C
Definitions of PI-Led Missions from NASA Announcements of Opportunity

KEY DESCRIPTIONS FROM AO TEXTS

Discovery AO (April 16, 2004)

“The Discovery Program is designed to accomplish frequent, high quality planetary science investigations within a cost cap.”

Section 5.1

“Discovery investigation teams for either full mission investigations or for MO investigations must be led by a single PI who may come from any category of U.S. or non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit institutions, NASA Field Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and other Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and other Government agencies.”

 

“The PI … will have a large degree of freedom to accomplish its proposed objectives provided that there is a demonstrated commitment to fundamental principles for sound management, engineering and safety, and mission assurance (see NPR 7120.5B and Section 5.3.1).”

Section 5.4.1

“A single PI must be designated in each proposal and is the central person in charge of each Discovery investigation, with full responsibility for its scientific integrity and for the integrity of all other aspects of the mission including the E/PO program. The PI is responsible for assembling a team to propose and implement a Discovery investigation. The PI is accountable to NASA for the scientific success of the investigation and must be prepared to recommend project termination when, in his/her judgment, the successful achievement of established minimum science objectives, as defined in the proposal as the Performance Floor (see Section 5.11.3), is not likely to be achievable within the committed cost and schedule reserves.”



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Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences C Definitions of PI-Led Missions from NASA Announcements of Opportunity KEY DESCRIPTIONS FROM AO TEXTS Discovery AO (April 16, 2004) “The Discovery Program is designed to accomplish frequent, high quality planetary science investigations within a cost cap.” Section 5.1 “Discovery investigation teams for either full mission investigations or for MO investigations must be led by a single PI who may come from any category of U.S. or non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit institutions, NASA Field Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and other Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and other Government agencies.”   “The PI … will have a large degree of freedom to accomplish its proposed objectives provided that there is a demonstrated commitment to fundamental principles for sound management, engineering and safety, and mission assurance (see NPR 7120.5B and Section 5.3.1).” Section 5.4.1 “A single PI must be designated in each proposal and is the central person in charge of each Discovery investigation, with full responsibility for its scientific integrity and for the integrity of all other aspects of the mission including the E/PO program. The PI is responsible for assembling a team to propose and implement a Discovery investigation. The PI is accountable to NASA for the scientific success of the investigation and must be prepared to recommend project termination when, in his/her judgment, the successful achievement of established minimum science objectives, as defined in the proposal as the Performance Floor (see Section 5.11.3), is not likely to be achievable within the committed cost and schedule reserves.”

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Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences Explorer AO (February 3, 2003) “Explorers are space physics and astronomy missions intended to study the Sun, to examine the space environment of the Earth and other planets, and to observe the universe beyond our Solar System. The Explorer program seeks to conduct scientific investigations of modest programmatic scope. The program intends to provide a continuing opportunity for quickly implemented flight missions that conduct focused investigations that complement major flight missions, prove new scientific concepts, and/or make other significant contributions to space science.” Section 3.2 “The responsibility for implementing a selected investigation rests with the Principal Investigator (PI) and the investigation team, which will have a large degree of freedom with which to accomplish its proposed objectives with appropriate NASA oversight to ensure mission success…. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has been assigned program management responsibility for Explorers. In this role, which is separate from their role as a possible partner in the investigation, GSFC is responsible for NASA’s fiduciary responsibility to ensure that Explorer missions are achieved in compliance with the cost, schedule, performance, reliability, and safety requirements committed to by the PI…. It is expected that the GSFC Explorer Program Office will work with the selected Principal Investigators and implementing organizations to define roles and responsibilities to fulfill this responsibility in the most effective manner.” Section 3.4.4 “For any PI selected for Phase A concept studies that so requests, GSFC can provide the project management, mission system engineering, spacecraft, ground system, and other support needed to complete the formulation and implementation of an investigation. In such cases, GSFC will assist a PI during the Phase A concept study in a manner defined in the Phase A contract to establish the technical, management, cost, and other approaches for formulating, developing, and implementing the investigation and will aid the PI in the preparation of the Concept Study Report. GSFC support for Phase A concept studies will be provided to the full extent requested and will be funded directly by NASA out of the funds available to the PI for the Phase A study.” Section 3.5.1 “Explorer mission investigation teams must be led by a single Principal Investigator who may be from any category of U.S. or non-U.S. organization, including educational institutions; industry or nonprofit institutions; or from one of the NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), other Federally-funded research and development centers, or other U.S. Government agencies. Teams may be formed from any combination of these institutions…. The Principal Investigator is in charge of his/her investigation, with full responsibility for not only its scientific integrity, but its implementation as well, from development of the proposal through all phases of the investigation. NASA intends to allow the Principal Investigator and his/her team to use their own management processes, procedures, and methods to the fullest extent possible…. Finally, the PI is accountable to NASA for the scientific success of the investigation. Therefore, the PI must be prepared to recommend mission termination if, in his/her judgment, the successful achievement of established science objectives, as defined in the proposal, is no longer likely within the committed cost and schedule reserves.”

