To begin implementation of the Vision for Space Exploration (recently renamed "United States Space Exploration Policy"), NASA has begun development of new launch vehicles and a human-carrying spacecraft that are collectively called the Constellation System. In November 2007, NASA asked the NRC to evaluate the potential for the Constellation System to enable new space science opportunities. For this interim report, 11 existing "Vision Mission" studies of advanced space science mission concepts inspired by earlier NASA forward-looking studies were evaluated. The focus was to assess the concepts and group them into two categories: more-deserving or less deserving of future study. This report presents a description of the Constellation System and its opportunities for enabling new space science opportunities, and a systematic analysis of the 11 Vision Mission studies. For the final report, the NRC issued a request for information to the relevant communities to obtain ideas for other mission concepts that will be assessed by the study committee, and several issues addressed only briefly in the interim report will be explored more fully.
National Research Council. Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA's Constellation System: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
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