Attachment 1

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Headquarters Washington, DC 20546–0001

March 18, 2002

Reply to Attn of: SZ

Dr. John H.McElroy,

Chair

Space Studies Board

National Research Council

National Academy of Sciences

2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

Dear Dr. McElroy:

I am requesting that the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) provide an updated assessment of the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM).

Since the last time SIM was presented to the CAA in May of 2000, and since the decadal report of 1990, SIM has simplified its architecture and has reduced the scope of the technical demonstration goals of the mission. This was done to meet a cost cap established by the Office of Space Science (OSS) and to reduce programmatic risks. OSS believes the important science, which was the original motivation for SIM, has been preserved.

SIM hopes to be ready to enter the second half of formulation, during which the design and capabilities will become definitive, later this year. At that time, OSS needs to decide if SIM is ready to enter its definition phase.

We would like the CAA to conduct a review of the redesigned SIM mission and make an assessment as to its current scientific goals as compared to what was originally envisioned by the 1990 Decadal Review and as reaffirmed by the 2000 Decadal Review. It would be convenient to have the results of this review by August 2002, as input to the OSS strategic plan and the OSS decision whether SIM is ready to enter the definition phase.



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Attachment 1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters Washington, DC 20546–0001 March 18, 2002 Reply to Attn of: SZ Dr. John H.McElroy, Chair Space Studies Board National Research Council National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Dear Dr. McElroy: I am requesting that the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) provide an updated assessment of the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). Since the last time SIM was presented to the CAA in May of 2000, and since the decadal report of 1990, SIM has simplified its architecture and has reduced the scope of the technical demonstration goals of the mission. This was done to meet a cost cap established by the Office of Space Science (OSS) and to reduce programmatic risks. OSS believes the important science, which was the original motivation for SIM, has been preserved. SIM hopes to be ready to enter the second half of formulation, during which the design and capabilities will become definitive, later this year. At that time, OSS needs to decide if SIM is ready to enter its definition phase. We would like the CAA to conduct a review of the redesigned SIM mission and make an assessment as to its current scientific goals as compared to what was originally envisioned by the 1990 Decadal Review and as reaffirmed by the 2000 Decadal Review. It would be convenient to have the results of this review by August 2002, as input to the OSS strategic plan and the OSS decision whether SIM is ready to enter the definition phase.

OCR for page 5
If you have any programmatic questions regarding SIM, you may contact Lia LaPiana at 202–358–0346, the SIM Program Executive. Cordially, Edward J.Weiler Associates Administrator for Space Science