Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program

An Interim Report

Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program An Interim Report Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NNH05CC16C between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 13: 978-0-309-11943-6 International Standard Book Number 10: 0-309-11943-X Available in limited supply from Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001, (202) 334-2858 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE TO REVIEW NASA’S EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM EDWARD CRAWLEY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Co-Chair BONNIE J. DUNBAR, The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, Co-Chair GARY L. BENNETT, Metaspace Enterprises, Emmett, Idaho ELIZABETH CANTWELL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico SHYAMA P. CHAKROBORTY, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, El Segundo, California RAMON L. CHASE, Analytic Services, Inc., Arlington, Virginia GARY S. GEYER, Consultant, Las Cruces, New Mexico KENNETH GWINN, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico AYANNA HOWARD, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta STEVEN D. HOWE, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls JOHN R. HOWELL, University of Texas, Austin JOHN E. HURTADO, Texas A&M University, College Station RAMKUMAR KRISHNAN, Energy Technologies, Motorola Labs, Tempe, Arizona IVETT A. LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, California RAYMOND MARIELLA, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California DANIEL MASYS, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee EDWARD McCULLOUGH, Boeing Company, Riverside, California DOUGLAS MEHOKE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland JAMES F. MILLER, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois TODD J. MOSHER, Microsat Systems, Inc., Littleton, Colorado GUILLERMO TROTTI, Trotti and Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts GERALD D. WALBERG, Walberg Aerospace, Hampton, Virginia IAN WALKER, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina WILLIAM W. WANG, Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California MARILEE J. WHEATON, Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California Staff JOHN WENDT, Study Director BRIAN DEWHURST, Study Director (from January 2008) KERRIE SMITH, Study Director (through December 2007) SARAH CAPOTE, Program Associate HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate v

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AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics (retired), Golden, Colorado, Chair CHARLES F. BOLDEN, JR., Jack and Panther, LLC, Houston, Texas ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, Aviation Safety Consultant, Catlett, Virginia AMY BUHRIG, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, Seattle, Washington PIERRE CHAO, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park ROBERT L. CRIPPEN, Thiokol Propulsion (retired), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida DAVID GOLDSTON, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey R. JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge PRESTON HENNE, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Savannah, Georgia JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired), Redwood City, California RICHARD KOHRS, Independent Consultant, Dickinson, Texas IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base EDMOND SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired), Valparaiso, Indiana Staff MARCIA S. SMITH, Director vi

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Preface In January 2004, President George W. Bush announced new goals for NASA by issuing the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). The fundamental goal of the VSE is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program.1 In support of this goal, the United States will: • Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond; • Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations; • Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and • Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests. Because exploratory voyages lead to an understanding of the unknown, the benefits of exploration cannot be precisely defined in advance, but the committee believes that • Preparing for exploration accelerates the development of technologies important for our economy and national security, • Inspiring young people to seek careers in science and engineering is critical to our future competitiveness, and • Discovering new knowledge about the universe will stimulate human thought and creativity in the sciences and the humanities. The human exploration aspect of the NASA initiative to fulfill the VSE is entrusted under the current NASA organization to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). To meet its objectives, ESMD must develop the enabling technologies for its missions of exploration. NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) is part of the Advanced Capabilities theme of ESMD, as shown in Figure P-1. The ETDP develops new technologies that will enable NASA to conduct future human and robotic exploration missions while reducing mission risk and cost. At present, the primary customers of the ETDP are the designers of flight systems in the Constellation program, which is developing the Orion, Altair, and Ares crew exploration and launch vehicles. 1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The Vision for Space Exploration, NP-2004-01-334-HQ, NASA, Washington, D.C., 2004. vii

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FIGURE P-1 An organization chart of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). The Exploration Technology Development Program is a part of the Advanced Capabilities theme. The ETDP has initiated 22 technology projects to meet the requirements that flow down from the Constellation program and whose assessment is the purpose of this report: 01 Structures, Materials, and Mechanisms 02 Ablative Thermal Protection System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle 03 Lunar Dust Mitigation 04 Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development 05 Cryogenic Fluid Management 06 Energy Storage 07 Thermal Control Systems 08 High-Performance and Radiation-Hardened Electronics 09 Integrated Systems Health Management 10 Autonomy for Operations 11 Intelligent Software Design 12 Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology 13 Automated Rendezvous and Docking Sensor Technology 14 Exploration Life Support 15 Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control 16 Fire Prevention, Detection, and Suppression 17 Extravehicular Activity Technologies 18 International Space Station Research 19 In Situ Resource Utilization 20 Fission Surface Power 21 Supportability 22 Human-Robotic Systems/Analogs In the House report (H. Rept. 107-520) that accompanied the House-passed version of the Science, State, Justice and Commerce FY2007 appropriations bill (H.R. 5672), NASA was directed to viii

