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Select Key Reports Concerning NASA’s Strategic Direction

1986 Pioneering the Space Frontier: The Report of the National Commission on Space. National Commission on Space. Bantam Books, New York. (Paine Report)

This report emphasized a few key themes:

•   The new scientific knowledge that space exploration will produce about the Universe, the Solar System, our planet and, indeed, the origin and destiny of life.

•   The major technology advances that will be pulled through to strengthen 21st century America’s civilian economy and national security;

•   The leadership that the United States should continue to provide in the development of critical technologies, and in building a Highway to Space and Bridge between Worlds;

•   The new opportunities that we can create by opening the space frontier for personal fulfillment, for enterprise, and for human settlement; and

•   The hopes and dreams inspired by removing terrestrial limits to human aspiration, and the relevance of these hopes and dreams to America’s pioneer heritage (p. 192).

NASA should substantially upgrade its emphasis on long-range spaceflight planning studies. We urge NASA to raise the visibility and organizational stature of planning to ensure that the programs we recommend receive continuing and adequate attention; and that NASA operate on the basis of an annually updated five-year budget plan and a 20-year space plan (p. 193).

1987 NASA Leadership and America’s Future in Space: A Report to the Administrator. Sally K. Ride.

[W]e suggest the outline of one strategy—a strategy of evolution and natural progression. The strategy would begin by increasing our capabilities in transportation and technology—not as goals in themselves, but as the necessary means to achieve our goals in science and exploration. The most critical and immediate needs are related to advanced transportation systems to supplement and complement the Space Shuttle, and advance technology to enable bold mission of the next century (p. 58).

This report recommended the pursuit of four programs in the next 15-20 years (Mars Rover/Sample Return mission, Mission to Planet Earth, humans on Mars, and an outpost on the Moon) as well as the establishment of the Office of Exploration.

   
1988 Letter to the President-Elect of the United States accompanying Towards a New Era in Space: Realigning Policies to a New Reality. National Research Council. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (Stever Report)

Long-term, durable, and widely accepted goals for the nation in space are essential, both to sort out priorities within the space programs, and also to match the pace and direction of the space program with the larger set of national priorities…These goals, established in consultation with the Congress, would provide the stability and consistency that the space program has lacked, and should be an early priority for your civil space policy.



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C Select Key Reports Concerning NASA’s Strategic Direction 1986 Pioneering the Space Frontier: The Report of the National Commission on Space. National Commission on Space. Bantam Books, New York. (Paine Report) This report emphasized a few key themes: • The new scientific knowledge that space exploration will produce about the Universe, the Solar System, our planet and, indeed, the origin and destiny of life. • The major technology advances that will be pulled through to strengthen 21st- century America’s civilian economy and national security; • The leadership that the United States should continue to provide in the development of critical technologies, and in building a Highway to Space and Bridge between Worlds; • The new opportunities that we can create by opening the space frontier for personal fulfillment, for enterprise, and for human settlement; and • The hopes and dreams inspired by removing terrestrial limits to human aspiration, and the relevance of these hopes and dreams to America’s pioneer heritage (p. 192). NASA should substantially upgrade its emphasis on long-range spaceflight planning studies. We urge NASA to raise the visibility and organizational stature of planning to ensure that the programs we recommend receive continuing and adequate attention; and that NASA operate on the basis of an annually updated five-year budget plan and a 20-year space plan (p. 193). 1987 NASA Leadership and America’s Future in Space: A Report to the Administrator. Sally K. Ride. [W]e suggest the outline of one strategy—a strategy of evolution and natural progression. The strategy would begin by increasing our capabilities in transportation and technology—not as goals in themselves, but as the necessary means to achieve our goals in science and exploration. The most critical and immediate needs are related to advanced transportation systems to supplement and complement the Space Shuttle, and advance technology to enable bold mission of the next century (p. 58). This report recommended the pursuit of four programs in the next 15-20 years (Mars Rover/Sample Return mission, Mission to Planet Earth, humans on Mars, and an outpost on the Moon) as well as the establishment of the Office of Exploration. 1988 Letter to the President-Elect of the United States accompanying Towards a New Era in Space: Realigning Policies to a New Reality. National Research Council. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (Stever Report) Long-term, durable, and widely accepted goals for the nation in space are essential, both to sort out priorities within the space programs, and also to match the pace and direction of the space program with the larger set of national priorities…These goals, established in consultation with the Congress, would provide the stability and consistency that the space program has lacked, and should be an early priority for your civil space policy. 57

