National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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PATHWAYS TO EXPLORATION

RATIONALES AND APPROACHES FOR A U.S. PROGRAM
OF HUMAN SPACE EXPLORATION

Committee on Human Spaceflight

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS     500 Fifth Street, NW     Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report is based on work supported by Contract NNH10CC48B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-30507-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-30507-1
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014950546

Cover: Design by Tim Warchocki.

Copies of this report are available free of charge from

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National Research Council
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Washington, DC 20001

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.nationalacademies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD AND THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2014)

Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (Space Studies Board [SSB] with ASEB, 2013)

Continuing Kepler’s Quest: Assessing Air Force Space Command’s Astrodynamics Standards (ASEB, 2012)

NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (ASEB, 2012)

NASA’s Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2012)

Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities (SSB and ASEB, 2012)

Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment (ASEB, 2012)

Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA’s Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011)

Preparing for the High Frontier—The Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011)

Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (ASEB, 2011)

Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010)

Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with SSB and ASEB, 2010)

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years: An International Public Seminar Series Organized by the Space Studies Board: Selected Lectures (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

An Assessment of NASA’s National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (ASEB, 2009)

Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2009 Engineering and Physical Science Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2009)

Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (ASEB, 2009)

Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
National Research Council
The Keck Center of the National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 334-2858/aseb@nas.edu
www.nationalacademies.org/aseb

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT

MITCHELL E. DANIELS, JR., Purdue University, Co-Chair

JONATHAN LUNINE, Cornell University, Co-Chair

BERNARD F. BURKE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (emeritus professor)

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR, Dittmar Associates Inc.

PASCALE EHRENFREUND, George Washington University

JAMES S. JACKSON, University of Michigan

FRANK G. KLOTZ,1 Council on Foreign Relations

FRANKLIN D. MARTIN, Martin Consulting, Inc.

DAVID C. MOWERY, University of California, Berkeley (emeritus professor)

BRYAN D. O’CONNOR, Independent Aerospace Consultant

STANLEY PRESSER, University of Maryland

HELEN R. QUINN, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (emeritus professor)

ASIF A. SIDDIQI, Fordham University

JOHN C. SOMMERER, Johns Hopkins University (retired)

ROGER TOURANGEAU, Westat, Inc.

ARIEL WALDMAN, Spacehack.org

CLIFF ZUKIN, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Staff

SANDRA GRAHAM, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board

ABIGAIL SHEFFER, Associate Program Officer

AMANDA R. THIBAULT, Research Associate

DIONNA J. WILLIAMS, Program Coordinator

F. HARRISON DREVES, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Summer 2013

JINNI MEEHAN, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Fall 2013

CHERYL MOY, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow, Fall 2012

SIERRA SMITH, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Fall 2013

PADAMASHRI SURESH, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow, Winter 2014

PUBLIC AND STAKEHOLDER OPINIONS PANEL

ROGER TOURANGEAU, Westat, Inc., Chair

MOLLY ANDOLINA, DePaul University

JENNIFER L. HOCHSCHILD, Harvard University

JAMES S. JACKSON, University of Michigan

ROGER D. LAUNIUS, Smithsonian Institution

JON D. MILLER, University of Michigan

STANLEY PRESSER, University of Maryland

CLIFF ZUKIN, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Staff

KRISZTINA MARTON, Senior Program Officer, Committee on National Statistics

CONSTANCE CITRO, Director, Committee on National Statistics

JACQUELINE R. SOVDE, Program Associate, Committee on National Statistics

_____________

1 General Klotz resigned from the committee on April 10, 2014, to take up an appointment as under secretary of energy for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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TECHNICAL PANEL

JOHN C. SOMMERER, Johns Hopkins University (retired), Chair

DOUGLAS S. STETSON, Space Science and Exploration Consulting Group, Vice Chair

ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant

DOUGLAS M. ALLEN, Independent Consultant

RAYMOND E. ARVIDSON, Washington University in St. Louis

RICHARD C. ATKINSON, University of California, San Diego (professor emeritus)

ROBERT D. BRAUN, Georgia Institute of Technology

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

DAVID E. CROW, University of Connecticut (professor emeritus)

RAVI B. DEO, EMBR

ROBERT S. DICKMAN, RD Space, LLC

DAVA J. NEWMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

JOHN ROGACKI, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (Ocala)

GUILLERMO TROTTI, Trotti and Associates, Inc.

