Saturday, 12 September 2009

Augustine Commission Summary Report


The Augustine Commission has released its summary report on the future of US manned spaceflight. The key points appear to be:

  • Finish Space Shuttle ops as planned in 2011
  • Extend IISS to 2020
  • Abandon Ares 1 and probably Ares V to develop a new Ares V Lite mid-range booster
  • Hand man to LEO operations over to private contractors
  • Shift the emphasis from Moon then Mars to "flexibility", which may include both, plus L5, near earth asteroids and even Phobos and Deimos, but no dates

Looking to commercial contractors to do the lift to orbit is a nice step - but:

  • The assumption still appears to be that the contractors will use rockets, and not any form of re-usable system (a super Spaceship 1)
  • Although there is some talk of in-orbit refueling for lunar/mars injection, it appears to be discounted in favour of the single lift approach
  • Although Orion (the new crew capsule - a big Apollo CM) is seen as possibly too big and in need of a trim (everything is "lite" in this report), there still appears to be an acceptance of the "apollo" model rather than going for a spacecraft that only travels orbit to orbit and never has to re-enter

Be interesting to see what extra detail/decisions there are in the final version.

***Imported from old blog***

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