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I. Introductory Remarks

A. The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP)

The ASAP was established by Congress in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA Administrator on safety matters.1 The Panel holds quarterly fact-finding and public meetings and makes one or more “insight” visits per year to NASA Field Centers or other related sites. It reviews safety studies and operations plans and advises the NASA Administrator and Congress on hazards related to proposed or existing facilities and operations, safety standards and reporting, and NASA management and culture related to safety. Although the Panel may perform other duties and tasks as requested by either the NASA Administrator or Congress, the ASAP members normally do not engage in specialized studies or detailed technical analyses.

This report highlights the issues and concerns that were identified or raised by the Panel during its activities over the past year. The Panel recommendations submitted to the Administrator during 2010 are summarized in the Appendix at the end of this report.2 They are based upon the ASAP quarterly fact-finding meetings and public meetings; “insight” visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making; discussions with NASA management, employees, and contractors; and the Panel members’ expertise.

B. ASAP Observations About NASA Accomplishments in 2010

(1) Three Successful Space Shuttle Launches

NASA safely launched Shuttle Endeavour (STS-130) on February 8, 2010; Shuttle Discovery (STS131) on April 5, 2010; and Shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) on May 14, 2010. All flights carried equipment and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The workforce stayed focused on the tasks at hand and demonstrated noteworthy efforts to maintain rigor and attention to detail. The ASAP was pleased to see that safety continues to be NASA’s number one core value.3

(2) Ten Years’ Continuous Human Occupation Aboard the International Space Station (ISS)

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