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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science 3 Space Technology and the Integrated Technology Plan THE OAST SPACE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM The Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology is divided into several directorates, the two largest of which are responsible for aeronautics and space technology. The mission statement of the Space Technology Directorate is shown in Table 6. Table 6 OAST'S SPACE RESEARCH AND REPORT MENU TECHNOLOGY MISSION STATEMENT NOTICE MEMBERSHIP OAST shall provide technology for future civil space missions and provide a base PREFACE of research and technology capabilities to serve all national space goals. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 Identify, develop, validate and transfer technology to: q CHAPTER 3 - Increase mission safety and reliability CHAPTER 4 - Reduce program development and operations cost ACRONYMS - Enhance mission performance BIOGRAPHIES - Enable new missions BIBLIOGRAPHY Provide the capability to: q APPENDIX A - Advance technology in critical disciplines APPENDIX B - Respond to unanticipated mission needs APPENDIX C APPENDIX D APPENDIX E The Space Technology Directorate is organized as shown in Figure 3 to meet two major responsibilities: basic and focused research in support of the nation's civil space program. The Civil Space Technology Initiative constitutes the "focused program" and is of primary interest to this study. It is the part of OAST which has been particularly configured to be responsive to the technology needs of future missions, including the needs of OSSA. The focused program contains five thrusts: space science technology, operations technology, file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (1 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:56 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) transportation technology, space platforms technology, and planetary surface technology. Figure 4 shows the management structure of the OAST Space Technology Directorate. Figure 3 The OAST Space Technology Directorate programs. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (2 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Figure 4 The OAST Space Technology Directorate management structure. THE INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY PLAN (ITP) The Development of the ITP As noted earlier, the OAST ITP was developed in response to a recommendation by the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program.1 NASA tasked OAST to prepare an integrated technology plan to "serve as a strategic plan for the space research and technology (R&T) program, and as a strategic planning framework for other NASA and national participants in advocating and conducting technology developments that support future U.S. civil space missions."2 In preparation of the ITP, OAST undertook an extraordinary effort. The ITP addresses the technology. needs of all areas of NASA's space program and responds to inputs from the Office of Space Science and Applications (65 combined needs drawn from 98 inputs in various divisions); the Office of Exploration (approximately 25 needs); the Office of Space Flight (16 needs); and the Office of Space Communications (four needs). It also considers the technology needs of other government agencies (e.g., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has six needs), the commercial space industry (six need areas, e.g., launch vehicles), and recommendations of other advisory groups. Of the more than 120 identified needs (over 100 being NASA), 20 were funded in FY file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (3 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) 92 in the OAST focused program. Some items were responsive to identical inputs from multiple users, e.g., several users identified a need for advanced data systems. The methodology employed in the development of the ITP was as follows: Step 1: Development of a forecast of future civil space flight programs and their technology needs and priorities. Step 2: Definition of an overarching strategy for technology maturation and transfer. Step 3: Development of a program structure and investment decision rules intended to support the maturation strategy. Step 4: Definition of the actual ITP Strategic Plan. Step 5: Development of specific annual programs and budgets.3 In the up, OAST identified three technology categories: 1. Technologies that are broadly applicable to several missions; 2. Technologies that are enabling for a specific mission concept or program objective (e.g., R&T pertaining to science instruments or Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) goals); and 3. Technologies that are of high value to user or mission offices planning similar systems (e.g., transportation technologies for OSSA deep-space missions and for the Space Exploration Initiative). The ITP states that while OAST has not attempted to prioritize among various user plans, it has adopted "commonality and criticality" as the two general criteria for the evaluation of technology needs. The ITP notes that "the more common a technology need is, the more broadly an investment in that technology can be considered,"4 but that other needs, though having only a single known use, may merit support because they are extremely important to, or enable, a mission or major mission objective. OAST states that "in order to be fully successful, the ITP must constitute an overarching framework for civil space technology—and one for which there is a strong consensus within the aerospace and technology community that the ITP is in fact essentially correct."5 Space Systems and Technology Advisory Committee Review During the summer of 1991, NASA asked the Space Systems and Technology Advisory Committee (SSTAC) to review the ITP to fulfill Recommendation 8 of the Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program ("Augustine Committee") to ". . . utilize an expert, outside review process, managed from headquarters, to assist in the allocation of