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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station Appendixes

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station This page in the original is blank.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station Appendix A National Academy of Public Administration Phase 1 Report: Research on the International Space Station Executive Summary The U.S. microgravity research community is approaching a crisis. The schedule for International Space Station (ISS) assembly and readiness to support microgravity research is being significantly delayed. This will profoundly decrease the ability to conduct world-class research in the microgravity environment of space. This report weighs the advantages and disadvantages of adding annual Space Shuttle flights dedicated to microgravity research to ensure the continued viability of the microgravity research community. Elements of the ISS critical for microgravity research are likely to be deleted due to lack of funds. Two Space Shuttle-based microgravity research flights are scheduled in 2002 and 2004. This leaves very limited flight opportunities until the ISS is fully ready to support microgravity research, a date which is rapidly receding. As a result, the U.S.’s premier microgravity researchers are looking elsewhere for the bulk of their research activities. New, young researchers avoid space research due to the dearth of near-term flight opportunities. Erosion of the space microgravity community has begun and is accelerating. Action is required if a viable research community is to be present when the full ISS microgravity research capability is in place. The Phase 1 conclusions, basically agreed to by the members of the National Academy of Public Administration’s (NAPA) study team and the National Research Council’s (NRC) Task Group on Research on the International Space Station (TGRISS), were reached by examining two sets of assumptions and proposed actions. Assembly Sequence F is the assembly plan under which NASA is currently operating in building the ISS. Assembly Sequence F provides the ISS with a robust complement of facilities and equipment for microgravity research, including a 6 or 7-person crew to support the research activities. (A) Assuming Assembly Sequence F schedules and capabilities are achieved, then:     NOTE: The report in this appendix is reproduced as it was supplied by the National Academy of Public Administration. It was not reviewed or edited by the National Research Council.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station If currently planned ISS development monies are to be the funding source for additional microgravity shuttle flights, then no additional shuttle flights should be planned for microgravity research. If funding were to be provided from new sources, it would be highly beneficial to fly annual flights. Assembly Sequence G is the NASA ISS assembly plan which responds to the direction by the Administration to help in solving current ISS funding issues. It is still in draft and has not been approved as yet by the appropriate authorities. Assembly Sequence G would result in a significant reduction in the microgravity research capability on the ISS, and the proposed three-person crew would severely limit the ability to conduct microgravity research aboard the ISS. (B) Assuming Draft Assembly Sequence G schedule and reduced capability are implemented, then annual shuttle flights devoted to science should be flown until ISS reaches research capability planned for assembly complete under Sequence F. Chapter 1 – Introduction A. Statement of the task This report is in response to Congressional direction specified in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Bill—Section 203. SEC. 203. RESEARCH ON INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION. STUDY.—The Administrator shall enter into a contract with the National Research Council (NRC) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to jointly conduct a study of the status of life and microgravity research as it relates to the International Space Station. The study shall include— an assessment of the United States scientific community’s readiness to use the International Space Station for life and microgravity research; an assessment of the current and projected factors limiting the United States scientific community’s ability to maximize the research potential of the International Space Station, including, but not limited to, the past and present availability of resources in the life and microgravity research accounts within the Office of Human Spaceflight and the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications and the past, present and projected access to space of the scientific community; and recommendations for improving the United States scientific community’s ability to maximize research potential of the International Space Stations including an assessment of the relative costs and benefits of— dedicating an annual mission of the Space Shuttle to life and microgravity research during the assembly of the International Space Station; and maintaining the schedule for assembly in place at the time of the enactment. REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall transmit to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the results of the study conducted under this section.