NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Group Releases 2021 Annual Report

NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Group Releases 2021 Annual Report

Press Release From: NASA Headquarters
Posted: Tuesday January 11 2022

The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee reporting to NASA and Congress, released its 2021 annual report on Tuesday examining the agency’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting the achievements, issues and concerns.

The report highlights activities for 2021 and includes observations on:

  • Strategic vision and guiding principles
  • Agency governance
  • Program management

Throughout 2021, the panel explored the state of NASA’s ongoing work program and focused on the agency’s longer-term strategic posture to address risk management. Accordingly, this annual report continues the panel’s focus on strategic issues and their impact on current development, exploration and operational matters.

“The rapid changes taking place in space technology, investments and operations define an inflection point for the space sector,” said Patricia Sanders, President of ASAP. “As NASA looks to the future and strives to expand human knowledge and operational capabilities beyond low Earth orbit, it must recognize and adapt to the new environment and decide strategically how to forge humanity’s way outward while managing risk appropriately. “

The report notes that the rebalancing of roles and responsibilities between NASA and industry has generally been successful, but adds that this trend has changed the way NASA carries out its mission. As a result, the panel believes it is crucial for NASA to strategically assess the way forward and determine the future shape of the organization.

The panel identified a series of issues it believes NASA will need to address regarding the agency’s plans and aspirations for the future, as well as how the agency intends to interact. with commercial and international partners, its risk management approach and its changing workforce and infrastructure needs.

Specifically, the report recommends that NASA develop a strategic vision for the future of space exploration and operations; establish and provide leadership through a ‘board of directors’ that includes agency center directors and other key officials, with an emphasis on providing benefits to the mission of the agency as a coherent whole; and manage Artemis as an integrated program with top-down alignment. The panel also reiterated a recommendation from its 2020 report that Congress designate a lead federal agency for civil space traffic management.

The report is based on the survey meetings and quarterly public panel meetings in 2021; visits and information meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the own experience of the panel members.

Congress established the group in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the administrator of NASA on safety issues after the Apollo 1 fire in 1967 that claimed the lives of three American astronauts.

For more information on ASAP and to view the 2021 report – and reports from previous years – visit:

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