Future of NASA: Space Policy Issues Facing Congress [July 8, 2010]   [open pdf - 891KB]

From the Summary: "For the past several years, the priorities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have been governed by the Vision for Space Exploration. The Vision was announced by President Bush in January 2004 and endorsed by Congress in the 2005 and 2008 NASA authorization acts (P.L. 109-155 and P.L. 110-422). It directed NASA to focus its efforts on returning humans to the Moon by 2020 and some day sending them to Mars and 'worlds beyond.' The resulting efforts are now approaching major milestones, such as the end of the space shuttle program, design review decisions for the new spacecraft intended to replace the shuttle, and decisions about whether to extend the operation of the International Space Station. At the same time, concerns have grown about whether NASA can accomplish the planned program of human exploration of space without significant growth in its budget. A high-level independent review of the future of human space flight, chaired by Norman R. Augustine, issued its final report in October 2009. It presented several options as alternatives to the Vision and concluded that for human exploration to continue 'in any meaningful way,' NASA would require an additional $3 billion per year above current plans. In its FY2011 budget request, the Obama Administration proposed cancelling the Constellation spacecraft development program and eliminating the goal of returning humans to the Moon."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41016
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