Space Foundation Recommends NASA Adopt Pioneering Approach

Posted by Doug Messier on December 8, 2012, at 6:34 am

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 4, 2012 (Space Foundation PR) – In a report released today, the Space Foundation made a number of recommendations for strengthening the focus, oversight and funding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and strengthening the U.S. civil space program.

Among the major changes recommended in PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space, which was unveiled today in Washington, D.C., are:

  • Returning NASA to its roots by establishing pioneering as its singular, compelling purpose and transitioning non-pioneering activities to other government and private sector organizations.

  • Realigning the national civil space enterprise so NASA is no longer perceived as being responsible for “all things space” and instead concentrates on its primary purpose.

  • Stabilizing NASA leadership by dissociating appointment of the NASA administrator from the presidential election cycle.

  • Stabilizing NASA planning by requiring both an objectives-based 10-year plan and a broad 30-year strategic plan.

  • Expanding options available to Congress for funding NASA.

  • Conducting and acting upon a series of assessments of NASA’s practices to redefine its culture, make it more effective and rekindle its spirit.


  • The 70-page report and a separate executive summary are now being distributed to policymakers, industry leaders and media by the Space Foundation, an independent non-profit advocacy and education organization committed to advancing space exploration and utilization.

    Based on in-depth historical research and interviews with nearly 100 space leaders, PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space addresses issues within the agency and makes recommendations on its governance and funding.

    Commenting on the report findings, the Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham said, “Our research revealed that NASA is struggling to find its way as a result of years of circumstance and mixed signals from political leadership. But, the fundamental issue is the muddled — or non-existent — understanding of why NASA exists and what it should be doing.”

    Read more: Space Foundation Recommends NASA Adopt Pioneering Approach | Parabolic Arc.

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