“Independent advisory groups provide input on commercial crew safety considerations, among which the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel is the primary independent adviser for commercial crew activity,” the agency said. “The ISS Advisory Committee focuses on the International Space Station and international systems.”
The charter of the ISS Advisory Committee, approved and signed by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in September, states that the committee’s objective is to “provide advice and recommendations to NASA on all ISS aspects related to safety and operational readiness, utilization, and exploration.”
The description of duties for the ISS Advisory Committee, also stated in the charter, do not explicitly mention commercial crew systems. The charter does mention “program and project management, including spaceflight safety and mission assurance strategies” as part of its scope, but the only crew vehicle mentioned is the Soyuz.
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) does regularly review commercial crew vehicle development, and has included its assessment in its annual reports in the last several years. Minutes of the last five ASAP meetings, from December 2015 to October 2016, do not mention any discussion of the SpaceX fueling issue.
NASA, though, indicated in its statement that it would still address the ISS Advisory Committee’s letter despite it being beyond the strict scope of its activities. “Other groups, such as the ISS Advisory Committee, also seek information, and we treat all inquiries seriously,” it said.