technology funds." The SSTAC's report was Advanced Technology for America's Future in Space: A Review of NASA's Integrated Technology Plan for the Civil file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (4 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Space Program. The SSTAC held a five-day meeting in the summer of 1991, which featured 65 review team members and 11 specific technology panels, each of which examined a major technical discipline area in the space R&T program. The review team included members of several advisory committees, including the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and the Space Studies Board, and other individuals with knowledge in space technology and related areas. The study was chaired by Dr. Joseph F. Shea of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The SSTAC group concluded that "an effective process has been established to identify the advanced technology needs of the user communities and establish a rough order of priority within individual technical disciplines and program thrusts." It reviewed the ITP on the basis of two hypothetical funding levels. The first level was the "responsive plan," which attempted to address virtually all identified technology needs and presumed a growth from current space R&T funding levels to $1.7 billion by 1997. The second level was the "three- fold augmentation plan" (based on a recommendation in the Augustine Committee's report) which "may realistically be all that NASA can be expected to invest. . . $1.1 billion by 1997."6 The SSTAC group concluded that "the bulk of investment should be in technologies available five-to-fifteen years in the future, with more limited investment in R&T for deliverables closer than five or further than fifteen years" and that "the means of establishing priorities across disciplines and major thrusts needs to be further clarified." The summary recommendations of the SSTAC review are shown in Table 7. Table 7 SUMMARY RECOMMENDATIONS: ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE IN SPACE, P 4 Overall, the review team believes that Recommendation 8 of the Augustine Committee is well founded. NASA has instituted a sound planning process and the proposed Integrated Technology Plan for the Civil Space Program is a solid basis for responding to the Augustine Committee Recommendations on technology. Within each panel group, the review team found that at both the "three-fold increase" and the greater "responsive" resource levels, the proposed program was sound and that more, rather than less, resources were needed to meet the legitimate technology needs of the U.S. civil space program. The Integrated Technology Plan deserves as much support as the Agency and Congress can provide. We also recommend that the Augustine target of a three-fold increase in funding level be the initial goal. Summary Recommendations The review team believes, as was stated by the Augustine Committee's report, that "the development of advanced technology is . . . crucial to the success of the exploration and exploitation of space." NASA's proposed Integrated Technology Plan responds to this challenge. Our most important and overriding recommendation for NASA, the Administration and the Congress is: Accept Recommendation 8 of the Augustine Committee and initiate q planning for the needed funding growth to triple the current level of file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (5 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) investment in advanced space research and technology. In addition, the review team has the following subsidiary recommendations that arose during the review process: Continue to Improve the Integrated Technology Plan. NASA should continue q to refine the space research and technology planning process, and increase the participation by other government agencies, industry and academia. Issues include: (1) improving technology transfer within the program, (2) establishing priorities across disciplines and thrusts, and (3) continuing and expanding the use of external, expert review of the program. Develop National Teams. Plan for and implement increased collaboration and q teaming among NASA, industry and universities in space R&T, and coordination with other government agencies, as appropriate. Develop National Testbeds. Implement the concept of National Testbeds for q space technology development. Revitalize Space R&T Facilities. Focus planning on a new generation of space q technology research facilities. Increase the Use of Technology Flight Demonstrations. Implement policies q and practices which reduce the cost and accelerate the pace of space R&T flight experimentation. Improve Technology Transfer. Focus management attention on developing q clear, widely accepted criteria for adopting new technologies for future civil space flight programs. OAST'S SPACE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM AND TECHNOLOGY NEEDS EVALUATION PROCESSES OAST has an elaborate set of processes to develop its program. These have some similarities to those of OSSA presented in Chapter 2. In keeping with the traditional role OAST has played in NASA, OAST's space emphasis is on continuous technology development in support of other parts of NASA. OAST's Space Technology Annual Research and Technology Planning and Budgeting Cycle is shown in Figure 5. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (6 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Figure 5 Annual space research and technology planning and budgeting cycle.7 The principles the OAST Space Technology Directorate has defined to meet its mission statement are listed in Table 8. For the most part, the OAST principles are compatible with and supportive of, the OSSA principles in Table 2. OAST's first principle, to "stress excellence," is congruent with OSSA's first principle, except that OAST includes ensuring the availability of support and facilities. However, simultaneously striving for excellence and working to maintain a capability are not necessarily compatible. The tension between these objectives is discussed further below. OAST's second principle is also parallel in spirit to OSSA's second principal, with OSSA stressing its service to the scientific community, and OAST stressing technology transfer and responsiveness to customer needs. OAST reaffirms a necessary commitment to the ongoing R&T program as its third guiding principle while OSSA declares its intent to use scientific peer review in all aspects of its program. Other similar statements between OSSA and OAST relate to program balance and support of education. Unique OAST principles relate to its desire to use other organizations' capabilities when appropriate, and to contribute to the nation's competitiveness. Table 9 lists the stages of technology development that OAST employs in conducting its program. