Agency Advanced Planning & Integration Office (APIO) plans


In January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, which became the U.S. Space Exploration Policy. The Vision’s fundamental goal is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests thru a robust space exploration program. To support this goal, the Policy stipulated that the U.S. would:

  • Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond;
  • Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations;
  • Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and
  • Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests.

In October 2004, NASA commissioned strategic and capability roadmap teams to develop the pathways for turning the Vision into reality. The strategic roadmap topics were derived from the Report of the President’s Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space Exploration Policy (the Aldridge Commission), published in June 2004. NASA identified 12 strategic areas for roadmapping. The Agency added a thirteenth area on nuclear systems because the topic affects the entire program portfolio. The entire roadmapping effort was managed by an Advanced Planning and Integration Office attached to the Office of the Administrator.

To ensure long-term public visibility and engagement, NASA established a committee for each of the 13 areas. These committees—made up of prominent members of the scientific and aerospace industry communities and senior government personnel—operated under rules stemming from the Federal Advisory Committee Act. A committee was formed for each of the following program areas:

  1. Robotic and Human Lunar Exploration
  2. Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars
  3. Solar System Exploration
  4. Search for Earth-like Planets
  5. Exploration Transportation System
  6. International Space Station
  7. Space Shuttle
  8. Universe Exploration
  9. Earth Science and Applications from Space
  10. Sun-Solar System Connection
  11. Aeronautical Technologies
  12. Education
  13. Nuclear Systems

Eleven of the 13 strategic roadmap committees began meeting in early January 2005. Formation of the Space Shuttle Committee, which was to focus on the transition from the Shuttle to a new exploration vehicle, was deferred pending the Shuttle’s return to flight following the Columbia accident. Formation of the Education Committee was also delayed until the others had begun their work. The rationale was that the Education Committee would benefit from others’ discussions about long-term opportunities for education and public outreach.

These 11 committees each met at least once between January 3 and May 17, 2005. However, the new Administrator, Dr. Michael Griffin, terminated this roadmapping program with 30 days notice effective May 22, 2005. Several committees benefited from early results and momentum from pre-existing focused planning activities, and consequently they developed roadmap documents before roadmapping activities ended on May 22. The following roadmaps, all in the science area, were completed:

  • Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars
  • Solar System Exploration
  • Search for Earth-like Planets
  • Universe Exploration
  • Earth Science and Applications from Space
  • Sun-Solar System Connection

These completed roadmap documents will be added soon.

Robotic and Human Exploration of Mars
Exploration of Mars, including robotic exploration of Mars to search for evidence of life, to understand the history of the solar system, and to prepare for future human exploration; human expeditions to Mars after acquiring adequate knowledge about the planet using these robotic missions and after successfully demonstrating sustained human exploration missions to the Moon.

Solar System Exploration
Robotic exploration across the solar system to search for evidence of life, to understand the history of the solar system, to search for resources, and to support human exploration.

Search for Earth-Like Planets
Search for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars using advanced telescopes.

Universe Exploration
Explore the universe to understand its origin, structure, evolution, and destiny.

Earth Science and Applications from Space
Research and technology development to advance Earth observation from space, improve scientific understanding, and demonstrate new technologies with the potential to improve future operational systems.

Sun-Solar System Connection
Explore the Sun-Earth system to understand the Sun and its effects on the Earth, the solar system, and the space environmental conditions that will be experienced by human explorers.