I was reading a copy of News & Notes, a publication of the NASA Historical Division and on page 25, I came across a historic picture with the caption “Lori Garver, of the Obama Transition Team, talks with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin during the reception.” for the book signing of Exploring the Unknown Volume VII (NASA SP-4407), edited by John M. Logsdon with Roger D. Launius.

I bet former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin wishes he had laryngitis that day. It certainly would have changed his future.  He would probably still be NASA Administrator. It might have also changed the history of the space program.  We may have avoided this power vacuum during this critical time in America’s Space Program.

I love the way it was simply published without explanation by the historians. They know its significance and those in the know, know its significance.  Others just see a bland picture but nice picture of two important people talking at a party.

For those you aren’t in the know. This picture was taken during a long heated conversation, which was parodied on Saturday Night Live, and resulted in Michael Griffin getting the, Act Clueless Award, in the Washington Post’s The Worst Leadership Performances of 2008.   Administrator Michael Griffin told Lori Garver, Head of President Obama’s Transition Team, she was not qualified to judge his rocket. Administrator Griffin, obviously needed to go through Professor John Logsdon’s Space Policy Program, then he would have understood that having the office makes you qualified to judge things under your jurisdiction.  And if you want projects funded it is critical to convince, those with the power to control the money, of the project’s value.  This is the most important thing for anyone involved in space policy to always remember.

Karen Cramer Shea

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