Space exploration in 2010

I saw on NasaWatch the presentation of the Human Exploration Framework Team. Please, have a look at it! no, do not try to understand it or do not expect to be excited by it! It is an example of how space-related projects are achieved nowadays: huge colourful meaningless presentations with a lot of slang like portfolio, framework and a lot of roadmaps, options, costs. It is a huge work, but it has nothing to do with some real work: Joel Spolsky created the concept of architecture astronaut: this type of work is typically written by architecture astronauts. And most top-level engineers are now architecture astronauts. But is this really how we can develop ambitious and exciting missions? No.

A space project requires deep concrete technical knowledge, team building capacities and guts. A project leader has to know which technologies are available, what is required to improve them or to develop new ones; he has to know who the best experts are, where to find them, how to put them together at work with an inspirational motivating leadership. Finally, he needs guts: because trade-offs, risk analyses are sometimes not sufficient to take decision. He has to rely on his experience, on his competency to take decisions and to choose the best solution.


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