For Additional Information Contact: Frank Sietzen, Jr. 703-685-7090

The Space Transportation Association released a White Paper Thursday on the future of the Space Shuttle program calling for no fewer than six annual Shuttle missions and full funding for the program’s upgrade budget. The organization also called for an infrastructure roadmap that covers the full service life of the Space Shuttle, as well as greater attention to workforce retention issues. “STA strongly supports Administrator O’Keefe’s emphasis on Shuttle safety,” said association President Frank Sietzen. “We believe that the path to safety is to fly sufficiently to make use of the Shuttle’s capabilities and maintain its operational efficiency,” he added.

STA said that when viewed in current FY2001 dollars, the Space Shuttle program budget has been reduced some 40 percent since FY1990, and if the current so-called “flat budget” is extended from FY2006 through FY2015, that reduction will grow to 67 percent. “For the future of the Shuttle program and America’s leadership in human spaceflight, this cannot be allowed to happen,” said the paper. “Much of this reduction has taken place over the years to fund other non-related projects proposed by the former NASA administrator Daniel S. Goldin,” said Sietzen. “The Space Shuttle budget has been repeatedly raided as a candy store.-this is the reas1Chy there have been little left in program reserves” he added.

The association also called on NASA to better define the relationship between technologies created in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program and the need to upgrade the Shuttles, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the project’s workforce needs if the service life of the Shuttles are extended beyond 2012, and continue transitioning to the private contractor for all of the Shuttle project’s operations. “STA notes that the number of on-time launches has increased while program costs have been reduced,” Sietzen said Thursday. “This is but one of the positive effects of the consolidated space operations effort and the evolution towards increased use of a private company to process and prepare the Shuttles for flight,” Sietzen added.

“The ultimate question we must face is-are we spending sufficient resources to take advantage of this capability and preserve it for continued use?,” Sietzen asked. “Clearly, the answer is-not under this budget,” he said.

  • Space Transportation Association White Paper: Space Shuttle Upgrades