Monday, June 1, 2009

Human Space Flight Review Committee

NASA has made an official announcement of the members of the Human Space Flight Review Committee, the so-called "Augustine Commission II," (in reference to a similar commission chaired by Norm Augustine that issued a report in 1990).

President Barack Obama announced the creation of the new Commission May 7, charging Committee chairman Norm Augustine with a rapid review of NASA's long-term manned spaceflight policy, and the Constellation program in particular, "over this summer."

The new commission is to meet for the first time on June 17, also presently scheduled launch date of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar CRater Remote Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), first in NASA's Lunar Precursor Robotics program.

Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and led the 1990 Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program and the 2007 National Academies commission that produced the landmark report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, as well as a number of other high-profile national commissions.

Lunar Pioneer posted some biographical and a brief examination of known panel member's political federal campaign contributions earlier.

CHRISTOPHER F.CHYBA, Ph.D. - Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. One time Carl Sagan Chair for Study of Life in the Universe at SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA; Supporter of President's nuclear disarmament policy, writing here.

Dr. SALLY RIDE - Physicist and a former NASA astronaut who, in June 1983 became the first American woman and youngest American (at the time) to enter space. Headed Ride Commission investigating Challenger Disaster.

General LESTER LYLES (USAF, Ret.) - Previously mentioned as likely NASA administrator appointee, "an expert in military space issues and member of NASA Advisory Committee," "Director of DPL and DP&L since 2004. Independent consultant since August 2003; Commander of Air Force Materiel Command from April 2000 to August 2003 and the 27th Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force from 1999 to 2000. General Lyles is a Trustee of Analytic Services Inc. and a Director of General Dynamics Corporation, Precision Castparts Corp., Battelle Memorial Institute, USAA and KBR, Inc. General Lyles also is a Managing Partner of Four Seasons Ventures, LLC."

EDWARD F. CRAWLEY, Sc.D. - Ford Professor - Engineering Systems Division, MIT, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems. Engaged with NASA on design of lunar and earth observing systems; BP on oil exploration system designs.

BOHDAN "Bo" BEJMUK - Respected engineer and executive at Boeing; joined SeaLaunch in 1997 as Vice President and General Manager of Home Port in Long Beach, where he helped put together and run the company’s unique offshore rocket launch system. He also assembled and led an elite Boeing engineering team to assist leading the integration of Russian elements into the Station. He was also involved in the space shuttle program from its earliest days.

JEFF GREASON - President, CEO and founder of XCOR Aerospace and the Personal Spaceflight Federation. He was the team leader for engine development at the now-defunct Rotary Rocket, and previously worked at the computer chip manufacturer Intel. He has been active in lobbying to encourage support for private spaceflight activities.

WANDA AUSTIN -- President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation, an independent non-profit dedicated to assisting the nation's space program. NASA recently commissioned her company to study whether military rockets could lift people and cargo to ISS and the moon, and the study concluded they could, contrary to previous assertions.

DR. LEROY CHIAO -- former astronaut, former International Space Station commander and engineering consultant.

DR. CHARLES KENNEL -- chair of the National Academies Space Studies Board, and director and professor emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Kennel's name is the only one yet to surface in reports in recent days.

In his capacity as a member of the Space Studies Board, he co-authored many milestone studies commissioned by NASA to determine and oversee implementation of long-term space policy, including the highly influential Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon (2007), which has since a kind of Bible for lunar mission studies and proposal writers, including the science review for LADEE, an immediate follow-up mission to LRO & LCROSS, now slated for launch in 2011, designed to improve understanding of the dynamics of the dusty lunar exosphere.

According the NASA's official announcement, June 1:

"Norman Augustine will chair the independent review of U.S. human space flight plans. During the course of the review, the panel will examine ongoing and planned NASA development activities and potential alternatives in order to present options for advancing a safe, innovative, affordable and sustainable human space flight program following the space shuttle's retirement. The committee will present its results in time to support an administration decision on the way forward by August 2009.

"I look forward to working with the members of the committee to assist in defining the future U.S. human space flight program," Augustine said. "The members offer a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds, and we are all committed to offering sensible proposals that will serve the White House and NASA in their deliberations."

"Dr. W. Michael Hawes is leading the NASA review team that will provide technical and analytic support to the committee. Hawes is NASA's associate administrator for program analysis and evaluation. Philip McAlister is the executive director of the committee and the designated federal official.

"The committee will hold several public meetings at different U.S. locations. The first public meeting will take place June 17 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EDT at the Carnegie Institution, located at 1530 P Street NW in Washington. Topics on the agenda for the meeting include previous studies about U.S. human space flight; national space policy; international cooperation; evolved expendable launch vehicles; commercial human space flight capabilities; and exploration technology planning."

"The Federal Register published a notice May 15 officially announcing NASA's establishment of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. The committee will operate according to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. NASA Acting Administrator Chris Scolese signed the charter for the committee Monday, enabling it to begin operations. The charter can be viewed HERE.