Augustine commission delays report release, Orlando Sentinel
"An independent space panel won't release its report on American human spaceflight today as expected. Instead the commission is shooting for a release in mid-September, said NASA's liaison to the 10-member panel, led by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine. The committee, however, aims to send a draft of their executive summary to NASA and the White House sometime in the next 36 hours, said NASA official Phil McAlister. He said the report won't contain any surprises and should correspond to four to seven options developed in hearings earlier this month."
Keith's note: I am told that the White House has already been at work for some time on their analysis and response based to the report based upon initial outbriefings and expected "options" (Shh! they are really recommendations. OSTP just likes the "options" spin better such that they are seen as making the decisions.) That said, when the report is formally delivered - and the White House officially responds - you can be certain that this will not be the final word.
Additional studies will be needed (playing one option off against another) and they will most certainly be done in parallel with development of NASA's FY 2011 budget. Hmm ... possible midcourse changes in NASA's human space flight policy and simultaneous preparation of a new budget - all in time for the traditional "pass back" of that budget by NASA to OMB at Thanksgiving. It is going to be a busy Fall.
Sources report that there were supposed to be congressional hearings of some sort with Holdren, Bolden et al on/around 15-16 September - but that was before the Augustine Committee decided to put more work into their report. Stay tuned.