STEPS TO FACILITATE PRINCIPAL-INVESTIGATOR-LED EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS

Committee on Earth Studies

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions STEPS TO FACILITATE PRINCIPAL-INVESTIGATOR-LED EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS Committee on Earth Studies Space Studies Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract NASW-01001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. Cover: Image courtesy of Graeme Stephens, Colorado State University, from his painting Useful Pursuit of Shadows, 2003. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09185-3 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-53137-3 (PDF) Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space Program: A Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy (2004) “Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Earth Science Enterprise Strategy” (2003) “Assessment of NASA’s Draft 2003 Space Science Enterprise Strategy” (2003) Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment: Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations (2003) The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: Panel Reports (2003) Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2002) Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Science Mission Data (2002) Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences (2002) Life in the Universe: An Assessment of U.S. and International Programs in Astrobiology (2002) New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy (2002) Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Applications Program Plan (2002) “Review of the Redesigned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM)” (2002) Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface (2002) The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics (2002) Toward New Partnerships in Remote Sensing: Government, the Private Sector, and Earth Science Research (2002) Using Remote Sensing in State and Local Government: Information for Management and Decision Making (2002) Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities (2001) The Mission of Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2001) The Quarantine and Certification of Martian Samples (2001) Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station (2001) “Scientific Assessment of the Descoped Mission Concept for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST)” (2001) Signs of Life: A Report Based on the April 2000 Workshop on Life Detection Techniques (2001) Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications (2001) U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program (2001) Limited copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board The National Academies 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-3477 ssb@nas.edu www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release.

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions COMMITTEE ON EARTH STUDIES MICHAEL H. FREILICH, Oregon State University, Chair ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland JOHN R. CHRISTY,* University of Alabama in Huntsville CAROL ANNE CLAYSON, Florida State University WILLIAM B. GAIL, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. CATHERINE GAUTIER,* University of California, Santa Barbara WILLIAM C. GIBSON, Southwest Research Institute SARAH T. GILLE, University of California, San Diego ROSS N. HOFFMAN, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. BRUCE D. MARCUS, TRW, Inc. (retired) RALPH F. MILLIFF,† Colorado Research Associates MICHAEL J. PRATHER,† University of California, Irvine R. KEITH RANEY,* Johns Hopkins University STEVEN W. RUNNING, University of Montana LAWRENCE C. SCHOLZ,* Lockheed Martin (retired) CARL F. SCHUELER, Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing ROBERT A. SHUCHMAN, Altarum, Inc. ROY W. SPENCER, University of Alabama WILLIAM STONEY, Mitretek Corporation JAN SVEJKOVSKY, Ocean Imaging, Inc. KURT THOME, University of Arizona JOHN R.G. TOWNSHEND, University of Maryland Staff ARTHUR CHARO, Study Director THERESA M. FISHER, Senior Program Assistant *   Member through June 2001. †   Member through December 2002.

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions SPACE STUDIES BOARD LENNARD A. FISK, University of Michigan, Chair GEORGE A. PAULIKAS, The Aerospace Corporation, Vice Chair J. ROGER P. ANGEL, University of Arizona ANA P. BARROS, Harvard University RETA F. BEEBE, New Mexico State University ROGER D. BLANDFORD, Stanford University JAMES L. BURCH, Southwest Research Institute RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University of Colorado HOWARD M. EINSPAHR, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute (retired) STEVEN H. FLAJSER, Loral Space and Communications Ltd. MICHAEL H. FREILICH, Oregon State University DON P. GIDDENS, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University DONALD INGBER, Harvard University RALPH H. JACOBSON, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (retired) TAMARA E. JERNIGAN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles CALVIN W. LOWE, Bowie State University BRUCE D. MARCUS, TRW, Inc. (retired) HARRY Y. McSWEEN, JR., University of Tennessee DENNIS W. READEY, Colorado School of Mines ANNA-LOUISE REYSENBACH, Portland State University ROALD S. SAGDEEV, University of Maryland CAROLUS J. SCHRIJVER, Lockheed Martin ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research MITCHELL SOGIN, Marine Biological Laboratory C. MEGAN URRY, Yale University J. CRAIG WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions Foreword Principal-investigator (PI)-led missions are an important component of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise, as they are also for space science in general. They provide an opportunity to conduct focused scientific investigation of a size that can be managed by a scientist and his/her team, often as an integral part of a university-led research effort. They offer the opportunity to engage the best scientific talent of the nation, to introduce innovative instrumentation and mission concepts, and to make advances in selected scientific problems that ultimately may be addressed by larger missions. PI-led missions, however, have not been free of difficulties. Despite their limited size, PI-led missions can stress particularly the development and management capabilities of a university-based scientist and can strain the limited budgets allotted to them. Difficulties can have their roots in many different aspects of the project: from the experience and capabilities of the PI team, to the initial definition of the mission, to how missions are selected, to how they are ultimately executed. This report is intended to provide NASA with practical advice for improving all aspects of PI-led missions, and thus to preserve and enhance this essential component of the Earth Science Enterprise. Lennard A. Fisk, Chair Space Studies Board

