Policy: July 2009 Archives

Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee Meeting: KSC

You can track Twitter posts on this meeting here

Panel Wants Deep Space, Not Landings as U.S. Goal, NY Times

"A panel examining the future of the United States' human spaceflight program will suggest that the Obama administration may want to skip the part about landing on other worlds. That could, panel members said Thursday, enable the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to send astronauts to more corners of the solar system more quickly while keeping within a limited budget. But it would also eliminate the possibility of astronauts leaving new iconic footprints on the Moon or Mars for a couple of decades."

NASA panel may propose 'deep space' crewed missions, New Scientist

"Crawley argued that this kind of activity would help pave the way for eventual human missions to the Martian surface. Preparing for such missions requires gaining more experience in operating on the surface of bodies beyond Earth, Crawley said. But it may actually be more critical to gain experience with long-duration space missions far from Earth, which human missions to Mars would require, he said."

Longer Life for the Space Station Is Advised, NY Times

"Members of the government panel reviewing NASA's human spaceflight program said Tuesday that the life of the International Space Station should be extended past its planned demise in 2016."

Congresswoman Kosmas' Statement to the Augustine Committee

"One common responsibility for each of the Working Groups of this Committee is that each is focusing on 'industrial skill base'. Nowhere is that issue more critical than here in Florida. To that end, I urge you to consider offering an option that would establish a program office at KSC to manage the supply chain and logistics for the next generation spacecraft. As the final destination of the vast majority of the components and systems purchased by the Federal Government before departure into space, KSC could lead the way to a more sophisticated procurement mentality - which would reduce operating costs - and a healthier industrial base for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial launch activities."

Missing The Point

Missing The Mark, Editorial, Marcia Smith, SpacePolicyOnline.com

"Even the redoubtable Keith Cowing on NASAWatch is waxing philosophically about NASA as the new team takes the helm. A long time observer and often critic of the agency, his NASAs Second Chance post today is well worth reading whether or not you agree with his premise that Ares is the root of the problem. But these commentaries all seem to miss the mark. They are commentaries on NASA. What can NASA do? What should NASA do? Why cant NASA be better than it is? How will Charlie and Lori fix NASA? NASA is the wrong target."

Keith's note: I am flattered by Marcia's comments - but I am not certain where I said that Ares was the root of the problem. Rather, I feel that it is just the most recent example of things gone awry at NASA - the sort of thing you don't want to allow to linger when trying to get the agency back on course. I do heartily agree with Marcia, however, that, in the end, it is up to the President himself. Either his rhetoric is just that - or it is how he is setting the stage for what he plans for NASA. And if the President does want NASA to do certain things, he needs to provide the resources i.e. adequate funding so as to allow them to do so. But if NASA cannot facilitate that process whereby it gets its own house in order so as to be worthy of the President's attention, then the agency has no one to blame but itself.

U.S. Space Program Should Align With Broader National Goals

"The U.S. civil space program should be aligned with widely acknowledged national challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council. Aligning the program with pressing issues - environmental, economic, and strategic - is a national imperative, and will continue to grow in importance. Coordination across federal agencies, combined with a competent technical work force, effective infrastructure, and investment in technology and innovation, would lay the foundation for a purposeful, strategic U.S. space program that would serve national interests.

In aligning civil space activities with national objectives, several priorities are clear, the report says. Earth stewardship should be an important focus of future space activities, with NASA and NOAA leading the formation of an international satellite-observing system to monitor global climate change. In addition, NASA should cooperate with other agencies and international partners to continue scientific exploration in space, seeking knowledge of the universe and searching for life beyond Earth. The report also recommends revitalizing NASA's advanced technology development program by establishing a DARPA-like organization within NASA to support priority civil and commercial space programs, and development of "dual-use" space technologies, with both civil and defense applications."

Keith's note: According to the National Research Council this report will be issued on 7 July: "A new report from the National Research Council, Americas Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program With National Needs, identifies overarching goals for the U.S. space program and discusses issues critically important to reaching those goals. The report also recommends a long-term plan for space policy that is scientifically, technically, and politically credible, and is based upon lessons learned from successes and realistic expectations for future resources."



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