The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, issued its 2023 annual report Thursday examining the agency’s safety performance, accomplishments, and challenges over the past year.
The report highlights 2023 activities and observations on NASA’s:
- Strategic Vision and Guiding Principles
- Agency Governance
- Moon to Mars Program Management
In 2023, NASA continued to make meaningful progress toward meeting the intent of the broad-ranging recommendations the panel made in 2022. As a result, the ASAP’s latest report includes information on the advances NASA made in its operations, decision-making, program and personnel management, and the tasks that remain.
“This report reflects the panel’s strong emphasis on strategic-level aspects of NASA leadership, risk management, and safety culture – a primary focus over the past two years – while also giving attention to the tactical level of technical execution. We believe that the principles and processes the agency employs to evaluate and make decisions, manage programs, and communicate to its workforce have a direct and consequential impact on safety and mission assurance,” said Dr. Patricia Sanders, ASAP chair. “We also highlight some steps that the Congress can take to assist NASA in safely accomplishing its challenging mission.”
The report highlights the progress made toward top recommendations offered in 2022, including the establishment of a Moon to Mars Program Office, as well as the NASA 2040 new agencywide initiative to operationalize the agency’s vision and strategic objectives across headquarters and centers.
Furthermore, this report addresses safety assessments for both the Moon to Mars Program and the operations – current and future – in low Earth orbit. It also touches on relevant areas of human health and medicine in space, regulatory requirements for commercial space operations as they affect NASA, and the impact of budget constraints and uncertainty on safety.
The 2023 report provides details on the concrete actions the agency should take to fulfill the 2022 recommendations. It spotlights recommendations for the agency moving ahead, including the establishment of a comprehensive International Space Station to Commercial low Earth Orbit destination transition plan.
The report is based on the panel’s 2023 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making; discussions with NASA management, employees, and contractors; and the panel members’ past experiences.
Congress established the panel in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire claimed the lives of three American astronauts.
For more information about the ASAP, view the 2023 report or reports from previous years, visit: