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9 Operations Integration Program Element INTRODUCTION ment activities to enhance or create capabilities relevant to human spaceflight. The operations integration program element is charged with the task of managing communications activities for FORMULATION OF THE PROGRAM PLAN human spaceflight. This role requires the operations integra- tion team to coordinate with the Space Shuttle program, the The goals, objectives, and deliverables of the operations International Space Station program, and the contractors that integration program element are integral to and dependent serve them. Assets engaged in providing these communica- on several other programs, projects, and centers. The Space tions services include the Space Network, Ground Network, Communications Office (SCO) does not currently have a the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN), NASA formal program plan in place—although one is planned for Integrated Services Network (NISN), and the Eastern Range. release in the future—and the committee has based its as- The primary end users reside at Johnson Space Center and sessment on relevant global NASA documents as well as Kennedy Space Center; however, voice, television, and other less formal documentation. The following subsections first data are disseminated to other users through NISN. A budget discuss the activities for which the operations integration of $3 million is dedicated to operations integration. Support program element is responsible. The assessment regarding is included in this budget for four full-time-equivalent civil the formulation of the program then follows. service employees and four work-year-equivalent contrac- tors. Contractor Oversight Activities The larger mission of managing communications activi- ties for human spaceflight is broken down into the following Many of the resources that facilitate the communica- distinct subtasks:1 tions capabilities required for human spaceflight are man- aged as contracted services. The total budget associated with • Overseeing the combined efforts of a distributed these contracts is in excess of $2 billion over 5 years. The set of contractors who must work together seamlessly to sup- execution of these large contracts is managed by four NASA port a common mission; centers: Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Cen- • Coordinating with, and planning among, a wide ter, Kennedy Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Cen- range of entities, including domestic and international, dis- ter. Operations integration dedicates a portion of its bud- tributed and center-based, and government and contractor; get—which is in totality $15 million over the same 5-year • Managing requirements between the Mission Con- period—to overseeing specific aspects of these contracts that trol Center and the various components of the space commu- impact communications for human spaceflight. Prior to nications infrastructure; and 2003, NASA managed these resources through a centralized • Reviewing and certifying the readiness of commu- contract, the Consolidated Space Operations Contract nications-related hardware, software, and personnel for hu- (CSOC). In 2003, this single contract was replaced by the man spaceflight. current set of distributed contracts. This change occurred because NASA administration felt that the centralized struc- The operations integration element also leads develop- ture provided by CSOC was too inflexible to accommodate necessary changes, was “not consistent with the dynamic 62

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63 OPERATIONS INTEGRATION PROGRAM ELEMENT characteristics of NASA’s mission requirements,” and was reports. Deviation from standards of excellence in these “inefficient due to an overly centralized process resulting in metrics alerts senior management to potential risk, and addi- non-optimal customer response.”2 tional scrutiny is applied when it is deemed necessary.8 Goddard Space Flight Center manages the Near Earth Network Services (NENS) contract, valued at roughly $785 Coordinator and Planning Activities million over 5 years. Through this contract, Honeywell Tech- nology Solutions, Incorporated, provides administration, The Network Operations Integration Team (NOIT) is operations, and technical support to NASA’s Space Network responsible for coordinating with and planning between in- and Ground Network. Honeywell also manages eight major ternational partners, communications assets (the Space Net- subcontractors and provides technical and management ser- work, Ground Network, and NASA Integrated Services Net- vices in support of tracking and data-acquisition operations work) and the Space Shuttle and International Space Station at several facilities.3 It also manages the Flight Dynamics Control Centers. The MSOC (Lockheed Martin) covers sup- Facility at GSFC. porting elements of the Space Shuttle and International Space Kennedy Space Center (KSC) manages the Kennedy Station Control Centers at JSC. The Space Flight Operations Information and Communications Services (KICS) contract, Contract (United Space Alliance) covers vehicle processing through which the Central Data and Switching Center is and flight control elements that occur at JSC and KSC. The funded. The prime contractor, InDyne, Inc., has a contract NOIT interacts with both contracts, interfacing on a techni- valued at approximately $190 million over 5 years. InDyne cal level with Space