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (7 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Table 8 OAST SPACE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM PRINCIPLES Stress technical excellence and quality in all activities and ensure the availability q of appropriate support and facilities. Be responsive to customers and assure technology transfer and utilization. q Sustain commitment to ongoing R&T programs. q Maintain the underlying technological strengths which are the wellspring of q NASA's technical capability. Assure the introduction of new technology activities on a regular basis. q Maintain balance among NASA customers; critical disciplines, and near- and far- q term goals. Support science and engineering education in space R&T. q Make effective use of technologies and capabilities of other government q agencies, industry, academia and international partners. Enhance the nation's international competitiveness. q Table 9 STAGES IN TECHNOLOGICAL MATURATION Level Definition 1 Basic Principles Observed and Reported 2 Technology Concept and/or Application Formulated 3 Analytical & Experimental Critical Function and/or Characteristic Proof of Concept 4 Component and/or Breadboard Validation in Laboratory Environment 5 Component and/or Breadboard Validation in Relevant Environment 6 System/Subsystem Model or Prototype Demonstration in a Relevant Environment (Ground or Space) 7 System Prototype Demonstration in a Space Environment 8 Actual System Completed and 'Flight Qualified' Through Test and Demonstration (Ground or Space) 9 Actual System 'Flight Proven' Through Successful Mission Operations OAST defines Levels 1 and 2 in Table 9 as basic technology research, Levels 2 and file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (8 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) 3 as research to prove feasibility, Levels 3 through 5 as technology development, Levels Five and Six as technology demonstration, Levels 6 through 8 as system/subsystem development, and Levels 8 and 9, as system test, launch and operations. According to the ITP, transfer of projects from OAST to flight program offices (such as OSSA's science divisions) should occur between levels 3 and 6. In general, OAST seeks to advance technology through Level 5 in its space R&T activities. In the ITP, OAST draws a distinction between its base program and its focused program as follows: "The space research and technology (R&T) Base is that portion of the R&T program within which NASA proposes to conduct discipline-oriented, 'technology push' activities."8 The ITP describes the focused part of the program as "that portion of the R&T program within which NASA proposes to conduct functionally oriented `mission pull' activities. "9 OAST uses somewhat different decision rules for its base and focused programs. The decision rules for the base program are in Table 10, and the rules for the focused programs are in Table 11. Table 10 OAST SPACE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY BASE DECISION RULES GENERAL RULES Use external reviews to aid in assuring program technical quality q Provide stability by completing on-going discrete efforts q DISCIPLINE RESEARCH Assure adequate support to maintain high-quality in-house research capabilities q in areas critical to future missions — Provide capabilities for ad hoc support R&T for flight programs Provide growth in R&T base areas needed for future focused programs q — Coordinate with annual focused program planning Create annual opportunities for the insertion of new R&T concepts q — Goal: Provide approximately 15-20 percent "roll-over" per year Support technology push flight experiments where space validation is required q IN-STEP FLIGHT PROGRAMS Maintain competitively selected studies/implementation of in-house and q industry/university scale flight experiments, oriented on NASA's technology needs file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (9 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS Evaluate to focus participation in NASA space R&T by U.S. universities and q colleges—using competitive selection Table 11 OAST FOCUSED PROGRAM DECISION RULES GENERAL Annually assess and fund projects in order of priority against mission-derived q investment criteria — External review will be used to aid in assuring quality — Review with user offices will be used to aid in assuring relevance and timeliness Provide stability by completing on-going discrete efforts q Start a mix of technology projects with short, mid- and long-term objectives each q year Assure balanced investments to support the full range of space R&T users q Fund new technology projects that have passed internal reviews as required q (e.g., non-advocate review for major experiments) MAJOR FLIGHT EXPERIMENTS Support competitively-selected implementation of in-house and industry major q technology flight experiments in accordance with mission-derived prioritization criteria Fund major flight experiments where adequate ground-based R&T is underway q or has been completed OAST also has developed a set of criteria to rank the focused program elements with respect to projected missions. They are characterized as "investment prioritization criteria," and center upon mission need, programmatic and timing issues, and any special issues. Table 12 lists the ranking criteria. The