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station After discussions between the NRC and Congressional staff the direction delineated in the Authorization Bill was translated to the following study task statement. This study will be organized on behalf of the NRC by the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine (CSBM) of the Space Studies Board and will be conducted over a 2-year period in two consecutive 12-month phases. During the first 12-month phase, the NRC and NAPA will complete an interim report that will assess the following: the readiness of the United States scientific community (including the commercial research community) to use the ISS for life and microgravity research; and the relative costs and benefits of dedicating an annual mission of the Space Shuttle to life and microgravity research during assembly of the ISS versus maintaining the schedule for assembly in place at the time that the study is initiated. During the second 12-month phase, the NRC and NAPA will address the following three issues: assess the current and projected factors limiting the United States scientific community’s ability to maximize the research potential of the ISS including but not limited to, the past and present availability of resources in the life and microgravity ISS research utilization accounts with the Office of Space Flight; the availability of resources (crew training time, crew on-orbit time, power, upmass, stowage, etc.) on the ISS during assembly and at assembly complete; and the past, present, and projected access to space of the scientific community; and provide recommendations for improving the United States scientific community’s ability to maximize the research potential of the International Space Station. B. Methodology The planning for the construction of the ISS is a very dynamic activity. Schedules, timelines, and even the elements comprising the ISS are in a continual state of change. Assembly Sequence F is the schedule currently in place. However, the changes directed by Administration will have a very substantial impact on both the assembly schedule and the complement of ISS hardware elements. Assembly Sequence G, currently in planning by NASA, is a major deviation from the assembly sequence that was in place at the start of the task. The NAPA study team made assumptions based upon assembly sequence schedules, ISS research hardware elements included/excluded and source of funds for added microgravity research flights aboard the Space Shuttle. The feasibility of adding a microgravity research flight(s) was examined from both the microgravity research and Space Shuttle/ISS perspectives. This entailed assessing the impact to both funding and schedules. Chapter 2 – History As shown in Chart 1, the Microgravity Program has been used by NASA as a “shock absorber” to reduce the budgetary impacts of development problems that resulted in schedule delays and cost overruns. A combination of the need to fund budget shortfalls in ISS budget requirements and delayed readiness of the

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station ISS to support microgravity research has reduced microgravity science flight activities from the expectations of a decade ago. The microgravity budget was reduced by about one-third from the expected funding in the budget projections made three years prior to the money actually being spent. This resulted in the loss of access to space for microgravity research as Space Shuttle flights were primarily dedicated to ISS assembly missions and the ISS itself was not yet available as a facility prepared to conduct microgravity research. With the loss of access to space, the funds for that part of the microgravity research program were diverted to the pressing needs of the ISS Program. Chart 1 below provides a comparison between the expected funding for microgravity and what was actually provided three years later when that part of the program was funded. 1Chart 1 Chapter 3 – Space Shuttle Opportunities Adjustments to the NASA budget by the Administration have resulted in a reduction from previously planned Space Shuttle flight rate levels. All of the lighter weight Space Shuttles are fully dedicated to ISS assembly flights, leaving only the heavier Columbia to support NASA’s other space access requirements via the Space Shuttle. The flight rate changes currently under review by NASA, in response to Administration direction, have resulted in a net reduction of eight flights from the FY01 budget through FY 2004. Chart 2 delineates the changes by Fiscal Year (FY). 1   Chart 1 derived from analysis of NASA’s budget justification.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station 2Chart 2 – Space Shuttle Flight Rate by Fiscal Year   FY01 FY02 FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 Per FY 2001 Plan 9 9 8 8 6 6   Per FY 2002 Plan 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 Change –2 –2 –2 –2       The current Space Shuttle manifest shows two microgravity research flights. The first is STS-107, Research Mission Freestar, which is currently scheduled for launch on April 4, 2002 and the second is STS-123, Research Mission 2, scheduled for launch in May of 2004. The manifest also has a test flight of the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) scheduled for February 2003. NASA is considering elimination of the CRV as part of the response to the Administration’s funding targets. Deleting the CRV mission would free a launch slot, although significant hurdles to using that slot for an additional microgravity research mission remain, i.e., time and money. The February 2003 CRV launch date is too soon to permit a new research flight to fall into that launch slot. In all likelihood the fastest a new mission could be designed and readied for launch is approximately two years after approval. This picture is further clouded by the uncertainty surrounding the date of complete ISS assembly. If Assembly Sequence F is assumed, that date is in 2006. If Assembly Sequence G is