The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2015 annual report examining NASA's safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials. The report, released Wednesday, is based on the panel's 2015 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; "insight" visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the panel members' own experience.
“The panel continues to steadfastly believe competition between Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is essential to achieving a safe and productive Commercial Crew program. The Orbital-3, SpaceX CRS-7, and Russian Soyuz/Progress 59 cargo accidents underscore this position,” said Joseph W. Dyer, retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and ASAP chairman. “The three cargo accidents, and resulting loss of resupply missions, yielded a challenging year for the International Space Station (ISS), but NASA’s planning and logistics stewardship of the ISS minimized impact and allowed for continued operations.
“Also, in this year’s report, you will see the ASAP’s increased focus on the Exploration Systems Development (ESD) endeavor. Financial and perceived schedule pressures are impacting safety and design considerations.”
The 2015 report highlights include:
- funding adequacy and profiles;
- accretion of risk that is impacting safety;
- program assessments -- Exploration Systems Development, Commercial Crew Program, and International Space Station;
- accomplishments in 2015; and
- other topics of interest, such as the Journey to Mars plan, NASA's Aircraft Management Information System, and human spaceflight mishap investigation planning.
Congress established the panel in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of three American astronauts.