7
Strengthening the Solar and Space Physics Research Enterprise

The prospects for substantial advances in solar and space physics depend on a significantly improved understanding of the key physical processes that are encountered in space. As emphasized in previous chapters of this report, achieving these advances will require strengthening the national infrastructure for solar and space physics research in a number of areas. The committee has identified several areas in particular in which effective program management and the appropriate policy actions could enhance the ability of the solar and space physics communities to address the science challenges presented in Chapter 1: development of a stronger research community, cost-effective use of existing resources, ensuring cost-effective and reliable access to space, improving interagency cooperation and coordination, and facilitating international partnerships. The following sections describe each of these areas and offer recommendations for optimizing the science return of solar and space physics over the next decade.1

A STRENGTHENED RESEARCH COMMUNITY

For decades before the first scientific satellites flew in 1957 and 1958, studies of geomagnetism, the aurora, cosmic rays, and related topics had been carried out at universities, in some government laboratories, and in the few industrial organizations that needed the information for their businesses. Since the advent of the space age, ground-based research in solar and space physics has been conducted principally in the universities with support from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force. Agencies such as NOAA, DOE, and the Department of the Interior have performed some research related to their governmental missions, but their support of university (or other outside) researchers has not been of any great significance. There was relatively little nongovernmental expertise in spaceflight capabilities at the time NASA was established.2 However, very early in its



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7 Strengthening the Solar and Space Physics Research Enterprise The prospects for substantial advances in solar and space physics depend on a significantly improved understanding of the key physical processes that are encountered in space. As emphasized in previous chapters of this report, achieving these advances will require strengthening the national infrastructure for solar and space physics research in a number of areas. The committee has identified several areas in particular in which effective program management and the appropriate policy actions could enhance the ability of the solar and space physics communities to address the science challenges presented in Chapter 1: development of a stronger research community, cost-effective use of existing resources, ensuring cost-effective and reliable access to space, improving interagency cooperation and coordination, and facilitating international partnerships. The following sections describe each of these areas and offer recommendations for optimizing the science return of solar and space physics over the next decade.1 A STRENGTHENED RESEARCH COMMUNITY For decades before the first scientific satellites flew in 1957 and 1958, studies of geomagnetism, the aurora, cosmic rays, and related topics had been carried out at universities, in some government laboratories, and in the few industrial organizations that needed the information for their businesses. Since the advent of the space age, ground-based research in solar and space physics has been conducted principally in the universities with support from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force. Agencies such as NOAA, DOE, and the Department of the Interior have performed some research related to their governmental missions, but their support of university (or other outside) researchers has not been of any great significance. There was relatively little nongovernmental expertise in spaceflight capabilities at the time NASA was established.2 However, very early in its

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history NASA strongly encouraged university participation by offering incentives in the form of financing for buildings, the sponsorship of students, and the creation of specialized centers of expertise. The successful pursuit of solar and space physics depends on an effective and collaborative working balance among universities, government laboratories, industry, and not-for-profit research organizations, drawing on the unique contributions that each can make. The university is the means for recruiting and training the young people who will carry on the next generation of research activities in academic, public, and private sector laboratories. In particular, universities introduce young people to the science of Earth and the solar system and provide them with a science background for the remainder of their lives, independent of their educational degree or life work. Universities subsequently educate some of the students at a graduate level through both classroom instruction and working experience in ongoing research projects. These projects can involve scientific instrument development and deployment, data analysis, or theoretical calculations and interpretation. The universities also provide a base of operations for the science faculty who are responsible for the education and training of students and offer a stimulating intellectual environment of scientific cooperation and individual invention. Strengthening University Involvement in Spaceflight Programs The active involvement of university faculty and students in the nation’s spaceflight program is seen today as one of the major strengths of U.S. space research. Indeed, the level of university involvement in this country is almost unique in the world when compared with the space programs of other nations. At the same time, an environment of what can best be termed “creative tension” has long existed between the NASA centers and university researchers when it comes to opportunities for funding and spaceflight experiments. A number of factors contribute to the committee’s serious concern regarding the future of universities as sites for NASA-supported solar and space physics research. Many of these factors also affect other disciplines involved in space-based experiments. For example, NASA’s episodic funding of individual university research programs leads to gaps between major grants when technical staff might have to be dismissed for lack of funds. Such disruptions could seriously hamper the ability of a university research group to develop new concepts and instrumentation so as to remain competitive for future opportunities. In particular, universities seem to be un-

