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Marcia Smith's Presentation to the "Aligning Policies and Budgets" Symposium, June 2, 2009

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 03-Jun-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

Several people at the "Aligning Policies and Budgets" symposium at GWU's Space Policy Institute today asked for copies of my Powerpoint presentation, and I promised to post it here. For anyone who is interested, here it is! View PDF

NASA Announces Members of the Augustine Panel

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 01-Jun-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

NASA has formally announced the members of the Augustine panel on options for NASA's human space flight program. The list includes all of those identified by the Orlando Sentinel's Write Stuff blog over the weekend, plus one more -- Charlie Kennel, chair of the NRC's Space Studies Board and a distinguished scientist whose career spans astrophysics, solar and space physics, and earth science. The first meeting will be held on June 17 from 9:00-5:00 EDT at the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The meeting is open to the public up to the seating capacity of the room.

The 10 members of the panel are:

  • Norman Augustine (chair), Lockheed Martin (Ret.)
  • Wanda Austin, President, Aerospace Corporation
  • Bohdan Bejmuk, Constellation program Standing Review Board chair and former manager of Boeing's Space Shuttle and Sea Launch programs
  • Leroy Chiao, former astronaut, Consultant
  • Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs, Princeton
  • Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering, MIT
  • Jeffrey Greason, co-founder and CEO, XCOR Aerospace, and vice-chair, Personal Spaceflight Federation
  • Charles Kennel, chair, NRC Space Studies Board and director emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Gen. Lester Lyles (USAF, Ret.), chair, NRC Committee on Rationale and Goals for the U.S. Civil Space Program
  • Sally Ride, former astronaut, CEO Sally Ride Science

Another Augustine Panel Member?

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 30-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

The Write Stuff blog is reporting that former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao may be another member of the Augustine panel. Still no official word on the panel's makeup. (See our previous story about rumors re other members of the panel.) If true that would put two former astronauts (Chiao and Sally Ride) on the panel.

Meanwhile, NASAWatch/SpaceRef carries a NASA notice that apparently will be printed in the June 1 issue of the Federal Register announcing that the first meeting of the panel will be June 17, 2009 from 9:00-5:00. It will be held at the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Phone 202-387-6400. The meeting is open to the public up to the seating capacity of the room.

Six Person ISS Crew a Reality at Last

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

The Soyuz TMA-15 mission successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) today, bringing three new international crew members who will reside aboard the station for 6 months. They join the three-person international crew already aboard the station, who will remain for another 4 months. For the first time, the ISS has a permanent crew of six which should permit significantly more scientific research to be conducted.

After more than 10 years of assembly flights, the ISS finally has a full crew complement and the crew represents the international character of the ISS partnership: two from Russia and one each from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan. According to the European Space Agency, this is the first time that representatives from all the space station partners are aboard the station at the same time. A "permanent crew" does not mean that these individuals will remain in orbit permanently. Instead, it means that at any given time, 6 crew members will be aboard the station, with crew members rotating on a regular basis. The three who have been aboard the station for several weeks already ("Expedition 20") will be replaced in October; the crew members who arrived today will be replaced in November.

Eight more shuttle missions will continue to take elements of the ISS into orbit to complete construction and outfit the facility for years of operations. The next flight, STS-127, is due for launch in June to deliver the final two parts of Japan's laboratory, Kibo; one segment already is on orbit. NASA hopes to complete all eight shuttle flights by Sept. 30, 2010, but that deadline -- set during the Bush Administration -- has been relaxed. NASA will take whatever time it needs to assure crew safety, although there are no funds allocated to shuttle flights after that date, which is raising some concern in Congress. (See our hearing summaries for the NASA budget hearings on May 19 and May 21, 2009.)