assumed, then the assembly completion now coincides with completion of the U.S. core in 2004. This leaves only 2003 open as a year in which there is not a microgravity research flight during ISS assembly. Given that there is little time between now and the end of 2003 to design, integrate and fly a new mission, the ability to add research flights during ISS assembly may be overtaken by events. Chapter 4 – Cost and Impact of Adding Microgravity Mission(s) A. Cost of undertaking a new microgravity research mission Two NASA Offices within the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise would be responsible for the marginal cost of an added Space Shuttle mission. NASA’s Office of Space Flight (Code M) would fund the cost of an External Tank (ET), refurbishment of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB), mission planning and operations, payload Integration and Test (I&T) into the Shuttle. The other, the Office of Biological and Physical Research (Code U), would be responsible for the lease of the Spacehab, Inc. module (a non-Government leased facility) should NASA decide to use that structure for a new mission, as well as all costs associated with planning, operating and completing data analysis of the research mission payload. The marginal cost of adding a new Space Shuttle mission is presented in Chart 3. 2   Chart 2 is excerpted from Chief Financial Officer’s budget back-up to NASA’s FY2002 budget submission to the Congress.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station 3Chart 3 Space Shuttle Mission—Marginal Cost $ in Million     −3 −2 −1 launch year   total Space Shuttle Program Office (SSPO) 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.4 29.9   32.1 Shuttle Flight Operations Center 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.4 29.4   31.6 Flight Ops       0.4 1.6   2.0 Ground Ops         9.7   9.7 Logistics         3.7   3.7 Program Integration     0.4 0.5 3.5   4.4 HW/SW Elements     0.4 0.5 3.7   4.6 Fee         7.2   7.2 FEPC         0.5   0.5 Kennedy Space Center (KSC)       2.0 6.6   8.6 KSC – Launch Operations         2.6   2.6 KSC – Payoad Integration to/from Shuttle       2.0 4.0   6.0 Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)   0.0 21.9 12.5 12.4 2.2 49.0 Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME)         2.3   2.3 External Tank (ET)     7.2 7.0 4.7   18.9 Reuseable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM)     14.7 3.3 2.6   20.6 Solid Rocket Booster (SRB)       2.2 2.8 2.2 7.2 NASA has two Space Shuttle borne microgravity research missions on the current manifest. They are STS-107 and STS-123. STS-107 was delayed from its original late 1999 launch date due to higher priority needs of the assembly of the ISS and is now scheduled for launch in April 2002. The delay has added significant Spacehab lease cost penalties as well as an increase to the associated cost of pay load engineering support and principal investigator expenses. Chart 4 provides a comparison of the projected total mission cost of the next two Space Shuttle microgravity research missions. As is evident, the expected cost for a mission is very consistent between the two missions, once the Spacehab lease delay penalties are removed from the projected cost of the STS-107 mission. 3   Chart 3 was taken from data provided by NASA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer from data from the Office of Space Flight.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station 4Chart 4 New Obligation Authority (NOA) for next two STS microgravity Missions     R2 Mission Cost Source STS-107 STS-123 Shuttle marginal costs $88.7 $83.7 KSC payload processing $5.0 $6.0 Payload engineering support $22.5 $18.3 Principal Investigator costs $11.0 TBD Mission integration activities $20.5 $30.4 Spacehab carrier lease delays through 8/01 $13.5   Spacehab carrier lease delays 8/01 thru 4/02 $12.0   TOTALS $173.2 $138.4 Note: For STS-107 Spacehab launch slip cost=$1.5M per month. Current budget is through an August 2001 launch date. B. Source of funding for microgravity research mission(s) Key to any discussion of the consequences of adding one or more Space Shuttle microgravity research missions is the source of the requisite funding. There are four scenarios for the source of needed funds, each with widely differing consequences. Congress augments the NASA budget with sufficient funds to cover the full-cost of the added research mission(s). This option would have little effect on ISS assembly as NASA is currently staffed to support eight Shuttle launches per year while only six per year are planned. However, this scenario is very unlikely based on the past actions of the Congress. When NASA was last directed to add a microgravity research flight, the Congress provided only an additional $40M, well below the marginal cost of a research mission (approximately $150M). NASA assumes the full-cost of the added research mission(s) and taxes non-Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) areas to obtain the required funds. In this scenario the Administrator would decide which areas within the Agency, external to HEDS, would be affected. Since HEDS plus the fixed cost of Civil Service salaries accounts for more than half of NASA’s annual budget, the impact of transferring funds would be shared among only half the budget. Since most of that money is committed against on-going projects, it would be the new work in non-HEDS areas (Space Science, Earth Science and Aeronautics) that would suffer inordinately. 4   Chart 4 was created from data provided by NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research (Microgravity research costs) and Office of Space Flight (Shuttle costs).

