Welcome to My Blog!

Thanks for stopping by my new blog! Whether you were directed here from my website, www.danbursch.com, or from my Dan Bursch Facebook fan page, I'm glad you stopped by!

I'll be sharing thoughts with you - thoughts about space, human spaceflight, space education, etc., as well as speaking engagement updates and opportunities. I'll also be sharing details of the Naval Postgraduate School's Centennial, of which I have been named the Centennial Spokesperson. It's an exciting year for the school which has educated more NASA astronauts than any other graduate institution in the country!

I hope you enjoy what I have to say and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ATLANTIS LIFTS OFF!!....due to dock with ISS soon...

Great to see ATLANTIS liftoff on time Monday!  Always a beautiful sight!  The rendezvous is well underway now..they should dock in about 1.5 hr.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The space shuttle ATLANTIS is due to launch today at 1:38pm Eastern (11:38am Pacific)..

Friday, November 13, 2009

Augustine Commission: Initial Thoughts and Observations

It has been over a week and I am still working my way through the report, so I decided to share some of my initial thoughts and observations.

What got my attention right away was the first sentence: “The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory.” Wow, that is quite a bold and disturbing statement. I am anxious to read deeper into the report to understand why the panel felt that way. In any program, just as in any aircraft approach or rendezvous trajectory, the sooner we can correct the trajectory the better.

The report clearly stated their task in the preface. I thought it was very interesting that the panel was tasked to provide alternatives to the current program, not to provide specific recommendations. Does anyone know of any recent panels/commissions with a similar scope (or would it be restriction or framework?)?

With my experience in the ISS program, the fourth paragraph in the executive summary rang true for me: “If the United States is willing to lead a global program of exploration, sharing both the burden and benefit of space exploration in a meaningful way, significant accomplishments could follow. Actively engaging international partners in a manner adapted to today’s multi-polar world could strengthen geopolitical relationships, leverage global financial and technical resources, and enhance the exploration enterprise.”  Perhaps the toughest challenge will be how to lead such a program. I think that the world would be more willing to participate if they felt they all had a part in the leadership, not simply following the United States. Certainly the U.S. can lead the call, but ultimate leadership should come from many nations.

I’m not sure that I agree with the statement in the 7th paragraph of the summary: “Planning for a human spaceflight program should begin with a choice about its goals – rather than a choice of possible destinations.”  That seems to contradict JFK’s speech on 12 September 1962, which clearly stated the goal of landing on the Moon, a destination.  Perhaps this is a subtle difference and I need to think about it some more, or perhaps it is explained in the next paragraph…..

I truly believe the following statement from the summary: “The Committee concludes that the ultimate goal of human exploration is to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system”.  Who wants to answer the questions that invariably a future generation will have as a killer asteroid approaches the Earth: “Why didn’t you think about this? Why did you give up on us?”

That is all I have for now…I will continue to read…until then, happy reading to you as well!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Final Augustine Commission Report

The Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Commission, released its final report.  It can be found by clicking here

In the next few days, I will read the report and post my comments here.  I invite all of you to do the same.  Our Nation’s Human Spaceflight Program is at a critical crossroad and understanding everything we can about the issue, including this report, is our obligation as Americans, no matter where our personal opinions fall.