The Augustine Commission – 14 August 2009

The latest bit of tea leaves from the 475 nm Ribbon Commission on HSF appears on the website today:

08.14.2009 – Today, Norm Augustine and the committee members met with OSTP and NASA senior management. It was basically a recapitulation and honing of what was presented in the public session on Wednesday, August 12. As we have advertised, this committee was governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the members took that charge seriously. OSTP/NASA got essentially what the public got on Wednesday. The next step is to prepare the final report which will add more depth and text around what was presented and decided on Wednesday, but it will contain all the same primary messages. Report availability date is TBD.

08.14.2009 – The public meeting on Wednesday went very well, albeit longer than we anticipated. The members fully discussed and deliberated on all the options under consideration for human space flight. They described and discussed the options, the financial considerations for each option, and the evaluation criteria for assessing each option. Then, they down selected the options and discussed all of the evaluation criteria applicable to each option, including scoring them.”

The Office of Science and Space Technology (OSTP) is the Whitehouse office that oversees NASA. They issued the May 7, 2009 letter that lead to the formation of The Augustine Commission.

Now, we are left wondering if the operative phrase will continue to be “No Bucks, No Buck Rogers”? Will the President and the Congress decide that moving NASA’s budget from 0.5% ($16 billion) to 1.0% of the Federal budget, at a time when there are no qualms about $750 billion for bank bailouts or a paltry $2 billion more for cash for clunkers, is an important strategic move? Or will America decide to follow the Chinese emperor, who decided 500 years ago that exploration and innovation was not worth the effort? Who burned the fleet, and forbade building ships with more than two masts?

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