Flight Operations Contract mission provides communications services at KSC in support of the managers, MSOC support elements, and resources from Space Shuttle and the International Space Station Programs. other NASA centers (GSFC and MSFC, in particular) to “en- InDyne also provides business engineering logistics, facili- sure common awareness of pending development activity as ties management, and hardware and software integration and well as Integrated Networks and Communications mission support readiness issues across these contracts.”9 These in- development for voice, video, and data communications for KSC.4 teractions are shown notionally in Figure 9.1. Johnson Space Center (JSC) manages the Mission Sup- The NOIT is composed of senior-level staff members port Operations Contract (MSOC), which funds Lockheed with extensive experience in mission operations, integration, Martin Space Operations Company to provide supporting and requirements management. The Manager of Space Com- elements of the Space Shuttle and International Space Sta- munications Operations Integration heads the NOIT. The tion Mission Control Centers. This includes support for the individual currently filling this role has 40 years of experi- JSC Space Operations Mission and Data Services. MSOC ence at NASA, dating back to the Apollo/Lunar Module pro- provides ground system services for JSC’s Emergency Op- gram. Although most NOIT members are highly experi- erations Center and the Electronic System Test Laboratory, enced, the team also draws on expertise from the NASA which includes space communications integration. The total centers and strives to maintain a team with the variety of contract, extending from October 2003 through September skills and experience levels needed to ensure that the vital 2006, is valued at approximately $246 million.5,6 coordination and planning capabilities that they provide will Finally, the Marshall Space Flight Center manages the continue to be available in the future. Unified NASA Information Technology Services (UNITeS) contract that funds the NASA Integrated Services Network. Requirements Management Activities Science Applications International Corporation, the prime contractor, is responsible for the Integrated Financial Man- Missions involving human spaceflight demand that agement Program and NASA’s wide area network, informa- more stringent communications requirements be levied on tion technology (IT) security, and digital television. The to- the supporting elements than do unmanned programs. Op- tal value of the contract is approximately $826 million over erations Integration plays a critical role in defining these re- 5 years.7 quirements for the Space Shuttle and International Space At the highest level, the success of Operations Integra- Station programs through their respective program require- tion in effectively overseeing relevant aspects of these con- ments documents. The requirements-definition process is tracts is demonstrated by the successful maintenance of com- also currently underway for Exploration programs. These munications capabilities required to support human include an array of requirements levied on the Crew Explo- spaceflight. Lower-level performance metrics are also gen- ration Vehicle, Crew Launch Vehicle, cargo elements, and erated by each prime contractor for the assets they manage. Lunar Surface Access Module. For example, under the NENS contract, Honeywell reports availability and reliability metrics for the Space and Ground Readiness Assurance Activities Networks. This feedback is then reported up the NASA man- agement structure through monthly status reports and to the Engineering and operations reviews by SCO personnel NASA headquarters management through program status are an essential component of the system NASA uses to

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64 REVIEW OF THE SPACE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM Mission Support Operations Contract (Lockheed Martin) Johnson Space Center (STS and ISS Control Centers) Goddard Space Flight Center (SN, GN) Network Operations International Partners Integration Team Marshall Space Flight Center (NISN) Space Flight Operations Contract (United Space Alliance) Kennedy Space Center Johnson Space Center FIGURE 9.1 The Network Operations Integration Team interfaces between program elements, mission managers, and NASA centers. support a mission involving human spaceflight.10 The for- maintain the communications capabilities necessary for hu- man spaceflight. These reviews include daily and weekly mal readiness review process is designed to make sure that Integrated Operations teleconferences between centers as each of these network elements will fulfill its role in the well as preliminary and critical design reviews for newly mission at hand. developed or updated pieces of the communications infra- structure. The Automated Support Requirements System Development Activities management team and Network Support Group also provide oversight and readiness assurance reviews. NISN’s readi- Although the operations integration program element’s ness is verified in both forums and quarterly reviews. The primary role involves coordinating and managing specific space communications program is also evaluated as a whole activities related to human spaceflight, the program some- through status reports and status reviews. Finally, the NASA times uses its unique position to sponsor development ac- chief engineer uses a system