LINDA A. WILLIAMS, Wyle Aerospace Group

Staff

ALAN C. ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

DIONNA J. WILLIAMS, Program Coordinator, Space Studies Board

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

LESTER LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair

PATRICIA GRACE SMITH, Patti Grace Smith Consulting, LLC, Vice Chair

ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant, Vienna, Virginia

ELLA M. ATKINS, University of Michigan

STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering

BRIAN J. CANTWELL, Stanford University

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC

RAVI B. DEO, EMBR

VIJAY DHIR, University of California, Los Angeles

EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University

ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Pratt & Whitney

KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology

PERETZ P. FRIEDMANN, University of Michigan

MARK J. LEWIS, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute

JOHN M. OLSON, Sierra Nevada Corporation

HELEN L. REED, Texas A&M University

AGAM N. SINHA, ANS Aviation International, LLC

JOHN P. STENBIT, Consultant, Oakton, Virginia

ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

DAVID M. VAN WIE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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SPACE STUDIES BOARD

DAVID N. SPERGEL, Princeton University, Chair

JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems Loral (retired), Vice Chair

MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University

JAMES G. ANDERSON, Harvard University

JAMES P. BAGIAN, University of Michigan

JEFF M. BINGHAM, U.S. Senate Committee Staff (retired), Consultant, Round Hill, Virginia

PENELOPE J. BOSTON, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation

THOMAS R. GAVIN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NEIL GEHRELS, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research

RODERICK HEELIS, The University of Texas, Dallas

WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, JR., Carnegie Institution of Washington

ANTHONY C. JANETOS, Boston University

DAVA J. NEWMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

SAUL PERLMUTTER, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

LOUISE M. PROCKTER, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

MARCIA J. RIEKE, University of Arizona

MARK THIEMENS, University of California, San Diego

MEENAKSHI WADHWA, Arizona State University

CLIFFORD M. WILL, University of Florida

THOMAS H. ZURBUCHEN, University of Michigan

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS

LAWRENCE D. BROWN, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Chair

JOHN M. ABOWD, Cornell University

MARY ELLEN BOCK, Purdue University

DAVID CARD, University of California, Berkeley

ALICIA CARRIQUIRY, Iowa State University

MICHAEL E. CHERNEW, Harvard Medical School

CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Brown University

JAMES S. HOUSE, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

MICHAEL HOUT, University of California, Berkeley

SALLIE KELLER, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

LISA LYNCH, Brandeis University

COLM O’MUIRCHEARTAIGH, University of Chicago

RUTH PETERSON, Ohio State University

EDWARD H. SHORTLIFFE, Columbia University and Arizona State University

HAL STERN, University of California, Irvine

CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director

JACQUELINE R. SOVDE, Program Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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Preface

The mandate to carry out this study originated in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2010, which, as shown below, required that NASA ask the National Academies to perform a human spaceflight study that would review “the goals, core capabilities, and direction of human space flight.” The language of the act reflected concerns that—in the absence of an accepted and independent basis for the establishment of long-term goals—political cycles and other factors would continue to drive instability in the human spaceflight program.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267), Section 204

SEC. 204. INDEPENDENT STUDY ON HUMAN EXPLORATION OF SPACE.

(a) IN GENERAL.—In fiscal year 2012 the Administrator shall contract with the National Academies for a review of the goals, core capabilities, and direction of human space flight, using the goals set forth in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, the goals set forth in this Act, and goals set forth in any existing statement of space policy issued by the President.

(b) ELEMENTS.—The review shall include—

(1) a broad spectrum of participation with representatives of a range of disciplines, backgrounds, and generations, including civil, commercial, international, scientific, and national security interests;

(2) input from NASA’s international partner discussions and NASA’s Human Exploration Framework Team;

(3) an examination of the relationship of national goals to foundational capabilities, robotic activities, technologies, and missions authorized by this Act;

(4) a review and prioritization of scientific, engineering, economic, and social science questions to be addressed by human space exploration to improve the overall human condition; and

(5) findings and recommendations for fiscal years 2014 through 2023.

