From my own perspective, it's win-win. Either the project I'm part of right now succeeds, or it fails and I take the (useable) knowledge and experience gained from it to one of the many new companies aiming to shove NASA aside. It's nice to know that if Orion gets cancelled (or completed, for that matter), there'll be other appealing alternatives waiting.Legalized plunder of tax payers I guess has some practical advantages to MarsBlog. Though it would be morally preferable if they didn't plunder that money to begin with. On one level you have to wonder if it's right for MarsBlog to take advantage of the taxpayer in this way.
Then again, how many times have I worked on a design project I knew would go sour? My motto has always been "I get paid to do my job, not to agree with my boss." Following orders is necessary. Following orders is good. Even if they're bad orders. But not if they're immoral ones.
Sometimes your boss is right and you're wrong. Sometimes you're right and he's wrong. That's at his discretion to figure that one out. Bush, for all his faults gets it: "he's the decider." NASA has made a poor choice, and will probably pay for it.
So long as MarsBlog continues to make it clear that he disagrees he's in the clear as far as I'm concerned. And until then I'll continue to snicker at comments like those.
All of that moral stuff aside, I agree 100% with MarsBlog. Constellation was in one sense doomed to fail before it began. But I think so more from a design perspective. The use of SRB tech was a bad idea to begin with. Von Braun IMHO was right. Control is more important when it comes to rockets. Going the SRB path, with manned launches is problem ridden.
I understand the reasoning that abandoning existing tech for some radical new system was a bad choice. Using existing expertise and knowledge was a better bang for your buck. That being said I measure the success of a launch vehicle solely by its ability to transports pounds to orbit on the cheap. By that count I figure that with all the safety drawbacks related to sitting on a heap of solid fuel that gets lit and everyone sits back and prays everything goes right isn't exactly what I'd call an "ideal design."
But hey I'm no expert so I'll just sit back and watch the big guys play.