Press Release

Coalition for Space Exploration Response to the National Research Council Report on Human Space Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2014
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Coalition for Space Exploration Response to the National Research Council Report on Human Space Flight

The Coalition for Space Exploration (Coalition) applauds the efforts of the National Research Council (NRC) in the generation and findings of the report, “Pathways to Exploration – Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration.” The overarching conclusion of the study is that human spaceflight (HSF) should remain a national priority for the United States with a horizon goal of reaching Mars.

The study recommends a “pathway” approach to exploring Mars which builds upon the current HSF program with emphasis to improve public support and sustainability. The pathway approach would drive greater technical focus, coordination with scientific interests, opportunities for further international partnerships, and the inclusion of advanced capabilities to reduce cost.

Since the fall of 2010 the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 has provided the foundational guidance for NASA’s human space program. Dramatic progress has been realized in all aspects of human spaceflight including the critical support of the International Space Station (ISS) with commercial cargo flights and the development of Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS). The ISS is generating increasingly intriguing research results with applications that will directly benefit deep space aspirations as well as life on earth.

The development of the Orion spacecraft and the SLS, the vehicles needed to support human exploration of Mars, continue on schedule. Orion is at the Kennedy Space Center ready for preparations for the first Exploration Flight Test later this year. For SLS, new tooling is installed at MAF, the core module Critical Design Review is in progress, and test firings of the solid booster motors and the RS-25 engines are planned over the next few months. NASA is currently defining missions that will stretch the bounds of human exploration of the solar system utilizing these systems.

The NRC report makes several recommendations that NASA, the Administration, Congress and industry still need to study and thoughtfully consider. In the interim, industry partners will continue to make progress on the critical components of our nation’s human spaceflight program while considering those recommendations.

About the Coalition for Space Exploration

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a group of space industry businesses and organizations collaborating to ensure that the United States remains the leader in space exploration, science and technology. By reinforcing the value and benefits of space exploration with the nation’s leaders, the Coalition intends to build lasting support for a long-term, sustainable, strategic direction for deep space exploration.

SpaceRef staff editor.