Monday, August 24, 2009

Expect no surprises in Augustine report

By Frank Morring, Jr.

The upcoming report of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee will follow closely the options for NASA programs already discussed publicly, and will not march off in any new directions.

The panel is bound by federal open meeting law, and it already has discussed what will be in its report in a series of public meetings (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 3, 6, 13).

Even so, the panel's report will add detail to its public discussion. NASA staffers on temporary assignment to the panel are hammering out a final report for submission to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, working under an Aug. 31 deadline.

The report will organize the various scenarios already discussed into four or five top-level options - ranging from the current lunar return program to a straight shot at Mars - with a few more previously discussed sub-options based on funding and launch vehicles. Estimates on its final length range from 100 to 200 pages.

Panel Chairman Norm Augustine is scheduled to testify on the group's findings in back-to-back House and Senate hearings Sept. 15-16, but the meat of the text already was briefed to White House science and budget officials on Aug. 14.

Read the full article HERE.

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