WWED,” which stands for “What Would Elon Do?” — a reference to SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, the Internet tycoon who invested his own fortune in pursuit of his dream of sending humans into space.
Aerospace industry executives, NASA contractors and employees all warn that unless the storied agency can become leaner and more efficient in an era of shrinking federal budgets, it could find itself becoming a historical footnote…