by Charlene M. Anderson
The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, chaired by Norm Augustine, is holding its first public meeting on June 17, from 9 am to 5 pm, EDT -- and you can watch it live over the Internet.
This is the group taking an independent look of NASA's human space flight plans, including the Constellation program and the choice of launch vehicles to take people to the International Space Station, the Moon, and Mars. The Obama Administration will use the committee's findings to help determine if their space policy will change the direction set by the Bush Administration in their 2004 Vision for Space Exploration.
NASA TV will be web-casting the meeting at:http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
You can also watch it on Ustream:http://www.ustream.tv/nasatelevision
In an early round of congressional review, NASA's 2010 exploration budget was cut by $670 million, pending the Augustine committee's deliberations. The White House has asked them to report their findings in August, so events are moving fast, and each meeting could be critical to the final outcome.
The Planetary Society has already submitted to the committee our vision for the future, outlined in Beyond the Moon: A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration, created with input from a team of space experts and our members.
So, watch the Augustine committee meeting, if you can. For more background, visit the committee's official web site athttp://www.nasa.gov/offices/hsf/home/index.html.