New Hearing Summaries Now Available

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM)

Summaries of five congressional hearings held during the week of May 18, 2009 are now available at

NASA's FY2010 Budget Request

  • House Science and Technology Committee, May 19
  • Senate Appropriations CJS Subcommittee, May 21
  • Senate Commerce Committee, Science and Space Subcommittee, May 21

National Security Space FY2010 Budget Request

  • Senate Armed Services Committee, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, May 20
  • House Armed Services Committee, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, May 21

For a complete listing of our hearing summaries, click on "Our Hearing Summaries" on the left menu of our home page. For those specific to the civil or military space program, click on "Civil" or "Military" on the top menu and then on "Our Hearing Summaries."

Augustine Panel Members?

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

The Orlando Sentinel's Write Stuff blog has published the names of what it says are seven members of the Augustine panel. Neither NASA nor the White House has yet made an official announcement of the members other than Mr. Augustine himself. The Write Stuff list includes former NASA astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to journey to space; Wanda Austin, president of the Aerospace Corporation; MIT professor Ed Crawley; Gen. Lester Lyles (USAF, ret.), once rumored to be a candidate for NASA Administrator and currently chair of a National Research Council committee deliberating on the future of the U.S. space program; scientist Chris Chyba; Jeff Greason of the entrepreneurial space company XCOR and the Personal Spaceflight Foundation; and Bohdan Bejmuk of Boeing.

New NRO Director to be Named

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:15 PM) reports that General Bruce Carlson (Air Force, retired) is likely to be named as the new director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and operates the nation's spy satellites. He would replace Scott Large, who resigned in January. Carlson is the former commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

Events of Interest Next Week (June 1-5)

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:13 PM)

Next week (June 1-5, 2009) no space-related congressional hearings have been publicly announced as of yet. The Write Stuff blog reports that Senator Nelson is trying to expedite the nomination process for Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver, however, so a nomination hearing could be scheduled at any time after the nomination is formally submitted to the Senate.

George Washington University's Space Policy Institute will hold a day-long seminar on Aligning Priorities and Budgets on June 2.

Augustine Panel Members to be Announced Soon

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 28-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:12 PM)

Aerospace Daily reports that the members of the Augustine panel to assess options for NASA's human space flight program will be named imminently. According to the report, Mr. Augustine wants members who are open-minded.

While the charter to the group from the White House Office of Science and Technology is fairly clear, not all members of the space community agree on what limits, if any, should bound the panel. Differences were aired at the May 13 meeting of the NRC's Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and last week Senators Bill Nelson and David Vitter said the panel should not be constrained by current budget assumptions.

Soyuz Launch Ushers in New Era for the International Space Station

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 27-May-2009 (Updated: 05-Dec-2011 06:17 PM)

The long-awaited expansion of the permanent crew size of the International Space Station (ISS) to six is about to become a reality. The result should be a substantial increase in the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting complex.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft was launched this morning from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan with three crew members -- one each from Canada, Belgium and Russia. They are scheduled to dock with the ISS on Friday and will join the three current ISS crew - one each from the United States, Russia and Japan. The makeup of the crew highlights the international character of the ISS endeavor. The ISS is being built by a partnership composed of the United States, Russia, 11 members of the European Space Agency, Japan, and Canada.

While it is common to have six crew members aboard the ISS for about a week during crew changeovers, and larger complements while the space shuttle is docked, those are temporary. The "six person crew" milestone indicates that six people will be aboard the ISS permanently. Like the 2- and 3-person permanent crews that have been the norm since the first crew arrived in November 2000, the individuals who comprise the crew will change on a regular basis. Regular tours of duty are 4-6 months for any one person.

Routine operation and maintenance of the ISS complex is estimated to consume essentially full time for two to two and a half members of the crew. Consequently, when only three permanent crew are aboard, little time is available for scientific research, which was one of the basic rationales for building the ISS. The increased crew size should mean increased scientific research which may help build support for continued ISS operations. Currently, NASA expects to discontinue its support of the ISS after 2016, although discussions are ongoing among NASA and the other partners about whether that date should be extended.

Events of Interest

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