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Augustine Panel Members Announced, Charter Signed; Public Meetings Set June 1, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Augustine Panel, NASA, Obama.


The  Norm Augustine-led 90-day review panel for Constellation is now official, with the remaining panel members announced and the first meeting set.

Initiated by President Obama a few weeks ago, the panel was formed to see if more cost-effective alternatives to the current Constellation slate can be found. 

The charter (PDF) signed by interim adminstrator Chris Scolese today identifies four primary goals the panel will look at, as well as two secondary goals:

a) Expediting a new U.S. capability to support utilization of the International Space Station (ISS);
b) supporting missions to the Moon and other destinations beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO);
c) stimulating commercial space flight capability; and
d) fitting within the current budget profile for NASA exploration activities.
Secondary goals: Examine the amount of R+D and robotic support needed to make missions more effective/affordable; and explore opportunities for international cooperation.

So that’s the framework with which the panel will be working under, with the first public meeting set for Wednesday, June 17th from 9am-5pm at the Carnegie Institution for Science in DC (Map).

Here’s a link-a-riffic look at the members of the panel:

Keep an eye here for developments as the panel begins to meet…



1. Charlie Murphy - July 12, 2009

I believe this panel will be objective and make sound recommendations on the future of space exploration. It is unfortunate that this country seems to have to kill an important program to pursue a new one. The three Saturn V rockets on display at KSC, JSC and MSFC are not models – they were flight ready launch vehicles. We stopped going to the moon 40 years ago when we still had the capability. Trying to re-establish that capability does not have to be mutually exclusive to maintaining human access to space with the capability we have. Nothing in the Constellation Program comes close to replaceing current capabilities in up and down mass, and crew size. To potentially abandon the US access to space through reliance on other countries is preposterous. The benefits of space exploration should not require a lot of defense, but unfortunately it does. Money spent on space exploration is spent here on earth creating employment, developing new technology and giving the US continued preeminence in these endeavors. I would hope that the Augustine Panel considers co- existent Programs to use the ISS as well as extend exploration. There is no real urgency in going back to the moon since 40 years between trips so far has been acceptable.

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