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions Preface In a principal-investigator (PI)-led mission, the PI has responsibilities that range from defining the original concept to implementing it and then generating the final science results. In general, PI-led missions are associated with comparatively small spacecraft whose complement of sensors is smaller than that of the more traditional multisensor, facility-class missions. Among the advantages usually associated with small, PI-led missions is the flexibility to accommodate new technology or to make trade-offs among science and engineering goals. Typically, PI-led missions are executed to meet relatively short-term, well-focused science objectives. NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) is placing increased emphasis on the use of smaller space missions through programs such as the Earth System Science Pathfinder, which organizes missions with small PI-led teams that are in some cases based at universities. This strategy is designed in part to enhance scientific and technical innovation in ESE programs by, for example, reducing mission development times and increasing the overall launch frequency. However, the development of small space missions poses technical and management challenges that are beyond the capabilities of most universities and university-based scientists. Indeed, part of the motivation for the current study can be traced to the failures in 1999 of the PI-led small space science missions TERRIERS and WIRE and to concerns regarding the cost and schedule of several small Earth science missions that were then in early development. The failures in 1999 of the Mars Climate Observer and the Mars Polar Lander, although they were not PI-class missions, also highlighted the need for increased attention to management structures and processes both inside and outside NASA. At the request of NASA’s Office of Earth Science, the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Studies began in the fall of 2000 to analyze a variety of issues thought to be relevant to the success of university-based PI-led Earth observation missions (see Appendix A for the statement of task). Because the Earth science community did not have the same breadth of experience as that developed over the years in the space sciences, both NASA and the committee viewed examination of the capacity of universities to manage complete space missions in the Earth sciences as particularly worthy of attention. In addition to its own expertise, the committee drew on background information acquired at meetings with numerous scientists and engineers who had firsthand experience in leading or managing small, university-based space and Earth science missions (see Appendix B for the agendas of the two principal data-gathering meetings). The committee also met with representatives from companies that partner with PIs in conducting NASA-sponsored missions, and it benefited greatly from discussions with NASA officials in the Office of Space Science, the Office of Earth Science, and at NASA centers, especially the Earth Explorers Program Office at NASA Goddard

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions Spaceflight Center. The committee also thanks Daniel Baker, director of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), for his assistance in organizing one of the data-gathering meetings and for making the facilities at LASP available to the committee, and it acknowledges the assistance of Jonathan Osgood, then an intern at Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing, in the preparation of Appendix C.

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Lew Allen, Jr., Jet Propulsion Laboratory (retired), Christopher Justice, University of Maryland, Gary Rottman, University of Colorado, Mark Saunders, NASA Langley Research Center, Joseph Veverka, Cornell University, and Steven Wofsy, Harvard University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Thomas Donahue, University of Michigan. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   8      PI-Led Missions and Challenges,   9      Organization of This Report,   10 2   BACKGROUND: PI-LED MISSIONS IN THE EARTH SCIENCE ENTERPRISE   11      The Role of Earth Explorer Missions,   11      Earth Explorers Program Components,   12      Distinguishing Characteristics of PI-Led Missions,   14      Viability of the PI-Led Mission Approach,   16 3   PROGRAM CONCEPTUALIZATION: MATCHING OBJECTIVES TO CONSTRAINTS   18      Stated Objectives and Constraints,   18      Unstated Objectives and Constraints,   18      Comparison with Non-PI-Led Programs,   22      Findings and Recommendations,   23 4   INSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENTS: ESTABLISHING THE FOUNDATIONS   24      Development of Required Technologies,   24      Development of Qualified Principal Investigators,   27 5   PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: IMPROVING LIFE-CYCLE PROCESSES   30      Life-Cycle Overview,   30      Life Cycles of PI-Led Earth and Space Science Missions,   35      Life-Cycle Activity 1: Solicitation,   36      Life-Cycle Activity 2: Selection,   40      Life-Cycle Activity 3: Execution,   43

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Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions 6   CONCLUSIONS   49     APPENDIXES         A   Statement of Task   53     B   Committee Meeting Agendas   55     C   PI-Led Missions and Their Characteristics   59     D   NASA Technology Development Programs Relevant to PI-Led Earth Explorer Missions   70     E   Biographies of Committee Members   73     F   Acronyms   78