ITP describes the process and OAST focused program decision rules and criteria for determining which projects to fund as follows: "The focused program decision rules were applied to the detailed program thrust, area and element technical strategic plans by teams of NASA personnel comprised of mission and flight programs personnel, mission operations personnel and NASA technologists. Using the focused program file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (10 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) decision rules and evaluation criteria, and the strategic forecast of user mission plans and technology needs (and priorities), a prioritization of the focused program has been developed. The elements within each thrust have been identified as highest priority. Based on this prioritization, annual resource allocation decisions will be made. "10 Table 12 OAST FOCUSED PROGRAM MISSION-DRIVEN PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA MISSION NEED Engineering Leverage Performance (Including Reliability) Leverage of the Technology to a System Importance of that Technology/System Performance to a Mission and Its Objectives Cost Leverage Projected Cost Reduction for a Given System/Option Projected Cost Reduction for Mission of that Savings Breadth of Application Commonality Across Missions/Systems Options Commonality Across Systems in Alternative Mission Designs PROGRAMMATICS VERSUS TIMING Timeliness of Planned Deliverables Timing of the Mission Need for Technology Readiness Projected Duration of R&T Needed to Bring Technology to Readiness Criticality of Timely R&T Results to Mission Decisions Timing of Mission Planning Need for Technology Results Importance of Technology to Mission Objectives/Selection Uncertain in Planned R&T Program Success/Schedule SPECIAL ISSUES Readiness to Begin a Focused Technology Project Commitment to an Ongoing R&T Program Interrelationships to Other Government Program(s) Projected "National Service" Factors file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (11 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The ITP represents a key step toward rational management of NASA's space technology programs. The ITP contains a wide range of technologies that can contribute to future missions. Increased communication between technology developers and users was needed and has begun. The subsequent SSTAC review contributed further to the identification of NASA's technology needs by incorporating non-NASA opinions on those needs. Since the ITP was conceived as a strategy to be annually revised to reflect mission planning and progress in ongoing technology development efforts,"" the committee offers the following findings and recommendations to be considered as NASA continues its technology planning processes. 1. The Integrated Technology Plan is not yet an "agency-wide" technology plan. There is little discernible coordination between OAST efforts in response to OSSA technology needs and the independent efforts underway by OSSA divisions to meet their own short- and long-term technology needs. In addition, there is little apparent coordination between OSSA divisions concerning their common technology needs. The ITP bears no imprint of the NASA Administrator, nor of agency-wide oversight and support. The autonomy of NASA's offices can prevent OAST's resources from being diverted solely to support the near-term needs of flight missions, but can also prevent the development of a NASA strategy for the coherent application of the total agency resources. However, the Committee does not believe that the budget currently allocated to the OAST Space Technology Directorate should be transferred to OSSA and the other user groups inside NASA. In FY 1992, OAST's space technology budget was less than three percent of the NASA budget ($306 million of $14.3 billion) and OSSA has at times experienced (e.g., from 1990 to 1991) budget growth from one year to the next that was greater than the entire annual OAST space technology budget (see Figure 1). Furthermore, during the development of flight missions OAST scientists and engineers have been called upon to help solve particularly difficult technical problems. The expertise, capability, and promise that would be lost by dissolving OAST's space technology effort would be difficult to compensate for by comparatively small gains elsewhere. Collaboration between the advanced technology efforts of OAST and OSSA should be enhanced. The technology needs submitted to OAST by OSSA did not specify which technologies OSSA divisions were already trying to develop in their own projects. This caused some confusion, and, in the future, OSSA should make special efforts to identify its divisions' most important needs and those needs that they are unable to address themselves, for potential joint projects or special consideration by OAST. 2. The diversity of the user communities that OAST serves makes the formulation of a common set of decision principles and rules for the prioritization and selection of new projects extremely difficult or impossible. The needs and objectives of the civil space community are too diverse to be met by a single set of decision rules and criteria. The focused program decision rules in Table 11 or file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (12 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) the base program rules in Table 10 provide little practical guidance on choosing between activities such as the development of a next-generation main engine for a launch vehicle, an advanced focal-plane array for a future mission to Jupiter, or the next advance in applications satellite design that may improve U.S. commercial interests. The rules provide no basis for a decision to allot 5, 10, or even 100 percent to space science and applications versus other major areas. Because NASA has not had direction from an agency-wide strategic plan, OAST has been forced to try to determine the agency's aims solely by polling the users of technology. Figure 6 summarizes the flow of user inputs and summarizes the results of the 1991/1992 