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able to remain as stable as NASA centers. A discouraging situation can arise when federal solicitations of proposals for instruments for space missions are subsequently canceled, as occurred most recently in the case of the Solar Probe mission. In such cases, the preparation of a well-thought-out competitive proposal (often involving industry and/or a nonprofit organization as a partner) can be an immense and costly effort. The subsequent decision to cancel can have a lasting negative effect on scientific productivity, not just in the affected university research group but ultimately in the nation itself. Recommendation: NASA should undertake an independent outside review of its existing policies and approaches regarding the support of solar and space physics research in academic institutions, with the objective of enabling the nation’s colleges and universities to be stronger contributors to this research field. This review would look at universities as research sites3 that contribute significantly to the nation’s solar and space physics program. It would examine in depth such topics as ways of sustaining meaningful partnerships with NASA laboratories and centers, the competitive process for space hardware procurement to maximize opportunities for university participation, and methods for ensuring reasonable stability for critical-mass technical teams in university research groups and laboratories. Strengthening University Participation in National Research Facilities National facilities play an essential role in the nation’s science and engineering efforts, but only when they are used effectively. The committee believes that national facilities should be operated as more than national research institutes—they should be widely available to outside users. The scientific effectiveness of some national facilities, e.g., the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the large radar and optical observatories of the NSF’s Upper Atmosphere Facilities Program, is compromised by the limited funding available to outside investigators. The NSO budget contains an insignificant amount of funding (less than 5 percent of the total) for university users of its facilities. Unlike that of the Space Telescope Science Institute, for example, NSO telescope use by outside investigators is not leveraged for maximum return on the nation’s investment in these instruments. The NSF’s radar and optical observatories are important to a different segment of the solar and space physics research community. A wide range of users access these facilities and their data as guest researchers and

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via the Internet. Although provisions are in place to accommodate visitors and their instruments and to process and provide data for them to use in their research, no budgeting line has been established to support the research activities of the outside users of these facilities. Recommendation: NSF-funded national facilities for solar and space physics research should have resources allocated so that the facilities can be made widely available to outside users.4 Such funding would allow for substantial peer-reviewed guest investigator programs and for substantive community involvement in the definition, design, oversight, and development of new facilities such as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, which is currently being developed under the leadership of NSO. COST-EFFECTIVE USE OF EXISTING RESOURCES Return on investment is optimized not only through the judicious funding and management of new observing systems, but also through the maintenance, upgrading, funding, and management of existing systems. Facilities for ground- and space-based solar-terrestrial research that have already been developed and paid for are currently operating and returning data. It is often feasible and cost-effective to employ as many such assets as possible in a research program. Ground-based systems include arrays of passive sensing instruments such as riometers, magnetometers, cosmic ray sensors, and optical systems, as well as large facility-class installations such as ionosphere-sounding radars. Ground-based assets (most of which are supported by the NSF) can often be improved at relatively low cost to become part of a new research program—both the sensors and the data collection devices of the instrumentation can be upgraded, and the locations and distributions of instrument arrays can be changed. For most space assets, it is not practical or even possible to change the instrumentation. However, many existing solar and space physics missions still return essential data at relatively low cost. The two Voyager spacecraft at distances greater than 60 AU, the Ulysses mission out of the ecliptic over the solar poles, the ACE and Wind missions upstream of Earth at approximately 0.01 AU (the L1 point), and the IMP-8 mission nearer Earth remain important sources of solar and space physics data. Solar missions in this category are SOHO (at the L1 point) and TRACE (in Earth orbit). Magneto-

