Commentary on the Augustine Committee Report on the Future of Human Space Exploration
November 9, 2009
After many months of speculation, numerous meetings, articles, and suggestions, the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (aka the Augustine Committee) has released its reports providing options to the administration for consideration in plotting the course of human exploration through the rest of the decade and beyond. The Augustine report is, within the bounds of the mission presented in its charter, generally sound and is in broad agreement with CSIS’s May 2009 report Mid- and Long-Term Prospects for Human Spaceflight. However, some of the key findings in the report are of special importance and deserve particular attention while some of the integrated options are viable either only in limited circumstances or with significant modification. This commentary discusses the key findings and integrated options presented by the Committee, and we hope that these observations will help guide the policy debate toward a productive and beneficial human space exploration in years and decades to come.