Thursday, June 25, 2009

Panel to review NASA work

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Officially, it's the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans commission, better known as the Augustine Commission after its chairman, aerospace veteran Norman Augustine.

The 10-member commission was appointed by the White House in May with the task of reviewing NASA's manned spaceflight and exploration capabilities and plans.

Today, NASA officials confirmed, commissioners will tour Marshall Space Flight Center. No itinerary will be released and there will be no media event.

Commission members will also tour the United Launch Alliance rocket plant in Decatur while in the area.

The Huntsville-area public will get a chance to address the commission next month when it returns to town July 28 for a public hearing.

At a public meeting last week, the panel heard from a variety of NASA and aerospace industry leaders on topics that ranged from maximizing use of the International Space Station to reworking the space shuttle as an unmanned vehicle to developing commercial and NASA rockets such as the Marshall-managed Ares and United Launch Alliance's Delta IV and Atlas V.

NASA's future has been widely debated over the past six months, since President Barack Obama took office and Dr. Michael Griffin stepped down as NASA administrator. Griffin has since joined the faculty of the University of Alabama in Huntsville as an eminent scholar.

Times Staff Writer Shelby Spires contributed to thisreport.


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