NASA’s Human Space Flight Review Committee chaired by Norman Augustine will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. EDT today to discuss the committee’s final report which is being released today. The highly anticipated report will have a significant affect on future US manned space flight and consequently affects Canada’s space program.
At the moment Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk is on a six month mission to the International Space Station and recently fellow astronaut Julie Payette finished a 15 day mission on space shuttle Endeavour to the space station. Unfortunately Canada has no future missions lined up for its astronaut core even though Canada is assured a ride to space until 2016 through an agreement made with NASA. Until such time as the Obama administration makes a decision on the future of human space flight, Canada’s astronaut core is grounded.
The report however will affect more than Canada’s astronaut core. It will a significant affect on Canada’s future space policy. At the moment Canada has no national space policy. The Canadian Space Agency has been working for well over a year with other departments, industry and academia to present a strategy. In fact Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean was expected to release the current strategy this past spring. Unfortunately that has no happened. Contributing to the delay was the formation of NASA’s Human Space Flight Review Committee on June 1. It is believed the Conservative government has been waiting to see what direction the US space program takes before making any policy statements for Canada’s program.