2005). The committee was especially sensitive to the relationships among internal NASA scientists, external investigators, and operations personnel, and these relationships were a prominent theme in many of the deliberations that led to the conclusions and recommendations in this report. Each of these communities feels, to some extent, that the other communities do not adequately appreciate their concerns or viewpoints, but this results in a creative tension that is highly appropriate because it brings advocacy to views that need to be represented in the risk analysis and mitigation approaches that make up the BR specifically, and the overall NASA bioastronautics program in general.

The committee concludes that these organizational and cultural factors can have important consequences for crew safety and mission success and thus represent risks that should be considered in the BR.

Recommendation 4.1

The committee recommends that an additional risk labeled “human performance failure due to organizational and cultural factors” be added to the BR. It may prove optimal to track this risk in a manner differently from the other risks in the BR (e.g., annual analyses of organizational and cultural risk in a separate report, use of an external standing panel to discuss this issue regularly). The committee’s intent is that a risk-focused analysis of organizational and cultural issues become a visible part of the BR process.


As a result of the President’s space exploration initiative, NASA has proposed a schedule that requires considerable resources. Prospective funding, up-mass (determined by the type of launch vehicle), power, available equipment, and crew time (both number of crew and their availability to participate in bioastronautics research) are limited resources that directly affect NASA’s ability to utilize the BR to reduce risk.

One example of constrained resources concerns the variety of countermeasures that are suggested for the inherent physiologic problems associated with exposure to the space environment for the period of time necessary to support the Design Reference Missions. Life support equipment

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement