HYPERBOLA: Walter Cantrell for NASA administrator

by | Apr 8, 2009 | exploration, NASA, Space Shuttle | 4 comments

walter cantrell.jpg

credit: NASA / caption: Walter Cantrell is first on the left

Hyperbola has decided to throw a name into the ring for NASA administrator and that person is Walter Cantrell

For those of you saying “who!?” Cantrell was appointed as NASA’s deputy chief engineer for the agency’s Independent Technical Authority in 2004 by then administrator Sean O’Keefe

Hyperbola’s choice is driven by a number of factors, familiarity with NASA, experience of managing large organisations, good knowledge of the Space Shuttle programme, and, as some have indicated that factions within Obama’s team want a flag officer, Cantrell is a retired rear admiral, so he fits the bill

Rather like Nick Lampson, Cantrell is not aware of his selection by Hyperbola, nor does he probably care but the point is is that he meets all these requirements and is in this blog’s humble opinion worth considering

Hyperbola did not conduct an exhaustive search but instead took the imminent Shuttle retirement as a key factor and looked around at individuals involved with Shuttle over the last few years and the return to flight group, which Cantrell was a part of, seemed like as good a place to start as any

Also a former member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, Cantrell is an engnieer with a masters degree from MIT and retired from the US Navy in 1995 after serving as Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. There he was responsible for the design and acquisition of nuclear submarines

After the navy he worked in the private sector as a programme manager, executive director and as a president for technology companies

While he was deputy chief of NASA’s ITA he oversaw and “directed senior personnel assigned to execute technical decision” making – something some might argue is needed with the Ares I crew launch vehicle 

While Cantrell is a submarine designer and buyer and admittedly a submarine is not a rocket they are both large complex vehicles that have long in-service durations where life cycle costs are important. What could be more applicable without involving individuals normally found spinning through the rotating doors of the incestuous NASA-industry complex?

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