Joint Dark Energy Missions

ADEPT ADEPT has a diverse science team from a number of organizations. There was no other information presented relative to team organization and operations.

DESTINY Assuming that the team responsibilities remain unchanged, there are no obvious management challenges to the DESTINY mission. There was very little schedule information provided by the DESTINY team.

SNAP Managing the SNAP project that has international partners as well as two U.S. government centers (GSFC and LBNL) could prove to be a challenge. The proposed schedule shows 4.75 years from the PDR to launch, which is barely adequate development time for a mission of this complexity.

LISA The LISA mission is to be co-funded by NASA and the European Space Agency and is thus dependent on the willingness of each agency to maintain its contribution level and profile through the life of the project. Managing the partnership between ESA and NASA is a major challenge, especially under the constraints imposed by high visibility and ITAR. The LISA mission’s critical path is through the development of the micronewton thrusters and the phase measurement systems. LISA did present a very well-organized team with good depth in each technical discipline.

Cost Assessment

Using a consistent methodology, an independent estimate was performed for the purpose of comparison with previous missions of similar scope and complexity in order to provide a realistic expectation of the cost range for each mission concept. While not exacting, relative assessment and comparison with project estimates as available indicates higher costs and longer schedules than previously estimated for each mission.

The committee developed a set of most probable budget profiles for the candidate Beyond Einstein missions. Although some came closer to the Beyond Einstein budget profile than others, the committee concludes that there are realistic options for NASA to initiate JDEM and LISA with or without its partners. As one option, the committee assessed funding profiles against the available NASA funding wedge, taking into account non-NASA budget contributions. While the Beyond Einstein funding wedge is inadequate to develop any Beyond Einstein mission on its nominal schedule, contributions from non-NASA partners, as is the case for JDEM and LISA, could alleviate budget stresses but would require additional management, commitments, and coordination. Furthermore, mission development could be slowed to adhere to the available budget, with the effect of delaying launch.

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