The long-anticipated final report from the Augustine Commission has been released. You can download the full report here.
There are no big surprises in the main points of the report since the summary report was released in September. The media has covered this extensively over the past day, so I won’t re-analyze the main conclusions – you can see the various media reports on NASA Watch. What’s particularly interesting to me is that they don’t shy away from making some tough observations about the governance of the agency in Chapter 9. The Commission astutely observes that the “why” should be considered thoughtfully before the “where” of what’s next for human space flight. They mince no words in pointing out the gap between the expectations and the resources provided. They also highlight the constant redirection of policy and budget reductions as being less than conducive to running an effective program.
It is of course up to the Obama Administration to decide what they will do with this report. The Administrator of NASA and high-level officials within NASA have been discussing next steps for a little while now. Hopefully a thoughtful policy will emerge as a result of all this effort. As for how this will impact science funding at NASA, we will just have to wait and see!
What are your thoughts on the report? We’d love to hear from you.