In the decade or so leading up to the request, the human spaceflight program in the United States had experienced considerable programmatic turbulence, with frequent and dramatic changes in program goals and mission plans in response to changes in national policies. The changes had a high cost in program resources and opportunities and imposed what many feared was an intolerable burden on already constrained human exploration budgets. Because of the effects of continuing volatility in the exploration program, stakeholders in human spaceflight—including those

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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in the government—had been seeking a means of stabilizing the program for some time. Many studies have been conducted by respected members of the research, policy, and commercial communities, but the resulting changes in human exploration policy have often been limited. In particular, uncertainty among policy planners about the fundamental rationale for and future of the U.S. human spaceflight program remained.

Since the Apollo era, the space science community has had considerable success in selecting and setting priorities among suites of missions by using decadal surveys prepared by the National Research Council (NRC). In large part because of that process, NASA’s space science programs have achieved remarkable stability in the long term. The pursuit of the goal of a similar level of long-term stability in human exploration led to the mandate for the present study in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. The language of the act made it clear that a broad array of perspectives and expertise must be represented in the study and that a wide array of benefits, including societal benefits, must be examined.

After the law’s enactment, the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and Space Studies Board (SSB) discussed the requested study and possible approaches to its execution at their fall and spring meetings in 2010 and 2011. As a result of those discussions, a small working group made up of members of the two boards and the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) chair was assembled to formulate a statement of task, which became the basis of discussion with NASA that went on from November 2010 through February 2012. The extended discussion included the NASA administrator, deputy administrator, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, and other key NASA staff. Consultations were also conducted with key House of Representatives and Senate staff. Consultations were also held with the Office of Management and Budget on the wording of the statement of task. It became clear during those discussions that the study committee would need to look well beyond scientific and technical issues and extend its inquiries into such fields as sociology, economics, and political science. A collaboration was therefore formed between the NRC’s DEPS and the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). DBASSE selected its Committee on National Statistics to serve as a partner with the NRC’s leading space boards—SSB and ASEB—in DEPS to carry out the study. ASEB was to have the lead role in the project. In addition, the DBASSE Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) played an extensive consulting role during study development.

A statement of task describing the study was agreed on in early 2012, and funding became available for the activity in the second half of 2012. The final version of the statement of task assigned to the committee reads as follows:

In accordance with Section 204 of the NASA Authorization Act 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) will appoint an ad hoc committee to undertake a study to review the long-term goals, core capabilities, and direction of the U.S. human spaceflight program and make recommendations to enable a sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program.

The committee will:

1. Consider the goals for the human spaceflight program as set forth in (a) the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, (b) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Acts of 2005, 2008, and 2010, and (c) the National Space Policy of the United States (2010), and any existing statement of space policy issued by the president of the United States.

2. Solicit broadly-based, but directed, public and stakeholder input to understand better the motivations, goals, and possible evolution of human spaceflight—that is, the foundations of a rationale for a compelling and sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program—and to characterize its value to the public and other stakeholders.

3. Describe the expected value and value proposition of NASA’s human spaceflight activities in the context of national goals—including the needs of government, industry, the economy, and the public good—and in the context of the priorities and programs of current and potential international partners in the spaceflight program.

4. Identify a set of high-priority enduring questions that describe the rationale for and value of human exploration in a national and international context. The questions should motivate a sustainable direction for the long-term exploration of space by humans. The enduring questions may include scientific, engineering, economic, cultural, and social science questions to be addressed by human space exploration and questions on improving the overall human condition.

5. Consider prior studies examining human space exploration, and NASA’s work with international partners, to understand possible exploration pathways (including key technical pursuits and destinations) and the appropriate balance between the “technology push” and “requirements pull”. Consideration should include the analysis completed

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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by NASA’s Human Exploration Framework Team, NASA’s Human Spaceflight Architecture Team, the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans (Augustine Commission), previous NRC reports, and relevant reports identified by the committee.

6. Examine the relationship of national goals to foundational capabilities, robotic activities, technologies, and missions authorized by the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 by assessing them with respect to the set of enduring questions.

