HOUSTON – Today NASA spokesman Jim Jameson told reporters, during a hastily prepared press conference, that “the math… was much, much harder than we theorized” as he discussed the latest of seven satellite explosions, costing nearly $3.1 billion.
“Over the past 18 months, we’ve completely reengineered our processes, including adding an entire service virtualization layer for systems testing,” Jameson continued. “We’ve worked very hard on creating a cultural paradigm shift in the way that engineers interact with QA folks, management, and technicians of every level. Our consultants have been working with award-winning, best of breed tools, and are top people in process engineering and change management. As it turns out, perhaps, we weren’t as focused on the math as may have been warranted.”
“In retrospect,” added NASA PR flack Dale Dennis, “the agency’s  PR campaign, ‘It’s Not Rocket Science!’ may have been ill advised.” After a moment of contemplation, he added, “Although I thought it was a great idea.”
Some outside NASA agree. “NASA’s been hobbled ever since the consultants starting ‘improving’ things over there,” noted Jill Gillington, senior researcher at Framus-Whickhouse-Bradbury, a think-tank specializing in technology policy. “There’s a group of fast talking, highly articulate, Ivy-league bullshitters in leadership now. They’ve got everyone so busy doing thought-experiments with the latest management theory, that nobody’s crunching the numbers.”
In retrospect the agency’s PR campaign, ‘It’s Not Rocket Science!’ may have been ill advised.
“You can’t make an omelet without blowing up a few eggs, hopefully over a sparsely populated area,” said Congressman Bill Williamson (R-Oklahoma), junior member of the House Appropriations Committee, and architect of HR-9712 the so-called “NASA Reinvention Act.” “Look, the goal of [HR-9712] was to bring [NASA] into the 21st Century of management innovation, rather than some stuffy old sewer filled with eggheads, slide rulers, and pocket protectors. How can you attract top talent with a horrible public image? We changed that, and not a moment too soon.”