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Aerospace Safety Panel: NASA Should Establish Future Vision Amid Agency Changes; Patricia Sanders Quoted

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The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel’s 2021 annual report reveals that NASA’s rebalancing of authorities has generally produced good results but also changed how the agency pursues its goals.

The panel advises NASA to create a strategic vision for space operations and create a board of directors focused on holistically supporting NASA’s mission, the space agency said Wednesday. The envisioned board would consist of NASA center directors and other key executives.

ASAP’s annual report also includes recommendations to manage the Artemis program in an integrated manner. NASA pursues Artemis in hopes of reviving manned space exploration.

“As NASA looks to the future and moves to expand human knowledge and operational capabilities beyond low-Earth orbit, it must recognize and adapt to the new environment and decide strategically how to forge humanity’s path outward while managing the risks in an appropriate manner,” said Patricia Sanders, who chairs ASAP.

The report assesses NASA’s safety performance and identifies associated issues and accomplishments. The panel examined the agency’s longer-term posture to strategically manage risks across operational, development and exploration functions.

These assessments come from fact-finding meetings, insight visits, direct observations of NASA, discussions with personnel and direct experiences of panel members.