7. Provide findings, rationale, prioritized recommendations, and decision rules that could enable and guide future planning for U.S. human space exploration. The recommendations will describe a high-level strategic approach to ensuring the sustainable pursuit of national goals enabled by human space exploration, answering enduring questions, and delivering value to the nation over the fiscal year (FY) period of FY2014 through FY2023, while considering the program’s likely evolution in 2015-2030.

A clear outcome of the wide-ranging consultations carried out by ASEB and SSB in advance of this study’s formal beginning—and arguably a requirement of the language in the congressional mandate—was that the committee appointed to carry out the statement of task should contain a breadth of backgrounds spanning expertise in not only human exploration but also such fields as space science, science more broadly, sociology, the science of public polling, political science and history, and economics. In that regard, the Committee on Human Spaceflight looks different from committees that have carried out many previous studies related to human spaceflight by the NRC or other organizations, and it provides a fresh independent perspective on the issues involved in this much-studied endeavor. Because the committee’s membership was so broadly based, the NRC decided to appoint two panels of subject-matter experts to assist in providing an independent assessment of the technical challenges of human spaceflight and to provide expert analysis of decades of public polling and of the stakeholder opinions solicited for this study. The Technical Panel facilitated a robust and independent understanding of the technical and engineering aspects of the study, and the Public and Stakeholder Opinions Panel obtained and examined public and stakeholder data and analyses to help the committee to understand the motivations, goals, and possible evolution of human spaceflight. (The panels were responsible for the development of Chapters 4 and 3, respectively, of this report, but it should be noted that the whole report has been adopted by the committee on a consensus basis.) In addition, the committee and its panels were assisted by contractors who had extensive experience in mission technical and cost assessments and in the development and conduct of surveys.

The committee and its panels engaged in extensive data-gathering activities throughout the course of the study. They included review of an extensive database of literature on human spaceflight that included several decades of blue-ribbon studies and the writings of diverse stakeholders. The committee and panel deliberations were informed by invited speakers who had a variety of backgrounds and included representatives of NASA, international space agencies, the aerospace industry, congressional staff, and academe. During the course of the study, the committee disseminated widely a call for interested parties to submit papers that described their own ideas on the role of human spaceflight and their vision of a suggested future, and about 200 responses were received and reviewed by the committee (a list is provided in Appendix H). To broaden the scope of the study’s outreach further, the committee turned to social media and held a 1-day Twitter event that allowed any interested parties an opportunity to provide less formal input. Those activities were separate from the formal stakeholder survey and public poll analysis conducted by the Public and Stakeholder Opinions Panel during the course of the study. Various members of the committee gathered information and input from relevant U.S. and international conferences during the study and conducted information-gathering visits to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.

The committee is grateful to the many people who participated and provided input into this study through all those activities. The Public and Stakeholder Opinions Panel would like to thank the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and Westat interns Reanne Townsend and Kay Ricci for their help in the stakeholder survey and the graduate survey research class of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey for assistance in compiling the public opinion data. The committee also acknowledges the vital analytic support that Randy Persinger and Torrey Radcliffe, of the Aerospace Corporation, provided to the committee and the Technical Panel and the considerable leadership shown by NRC staff in assisting the committee and panels in their work.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Norman M. Bradburn, University of Chicago,

Erik L. Burgess, Burgess Consulting, Inc.,

David C. Byers, Independent Consultant, Las Vegas, Nevada,

Eileen M. Collins, Space Presentations, LLC,

Ian A. Crawford, Birkbeck College, University of London,

Edward F. Crawley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Donald A. Dillman, Washington State University,

Irwin Feller, Pennsylvania State University,

James W. Head III, Brown University,

Gerda Horneck, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center, DLR,

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania,

John M. Logsdon, George Washington University,

James Clay Moltz, Naval Postgraduate School,

Simon Ostrach, Case Western Reserve University,

Andy Peytchev, Research Triangle Institute,

Joseph H. Rothenberg, Swedish Space Corporation,

Carol E. Scott-Conner, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,

Marcia S. Smith, Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC, and

Patricia G. Smith, Patti Grace Smith Consulting, LLC.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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2.4.4  Education and Inspiration

