The Space Frontier Foundation today hailed the “Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee,” also known as the “Augustine Committee,” for declaring a new overarching purpose for America’s national space enterprise:
“the underlying reason why we do human spaceflight is the extension of human civilization beyond Earth“
The Committee’s public hearing in Cocoa Beach Thursday, July 30th included a presentation of recommendations from its “Exploration Beyond LEO” subgroup, which culminated with the above conclusion.
“Like most pro-space citizens, we have been watching hopefully the Augustine Committee’s work, and yesterday was a huge breakthrough,” said Foundation Chairman, Bob Werb. “These experts ‘get it.’ They understand that when you cut away all of the rhetoric, the only sustainable and compelling motivation for sending humans into space is to expand human civilization permanently into the solar system.”
For an organization of people dedicated to opening the space frontier to human settlement, this is music to our ears. The extension of human civilization beyond Earth is synonymous with settlement. There is much else in these recommendations that we endorse, but this overwhelms all else by effectively embracing our “Frontier Enabling Test.”
“The extension of human civilization beyond Earth gives meaning and context to everything we do in space,” continued Werb. “The reason for humans to go is not to visit, not to buy the t-shirt and come home, but to enable others to follow, to open the frontier to thousands of entrepreneurs, engineers, poets, artists, teachers and anyone else who wants to take up the challenge of creating settlements beyond Earth where free peoples can live, work and play.”