Augustine Committee Telecon Finalizes Scoring

Augustine Committee Telecon Finalizes Scoring

In a public teleconference held today, the Augustine Committee discussed updates to the scoring of the exploration strategy options outlined in its Summary Report. After reiterating that ranking the options themselves was beyond their mandate, committee members briefly explained the evaluation method and criteria they used to designate values between the options.

The committee’s task today was to assign scoring values to the baseline option (Option 3 – Program of Record with less constrained funding), which it had not done at its last public meeting. Three of the eight criteria in particular required additional discussion in order to ensure that all the options were evaluated on the same basis.

The committee members agreed to give a (-2) value on the Global Partnerships criterion since failure to extend the life of the International Space Station beyond 2015 would discourage further involvement from international partners. The baseline option was also assigned a (-1) value on the Mission Safety Profile criterion, taking into account the added risk associated with a Moon landing (the same value applied to any option that included lunar landings). The committee clarified that the parameters for risk assessment are based only on mission profile and do not include an evaluation of the risks associated with specific launch vehicles, for example Ares 1 versus an alternative. Finally, it was also decided to assign the baseline option a (-1) value on the criterion of National Skill, based on the impact of the “Shuttle-gap” between decommissioning of the Space Shuttle and the availability of a new system and the resulting inability to utilize the nation’s skilled space transportation workforce fully.

The committee also decided that the Science Knowledge criterion will include the ability for humans to service space-based science observatories, a beneficial capability that was highlighted in the August 5 presentation to the committee by Marcia Rieke representing the ongoing National Research Council astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2010).

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