of independent technical au- tivities when a significant agency-wide benefit is apparent. thority to provide an unbiased assessment of project, pro- The intercenter nature of operations integration gives it the gram, and mission readiness. These experts, designated as perspective and the means to implement changes to the com- technical warrant holders for their areas of expertise, also munications infrastructure for the greater good of all users. address disputed engineering issues. An example of such a development activity is an effort In preparation for launch and mission support, SCO per- currently underway to develop a command generation capa- sonnel conduct a series of structured readiness reviews. bility for KSC and implement it in KSC’s Launch Control These reviews include an operations readiness review, a Center. Historically, KSC has relied on JSC’s Mission Con- stage operations readiness review, a flight readiness review trol Center and legacy command equipment at the Merritt at JSC, a launch readiness review at KSC, and an agency- Island Launch Annex (MILA) tracking station. It is in wide flight readiness review. This process culminates in sub- NASA’s interest to reduce the complexity of the MILA hard- mission of a certificate of flight projects directorate networks ware. If this can be accomplished, it may be possible to com- readiness, indicating that all of the communications network mercialize the facility in the future, resulting in long-term elements are ready to support the mission. Figure 9.2 illus- cost savings. This command capability is also projected to trates how many different assets must be brought to bear to be of benefit to several future Exploration programs. Finally,

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65 OPERATIONS INTEGRATION PROGRAM ELEMENT AFSCN (TDW) TD TDS (TDE) (TDE) (TDZ) DET 12 174.3 171 046 041.2 275 22 SOPS F8 SPACE F5 F10 F3 F4 CTS NETWORK DGS STGT GTS WSGT HTS KSA - 2 KSA –2 GRGT NHS TCS VTS GROUND ER NETWORK RESOURCES DFRC MILA/PDL OD/FM DATA/VOICE/TV/CMD WLPS DFRC WR WLPS UHF A-G WSMR NISN WSSH UHF UHF A-G SALINAS NASCOM 2000 PEAK SSME/OD/FM DATA/VOICE/TV FM/OD/CMD DATA CLOSED/OPEN SSME/OD/FM/VOICE/TV /C-BAND/CMD DATA IONet GSFC SSME/OD/FM DATA/VOICE/TV NIC SSME/OD DATA OD/FM DATA/VOICE/TV/CMD TO MILA PAD - 39 C-BAND TRK A/B ACQ DATA JDMTA VEHICLE RNG SAFETY TRKING DATA SSME/OD/FM/VOICE/ TV /RANGE ROCC FDF CD & SC JSC KSC SAFETY/CMD/ MSFC CCAFS MCC LCC CMD VER TEL-4 RPS SSME/OD/FM/RANGE SAFETY/ CMD VER XY RANGE SAFETY/OD/ET TV CCAFS FIGURE 9.2 Interaction among the elements involved in NASA’s operations integration support. SOURCE: Gary Morse, NASA, “Opera- tions Integration,” briefing to the NRC Committee to Review NASA’s Space Communications Committee, Washington, D.C., January 26, 2006, p. 4. incorporation at the Launch Control Center provides KSC pants clearly understand their mission and know how to with a more robust, stand-alone prelaunch test capability. manage available resources to accomplish it. This project is being implemented through the KICS con- Senior NASA leadership understands the critical impor- tract at KSC and is slated for completion in FY 2006. tance of maintaining communications for human spaceflight. This is evident in the assignment of such senior staff to this program element. The authority granted to the operations RELATED ASSESSMENT integration team to intervene on behalf of flight readiness is The goals and objectives of the operations integration another indication of the confidence that NASA has in the program element are well understood, but they are not docu- team. Lives depend on the activities that they oversee and mented in a formal program plan. NASA Procedures and the decisions that they make. Guidelines document NPG 7120.511 refers to several of the Some of the deliverables that operations integration pro- types of activities that operations integration is responsible vides are concrete and well documented, but others are less for, such as requirements and risk management (e.g., flight so. Examples of the former include the team’s contributions readiness certification). However, NPG 7120.5 discusses to the Space Shuttle program and International Space Sta- program-related activities only in general terms; it does not tion program requirements documents. Other deliverables assign objectives and goals specifically to operations inte- such as contract oversight generally contribute to the overall gration. The Support Requirements System Management mission of communications for human spaceflight, but they Plan12 (JSC 27379) and the Automated Support Require- are necessarily delivered as a single, concrete product. Se- ments Handbook13 (GP-60-3) include details on the pro- nior NASA leadership reviews the performance of the op- cesses and procedures governing requirements management. erations integration team, and, in the end, successful mainte- Highly qualified and experienced individuals make up the nance of communications for missions involving human operations integration team, and they are tightly coupled to spaceflight is the ultimate indicator that operations integra- the senior management of the space communications pro- tion is delivering. gram. Despite the fact that goals and objectives are not The senior staff members involved in operations inte- logged in a single, formal document, these senior partici- gration have demonstrated that they know how to provide the expected services using the resources available to them.