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spheric missions that continue to be very productive include Polar, IMAGE, the Japanese Geotail mission, and the European Cluster mission. NASA considers the continuing operation of existing space assets to be mission extensions, even if the data acquired by them are used for new research thrusts. These extended missions often suffer in resource allocation reviews despite the modesty of their budget requirements in comparison with those of new flight missions. To be sure, it is critical to fly new missions and generate new discoveries; however, as the research field moves into an era that involves the development and validation of prediction tools, the maintenance of the existing fleet of missions (especially those that return data from unique locations in the heliosphere and those that are important to space weather) should become more important. Many existing assets, both ground- and space-based, can contribute significantly to addressing the scientific challenges set forth in this report. Recommendation: The NSF and NASA should give all possible consideration to capitalizing on existing ground- and space-based assets as the goals of new research programs are defined. It might be that management and programmatic changes to these facilities or missions—perhaps, for example, the transfer of operations and data acquisition to academic or other organizations—would result in considerable cost savings. The exploration of such possibilities is strongly encouraged as the decadal research program is developed. Further, it might be that some of the assets could be used for operational purposes, and this should be considered as well. For example, in Chapter 5 the committee addresses the continued acquisition of solar wind data at the L1 point and recommends, in view of the importance of such measurements for space weather operations, that NOAA become the responsible entity. ACCESS TO SPACE The continuing vitality of the nation’s space research program is strongly dependent on having cost-effective, reliable, and ready access to space that meets the requirements of a broad spectrum of diverse solar and space physics missions. The solar and space physics research community is especially dependent on the availability of a wide range of suborbital and orbital flight capabilities to carry out cutting-edge science programs, to validate new instruments, and to train new scientists. Difficulties in one or more of these program elements can translate into fewer (or no) research opportuni-

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ties and increased mission costs. Several programmatic issues relating to access to space are discussed below. Suborbital Program The platforms for the Suborbital Program are sounding rockets (see Figure 7.1), high-altitude balloons, and aircraft. • Sounding rockets. Sounding rockets are critical for the investigation of important small-scale processes in the terrestrial ionosphere, generally from altitudes between about 90 km and several hundred kilometers. Rockets are used to fly stand-alone individual payloads for targeted space plasma research, often in close collaboration with orbital and ground-based measurements. Besides addressing frontier space plasma problems such as small-scale particle acceleration regions, sounding rocket investigations have also served as exemplary tools for the development of scientific ideas and measurement technologies, and they have had a significant level of student participation, often far out of proportion to the program costs. The often fast turnaround from scientific concept through engineering of the instrumentation, flight, and data return and analysis (such speed is characteristic also of balloons and airplane platforms; see below) is entirely consistent with the educational objectives of universities. In recent years, for a variety of reasons that appear to have included program management and resource allocation decisions, the number of rocket flight opportunities has been decreasing. Illustratively, in FY 2001 fewer than half as many NASA sounding rockets were launched as in the 1980s and 1990s, when there were, on average, 25 launches every year. This decrease in flight opportunities does not appear to have been based on any comprehensive assessment of the program’s scientific merits or its opportunities or on peer-reviewed determinations of the adequate size of the program. Rather, some resources were moved to the now discontinued UNEX small satellite program, and management changes for the rocket program did not result in increased science flight opportunities.5 • Balloons. High-altitude balloons with a maximum payload of 1,500 kg are capable of reaching altitudes that are above 99.5 percent of the atmosphere. A new super-pressure balloon is being tested that will provide 100-day flights. Balloons contribute to research in cosmic ray physics, solar physics, and atmospheric chemistry and physics. Balloons, like sounding rockets, also have platform features that are ideal for university-based education programs.

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FIGURE 7.1 A Black Brant XII sounding rocket carrying aloft an experiment to measure atomic oxygen emissions in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Sounding rockets are used for a variety of important research objectives in solar and space physics, from in situ study of ion acceleration processes in the high-latitude ionosphere to remote-sensing observations of the Sun’s corona. Because they are relatively inexpensive and require less time to develop and implement than satellite investigations, sounding rocket experiments have proven to be a valuable education asset for training as well as an important research tool. Courtesy of P.J. Eberspeaker (NASA Wallops Flight Facility).

