- First and foremost is our concern over the lack of clarity and constancy of purpose among NASA, Congress, and the White House, which we believe increases the likelihood that essential knowledge and competencies in the workforce (either contractor or Government) such as those involving important safety considerations, lessons learned, and past experience will not be present to effectively reduce risk going into the future. Other important safety issues relate to human spaceflight: the commercial human spaceflight acquisition strategy and safety approach; knowledge transfer; and how safe is “Safe Enough.” During the year, the Panel also had recommendations on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)/NASA relationship, workforce and safety culture, infrastructure and facilities management, standardization of approaches, and astronaut health and longitudinal health study data. During the coming year, the Panel expects to continue its attention to these issues, as well as increase its focus on challenges facing the International Space Station.
For those unfamiliar with the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, it was created in August 1967 after the Apollo 1 (Apollo 204) fire, which took the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee on January 27th of that year. According to the NASA Authorization Act of 1968, in which the Panel was created, “The Panel shall review safety studies and operations plans that are referred to it and shall make reports thereon, shall advise the Administrator with respect to the hazards of proposed operations and with respect to the adequacy of proposed or existing safety standards, and shall perform such other duties as the Administrator may request.“