"NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlines the Administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request as the agency's road map for a new era of innovation and discovery, and answers questions from reporters as the featured Newsmaker at the National Press Club in Washington Feb. 2"
Keith's note: If you go to 55:18 in this video, I ask Charlie Bolden how he is going to get people to make the transition from flying government-operated spacecraft to commerically- operated spacecraft - and the emotion that goes with making the transition from one way of thinking to another. Bolden's reply gets deep into the emotions and mindsets that underly the changes that the Constellation workforce is now going through - and how he is going to work through that process with them.
Cowing: "To the issue of flying astronauts in commercial vehicles: After all the talk yesterday I sort of sat around last night doing a mental, totally unscientific poll in my head of people I have talked to - people like Ken Bowersox who work for these companies. I came up with a number - 60% of the astronauts say "nah, I wouldn't do it" - and 40% who would. And then I thought - "well, what's behind this?" Its all emotional - its like some emotional latter day "Right Stuff ". They use logic to defend why they would not [fly]. How do you get beyond that? What are you going to say to the astronaut corps - "this is how it is?" Its not just the Corps - its the larger group of people that support them. How are you going to work at that?"
Bolden: "My message to the work force - did everybody understand Keith's question? First of all, and he hit the mail on the head. This is all emotional. And the reason that I started my comments by thanking the Constellation Team - you've got to understand, everybody has had a death in the family. To people who are working on these programs, this is like a death in the family. Everybody needs to understand that. And we need to give them time to grieve, and the we need to give them time to recover.
I have an incredible workforce of civil servants and civilians. They have been through this before. This is just part of the life of being in NASA. And every time we manage to pull through it, and we manage to recover, we go off and do great things. This time will be no different. Now, that doesn't make an employee at the Kennedy Space Center or the Johnson Space Center or Marshall Space Flight Center or a contractor that any of these seven people represent - that doesn't give them a great sense of solace. Because they are facing reality.
But what I tell them is - Look, we're going to get through this. Stick with us - if you can. Some of you will decide that this just isn't exciting enough for you - and you want to go do other things. And I appreciate the service that you have given. Allow us to help you in your transition and if at all possible let us help you find some work somewhere else that is going to be passionate to you. I am a big person for passion. I am here because I am passionate about space and exploration. Otherwise I'd be sitting in Houston, Texas or I'd be in San Diego with my three granddaughters. I am here because I am passionate about this. I cry about it some times - so what.
This is my life. This is their lives. And give them a little time. They'll come back. And they are going to be as great as they have always been. So, just bear with them, and give them some time - they'll be back."