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• Aircraft. The NASA research aircraft program encompasses a number of different aircraft, most of them based at the NASA Ames and Wallops facilities. Such platforms are of greatest importance for those problems in space physics that address key issues in atmosphere-ionosphere coupling. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope, currently under development on a modified Boeing 747, will provide opportunities for studies of planetary atmospheres, especially—in the context of space plasma physics—of planetary magnetospheric and aeronomic processes such as aurora production. Finding: Suborbital flight opportunities are very important for advancing numerous key aspects of solar and space physics research and for their significant contributions to education. Recommendation: NASA should revitalize the Suborbital Program to bring flight opportunities back to previous levels. Revitalizing the Suborbital Program will be necessary in order to accomplish the new science directions identified in this survey (see the priorities in Chapter 2). Implementing this recommendation will probably require that NASA, in collaboration with the solar and space physics research community, perform a thorough, in-depth, and independent review of the programmatic aspects of the Suborbital Program, identifying its strengths and weaknesses. Orbital Program The diversity of flight missions needed in the future calls for a broad range of launch vehicles. Currently there is a limited choice of launch vehicles available for space physics missions, and launch costs can be a large proportion of overall mission costs. A recent report from the Space Studies Board6 discussed many of the launch vehicle challenges that face solar and space physics research. For small payloads of the Small Explorer (SMEX) category (cost cap of $80 million, including launcher), the only available vehicle is the airplane-launched Pegasus rocket. The cost of a Pegasus launch can consume nearly 25 percent of the allotted cost, thus limiting the size of the payload and the spacecraft, as well as the resources available for mission operations and data analysis. The Taurus and the Delta II vehicles are used for Medium-Class Explorer (MIDEX) solar and space physics missions (cost cap of $185 million,

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including launcher). A Delta II launch can account for as much as 33 percent of the total cost allowed for the mission. While the Taurus is considerably cheaper, its reduced performance in comparison with a Delta II means that solar and space physics experiments flown on Taurus vehicles are confined to those that can be carried out from low-Earth orbit. The paucity of small and inexpensive boosters in NASA’s launch portfolio will probably cause more missions than ever (not all of which are scientific) to be piggybacked on more expensive spacecraft on even larger boosters. Launches in the Air Force’s Space Test Program can employ an adapter ring capable of carrying and deploying several small satellites, but the use of such a ring for civilian science satellites has not been generally possible. Even when piggybacking is programmatically possible, it might force a schedule or level of quality that is incommensurate with the optimal timing of the mission or with its class. One way of facilitating access to space would be to allow U.S. payloads to be launched on foreign vehicles. For example, the European Ariane launcher routinely launches small secondary payloads at a modest cost ($1 million per 100-kg payload) with a simple, standard interface. U.S. launch policies currently prohibit U.S. researchers from exercising such an option. This prohibition stems largely from a desire to encourage the use of U.S. launch vehicles. Low-cost launch vehicles with a wide spectrum of capabilities are critically important for the next generation of solar and space physics research as delineated in this survey. Recommendations: NASA should aggressively support the engineering research and development of a range of low-cost vehicles capable of launching payloads for scientific research. NASA should develop a memorandum of understanding with DOD that would delineate a formal procedure for identifying in advance flights of opportunity for civilian spacecraft as secondary payloads on certain Air Force missions. NASA should explore the feasibility of similar piggybacking on appropriate foreign scientific launches. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working to develop a very low cost launcher to space for small payloads—the Responsive Access Small Cargo and Affordable Launch (RASCAL) program. If it is realized, the program’s objective (to launch a 75-kg payload to low-

