XCOR CEO and Augustine Commission member Jeff Greason addressed the panel’s report in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. He had a few choice things to say about criticism of the commission’s findings and U.S. space policy:
OS: Now, let me put something to you that has been put to me. I donâ€™t necessarily agree with it but it is a sentiment that is out there. By not finding anything useful the U.S. can do in space for NASAâ€™s current human space flight budget of $7 billion or $8 billion a year, the committee failed. Whatâ€™s your reaction to that sentiment?
JG: Itâ€™s not failure to point out truth. The truth is the truth. And it is high time that national space policy was made on the basis of truth and not on the basis of convenience. It is not true to say that we found there is nothing NASA can do within its current budget. There are two options laid out in the report that NASA can do with its current budget. What we did not find was a way for NASA to do significant human exploration beyond low Earth orbit in the near term with this current budget.Â And I donâ€™t like that answer either but that is not going to change it.
He also questioned the assumption that the new Ares rocket that NASA is developing would necessarily be safer than existing expendable boosters such as the Atlas V from Boeing:
So you are now talking about a booster that has the most successful track record of any expendable launch vehicle in the U.S. inventory from a company that has –Â oh, I forget the exact number –Â 60 or 70 consecutive successful launches; a company that launches multi-billion dollar one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable national defense and reconnaissance assets. And a capsule that might come from a company that is responsible for the design and construction of every manned spacecraft in U.S. history. It is difficult to characterize these as dangerous players.
Read the full interview.