The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, or ASAP, has released its 2008 annual report. The report examines NASA's safety performance and advises agency and government leaders on ways to improve performance.
The ASAP is an independent group of experts that has been evaluating NASA's safety performance and advising the agency on ways to improve that performance since it was established in 1968.
"The panel members believe NASA and the new administration stand at a critical crossroads for the nation," panel Chairman Joseph W. Dyer said. "This was the driving factor in the panel's decision to provide a brief, to-the-point letter report instead of the standard lengthy annual report. It is our hope that this summary of critical safety-related issues will help stimulate and focus the discussion necessary to make those decisions."
The 11-page report covers such important issues as whether to extend the space shuttle program; Soyuz reliability and safety; the direction of exploration programs; workforce development and sustainment; and safety improvements.
The ASAP bases its advice on direct observation of NASA's operations and decision-making. In the aftermath of the shuttle Columbia accident, Congress required the ASAP to submit an annual report to the NASA administrator and Congress. This annual report examines NASA's compliance with the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, as well as NASA's management and culture related to safety.
For more information about the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and to view the 2008 report, visit: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/asap