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station NASA assumes the full-cost of the added research mission(s) and takes the funds from HEDS money currently earmarked for ISS assembly. The current budget can only support six Space Shuttle launches per year as indicated by the reductions shown in Chart 2. Adding any new mission(s) would result in a one-for-one reduction to the ISS assembly flight rate. This reduction would cause the ISS assembly timeline to stretch out. Given the monthly spending rate of the ISS Program, the effect would likely be an unacceptably high budget impact to the ISS program. Since it appears that the Administration is locking the annual cost of the ISS, such assembly delays would significantly impact the date when the ISS would be available for full microgravity research activities. NASA directs the microgravity program to fund additional mission(s). This option would have minimal effect on ISS assembly. There would be a cost due to extending the time for the assembly of the microgravity support elements (facilities and equipment). There would be a substantial cost to the microgravity research program, as that program would be asked to fund the entire cost of mounting additional Space Shuttle research missions. It would be penny wise and pound foolish to substitute two-week Space Shuttle missions at a cost of significant delays to the readiness of the ISS to conduct microgravity research. Since current plans may call for the deleting or reducing the capability of the Centrifuge Facility, any actions that further impact funds would only exacerbate the loss of microgravity research capabilities. Only the first scenario, an augmentation to NASA’s budget, results in minor changes to the Agency’s current plans. However a thorough cost-benefit study should be undertaken by NASA to determine whether such additional funding is best used by the microgravity community for mounting short-term Space Shuttle missions or by accelerating the readiness date at which the ISS is ready for full-time research. From Assembly Sequence E (dated June 1999) through Sequence F (dated August 2000) and continuing to the current Draft Assembly Sequence G, for some elements of the outfitting of the ISS for research, the delay has been as much as two years. The earlier outfitting activities, those originally scheduled to occur in 2000 and 2001 lost eight to nine months, while the activities scheduled in Sequence E to occur in 2003 and 2004 are now proposed to be done one and a half to two years later. NASA has not yet finalized Draft Assembly Sequence G. In the likely event that Assembly Sequence G is initiated, very significant impacts to the microgravity research program would result. ISS microgravity facilities and equipment capabilities would be reduced. The proposal to limit crew size will affect the crew’s ability to support research experiments. In addition the proposed loss of a major solar array would impact the amount of electrical power available for experiments. As directed in the task statement, Phase 2 of this report will assess the effects of these changes on ISS-borne microgravity research. Chapter 5 – Microgravity Science Impacts The long delay in ISS readiness to conduct microgravity research, combined with few opportunities for research flights aboard the Space Shuttle, has resulted in an erosion of enthusiasm within the microgravity science community. It should be remembered that when President Reagan made his initial speech proposing the Space Station in 1984, the operability date was 1992—to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the landing of Columbus.

