NASA must nail down a detailed fly-out plan in order to keep skilled technicians with the space shuttle program as it heads toward its 2010 conclusion, an AIA-led Industry Panel concluded.

In a report released by AIA President and CEO John Douglass as part of the Integrated Space Operations Summit in Nashville, a panel of industry representatives concluded NASA must also complete the shuttle and International Space Station programs in an integrated fashion to lead seamlessly into a new era of space exploration.

“NASA faces many challenges with the president’s exciting Vision for Space Exploration,” Douglass said. “Among the most important is creating a smooth transition from the shuttle and space station programs and retaining the best and brightest minds to take us to the moon, Mars and beyond.”

NASA chose AIA to spearhead industry input to the ISOS report, which includes suggestions from four government panels. Together the efforts represent technical input to strategic planning for NASA’s long-range goals, including sending people back to the moon and on to explore Mars.

The fly-out plan should include a look at whether a skills-retention incentive program is needed similar to the Titan IV rocket phase-out strategy, the panel concluded.

The industry board stressed the importance of working closely with the companies involved in all space programs.

Other industry-related suggestions were planning for sustained technology investment, rewarding incremental technology advancements, and encouraging the use of resources, people and facilities in partnership with industry.

The complete ISOS Industry Panel report will be available on the AIA Web page at

Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is the premier trade association representing the nation’s manufacturers of commercial, military and business aircraft, helicopters, aircraft engines, missiles, spacecraft, materiels, and related components and equipment.