As the shuttle program winds to a formal end this week, NASA has announced a new assignment for former program manager John Shannon.
Shannon will lead a review assessing options for future human exploration missions and opportunities for international collaboration.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has asked for recommendations by this fall.
"These recommendations can then be employed to determine where future NASA technology development efforts should focus in order to best leverage our limited resources and enhance potential future cooperation with our international partners," Bolden wrote in an Aug. 24 memo titled “Focusing Development Efforts Based on Design Reference Missions.”
Bolden said the effort would not choose a specific mission plan, but would identify "potential human exploration scenarios on the horizon, so that we can most productively guide our approved efforts in the near-term, while aligning our efforts with the international space community."
Shannon is now in Kyoto, Japan, to kick off the effort with international partners at a meeting of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, according to NASA.
Bolden said the review should also involve various NASA departments, including those responsible for exploration systems, space operations and technology development.
Thursday marks the formal start of NASA's Space Shuttle Transition and Retirement Office responsible for the disposition of shuttle assets, and the end of the Space Shuttle Program that Shannon led.
IMAGE: On June 30, Space Shuttle Program Manager John Shannon is pictured during a space shuttle and space station program overview press conference at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Credit: NASA