The Committee for the Assessment of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Program was tasked with executing the following statement of task.
The National Research Council will assemble a committee of approximately 15 technical experts to conduct an independent assessment of NASA’s fundamental aeronautics research. This assessment will include a comparison of the current NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) research program with the future fundamental research needs identified in the recently completed Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics. Fundamental aeronautics research not addressed or highlighted by the Decadal Survey but considered part of the ARMD research mission will also be assessed. The scope of this assessment will include the fundamental research being conducted in the entire ARMD program portfolio, including the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, the Aviation Safety Program, and the Airspace Systems Program. For purposes of clarity, NASA uses the term “fundamental research” to include continued long-term, scientific study in areas such as physics, chemistry, materials, experimental techniques, and computational techniques that leads to a furthering of our understanding of the underlying principles that form the foundation of the core aeronautics disciplines, as well as that research that integrates the knowledge gained in these core areas to significantly enhance our capabilities, tools, and technologies at the disciplinary (e.g., aerodynamics, combustion, trajectory prediction uncertainty) and multidisciplinary (e.g., airframe design, engine design, airspace modeling and simulation) levels.
The committee will focus its assessment around the following questions:
How well does NASA’s research portfolio implement appropriate recommendations and address relevant high-priority research and technology challenges identified in the Decadal Survey of Civil Aeronautics? If gaps are found, what steps should be taken by the federal government to eliminate them?
How well does NASA’s aeronautics research portfolio address the aeronautics research requirements of NASA, particularly for robotic and human space exploration? How well does NASA’s aeronautics research portfolio address other federal government department/agency non-civil aeronautics research needs? If gaps are found, what steps should be taken by NASA and/or other parts of the federal