Sunday, July 12, 2009

Decadal Survey Meeting

The presentations from the first meeting of the Decadal Survey have been posted ( and there are several interesting tidbits:

From the NASA planetary program overview:

  • NASA's planetary program has suffered a 50% budget reduction since 2005. This necessitates a complete replan of priorities. [Editor's notes: before this budget decline, an outer planets flagship mission could have been easily afforded]
  • Launch vehicle costs are increasing rapidly, which is eroding budget purchasing power
  • Current budgets would afford a new Discovery mission about every 3 years and a new New Frontiers mission about every 5 years

From the Mars program overview

  • A joint NASA/ESA group will propose a joint exploration program for Mars, but the Decadal Survey will have the final say.

From the JPL concept maturity presentation:

  • To avoid major cost overruns, 10-15% of the total mission cost needs to be spent upfront defining the mission. Missions that don't do this investment tend to suffer major cost overruns (See the presentation, which has a fascinating chart plotting this.)

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