The recent retirement of the U.S. Space Shuttle and broad budget concerns nationwide are posing fundamental questions concerning America’s future capabilities and leadership in aerospace – particularly with regard to space exploration. Concurrently, both President Obama and the U.S. Congress have challenged our nation to enhance humankind’s capacity to “work, learn, operate and live safely beyond the Earth” to establish a “permanent human presence in space”. Clearly, these circumstances call for innovative approaches that can reduce the costs, expand the benefits, and enhance the feasibility of future space missions. As such, the goal of the ASA Space Exploration Committee in the upcoming biennium will be to recommend cogent strategies and methodologies for achieving these goals – leveraging the aerospace-related resources, capabilities, and priorities of member states to facilitate national dialogue and collective action toward cost-effective and sustainable space enterprise beyond low-Earth orbit.
Jim Crisafulli, Chair