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station A. NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research (Code U) selection process The road from initial proposal to in-space microgravity research is a long and highly competitive process. Three competitive steps must be accomplished, with each step winnowing down the field of researchers. Ground Science Selection: Not all ground research proposals assume that a microgravity flight will be needed to achieve the desired information. When NASA releases requests for ground science proposals, peer review boards assess the relative merits of the submitted proposals. Receiving a NASA research grant is a very competitive process, with only a small percentage of submitted proposals gaining acceptance. Flight Science Selection: Those proposals requiring a microgravity environment in order to achieve their science objectives undergo further peer review to select and rank them. Those selected then proceed into development of the flight experiment and the requisite hardware, software and operational procedures. A ratio of between five and ten ground research proposals to each flight research proposal is preferred in order to assure the “best” science is available for a flight opportunity. Flight Assignment Selection: Of those proposals selected for “Flight Science,” an assessment of priority for selection for a flight assignment is made. This results in a ready queue of experimenters awaiting an opportunity to fly, either on the Space Shuttle or the ISS. Unfortunately, because of the double hit of the ISS readiness date slipping and the sparse number of Shuttle-based microgravity research flights currently scheduled to occur during ISS assembly, the length of the queue far exceeds the opportunities for flight, the result being a high level of discouragement among the microgravity researchers. The problem within the microgravity research community is that after investing years in competing in this process, the opportunities for conducting in-situ microgravity research are minimal. B. Science benefits of assuring annual Shuttle microgravity research flights The National Research Council’s Task Group on Research on the International Space Station (TGRISS), as part of their research, interviewed representatives from each of the microgravity disciplines. The TGRISS group agreed that a serious problem is building in maintaining the high enthusiasm and interest of the most cutting-edge researchers participating in the NASA microgravity program. Researchers are looking at an ISS whose operational date has slipped two years during the past two years, while it is likely that its capabilities will be reduced significantly, perhaps to the point where microgravity research capability is totally compromised. At the same time, there are only two Shuttle-based microgravity research flights planned during the ISS assembly period—currently one in 2002 and one in 2004. Top researchers are looking toward other avenues for their research, as the opportunity for flight on a NASA vehicle fades. If NASA is to maintain a world-class microgravity program into the Space Station era, then it is imperative that the interest and enthusiasm of world-class researchers be nurtured and that they be afforded a reasonable opportunity to conduct their research in a timely manner. As was stated in the TGRISS Report of the National Research Council, “There are many benefits to be derived from annual Shuttle-based microgravity research flights. The assurance that an annual research flight will occur reduces the impact of the late readiness of the ISS. Such annual flights: Ensure that at least some microgravity research, that not requiring long-duration exposure, is accomplished,

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Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station Provide near-term opportunities for flight and scientific advancement, Enhance continuity of investigators within microgravity by providing near-term access to a microgravity environment, Sustain “readiness” by maintaining active participation of the investigator base, Demonstrate NASA commitment to support microgravity activities, and, Provide Shuttle-based gathering of fire safety information that will be needed in support of ISS outfitting.” Chapter 6 – Conclusions and Recommendations The conclusions in this Phase 1 Report are based on NASA’s Space Shuttle and ISS planning that is currently in a very high state of flux. NASA’s response to the reluctance of both the Administration and the Congress to fund the latest ISS cost growth projections has not yet solidified. When these plans are firmly established, certainly in time to influence the findings and recommendations of Phase 2 of this report, the conclusions and recommendations currently held by the joint NRC/NAPA Task Group on Research on the International Space Station may well take a new direction. However, one thing is clear. The erosion of the microgravity research community has begun. It will accelerate if flight opportunities and research capabilities wane. Action is required if the nation is to maintain a strong, viable, worldclass, microgravity space-based community. The Phase 1 conclusions basically agreed to by the NRC and NAPA task group members examine a set of boundary conditions and propose action based upon each. Assuming Assembly Sequence F schedule and capability are achieved, then: If ISS development monies were to be the funding source for additional microgravity shuttle flights, no additional shuttle flights should be planned for microgravity research. If funding were to be provided from new sources, it would be highly beneficial to fly annual flights. Assuming Draft Assembly Sequence G schedule and reduced capability are implemented, then annual shuttle flights devoted to science should be flown until the ISS reaches research capability planned for assembly complete under Sequence F. As stated throughout this report, there are many serious issues facing the ability to conduct microgravity research. The Task Group realizes that adding Shuttle flight(s) could have a negative impact on ISS assembly. However, if the ISS operability dates continue to slip, and microgravity research capability is reduced significantly, then Shuttle flights may well be the only opportunity for research in a microgravity environment for the better part of this decade. If the nation does not maintain its microgravity research community throughout the first part of this decade, it is entirely possible that when the ISS is finally ready the ability to conduct world-class research will not be there.