Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Major NASA Reviews Coming

Refining Constellation’s plans to make 2015 - Hanley proposes major changes

The Constellation Program (CxP) is heading towards a crucial period of its early life, with several studies being set up at various levels to determine the forward plan for both NASA and Constellation.

Lori Garver, former NASA Associate Administrator of Policy and Plans, and space policy adviser to Democratic politicians - who was expected to be named the new NASA Administrator earlier in the week according to sources - will lead a major content review of the Constellation Program, in an attempt to find a way forward to get the schedule “back” into the March, 2015 timeframe for the debut manned flight of Orion.

General Peter Worden, Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC), will also spearhead a NASA review, which is deemed to have “wide scope” - likely to include shuttle extension - while a main body “Blue Ribbon Panel” will work with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in Washington, possibly overseeing all of the studies.

Specifics for the reviews - to be announced in May - are still being built, although sources are noting a 60 day study on the launch vehicles will be undertaken, akin to a updated version of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), while other sources claim that the concentration will be focused soley on the current architecture that centers around the Ares launch vehicles.

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