“Seekig a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation” by the Augustine panel

NOTE: This work was never completed, but has been kept for archival purposes of the information that has been provided.   I’m going to use this space to put my comments about and summary of the Augustine panel’s report divided up  into sections that correspond to the actual report.  To distinguish, any excerpt from the committee’s report will be put in quotations.  I’d also highly recommend reading the Executive Summary if nothing else.  It’s relatively short (9 pages) and really gives a good gist of things.  You can find a link to the report here.


Assumptions and Framework that the commission worked within to make their recommendations: – Task: “Conduct an independent review of the current program of record and provide alternatives to that program” – Assumptions:  1) “operations of the Space Shuttle will terminate in 2010” and 2) “the 10-year funding profile in the FY 2010 President’s budget would not be exceeded” – Additional options could be identified by the committee if the study objectives could not be met by options within this scope. They specifically mentioned that “No other bounds were placed on the Committee’s work”

Executive Summary:

The opening sentence certainly sets the tone for the intent of the report:  “The US human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory.”  Although we could have told you that several years ago and without the Presidential Appointment. (…more to come later) <2009.11.15> The Executive Summary goes on to explain more about the philosophy and reasoning behind how and why to go into space.  The report actually mentions and then describes: 1) the purpose of building a community as space exploration becomes a global enterprise with international partnerships 2) importance of open architecture so that work can be done across the commercial space industry 3) the most exciting part to me is the conclusion “that the ultimate goal of human exploration is to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system.”  To me, that sounds a lot like our mission to become space-faring! 4) safety is not extensively addressed because any concepts falling short in this area were promptly eliminated from consideration. A brief discussion of the current NASA programs of record follows.  Less important than the policy statements is the fact that there are no funds in the FY 2011 budget for continued Shuttle operations.

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