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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program
jects have had their genesis in other units within NASA where partnerships with external users were already established. The committee was challenged by the need to try to differentiate between what ASP could consider “their” successes and those successes that had input from other NASA units. The suggestion is therefore made that the requirement to document “successes” as measures of performance should be viewed and used as a means to encourage communication within NASA and not to obscure the intended collaborative nature of the relationship ASP has with its internal NASA colleagues, or the intended external partnerships between NASA and user communities.
While successful transfers of research to operation and DSS are documented, the committee identified room for improvement. In particular, the committee concludes that:
The lack of formal processes to establish requirements, coordinate activities, and make the transition from NASA research to partner operations affects ASP’s overall effectiveness.
Federal partners have received a broad range of attention and support from ASP. NOAA and agencies in DoD have committed dedicated personnel resources to ensure they receive NASA priority support. Others, such as USDA and EPA, have generated specific programs that help focus NASA efforts to solve their problems. Yet others, such as DHS, have a relatively passive relationship in which they have been simply recipients of NASA data. As an area in which to concentrate federal partnership development with “younger” agencies, disaster and risk management, in particular, may be one of the most obvious to provide direct and immediate societal benefit through application of remotely sensed data.
NASA’s relationship with NOAA is the most mature with respect to weather research and prediction applications but there is much room for improvement in the research-to-operations transition process.
A systematic feedback mechanism from end users to NASA program planners and decision makers is lacking. Many federal partners have expressed a requirement for high-resolution multispectral satellite data, for example, but indicate that they do not find an effective mechanism at NASA to absorb this feedback. In general, federal users have a wide range of needs in terms of satellite data continuity, quality, format, and resolution. They often adapt to data formats provided by NASA, but express that they have limited or no influence over data characteristics (see also Chapter 5, section 5.1.2).
The committee concludes that the most successful federal partnerships could include an explicit link to the partner federal agency’s user community and a plan for continuation after ASP funding ended.