NASA rapped over Shuttle alternatives

by Chris Bergin

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback has commented on a report by the General Accounting Office and found NASA did not adequately explore alternatives to the space shuttle.
Brownback and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher asked the GAO to look into the subject last year as chairmen of the Senate and House space subcommittees.

“It’s now clear that NASA had not done its homework on vetting space shuttle alternatives,” Brownback said.  “In particular NASA has not looked at very promising commercial opportunities to resupply the Space Station.  We are on the verge of a major new industry in space, and NASA’s commercial resupply of the Space Station is a vital step in opening up these unlimited opportunities to our people.”

Last year in his role as Subcommittee Chairman for NASA Authorizations Brownback sponsored a study by the GAO to consider space shuttle alternatives, after holding a hearing on the topic of  alternative means to service or complete the International Space Station.

Brownback continued, “I’m very pleased that Dr. Mike Griffin, the new NASA Administrator, is committed to alternatives to the space shuttle at the soonest opportunity, and no later than 2010 as mandated by the President.  I know that he will quickly remedy the shortcomings in NASA analyses pointed out by the GAO.  And I’m confident that he’ll turn to the emerging private sector in finding affordable means to meet not only our current commitments in space, but to open the Solar System to human and scientific exploration.”

The GAO report will officially be released to the public on June 2. 

Brownback is former chairman of the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  While chairman of the subcommittee he held numerous hearings including a field hearing in Houston, on U.S. space exploration, the space shuttle, the International Space Station, lunar and Martian exploration.

Related Articles