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Earth orbit at a cost of $750,000) could benefit several space plasma physics programs. Comparative Planetary Plasma Physics and the Discovery Program The comparative study of planetary ionospheres and magnetospheres is a central theme of solar and space physics research (see Figure 7.2).7 Further, the planetary environments of the solar system are testbeds to validate models of how solar effects propagate through the heliosphere and how they interact with atmospheres and magnetospheres. In the early days of solar system exploration, large missions such as Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini could accommodate planetary geology, atmospheric science, and space physics payloads. Those days of occasional, large, complex spacecraft have been followed by the budget-constrained missions of the Discovery program. Such missions are so limited in terms of cost, mass, power, and data rate that they are generally not able to address both planetary and space physics objectives. A solution to this dilemma is to open the Discovery competition to missions that exclusively address planetary space physics objectives. Recommendation: The scientific objectives of the NASA Discovery program should be expanded to include those frontier space plasma physics research subjects that cannot be accommodated by other spacecraft opportunities. Controlling Spaceflight Mission Cost Growth The use of cost caps during much of the 1990s, together with the placement of responsibilities for mission development and success in the hands of a mission principal investigator (PI), played a significant role in many highly successful solar and space physics missions, including the Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX), Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST), TRACE, ACE, and IMAGE. Besides being very successful scientifically, all of these solar-terrestrial missions were developed at a cost less than their allocated budgets. The PI model that was used for these Explorer missions was highly successful by any standard. Strategic missions such as those under consideration for the Solar Terrestrial Probes and Living With a Star mission lines could benefit from emulating some of the management approach and structure of the Explorer missions.

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FIGURE 7.2 Planetary magnetospheres show great diversity in size, structure, composition, and dynamics. This diversity reflects differences in the strength and orientation of the planetary magnetic fields, the sources of magnetospheric plasma, and the relative roles of planetary rotation and the solar wind in powering the magnetosphere. A major theme of space physics is to understand the similarities and differences among the various magnetospheres of the solar system and to test our understanding of fundamental plasma physical processes by observing how they work in different magnetospheric environments. Courtesy of F. Bagenal (University of Colorado). Many of the major science objectives of solar and space physics research are naturally suited for implementation by a PI. Cost caps can be effective in controlling mission cost growth. However, caps will not work if they are not taken seriously or not enforced, or if costs are beyond the control of the developer or the PI. Experience has shown that a successful cost-capped system requires that the rules for development be thoroughly understood by the developer (usually the PI) before development begins and, further, that the rules should not be changed later on. Recommendation: NASA should (1) place as much responsibility as possible in the hands of the principal investigator, (2) define the mission rules clearly at the beginning, and (3) establish levels of responsibility and mission rules within NASA that are tailored to the particular mission and to its scope and complexity.

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Unfortunately, such tailoring often proved difficult in the past because individual NASA functional organizations (such as Earned Value Management, Quality, Safety, and Verification) tend to impose nonnegotiable rules. As a result, the principal NASA official interacting with a mission PI and/or manager does not have the authority to negotiate all aspects of the project. Recommendation: The NASA official who is designated as the program manager for a given project should be the sole NASA contact for the principal investigator. One important task of the NASA official would be to ensure that rules applicable to large-scale, complex programs are not being inappropriately applied, thereby producing cost growth for small programs. INTERAGENCY COOPERATION AND COORDINATION Over the years interagency coordination has often yielded greater science returns than have single-agency activities. For example, NSF, NASA, and ONR have coordinated their scientific investigations from high-altitude balloons. The International Magnetosphere Study in the 1970s was an excellent example of an interagency (NSF, NASA, NOAA) cooperative program that extended to the international scene as well. NASA’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission and NSF’s CEDAR initiative have been coordinated in a manner that collectively returns more new knowledge than if the two programs had been run entirely separately. NASA and DOD are collaborating in missions of opportunity to provide data that would not otherwise be available. More recently, the development of the NPOESS spacecraft marked the beginning of a coordination among three agencies, NOAA, DOD and NASA, that will be of value to a wide variety of scientific and operational activities in space. In contrast, depending on the final schedules, the amount of data overlap between NASA’s planned Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) (launch in 2007 with a design life of 5 years) and NSF’s Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) (not anticipated to be completed until 2010) may not be sufficiently great. It will be necessary, therefore, as ATST comes on line to evaluate the measurement overlap between the two facilities and to determine the science and resource requirements for maintaining SDO measurements in order to obtain the desired overlap in data coverage. In the future, a research initiative within one agency could trigger a window of opportunity for a research initiative in another agency. Such an eventuality would leverage the resources contributed by each agency.8