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66 REVIEW OF THE SPACE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM To a large extent, they also dictate the program activities that has in terms of communications reliability serves as valida- they will use to meet those end goals. Decision points and tion for its risk management approach. Its mission is cen- down-selects have little relevance to the mission that opera- tered on risk mitigation. The activities described above all tions integration is designed to perform. contribute—some directly and some indirectly—to the The mission that operations integration performs is dif- program’s effort to reduce the risk of human spaceflight. ficult to break down into specific short-term deliverables and metrics. Each mission that is successfully prepared for, cer- Overall Capabilities tified, and executed serves as further acknowledgment that the operations integration program element continues to suc- The operations integration program element team mem- ceed in meeting its customers’ needs. Development activi- bers do a remarkable job in both defining and meeting the ties have traditional schedules and metrics associated with requirements related to communications assurance for hu- them. However, it is more difficult to apply similar stan- man spaceflight, especially given the limited resources at dards to the requirements development, contract oversight, their disposal. Their responsibilities are extremely broad in and coordination activities that make up the vast majority of scope. The success that NASA has enjoyed in terms of main- the operations integrations mission. taining communications on missions involving human space- Operations integration’s overarching responsibilities are flight can be credited to the efforts of a select team of indi- ongoing as long as human spaceflight continues. The pri- viduals who are exceedingly well qualified and capable of mary goal, maintaining communications for those missions, exerting their influence across a broad range of functional is not only appropriate but also essential. As noted previ- organizations. Their influence is particularly critical in light ously, the personnel assigned to operations integration have of the fact that the contractors who perform the tasks re- a tremendous amount of expertise and experience. They rep- quired for communications for human spaceflight report to resent an irreplaceable resource. To plan for the future, op- their respective NASA centers, not to operations integration. erations integration recruits talented individuals from within Despite a rather complex contractor-management scheme the NASA centers and grooms them for increasingly respon- and an indirect reporting structure for the contractors it over- sible roles. The skills that these personnel need are well un- sees, operations integration has been extremely successful in derstood by SCO management. The facilities and equipment meeting the needs of its customers and maintaining an out- used to enable the communications capabilities that opera- standing record of accomplishment. tions integration oversees are funded through center-man- aged contracts. The subsets of related facilities and equip- FINDINGS ment that fall under the SCO are discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this report. Reliance on Individuals’ Skills and Expertise Finding: NASA missions that involve human spaceflight rely Connections to the Broader Community heavily on the skills and influence of several highly experi- Operations integration’s mission is unique to NASA, in enced individuals to manage their communications activi- part because the program element’s role is required owing to ties and provide readiness assurance. the distributed, center-based management of SCO assets. Another aspect that is specific to NASA is the driver for the The possible unavailability of a few key personnel rep- program element: human spaceflight. The work of others in resents a significant risk to NASA’s ability to maintain an the field (e.g., high-reliability terrestrial communications outstanding record in terms of communications for human network design) bears little relevance to operations integra- spaceflight. It is doubtful that a less experienced team could tion due to stark differences in the operational environments meet the current high level of performance without dedica- and the consequences associated with a service outage. The tion of significant additional