Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Augustine Report

SUMMARY REPORT of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It is
perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources. Space
operations are among the most complex and unforgiving pursuits ever undertaken by humans. It
really is rocket science. Space operations become all the more difficult when means do not match
aspirations. Such is the case today.

The nation is facing important decisions on the future of human spaceflight. Will we leave
the close proximity of low-Earth orbit, where astronauts have circled since 1972, and explore the
solar system, charting a path for the eventual expansion of human civilization into space? If so,
how will we ensure that our exploration delivers the greatest benefit to the nation? Can we explore
with reasonable assurances of human safety? And, can the nation marshal the resources to embark
on the mission?

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