Augustine Commission Summary Report Posted


I’ve posted before about the “Augustine Commission” – a panel of aerospace experts assembled to assess the status of NASA’s human spaceflight program. Well, today they released a 12 page summary of their findings. The full report is still in the works, but this 12 page summary is the short and sweet version. I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and read the summary, but  if you don’t have time, here is a list of some of the key findings:

  • “The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory.”
  • “The Committee finds that Mars is the ultimate destination for human exploration; but it is not the best first
  • “When constrained to [the current] budget profile, Ares I and Orion are not available until after the ISS
    has been de-orbited. The heavy-lift vehicle, Ares V, is not available until the late 2020s, and worse,
    there are insufficient funds to develop the lunar lander and lunar surface systems until well into the
    2030s, if ever.”
  • “Under current conditions, the gap in U.S. ability to launch astronauts
    into space will stretch to at least seven years. The Committee did not identify any credible
    approach employing new capabilities that could shorten the gap to less than six years.”
  • “Not to extend [ISS] operation would significantly impair U.S. ability to develop and lead future international
    spaceflight partnerships.”
  • “Commercial services to deliver crew to low-Earth orbit are within reach.”
  • “Investment in a well-designed and adequately funded space technology program is critical to enable progress in exploration.”
Explore posts in the same categories: Humans in Space, NASA, space policy

3 Comments on “Augustine Commission Summary Report Posted”

  1. jshoer Says:

    I particularly liked this snippet, from the close of section 2:

    “The Committee strongly believes it is time for NASA to reassume its crucial role of
    developing new technologies for space. Today, the alternatives available for exploration systems
    are severely limited because of the lack of a strategic investment in technology development in past
    decades. NASA now has an opportunity to develop a technology roadmap that is aligned with an
    exploration mission that will last for decades. If appropriately funded, a technology development
    program would re-engage the minds at American universities, in industry and within NASA. The
    investments should be designed to increase the capabilities and reduce the costs of future
    exploration. This will benefit human and robotic exploration, the commercial space community,
    and other U.S. government users.”

  2. […] have released a 12 page summary of their findings, and it’s got some exciting stuff! As Ryan said, the summary is well-worth reading on your own, but, if you lack the time, here are some of the key […]

  3. pulo Says:

    “…Mars is the ultimate destination for human exploration…”

    Thats it? Mars and we’re done? The ultimate destination? I’m all for Mars, but lets plan to keep going. Its a big universe out there.

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