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President Obama Initiates 90-Day Review Panel For Constellation May 10, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Constellation, NASA, Norm Augustine, Obama.

Coinciding with his budget proposal last week, President Obama announced the creation of a 90-day review panel led by Norman Augustine  (pictured above) to look at NASA’s Constellation program, and any adjustments that could be made to its missions (for both cost and effectiveness).

Augustine (a former Lockheed-Martin President and CEO )  is a veteran of a number of space-related committees, including (as Space Politicsexcellent post notes) a March 2004 hearing of the House Science Committee on the then-freshly-minted Vision for Space Exploration:

“[I]t would be a grave mistake to try to pursue a space program “on the cheap”. To do so is in my opinion an invitation to disaster. There is a tendency in any “can-do” organization to believe that it can operate with almost any budget that is made available. The fact is that trying to do so is a mistake—particularly when safety is a major consideration.”-Norman Augustine, at the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration hearing (as reported by Space Politics)

Augustine is the only member of the panel so far, with the rest to be named soon. NASA Watch says that “A better choice to lead this review could not have been made“–check out and chime in on their forum on who else should join him, and things you would say to his panel, given the opportunity.

“We are planning to spend billions of dollars on the human space flight program and it’s wise to be sure we’re spending that the way we should…New information becomes available all the time. And similarly, we have a new administration and it would probably be imprudent on their part not to examine this major of a program to be sure such a long term undertaking is still on a course that makes sense to them.” -Norman Augustine, during his 5/8/09 teleconference (as reported by CNET.com)

Sounds like this is a ‘friendly’ review, if you will, and something that a lot of good could come out of. It could also give Obama more time to name his NASA administrator (see my theory on why he’s taking so long.)

Keep an eye here for updates on the additional panelists as they’re announced, and any info that comes along from this :)



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