Augustine, Wolf Agree: NASA Headed for a Ditch

Norman Augustine and Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf probably don’t agree on much, but there’s one thing they do see eye-to-eye one: NASA is underfunded and the agency is headed for serious problems unless something major is done.

“I think with regard to this year’s budget, the match is reasonable,” Augustine said. “But if we’re to have a program of the type that we described as attractive in the report that we put out, there’s not enough money in the out years to do it. The question is whether we’ll add that money in the out years or not. If we don’t have it, then we’re probably pursuing the wrong program. If we add the money, then this will be the right program, in my judgment.”


NASA Breakout Session Video: Jumpstarting New Technologies

Norm Augustine, chair, Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, hosts “Jumpstarting the New Technologies to Take Us Beyond,” one of four sessions held concurrently during a NASA-hosted “Conference on the American Space Program for the 21st Century” at the Kennedy Space Center to discuss President Obamas new direction for the agency.

Augustine: New NASA Plan Matches Means to Ends, Should Be Executable


In 2009, I had the honor of leading a committee comprised of individuals with extensive experience in space activities in an assessment of NASA’s human spaceflight program and plans. We found that the current Constellation program was unsustainable and was highly unlikely to get humans to the International Space Station before its planned de-orbit or back to the Moon until roughly 20 years in the future. The root cause has been an incompatibility of funding resources and work scope in the human spaceflight program, a situation that has persisted for a number of years.

Our committee was specifically not tasked to make recommendations but rather to consider alternative paths going forward. In an effort to maintain an unfettered perspective we held no discussions on an overall preferred option. The plan released with the President’s FY 2011 budget does appear to respond to the primary concerns highlighted in our committee’s report.


Augustine Gets Cool Reception on the Hill


Return-to-moon plan gets boost on Capitol Hill
Associated Press

“With the resources available, the program I think is fatally flawed,” testified Norman Augustine, head of the panel of experts appointed by President Barack Obama.

But congressmen from both parties, including the wife of an astronaut, came to the 5-year-old moon plan’s defense. They even attacked the Augustine panel for referring to the plan in the past tense at one point.


Augustine to Testify Before Congress on Sept. 15-16

NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)
NASA's Ares I rocket lifts off in this artist's conception. (Credit: NASA)

No Surprises Coming In Augustine Report
Aviation Week

The upcoming report of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee will follow closely the options for NASA programs already discussed publicly, and will not march off in any new directions.

The panel is bound by federal open meeting law, and it already has discussed what will be in its report in a series of public meetings (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 3, 6, 13).


Augustine’s Chairmanship of Review Commission Highly Ironic

normaugustineAugustine’s Laws
by Jeffrey Manber

Aviation Week

To find some guidance on what Augustine may well be thinking, I pulled from my bookshelf the 1982 classic “Augustine Law’s,” written by none other than the former chairman of Lockheed Martin, and the consummate federal tea-reader Norm Augustine. The same Augustine now heading up the blue-ribbon U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

Turns out there is a whole chapter on the value of commissions in his book. Here’s the first sentence: “It has long been recognized that the formation of a committee is a powerful technique for avoiding responsibility, deferring difficult decisions and averting blame….while at the same time maintaining a semblance of action.”

And its downhill from there.

Read the full story.

Augustine Panel to Hold First Public Meeting


The first public meeting of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17, at the Carnegie Institute, located at 1530 P Street NW in Washington. The meeting will take place in the auditorium and is open to the public. No pre-registration is required.


The Space Review: Augustine, NASA, Space Debris and the Ozone Layer

The Space Review looks at military space policy, the Augustine commission, space debris, NASA’s role in diplomacy, the impact of space tourism on the Earth’s ozone layer, and a documentary.

Space policy 101: military space 2009
 In the conclusion of a two-part article, Dwayne Day reports on a recent symposium that examined the current state of military space policy.
Monday, June 15, 2009

NASA and soft power, again
 Taylor Dinerman discusses how the US can further develop that soft power through enhanced international cooperation.

Space and (or versus) the environment
Jeff Foust discussed the effect of space tourism on the ozone layer. 

The gun pointed at the head of the universe
Dwayne Day reports on a recent Capitol Hill event that discussed solutions to the space debris problem. Monday

How to cut budgets and influence policy
s the Augustine committee begins work this week on its review of NASA’s human spaceflight plans, its analysis takes place in the shadow of both near-term and out-year budget cuts. Michael Huang wonders if this is part of a strategy that could imperil the future of human spaceflight at NASA overall.

Preview: Live from the Moon

Jeff Foust reviews an upcoming documentary that recounts the development of the cameras and other technologies needed to provide live television from the surface of the Moon.

NASA Creates Website for Public Input into Augustine Panel

Ares 1-X undergoing assembly
Ares 1-X undergoing assembly


NASA is inviting the public to make its voice heard as a panel of experts undertakes an independent review of planned U.S. human space flight activities.

NASA has created a Web site for the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee to facilitate a two-way conversation with the public about the future direction of the agency’s space flight programs.


The Space Review: ISS, SSP, NRO and Norm

International Space Station
International Space Station

The Space Review includes the following analyzes this week:

SSP: a spherical architecture
Trevor Brown suggests an alternative architecture for space solar power that could make such systems much simpler.

Waiting for Augustine
Jeff Foust reports on reactions from a variety of people on what the Augustine panel should do.

A solution to the space station’s long-term future
Edward Ellegood examines how can NASA continue to operate the International Space Station, now a “national laboratory”, for years to come while also funding its exploration plans.

Look! Up in the air! No, down on the ground! The NRO’s domestic ground stations
Dwayne Day discusses a newly-declassified document that, for the first time, reveals the details of National Reconnaissance Office’s ground station system.

Augustine Panel to Include XCOR’s Greason, Sally Ride

The Orlando Sentinel has identified most of the members of the review panel that will be led by Norm Augustine to review the troubled Constellation lunar program.

The list includes some interesting names, including XCOR CEO Jeff Greason, former NASA astronaut Sally Ride, Aerospace Corporation CEO Wanda Austin, and former Boeing executive Bohdan “Bo” Bejmuk (who helped to put together Sea Launch).

Read the full list here.