For the first time, a new 5-year blueprint for space science research developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contains an ordered list of proposed projects. The list includes specific plans for modest programs in anticipation of potentially austere budgets.
The strategic plan, prepared by the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA), establishes several categories of mission programs and basic rules for their operation. The strategy places the highest priority on the completion of NASA's existing program of launches from the Space Shuttle and expendable vehicles; the plan also calls for one new start per year for both major missions like the Advanced X Ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and small missions like the Explorer Program. The OSSA document also expresses strong support for the Space Station, stating that NASA should “move aggressively, but sensibly, to build science instruments for the Space Station.”