2.4.5  Scientific Exploration and Observation

2.4.6  Survival

2.4.7  Shared Human Destiny and Aspiration

2.5  Assessment of Rationales

2.6  Value Propositions

2.6.1  The Problem with Value Propositions

2.6.2  Stakeholder Value and the Impacts of Ending Human Spaceflight

2.7  Conclusions on the Benefits of Human Spaceflight

3  PUBLIC AND STAKEHOLDER ATTITUDES

3.1  Public Opinion

3.1.1  Interest in Space Exploration and the Attentive Public

3.1.2  Support for Spending on Space Exploration

3.1.3  Trends in Support for Specific Human Spaceflight Missions

3.1.4  Human Versus Robotic Missions

3.1.5  NASA’s Role, International Collaboration, and Commercial Firms

3.1.6  Rationales for Support of Space Exploration

3.1.7  Correlates of Support for Space Exploration

3.1.8  Summary of Findings on Public Opinion

3.2  Stakeholder Survey

3.2.1  Characteristics of the Respondents

3.2.2  Rationales for Space Exploration and Human Space Exploration

3.2.3  Views on a Course for the Future

3.2.4  Other Findings

3.2.5  Correlates of Support for Human Spaceflight

3.2.6  Summary of Findings of the Stakeholder Survey

4  TECHNICAL ANALYSIS AND AFFORDABILITY ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN EXPLORATION PATHWAYS

4.1  Introduction and Overview

4.2  Technical Requirements

4.2.1  Possible Destinations in the Context of Foreseeable Technology

4.2.2  Design Reference Missions

4.2.3  Potential Pathways

4.2.4  Drivers and Requirements of Key Mission Element Groups

4.2.5  Contribution of Key Mission Elements to the Pathways

4.2.6  Challenges in Developing Key Capabilities

4.2.7  Affordability

4.2.8  Assessment of Pathways Against Desirable Pathway Properties

4.3  Technology Programs

4.3.1  NASA Technology Programs

4.3.2  Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate

4.3.3  Commercial Programs

4.3.4  Department of Defense

4.3.5  International Activities

4.3.6  Robotic Systems

4.4  Key Results from the Panel’s Technical Analysis and Affordability Assessment

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18801.
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The United States has publicly funded its human spaceflight program on a continuous basis for more than a half-century, through three wars and a half-dozen recessions, from the early Mercury and Gemini suborbital and Earth orbital missions, to the lunar landings, and thence to the first reusable winged crewed spaceplane that the United States operated for three decades. Today the United States is the major partner in a massive orbital facility - the International Space Station - that is becoming the focal point for the first tentative steps in commercial cargo and crewed orbital space flights. And yet, the long-term future of human spaceflight beyond this project is unclear. Pronouncements by multiple presidents of bold new ventures by Americans to the Moon, to Mars, and to an asteroid in its native orbit, have not been matched by the same commitment that accompanied President Kennedy's now fabled 1961 speech-namely, the substantial increase in NASA funding needed to make it happen. Are we still committed to advancing human spaceflight? What should a long-term goal be, and what does the United States need to do to achieve it?

Pathways to Exploration explores the case for advancing this endeavor, drawing on the history of rationales for human spaceflight, examining the attitudes of stakeholders and the public, and carefully assessing the technical and fiscal realities. This report recommends maintaining the long-term focus on Mars as the horizon goal for human space exploration. With this goal in mind, the report considers funding levels necessary to maintain a robust tempo of execution, current research and exploration projects and the time/resources needed to continue them, and international cooperation that could contribute to the achievement of spaceflight to Mars. According to Pathways to Exploration, a successful U.S. program would require sustained national commitment and a budget that increases by more than the rate of inflation.

In reviving a U.S. human exploration program capable of answering the enduring questions about humanity's destiny beyond our tiny blue planet, the nation will need to grapple with the attitudinal and fiscal realities of the nation today while staying true to a small but crucial set of fundamental principles for the conduct of exploration of the endless frontier. The recommendations of Pathways to Exploration provide a clear map toward a human spaceflight program that inspires students and citizens by furthering human exploration and discovery, while taking into account the long-term commitment necessary to achieve this goal.

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