Notes from the NASA Integrated Space Operations Summit 2005

By Keith Cowing
March 30, 2005
Filed under
Notes from the NASA Integrated Space Operations Summit 2005

NASA is planning to fly no more than 28 Space Shuttle Flights between now and 2010 at a rate of roughly 5 per year. This will lead to some tough decisions – some of them coming rather soon.

Mike Kostelnik, Deputy Associate Administrator for International Space Station and Space Shuttle Program: “If we did not have the ISS on orbit today we would not be returning [the Space Shuttle fleet] to flight but rather dedicating resources to next generation of exploration”.

Others: Since NASA will not need any more Al-Li to build External Tanks (they have enough for 28 flights), that contract will be shut down. Since NASA no longer needs SRB canisters (they have enough for 28 flights) that contract will be shut down as well. By 2008, NASA will have enough Aluminum perchlorate for SRB fuel (again for the remaining number of flights) – so that contract will come to and end – possibly driving up the cost for DoD users.

Editor’s note: Of course, if NASA decides to pursue a Shuttle-derived heavy launch system (mentioned more than once at this meeting), this might change. NASA PAO has also pointed out that no one specifically stated at this meeting that these specific contracts would be cancelled. However, the tone of the overall presentation was about things NASA would cancel, shut down, descope, delay, sell off, abandon in place, rethink, transform, etc. If NASA has no further need for a product or a service – be it for the shuttle or any other program (as was clearly discussed) it follows that such contracts would eventually be modified or cancelled – right?

More to follow.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.