Former Scripps Director on Panel to Assess Future of Human Space Flight Program

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Charles Kennel, former director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, has been named a member of NASA's Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

During the course of the review, the panel will examine ongoing and planned NASA development activities and potential alternatives in order to present options for advancing a safe, innovative, affordable and sustainable human space flight program following the space shuttle's retirement next year. The committee will present its results by August in time to support an administration decision on the way forward.

STS125-S-002 (9 Oct. 2007) --- These seven astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-125 crew portrait. From the left are astronauts Michael J. Massimino, Michael T. Good, both mission specialists; Gregory C. Johnson, pilot; Scott D. Altman, commander; K. Megan McArthur, John M. Grunsfeld and Andrew J. Feustel, all mission specialists. The STS-125 mission will be the final space shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo courtesy of NASA.

"I am honored to be part of this committee to help NASA through the critical transition of the human space flight program that it is in the process of accomplishing," said Kennel, who is currently senior strategist at UCSD's Sustainability Solutions Institute. Additionally he recently served as a member of the NASA Advisory Council and from 1994 to 1996, was associate administrator for NASA, directing Mission to Planet Earth, the world's largest earth science program.

The recently concluded flight of space shuttle Atlantis, the crew of which featured Scripps alumna Megan McArthur, is one of the last planned for the space shuttle program. Future U.S. programs to send humans to the moon or Mars are under consideration.

Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., and former member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, will chair the panel.

"I look forward to working with the members of the committee to assist in defining the future U.S. human space flight program," Augustine said. "The members offer a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds, and we are all committed to offering sensible proposals that will serve the White House and NASA in their deliberations."

Other panel members are

  • Dr. Wanda Austin, president and CEO, The Aerospace Corp.
  • Bohdan Bejmuk, chair, Constellation program Standing Review Board, and former manager of the Boeing Space Shuttle and Sea Launch programs
  • Dr. Leroy Chiao, former astronaut, former International Space Station commander and engineering consultant┬áDr. Christopher Chyba, professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Princeton University, and member, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
  • Dr. Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT and co-chair, NASA Exploration Technology Development Program Review Committee
  • Jeffrey Greason, co-founder and CEO, XCOR Aerospace, and vice-chair, Personal Spaceflight Federation
  • Retired Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles, chair, National Academies Committee on the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program, former Air Force vice chief of staff and former commander of the Air Force Materiel Command
  • Dr. Sally Ride, former astronaut, first American woman in space, CEO of Sally Ride Science and professor emerita at UCSD.


Dr. W. Michael Hawes is leading the NASA review team that will provide technical and analytic support to the committee. Hawes is NASA's associate administrator for program analysis and evaluation. Philip McAlister is the executive director of the committee and the designated federal official.

The committee will hold several public meetings at different U.S. locations. The first public meeting will take place June 17 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EDT at the Carnegie Institution, located at 1530 P Street NW in Washington D.C. Topics on the agenda include previous studies about U.S. human space flight, national space policy, international cooperation, evolved expendable launch vehicles, commercial human space flight capabilities and exploration technology planning.

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