AIAA online forum about Augustine report

The AIAA announced yesterday that it will host an online broadcast of a panel discussion about the Augustine committee report on October 5. The panel, moderated by David Livingston of The Space Show, includes Frank Culbertson, Scott Horowitz, John Klineberg, Elliot Pulham, and Harrison Schmitt. The audio-only broadcast is scheduled for 2 pm EDT on the 5th, with this caveat in the AIAA release: “Scheduling is subject to the actual release of the final report”. The final full report has not been released yet, and and may not be out until mid-October as committee members work on final drafts of the document, so either the event will be postponed or the panelists will soldier on without it.

Update 6pm: according to David Livingston, the AIAA plans to go ahead with the panel on Monday even though the full report won’t be released until later in the month.

7 comments to AIAA online forum about Augustine report

  • John Malkin

    I think it’s useful to debate human space exploration but I think it’s difficult to really debate the summary report. I think it has been counter productive to release it. The summary report has created more confusion than clarity for big high level thinkers.

  • Fred

    It’s sad that ULA’s “affordable exploration” document
    came out after the Augustine committee closed.
    It shows a way to get to the moon to stay, on time, on budget and with the EELV’s we already have.
    I worry that we’ll get locked in to a HLV that will take forever and we can’t really afford.
    If that happen we aren’t going anywhere.

  • Ferris Valyn


    Don’t think that they didn’t get some stuff similar.

    The question is whether you think Orbital Propellant depots are a near term thing – Certain committee members have made it very clear that they don’t think so, which unfortunately, leaves us with “we MUST have heavy lift”

  • Major Tom

    This isn’t a very balanced panel. Culbertson is the only panelist who isn’t on the current ATK payroll (Klineberg), a current ATK consultant (Horowitz), heading a non-profit for which ATK is a major sponsor (Pulham), or a recent Griffin appointee (Schmitt).

    Maybe that’s what the AIAA wanted — a bunch of Constellation cheerleading — but it’s a missed opportunity for real debate. Mr. Livingston, at least, should insist on better panel composition. Besides Culbertson from OSC, representatives from ULA and Space-X would replace Horowitz and Schmitt and a member of the Augustine Committee would replace Pulham.


  • Dave Huntsman

    The question is whether you think Orbital Propellant depots are a near term thing – Certain committee members have made it very clear that they don’t think so, which unfortunately, leaves us with “we MUST have heavy lift”

    Using ‘propellant depots’ is the wrong, and unfortunate phrase; Greason, in his pitches, usually and correctly tries to use ‘in-space refueling’ which is what I’ve started using inside NASA.
    Let’s break down what we’re actually talking about:

    1. “Depots” of any sort imply someone wants to build a big expensive gas station in the sky. ESAS briefly considered a ‘depot’ and was able to easily reject it, ‘since it essentially required an entirely new, different (NASA) space station”.

    2. A ‘depot’ implies you have no intermediate steps but to solve all the remaining technical challenges – especially for cryos, and especially for hydrogen – before you even big your big new government space station that just happens to be mostly fuel. And all of these assumptions are incorrect, and are not the way to go.

    Here’s a quick, one page summary I just wrote for someone to explain what I’m calling the CISR/Commercial In-Space Refueling strategy.

    Propellant Resupply & Depots: Game-changing, mission-simplifying, market-creating

    A go-forward strategy for building a needed space infrastructure thru leveraging the commercial space sector, & ensuring U.S. pre-eminence in commercial space services.

    Propellant resupply in space is a powerful tool. It can amplify an existing architecture (e.g, doubling or tripling of cargo to the moon); or perhaps more practically, it can remove unrealistic demands on proposed vehicle designs, allowing practical (often smaller) sizing for vehicles with a wider range of missions. Actual propellant depots can be in LEO, at L1, or in lunar orbit.

    The Proposed Strategy:

    Storables before cryos. LO2 before LH2. Sooner, rather than later.

    Synergy Storable fuel delivery provides direct synergy in terms of autonomous operations for rendezvous, docking, etc. with possible other commercial space services, e.g., spacecraft repair, individual hardware replacement instead of launching a new spacecraft, and quick inspection for operationally responsive space purposes are just a few. Almost all the hundreds of satellites now in orbit use storable fuels. There are no propellant storage or transfer technical issues remaining per se as with liquid oxygen and especially with liquid hydrogen.

    We’ve got a small commercial space initiatives team that is proposing a strategy that would:

    1. Provide Competition Refueling services should be accomplished in a way that allows for direct competition of on-orbit propulsion delivery by multiple launchers, providing the best chance for market-driven lower costs. Even new vehicles that are still demonstrating their reliability can participate in delivering high density, low intrinsic value cargo with a simple, repeatable mission profile.

    2. With industry input, develop a non-technical business roadmap to foster the creation of commercial storable propellants in-space refueling services. Storable propellant servicing is well-demonstrated over decades by both the U.S. and Russia and contains few technical surprises, and with several hundred satellites in orbit the potential market is huge but in need of non-technical risk mitigation if it is to develop into a new, market-enabling commercial industry. Evaluate possible COTS-like partnership development for storable refueling delivery services, including whether, like with CRS, the launch customer(s) for actual fueling services can be ISS, U.S. government science satellites, or national security satellites. Financial incentives such as possible loan guarantees to reduce but not eliminate financial risk, etc. should be evaluated for their market-encouraging potential.

    3. For cryos: Again with industry input, develop a technology roadmap leading first to an LO2 on-orbit transfer demo, such as with small, cheap spacecraft; or, using the Centaur-Test Bed/CRYOTE concepts developed by NASA GRC, Lockheed Martin & ULA as a low-cost, ride-share payload on a near-term Atlas-Centaur mission. This would set the stage for successful, low-risk implementation of large-scale cryogenic propellant transfers and later hydrogen; while demonstrating LO2, which is the primary weight component of cryogenic fuels and less technically challenging than hydrogen, anyway, and by itself can be provided by individual stages rather than waiting for big depots to move forward.

    The bottom line is:
    – commercial not government; create industry multi-players, preferably u.s.
    to dominate; find what that industry development needs and help to do as a priority over what NASA people internally might historically want to do, as a way of meeting national needs.

    The primary intent is to spark generation of a space services industry via various partnering techniques; starting sooner, not later; and realizing that useful things can be done already with current technology, if the proper business incentives and tools are put in place.

  • Anon

    @Major Tom

    “Mr. Livingston, at least, should insist on better panel composition.”

    Its Dr. Livingston. Please do you research before you post :-)

    Or at least listen to The Space Show and learn something about space…


  • Major Tom

    “Its Dr. Livingston.”

    It’s “It’s”, not “Its”.

    And I stand corrected on my typo.

    “Please do you research…”

    It’s “your”, not “you”.

    “…listen to The Space Show…”

    I have.

    “… and learn something about space…”

    I have.


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