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58 NASA’S STRATEGIC DIRECTION AND THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL CONSENSUS 1989 “Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.” George H.W. Bush. July 20. George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Texas. I’m proposing a long-range, continuing commitment. First, for the coming decade, for the 1990’s: Space Station Freedom, our critical next step in all our space endeavors. And next, for the new century: Back to the Moon; back to the future. And this time, back to stay. And then a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet: a manned mission to Mars. 1990 Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. (Augustine Commission 1) It is recommended that the United States’ future civil space program consist of a balanced set of five principal elements: • A science program, which enjoys highest priority within the civil space program, and is maintained at or above the current fraction of the NASA budget • A Mission to Planet Earth focusing on environmental measurements • A Mission from Planet Earth, with the long-term goal of human exploration of Mars, preceded by a modified Space Station which emphasizes life sciences, an exploration base on the Moon, and robotic precursors to Mars • A significantly expanded technology development activity, closely coupled to space mission objectives, with particular attention devoted to engines • A robust space transportation system (p. 47). 1991 America at the Threshold: America’s Space Exploration Initiative. Report of the Synthesis Group on America’s Space Exploration Initiative. Available at http://history.nasa.gov/staffordrep/ main_toc.pdf. (Stafford Report) For the effective implementation of the Space Exploration Initiative: Establish within NASA a long range strategic plan for the nation’s civil space program, with the Space Exploration Initiative as its centerpiece (p. 7). 1992 A Post Cold War Assessment of U.S. Space Policy. A Task Group Report. Vice President’s Space Policy Advisory Board. Available at http://history.nasa.gov/33080.pt1.pdf. Proceeding ahead with a well-conceived, successfully executed national space program aimed at concrete objectives that are scientifically, economically, and socially beneficial, and that serve important U.S. interests, is the best way to ensure leadership in space (p. 15). 2003 Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Available at http://caib.nasa.gov/. [N]one of the competing long-term visions for space have found support from the nation’s leadership, or indeed among the general public. The U.S. civilian space effort has moved forward for more than 30 years without a guiding vision, and none seems imminent. In the past, this absence of a strategic vision in itself has reflected a policy decision, since there have been many opportunities for national leaders to agree on ambitious goals for space, and none have done so (p. 210). 2004 The Vision for Space Exploration. NP-2004-01-334-HQ. NASA, Washington, D.C. The fundamental goal of this vision is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program. In support of this goal, the United States will: • Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond;

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APPENDIX C 59 • Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations; • Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and • Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests (p. iii). 2005 A Journey to Inspire, Innovate, and Discover. President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. (Aldridge Report) The space exploration vision must be managed as a significant national priority, a shared commitment of the President, Congress, and the American people (p. 6). NASA’s relationship to the private sector, its organizational structure, business culture, and management processes—all largely inherited from the Apollo era—must be decisively transformed to implement the new, multi-decadal space exploration vision (p. 7). Recommended the establishment of a permanent Space Exploration Steering Council. 2006 An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs. National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. NASA is being asked to accomplish too much with too little. The agency does not have the necessary resources to carry out the tasks of completing the International Space Station, returning humans to the Moon, maintaining vigorous space and Earth science and microgravity life and physical sciences programs, and sustaining capabilities in aeronautical research (p. 2). Both the executive and the legislative branches of the federal government need to seriously examine the mismatch between the tasks assigned to NASA and the resources that the agency has been provided to accomplish them and should identify actions that will make the agency’s portfolio of responsibilities sustainable (p. 2). 2008 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008. NASA is and should remain a multi-mission agency with a balanced and robust set of core missions in science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration. Developing United States human space flight capabilities to allow independent American access to the International Space Station, and to explore beyond low Earth orbit, is a strategically important national imperative, and all prudent steps should thus be taken to bring the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle to full operational capability as soon as possible and to ensure the effective development of a United States heavy-lift launch capability for missions beyond low Earth orbit. 2009 America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs. National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. (Lyles Report) Emphasis should be placed on aligning space program capabilities with current high-priority national imperatives, including those where space is not traditionally considered. The U.S. civil space program has long demonstrated a capacity to effectively serve U.S. national interests (p. 5). The following recommendations focused on climate and environmental monitoring, scientific inquiry, advanced space technology, international cooperation, human spaceflight, and organizing to meet national needs. On organizing to meet national needs:

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60 NASA’S STRATEGIC DIRECTION AND THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL CONSENSUS The President of the United States should task senior executive-branch officials to align agency and department strategies; identify gaps or shortfalls in policy coverage, policy implementation, and resource allocation; and identify new opportunities for space-based endeavors that will help to address the goals of both the U.S. civil and national security space programs (p. 8). 2009 Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation. Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee. Executive Office of the President. (Augustine Commission 2) The Committee developed five alternatives for the Human Spaceflight Program. It found: • Human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit is not viable under the FY 2010 budget guideline. • Meaningful human exploration is possible under a less constrained budget, increasing annual expenditures by approximately $3 billion in real purchasing power above the FY 2010 guidance. • Funding at the increased level would allow either an exploration program to explore the Moon First or one that follows the Flexible Path. Either could produce significant results in a reasonable time frame (p. 17). 2010 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010. While commercial transportation systems have the promise to contribute valuable services, it is in the United States national interest to maintain a government operated space transportation system for crew and cargo delivery to space. The United States must develop, as rapidly as possible, replacement vehicles capable of providing both human and cargo launch capability to low-Earth orbit and to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. 2010 National Space Policy of the United States of America. June 28. The United States will pursue the following goals in its national space programs: • Energize competitive domestic industries . . . • Expand international cooperation . . . • Strengthen stability in space . . . • Increase assurance and resilience of mission-essential functions . . . • Pursue human and robotic initiatives . . . • Improve space-based Earth and solar observation . . . 2010 Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 2011. The Committee believes this bill represents a solid compromise for human spaceflight that reaches beyond low Earth orbit with affordable vehicles; makes key investments in the burgeoning commercial launch industry that is already poised to bring cargo to the ISS; before the Shuttle is retired in 2011, authorizes one additional Shuttle flight, if determined to be safe, to preposition supplies at the ISS; and revitalizes NASA technology programs. The Committee invests in a new heavy-lift rocket to be built by 2017, along with the Orion capsule to carry astronauts, so NASA can again send humans on new journeys of discovery.