Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Look at NASA Human Spaceflight Over the Years - My First Report!

Space social media was buzzing about NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's State of NASA address on February 9, shortly after President Obama released his administration's FY2017 budget request. Curious before the release, I read up on the 2015 State of NASA speech. I was curious as to how NASA's priorities had shifted over the years through the annual speeches. However, the speeches were a fairly recent idea. In years before, NASA administrators were called into congressional hearings to answer questions about the proposed NASA budget.

The more I looked, the more I curious I got about how priories had shifted over the years. I knew that humans to Mars had been a goal since the Apollo days, but I hadn't realized that humans to an asteroid wasn't a new idea either. It was interesting to see how what NASA planned and valued through the speeches and congressional hearings. NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe had a totally different focus than his successor Michael Griffin. Charlie Bolden's focus hasn't turned out to be all that different from Mike Griffin's. It makes me wonder what the next presidential administration and NASA administration will focus on.

Also catching my interest were the reactions in Congress. Certain members of Congress championed certain programs and criticized others. Some even changed their minds over the years. Although I had been under the assumption that opinions would coincide with party lines, the data showed a much more bipartisan approach to NASA program funding. Not surprisingly, location had more to do with how a member of Congress supported or opposed a program or budget that would benefit or hurt their constituents.

All in all, I looked at nearly 80 documents over the past 15 years, focusing on human spaceflight. The scope of my attention was limited because I had to call the report done at some point. But I believe my choices were comprehensive and offer a lot of detail. I'm proud of my work and excited to release my first report on Astralytical: NASA HumanSpaceflight Evolution 2001 – 2016.

Check out this graphic and explanation in the report!

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