•   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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