NASAWatch has created a thread for people to say, succinctly, what points they would make if they got to testify to the Augustine commission on the NASA human spaceflight program. No onw knows if this will have any impact, but it's important for people to express thoughts on a site we know is very widely read in NASA and the broader space community.
My comment was:
Dear Mr. Augustine,
Constellation today is morphing from "Apollo on steroids" to "Gemini with with four people." "Go as you can pay" is morphing into "Do what you can with an already-inadequte budget." This can't be allowed to continue.
The VSE goals made sense: for science, for American leadership, and (in the long run) for economics. Changes in the architecture, like the elimination of the marginal Ares I ("Estes on steroids"), must be done as needed. There can't be sacred cows. And we must look for a new level of international and public/private cooperation, creating a global megacommunity for space exploration.
Milestones and intermediate goals can be rescheduled, the order changed, etc. I submit, however, that only the overarching goal of long-term human exploration of the Moon and Mars makes the human spaceflight program worth the doing. Your commission must find a practical route, based on a grand vision but rooted in realism about economics, politics, and technology, to make us a true spacefaring nation again.
SPECIAL EMPHASIS: As often happens, I need to emphasize this is my opinion as a private citizen. nothing more.