Subcommittee Examines Human Space Flight Safety
The House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics focused their attention on safety in human space flight systems, considering both NASA's Constellation Program architecture and potential commercial crew services to and from the International Space Station, during a Dec. 2 hearing.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), a long time proponent of NASA safety, said the well-being of American astronauts should be at the heart of everything NASA does in space. Bryan O'Connor, NASA's chief of safety and mission assurance and a former astronaut, outlined polices that NASA had instituted to ensure that safety is the agency's top priority.
A general sentiment heard throughout the hearing was the Constellation program deserved more credit than it has gotten for its demonstrated progress.
The hearing ended with Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords' (D-AZ), pictured, restating her support of the program of record. She said the information provided at the hearing led her to conclude that there was no justification to change direction from a point of safety. However, she said that commercial and governmental systems should be thought of as complementary rather than an "either/or" decision.