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Recommendation: The principal agencies involved in solar and space physics research—NASA, NSF, NOAA, and DOD—should devise and implement a management process that will ensure a high level of coordination in the field and that will disseminate the results of such a coordinated effort—including data, research opportunities, and related matters—widely and frequently to the research community. Recommendation: For space-weather-related applications, increased attention should be devoted to coordinating NASA, NOAA, NSF, and DOD research findings, models, and instrumentation so that new developments can quickly be incorporated into the operational and applications programs of NOAA and DOD. FACILITATING INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS International Cooperation and Collaboration The geophysical sciences, and in particular solar and space physics, address questions of global scope and inevitably require international participation for their success. This is particularly the case for ground-based solar and space physics research. For example, collaborative research with other nations allows the United States to obtain data from other geographical regions that are necessary to determine the global distributions of space processes. Studies in space weather cannot be successful without strong participation from colleagues in other countries and their research capabilities and assets, in space and on the ground. Even if financial considerations were irrelevant, the United States would be compelled to join forces with the international community to achieve the full scientific return from its own investments in space research. Such considerations are not, however, irrelevant. By working with other nations on joint programs such as the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics program, sharing the burden of instrumentation for moderate (e.g., STEREO) and large (e.g., Ulysses, SOHO, and Cassini) space projects, and collaborating in Antarctic programs and in ground-based facilities such as GONG and the SuperDARN9 radars, the U.S. solar and space physics research community has executed an ambitious and effective research program in a cost-effective manner.10 Finding: The United States has greatly benefited from international collaborations and cooperative research in solar and space physics.

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The benefits of these international activities have allowed the implementation of programs that would not otherwise have been possible and have permitted the acquisition of data and understanding that are essential for the advancement of science and applications. International Traffic in Arms Regulations Much of the ease with which international cooperation in space-based research was achieved in the past has been lost in the last several years as regulatory changes intended to apply to arms and related matters have been applied to scientific activities. In FY 2000, responsibility for satellite technology export licensing, regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), was transferred from the Department of Commerce to the Department of State.11 Before the transfer of responsibility, scientific satellites had routinely been granted an exclusion from the application of these regulations. Although a directive excluding scientific satellites from the regulations remains in effect, ambiguities in the statements of requirements have led some federal and research institutions to erect barriers to the exchange of scientific information and instrumentation that could, in a restrictive interpretation, fall under ITAR.12 The impact of the uncertainties related to the application of ITAR to scientific research has been a subject of intense discussion in the research community and among federal legislators and affected federal agencies. This is an important issue since international collaboration in space science research has been encouraged and fostered as a matter of national policy since the early days of the civil space program. In recent years, the situation as it affects the research community has continued to evolve. In March 2002 an interim rule was issued by the State Department that relaxes and clarifies some of the regulations as they apply to university-based research (Federal Register, Vol. 67, No. 61, pp. 15099-15101, March 29, 2002). ITAR licenses will not be required for the export of scientific satellite hardware or information from U.S. universities to members of NATO and major non-NATO allies. The restrictions that remain on citizens from countries not considered principal allies of the United States will still affect university research, and many see the separation of students into two categories as unworkable. Furthermore, if the hardware is built as a part of a collaborative effort between universities and industry, as is normal these days, the ITAR conditions again become operative. In summary, while the 2002 changes in the rules are viewed by export officials as easing life for univer-