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Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences Section 5.2 (Regarding Partner Missions of Opportunity) “The PI is responsible to NASA OSS for the scientific integrity and the management of the PI’s contribution to the mission.” New Frontiers AO (October 10, 2003) Section 5.1 “In the New Frontiers Program, the major responsibility for the selected investigation rests solely with the Principal Investigator (PI) who, along with the investigation’s Project Manager (PM) and investigation team, will have a large degree of freedom to accomplish its proposed objectives within the stated constraints with essential NASA oversight…. Every aspect of a New Frontiers investigation must reflect a commitment to mission success while keeping total costs as low as possible…. New Frontiers investigation teams for either full mission investigations or for Missions of Opportunity must be led by a single Principal Investigator (PI) who may come from any category of U.S. and non-U.S. organizations.” Section 5.4.1 “A single PI must be designated in each proposal and is the central person in charge of each New Frontiers investigation, with full responsibility for its scientific integrity and for the integrity of all other aspects of the mission including the E/PO program. The PI is responsible for assembling a team to propose and implement a New Frontiers investigation. The PI is accountable to NASA for the scientific success of the investigation.” Section 5.11.1 “New Frontiers Mission Investigation proposals must be for complete, free-flying missions. The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible to NASA not only for the scientific integrity of the investigation, but also for the management of the complete mission, including provision of the spacecraft, instrument, and ground system. Proposals submitted in response to this AO for New Frontiers Mission investigations must be for complete investigations from project initiation (Phase A) through mission operations (Phase E), which is to include analysis and publication of data in the peer reviewed scientific literature, delivery of the data to the Planetary Data System (PDS), and full implementation of the mission’s Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program.” Mars Scout AO (May 1, 2002) Section 3.1 “Mars Scout Mission investigations must be headed by a single Principal Investigator (PI), who can be from any category of domestic and nondomestic organizations…. The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible to NASA not only for the scientific integrity of the investigation, but also for the management of the complete mission…. Participation in this AO will be open to all categories of organizations (foreign and domestic), including educational institutions, industry, not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC’s), NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and other Government agencies. Principal Investigators are responsible for and allowed to assemble the mission team from any and all of these organizations, with the following caveat. If project management and end-to-end systems engineering are to be implemented from a NASA Center, these functions must be performed by a NASA Center designated by the Enterprise to do so. For the Space Science Enterprise (OSS), these Centers are JPL and GSFC…. Every Mars Scout investigation must also define the risk management approach it intends to use (see NPG 7120.5A in Mars Scout Library, Appendix C) to ensure successful achievement of the investigation objectives within established resource and schedule constraints.”

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Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences Section 3.7.1 “The PI is expected to be the central person in charge of each Mars Scout investigation, with full responsibility for its scientific investigation and all other aspects including the E/PO program…. The PI is accountable to NASA for the scientific success of the investigation and will be responsible for developing a draft set of Level I requirements for their investigation during the Phase A Concept Study, which will serve as an input to the formal documentation and approval of these requirements in Phase B…. NASA intends to give the Principal Investigator and his/her team the ability to use their own management processes, procedures, and methods to the fullest extent possible.” COMMONALITIES DISCERNED FROM WORDING OF AOs PI-led missions Operate under a cost cap. Are led by a single principal investigator from any category of (including foreign) institution. Designate the PI as responsible for all aspects of the mission, including development, management, risk management, and termination if “the successful achievement of established science objectives, as defined in the proposal, is no longer likely within the committed cost and schedule reserves.” Allow the PI control over the organizational and management specifics, provided certain implied or stated criteria are met and with “only essential NASA oversight.” (Explorer AO, Section 3.1) NOTABLE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN AOs Variation in wording regarding project responsibilities Example from Explorer AO: “GSFC is responsible for NASA’s fiduciary responsibility to ensure … compliance with the cost, schedule, performance, reliability, and safety requirements committed to by the PI…. It is expected that the GSFC Explorer Program Office will work with the selected Principal Investigators and implementing organizations to define roles and responsibilities.” This is not present in other AOs. Variation in wording regarding NASA oversight Both Discovery and New Frontiers state that the PI will be granted a “large degree of freedom” on project direction and management. For Discovery, this freedom is constrained by “a demonstrated commitment to fundamental principles for sound management, engineering and safety, and mission assurance (see NPR 7120.5B and Section 5.3.1),” but for New Frontiers, the freedom is subject to a more vague requirement of “stated constraints with essential NASA oversight.” For both the Explorer and Scout AOs, the managerial freedom granted the PI is less definitive: “NASA intends to allow the Principal Investigator and his/her team to use their own management processes, procedures, and methods to the fullest extent possible.” Finally, a NASA document, Tutorial: NASA Research Solicitations and the Writing & Review of Proposals for the Office of Space Science (p. 11), states that, regarding AOs, “research/management [is] directed by PI with extensive NASA oversight.” (emphasis added) The Scout AO employs a specific caveat to PI-controlled management (Section 3.1): “If project management and end-to-end systems engineering are to be implemented from a NASA Center, these functions must be performed by a NASA Center designated by the Enterprise to do so.” Of additional interest, the New Frontiers AO (Section 5.1) and Explorer AO (Section 3.1) mention the goal of “keeping total costs as low as possible,” which could be interpreted that the cost cap is somewhat flexible.