Oct 22 2009

Shelby Comments on Augustine Commission Report

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today, made the following statement regarding the Augustine Commission report: 

“While I commend the Augustine Commission for their work, I find many of the options proposed in their final report to be unsatisfactory and disappointing. 

“The Chairman of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, Norm Augustine, announced that safety would be paramount.  Yet the report does not adequately take into account any safety measures and does not thoroughly examine any of the reliability aspects of the various human space flight vehicle options considered.  Nor did the report show any evidence that the cargo rockets promised to execute their first servicing mission sometime in 2010 are as good or better than the manned rockets that have been under development for over 4 years.

“NASA’s own Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel issued a report in April of this year that stated “Commercial Orbital Transportation Services vehicles are not proven to be appropriate to transport NASA personnel.”  Both the current and former NASA Administrators are on record registering their doubts regarding the safety of these new commercial contractors.  Will the current Administrator, Mr. Bolden, who helped write the words of the April report, now contradict this statement six months after putting his name to them?  

“A paper rocket will always fly better than a real one.  The contractors wishing to pursue human launches to low Earth orbit should prove they can establish a reliable record of meeting their current cargo mission before we trust them with responsibility for the lives of our astronauts.”