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A Statement of Task The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the Na- Are there sufficient off-ramps or sunsets to ensure that fund- tional Research Council (NRC) will form a committee to ing is reallocated within the program or to other programs if assess the overall quality of the space communications pro- the program does not make adequate progress towards one gram of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate and or more of its goals and objectives? Are the program’s plans offer findings and recommendations thereto. This task in- for independent and/or external reviews adequate and appro- cludes internal and collaborative activities. The primary ob- priate? jective is to conduct peer assessments rather than provide — Are appropriate objectives being posed, taking into programmatic advice. consideration program goals, NASA’s strengths, and the The committee will meet as required during the study to time horizon for the project? Are critical personnel and fa- receive technical presentations about the projects under re- cilities required to support the program well defined? view by their group and formulate final findings and recom- Connections to the Broader Community mendations. Members will also make site visits as deemed necessary in formulating the assessment. Portions of each — Is there evidence that the program utilizes appropriate meeting will be highly interactive with NASA personnel. work already done by the Department of Defense, the U.S. The committee will develop a final report based upon inputs commercial space industry, and others? Does it leverage the and discussions at the committee meetings and site visits. work of leaders in the field? The committee’s observations will follow broad themes — Is the strategy for out-of-house work (competitions, concerning program quality. The committee will not make partnerships, etc.) well chosen and managed? explicit budget recommendations to NASA, but will instead — Are the benefits (and costs) of increasing comment on program effectiveness. interoperability with military space systems, commercial Where appropriate, the committee assessment should use space systems, and the systems of foreign space agencies specific criteria, such as the following: properly considered? Formulation of the Program Plan Methodology — Are the program’s goals and objectives clearly de- — How well crafted are the program plans for the areas fined and consistent with relevant document such as NASA’s under review? Strategic Plan? — Have the appropriate supporting system level assess- — Is there evidence of a clear understanding of the need ments been conducted? by NASA’s mission directorates, other organizations or the — Do the managers understand and manage the risks in- aerospace community at large for the space communications volved to an appropriate level? services? Are the program’s deliverables to those organiza- — Are the plans for further study reasonable and justifi- tions clearly articulated and are those organizations ad- able? equately involved in the planning and review process? Overall Capabilities — Can the expected services be accomplished by the pro- gram activities? If not, is the path to adequately providing — Is the quality of the work comparable to similar world- the services clear? Is this planning well supported by suffi- class efforts in other organizations, and does it meet the re- cient decision points, down selects, customer agreements, quirements of its customers (both internal and external). and/or unallocated out year funding? — Are the qualifications of the NASA/contractor staff — Are there sufficient near-term deliverables or progress sufficient to achieve program goals? metrics from which the program can be regularly assessed? 77
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78 REVIEW OF THE SPACE COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM — Are the capabilities, quantity, and state of readiness Space Communications Program Elements of equipment and facilities sufficient to achieve program Space Network goals? NASA Integrated Services Network (NISN) — Are personnel, equipment, and facilities supplied by Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) support contractors used efficiently; do they fill gaps in gov- Systems Engineering ernment capabilities without duplication? Technology The selection of criteria for each assessment and the relative Spectrum Management weights given to each criterion are within the committee’s Standards Management discretion and can vary from program to program. The NRC Communications and Navigation Architecture will evaluate the following program elements using the cri- Search and Rescue teria above. Program Integration