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sity researchers, and the research community agrees, formidable issues continue to affect university researchers and their scientific colleagues and collaborators in industry and nonprofit organizations. These remain to be worked on in the months ahead. The committee recognizes the continuing critical national imperative for international arms control as well as the long-standing national interest in international scientific space research. It is in this context and with the aim of expediting international collaborations that involve scientific data, instrument characteristics, and instrument exchanges that the following recommendation is made. Recommendation: Because of the importance of international collaboration in solar and space physics research, the federal government, especially the State Department and NASA, should implement clearly defined procedures regarding exchanges of scientific data or information on instrument characteristics that will facilitate the participation of researchers from universities, private companies, and nonprofit organizations in space research projects having an international component. NOTES 1.   The individual panel reports of this survey (The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: Panel Reports, in preparation) also address these and related structural issues. 2.   Newell, H., Beyond the Atmosphere: Early Years of Space Science, NASA, Washington, D.C., 1980; NRC, A Review of Space Research: The Report of the Summer Study Conducted Under the Auspices of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences at the State University of Iowa, Iowa City, National Academy of Sciences, 1962. 3.   The broader role of the universities in solar and space physics education is addressed in Chapter 6. 4.   The recent decadal strategy survey for astronomy and astrophysics made a similar recommendation regarding NSF facilities for astronomy (NRC, Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001, p. 5). 5.   For example, in a June 2000 letter to the Office of Space Science, the NASA Sounding Rocket Working Group pointed out the financial crisis the Sounding Rocket Program was experiencing at the Wallops Flight Facility. Under the heading “The Current Problem,” the letter stated as follows: The Sounding Rocket Program supported a flight rate of approximately 25-30 rockets each year with budget of $30.6M/year through FY95. Subsequently, $6M in FY 96 and an additional $1M in FY97 were diverted to the UNEX program, leaving an operating budget of $23.6M/year since FY97. During this same period, the program was directed to privatize its operations, with the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NASROC) taking over almost all of the traditional projected management, technical, and implementation duties at Wallops in mid-1999 . . . . Although the science community is pleased with the NASROC technical performance to data [sic], no significant cost savings have been realized in the brief 1.3 years of the NASROC contract nor are significant [savings] anticipated in the foreseeable future. The program has

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    survived during the last few years by using reserve funds as well as working off of its inventory. . . . As the reserve funds are now depleted, NASA/GSFC management has requested Overguide Funds of approximately $10M for the Program in FY01 in its most recent POP request, with a similar figure for the years FY02 and beyond. . . . Under the heading “Implications,” the letter stated as follows: Wallops and NASROC have concluded that without an augmentation they will only be able to handle 9 missions a year, which will cause the delay of 46+ missions now being planned, designed, built, and/or tested for launch in FY01 and FY02. In addition to the loss of scientific research opportunities, a much more serious consequence will result: by only launching 9 missions a year, the core competency of the program will be lost. Indeed, NSROC management informs us that they will begin to lay off 20% of their work force this October as a result of inadequate funds to cover privatization and the loss of the civil servant workforce. Without this critical know-how, the success rate for the few rockets that will be flown will be in jeopardy. Furthermore, each of these now even more precious rockets becomes much more expensive since the program will lose its advantage of economies of scale. 6.   National Research Council, Assessment of Mission Size Trade-Offs for NASA’s Earth and Space Science Missions, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2000. 7.   See National Research Council, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: Panel Reports, Panel on Atmosphere-Ionosphere-Magnetosphere Interactions, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003, in press. 8.   A recent report from the NRC’s Committee on the Organization and Management of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001) discusses research coordination among agencies in astronomy and makes several cogent recommendations related to this field. 9.   The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is a ground-based network of high-frequency radars that are used to study Earth’s ionosphere. 10.   Recent examinations of a number of facets of international cooperation in space research are contained in reports from the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council: National Research Council and European Science Foundation, U.S.-European Collaboration in Space Science, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1998; Science Council of Japan, European Science Foundation, and National Research Council, U.S.-European-Japanese Workshop on Space Cooperation: Summary Report, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1999. 11.   The complete texts of ITAR regulations can be found at <http://www.pmdtc.org/>. This site also has links to recent (April 29, 2002) amendments to ITAR. 12.   See U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2002, Report to Accompany H.R. 2620, 107th Cong., 1st sess., 2001, H. Rept. 107-159. References to ITAR in the report include the following (p. 85): As mentioned in the conference report accompanying the fiscal year 2001 appropriations bill, Public Law 105 261 transferred responsibility for satellite technology export licensing from the Department of Commerce to the Department of State to be regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). While scientific satellites are still covered by the fundamental research exclusion provided by National Security Directive 189, the unfortunate and unintended consequence of the jurisdictional move has been that university-based fundamental science and engineering research, widely disseminated and unclassified, has become subject to overly restrictive and inconsistent ITAR direction.