NASA Human Space Flight Industrial Base in the Post-Space Shuttle/Constellation Environment

Source: The da Vinci ProjectPosted Friday, December 7, 2012

From 1981 to 2011, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) operated the Space Transportation System, commonly known as the Space Shuttle Program (Shuttle), with the world’s first reusable spacecraft to carry humans into orbit. It transported satellites into space and serviced them, carried scientific experiments, and was used to build the International Space Station (ISS) and later carry astronauts to and from the station. In 2004, it was announced that the Shuttle would be retired, and 2010 was established as the retirement date.

A year later in 2005, NASA was directed to “establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, including a robust precursor program, to promote exploration, science, commerce, and United States preeminence in space, and as a stepping-stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations.” This evolving program was referred to later as the Constellation program (CxP).

Due to a projected five-or-more year gap between the end of Shuttle and full production of CxP, NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate approached the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Office of Technology Evaluation (OTE) in late 2009 to conduct an assessment on the ability of NASA’s Shuttle-related human space flight (HSF) supply chain to maintain critical capabilities during the gap period. Unexpectedly, NASA was directed in early 2010 to “transition” from CxP to deep-space exploration (bypassing the Moon), and CxP-related funding was reduced to a few core components for deep-space projects, while funding for ISS was extended through 2020. The OTE assessment was therefore modified to include these changing factors.

Read more: NASA Human Space Flight Industrial Base in the Post-Space Shuttle/Constellation Environment | SpaceRef – Your Space Reference.

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