Pre-Preview Of NASA's Latest Notional Exploration Architecture

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Keith's note: If you have been following NASA's exploration plans for more than 10 minutes you know that there have been a lot of pivots along the way. The chart above (minus my snarky large yellow arrows and captions) is floating around NASA and puts the past few decades of pivots, false starts, and detours in NASA's exploration plans into context. Notice that even though the whole focus right now is on the Moon the chart only shows Mars. It is rather obvious to see that we spent half a century between the Apollo era of actual exploration on another world and today talking about what to do next. While the immensely capable ISS has orbited Earth for 20 years it just goes in circles. It does not go anywhere. Nor have we. Only robots get to do the exploring. When is this going to change? Larger version (image) (pdf).

Today there is a briefing of the National Space Council's Users Advisory Group (UAG) on the current state of NASA's Artemis 2024 landing architecture. The UAG name is somewhat misleading in terms of its name since there are few actual "users" of space on the panel. It is mostly big aerospace company representatives (sellers), political appointees with little space expertise, aerospace trade group representatives and lobbyists, and retired NASA employees who now consult. But I digress.

The briefing will be held in the 9th floor conference room near the NASA Administrator's suite. The event runs from 9:30 am until 4:00 pm. The briefing will be chaired by HEOMD AA Doug Loverro and run by Deputy AA Ken Bowersox and Acting Deputy AA for Human Lunar Exploration Programs Marshall Smith. FWIW at the 24 July 2019 UAG meeting Marshall Smith told participants that NASA is going to "turn and burn" from the Moon to Mars, so keep that in mind. In addition, Jake Bleacher, Doug Craig, Dan Matizak, Michelle Rucker, and Pat Troutman will provide background information to UAG attendees.

At the last UAG meeting one of the actions was to form a UAG Task Force to look into NASA's plans to meet the Vice President's direction to dial up NASA's original plans and land people on the Moon by 2024 - and how that meshes with the White House's three previously issued Space Policy Directives. The UAG Task Force members are Eileen Collins, Pam Melroy, Mary Lynne Dittmar, Les Lyles, and David Wolf.

After this briefing the Task Force will go off and do up an assessment - of NASA's assessment - and eventually toss it back to the full UAG and eventually to the National Space Council itself. And then something else will happen I suppose where everyone lays their hands on it for group approval.

This briefing will be "pre-decisional" and "notional", of course. As such, whatever detail emerges please remember that your mileage may vary, contents may settle, etc.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on January 28, 2020 12:24 AM.

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