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“enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council (NRC) for an independent assessment of NASA’s restructured Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) to determine how well the program is aligned with the stated objectives of the VSE, identify any gaps, and assess the quality of the research.” Although that bill did not become law, NASA nonetheless asked the NRC to make this assessment. A statement of task was developed by NASA and the NRC (see Appendix A), and a committee was formed by the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board to carry out this task. Consisting of 25 members (see Appendix B), the Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program includes a cross section of senior executives, engineers, researchers, and other aerospace professionals drawn from industry, universities, and government agencies with expertise in all the fields comprised by the ETDP. The committee held its first meeting on October 10-11, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The meeting included a series of presentations by NASA personnel that provided an overview of the administrative and technical background for the ETDP. A set of questions to be used in the assessment process was agreed upon by the committee and sent to NASA for distribution to the field centers included in the site visits to provide the centers with a clear and concise idea of the issues that subsets of the committee were charged to assess. (See Appendix C for a copy of the questions.) A subset of the committee met at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on November 8-9, 2007, for specialized presentations and a tour of the laboratory. A second subset met at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on November 27-30, 2007, and a third subset visited the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 11-12, 2007. A lead specialist and at least two other committee members were selected to concentrate on each project. Their reports and preliminary ratings were discussed by all other members of the committee by e-mail and in teleconferences organized on January 8, 11, and 16, 2008, to ensure consistency in the ratings given to each project which formed the basis of the committee’s interim report. With a few exceptions, this review covers information made available to the committee through December 2007. The full committee met for a second time on February 5-6, 2008, in Irvine, California, to continue its data-gathering activity, obtain clarification on selected areas of the ETDP technologies, and examine in detail cross-cutting issues that emerged as a result of the overall study process. Chapter 1 of this interim report focuses on an assessment of each of the 22 individual projects constituting the ETDP. The objectives and status of each project are summarized. Ratings are assigned for the quality of the research, the effectiveness with which the research is carried out and transitioned to the Exploration program, and the degree to which the research is aligned with the VSE. Where sufficient background information was available at the time of the preparation of this interim report, cross-cutting issues⎯those that the committee believes pervade many projects⎯were identified, and these are summarized in Chapter 2. The committee’s final report will consider the ETDP in a more holistic sense; it will take a top- down approach relative to the bottom-up approach of this interim report and will present findings at a programmatic level and offer recommendations for increasing program effectiveness. The final report will also discuss areas of study that the committee believes NASA might include within its future plans. ix

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Steven J. Battel, Battel Engineering, Tom Bauer, Microcosm Space Mission Engineering, Robert L. Crippen, Thiokol Propulsion (retired), Guy C. Fogleman, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bill Hoover, Consultant, Alex Ignatiev, University of Houston, Anhtuan Ngo, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Joe Oefelein, Sandia National Laboratories, Richard Robbins, Robbins Group, LLC, David Van Wie, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and Dianne Wiley, Boeing Company. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Maxine Savitz, Honeywell Incorporated (retired). Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. x

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 BRIEF ASSESSMENTS OF ETDP PROJECTS 4 01 Structures, Materials, and Mechanisms, 6 02 Ablative Thermal Protection System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, 8 03 Lunar Dust Mitigation, 9 04 Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development, 11 05 Cryogenic Fluid Management, 13 06 Energy Storage, 14 07 Thermal Control Systems, 16 08 High-Performance and Radiation-Hardened Electronics, 18 09 Integrated Systems Health Management, 20 10 Autonomy for Operations, 21 11 Intelligent Software Design, 22 12 Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology, 23 13 Automated Rendezvous and Docking Sensor Technology, 25 14 Exploration Life Support, 26 15 Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control, 28 16 Fire Prevention, Detection, and Suppression, 29 17 Extravehicular Activity Technologies, 31 18 International Space Station Research, 33 19 In Situ Resource Utilization, 34 20 Fission Surface Power, 36 21 Supportability, 38 22 Human-Robotic Systems/Analogs, 40 2 CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES 43 APPENDIXES A Statement of Task 47 B Committee Member Biographies 49 C Questions Used by the Committee to Gather Data on Each Project 57 D Definitions for Technology Readiness Levels 58 E Acronyms 60 xi

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