resources. Operations integra- vast majority of the associated resources are contracted, not tion actively recruits and trains new team members. Unfor- provided in-house. It is impressive that operations integra- tunately, no amount of training can make up for the decades tion is able to coordinate and oversee such expansive con- of experience that will be lost if a few key individuals de- tractual activities with the limited resources available to it. part. Methodology Complex Reporting Structure As mentioned at the outset of this chapter, there is not a Finding: NASA’s center-based contract structure makes it formal program plan in place for the SCO. Operations critical for operations integration team members to be both integration’s mission requires it to perform system-level as- highly experienced and widely respected across many orga- sessments every time it certifies readiness for human space- nizations within NASA. flight. The sterling track record that operations integration

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67 OPERATIONS INTEGRATION PROGRAM ELEMENT 3. Feinberg, A., and E. Thompson, NASA Awards NENS The personnel responsible for the assets and activities Contract to Honeywell Technology Solutions, NASA Press Re- engaged to facilitate communications for human spaceflight lease, October 9, 2003, available at http://www.nasa.gov/home/ do not report directly to operations integration. The efficacy hqnews/2003/oct/HQ_c03jj_near_earth_network.html. of the operations integration team therefore depends on their 4. Feinberg, A., First Contract in SMCDS Solicitation ability to identify and motivate key personnel across a wide Awarded to InDyne, Inc., NASA Press Release, September 17, range of functional organizations. Regardless of the specific 2003, available at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/sep/ reporting structure, critical activities such as flight readiness HQ_ c03ff_indyne_contract.html. assurance will always require the involvement of highly 5. Beutel, A., and K. Humphries, NASA Awards Mission skilled and experienced team members. Support Operations Contract, NASA Press Release, September 29, 2003, available at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/sep/ HQ_ c03hh_mission_ops_cntrt.html. Outstanding Level of Customer Satisfaction Achieved 6. Beutel, A., and K. Humphries, NASA Exercises Lockheed Martin Mission Support Contract Option, NASA Press Release, Finding: The individuals responsible for managing and ex- July 3, 2006, available at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/ ecuting the operations integrations program element do an jul/HQ_c04c_lockheed_contract.html. excellent job in the eyes of their customers, the Space Shuttle 7. Mathews, M., NASA Awards Technology Services Con- and International Space Station programs. tract to SAIC, NASA Press Release, December 23, 2003, available at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/dec/HQ_c03ww_saic_ This finding is based on a site visit made by panel mem- tech_services.html. bers to JSC. During that visit, the International Space Sta- 8. Morse, Gary, NASA Johnson Space Center Space Opera- tion and Space Shuttle program managers both gave resound- tions Services Manager, personal communication, February 22, ingly positive reviews of the work performed by the 2006. members of the operations integration program element. In- 9. Morse, Gary, NASA Johnson Space Center Space Opera- tions Services Manager, personal communication, February 22, teraction with these customer representatives at JSC con- 2006. vinced panel members that an outstanding level of customer 10. Morse, Gary, “Operations Integration,” briefing to the satisfaction is achieved. NRC Committee to Review NASA’s Space Communications Com- mittee, Washington, D.C., January 26, 2006. NOTES 11. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA Procedures and Guidelines NPG7120.5B, November 21, 1. Morse, Gary, “Operations Integration,” briefing to the 2002. NRC Committee to Review NASA’s Space Communications Pro- 12. NASA, Support Requirements System Management Plan, gram, Washington, D.C., January 26, 2006. document number JSC-27379, December 1997. 2. Costrell, James, NASA Deputy Assistant Associate Ad- 13. NASA, Automated Support Requirements System Hand- ministrator, personal communication, February 23, 2006. book, Kennedy Space Center General Procedures, Document Num- ber GP-60-3, December 9, 2004.

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