This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

06 May 2010

NASA Presentations on New Space Plans for FY2011

Lori Garver, Ed Weiler, Bobby Braun, and Laurie Leshin (all from NASA) presented at a meeting of various organizations interested in space (in Washington, D.C. on 05 May 2010). Presentations focused on aspects of the new NASA plan, specifically those elements involved with the new NASA budget. I have posted these docs to the Google Docs library (General) for this site.

Note: I post these presentations as a service to the community to provide better clarity as to the exact nature of NASA's plans. There has been a lot of speculation as to what may or may not be involved in the new NASA approach. I believe more information regarding the new plan (and its budget) will add clarity to the dialogue and present the plan more appropriately to all sides of the debate. These presentations are deemed to be helpful as NASA rolls out the new plan and solicits feedback from the community, as it states and plans on doing at upcoming events such as the NASA Exploration Enterprise Workshop on May 25-26, 2010 in Galveston, Texas.

An overview was given of the NASA plan and the respective representatives from the Science Mission Directorate, Office of Chief Technologist, and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate were there to provide more detail. The overview presentations dealt with the entire portfolio of those NASA areas. More specifics on NEO related information is given below.

There was some specific talk regarding NEOs. Ed Weiler (NASA Assoc. Admin, SMD) talked about the $4M to $16M increase for the Near Earth Object Observations program. This is one of the newer upgrades to NEO detection. He mentioned this increase will be dependent upon approval of the FY2011 NASA Budget (something that is not certain). He also mentioned the WISE spacecraft and its potential to find hundreds of Near Earth Objects. Ed Weiler also mentioned that next year there will be a down-select for the next set of New Frontiers missions (there are currently three proposals and one of them is a NEO sample return mission, OSIRIS REX).

Bobby Braun, NASA's Chief Technologist, mentioned the philosophy his office will use in determining and portfolio of new technologies to invest in. Advanced technology maturation and development was something that was given less attention in the previous NASA administrations. He mentioned a potential suite of notional Grand Challenges (19 or so on one slide). One of the potential NASA Grand Challenges was "secure the planet from space threats".

Lauri Leshin (Deputy Assoc. Administrator, NASA ESMD) talked about how the NASA Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) is working on several notional architecture concepts (including human NEO missions). She also mentioned potential future NEO missions under the Exploration Robotic Precursor Mission, specifically under the Small Scout Class Exploration Missions (rapid, $100-$200M life cycle cost missions to demonstrate new ways of robotic exploration, goal if one launch per 1-2 years starting in 2013).

Some more detail is available in the presentations below.

Link: NASA Science Mission Directorate (Ed Weiler, 05 May 2010)

Link: Investment in the Future: Overview of NASA's Space Technology (Bobby Braun, 05 May 2010)

Link: A New Space Exploration Enterprise (Laurie Leshin, 05 May 2010)


  1. Thanks for posting these talks - a real public service! Lots of important details I had not seen elsewhere.

  2. .

    it's VERY SIMPLE to explain WHY the "commercial space" will FAIL to replace the Shuttle, Orion, Ares, Apollo, etc.

    just take a look at this comparison:

    Orion: LEO and beyond-LEO

    Dragon: LEO-only

    Shuttle: SEVEN astronauts AND over 24 tons of cargo to/from LEO

    Dragon: SEVEN astronauts ( :) ) OR 2.5 tons of cargo to LEO

    Falcon-9: 10.5 tons of payload to LEO

    Delta IV Heavy: 24 tons of payload to LEO

    Saturn-5: up to 140 tons to LEO and 45 tons to TLI

    Ares-5: up to 188 tons to LEO and about 75 tons to TLI

    NASA is going to replace giant trucks with a very small and VERY EXPENSIVE electric city car, as clearly explained here:

    so, NASA will spend dozens billion$ but will always "remain in the city" (that is LEO)


  3. None of the above presentations will open???

  4. Dear Dr. Charania,

    Thank you most kindly for the posting of the NASA presentations. They are very helpful and most sincerely appreciated.



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