process. The OAST process described in the ITP is encompassing, but not necessarily discriminating. It would be feasible under the process to authorize nearly any space technology development activity that addressed any conceivable objective within the OAST mission statement. In choosing among the competitive voices of NASA offices and external needs, the allocation of resources to different major areas (e.g., space science and applications and space flight) ultimately reduces solely to an exercise in management judgment, rather than an organized process. However, once management has made the allocation to each major area, a distinct, logical process should guide the selection of tasks. Although no set of processes can eliminate the need. for good judgment, the current situation relies very heavily on the assessments of key individuals. The current process is further clouded by the mixture of internal NASA needs and external national needs. In both cases, the question becomes one of whether OAST should make early investments to reduce the cost of other NASA or another organization's development programs. For some classes of technology, the lack of an OAST investment does not necessarily imply that the technology will not be developed, only that it may be developed through another program and on a different time scale. In instances where the technology is more speculative and high-risk, the lack of an OAST investment may indeed preclude a decision to employ advanced technology in a flight program. Since OAST must determine which user's needs should receive priority, it should endeavor to acquire good information on which to base its decisions, and seek inputs from outside NASA. Although the space technology planning cycle in Figure 5 defines the time frame in which inputs must be received and decisions made, the process by which technology development opportunities are sought from the external community is not clear. It is also unclear how differences in judgment between external personnel and organizations are reconciled with NASA's views and its need to maintain a technological capability for future mission support. 3. OAST has stated that "clear and effective prioritization of the various potential program elements is essential."12 The Committee does not believe this has yet been achieved. The Committee believes the decision rules and criteria shown in Tables 9 and 10 and the process described in the ITP for their implementation are not sufficiently precise to enable objective ranking of technology needs. Since they do not pertain to the selection of individual projects, the decision rules could be more accurately described as guidelines for the management of the focused space technology program. The prioritization criteria are imprecise and presented without accompanying metrics for their implementation. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (13 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) Figure 6 The FY 1992 flow of space science technology needs through OSSA and OAST. It is very difficult for those outside the actual selection process to understand OAST's ranking of technology needs. The simultaneous consideration of several dozen technology needs without any described numerical or other systematic grading system (with recorded remarks and "grades" that can be referenced at a later date) is not realistic. The systematic consideration of many more projects than can be funded is not unknown to NASA: it need not grow into an unwieldy or overly complex bureaucratic undertaking.13 For example, NASA releases Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to industry for spacecraft and other programs, and Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) and NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) to scientific communities for flight experiments, and evaluates responses regularly. It should be able to perform similarly in the selection of technology to be addressed by its focused space technology program. OAST's need to evaluate submitted technology needs is akin to OSSA's need to evaluate proposed experiments. OAST's response should be as clearly stated, organized, and defensible. 4. The mission model used for ITP planning is too optimistic. file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (14 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) The mission model employed in this initial ITP is not consistent with NASA's budget. A more realistic mission model is needed. The mission model employed by OSSA and OAST falls between what might be done if there was a national mandate for the civil space program, like that in the 1960s for the Apollo program, and what is probably feasible within pragmatically projected budget ceilings. The missions described in the plan will likely occur at later dates than planned, and some will vanish altogether. The likelihood of early mission approval and execution is overestimated. The optimism of the mission model sometimes promotes earlier investments in technology than may be appropriate. Because of the overall pace of world technology development, a development program may be undertaken prematurely and overtaken by other advances as the mission for which it is intended moves ever farther into the future. NASA does not wish to preclude future options by a lack of aggressive planning, but faces the danger of paying too much attention to missions that are several technological generations in the future. In some disciplines, the amount of resources NASA can devote to a problem is vastly smaller than that which will be invested by others, e.g., in computation, telecommunications, bioinstrumentation, and other technologies driven by an extremely competitive marketplace. In these areas, NASA can at best only hope to keep pace with work done elsewhere or to address very narrowly-defined NASA needs by leveraging the larger investments of others. 5. The ITP does not indicate how NASA can be responsive to the agency's technology needs in a flat funding environment. The initial ITP is based on two hypothetical funding levels: the "responsive plan"—$1.7 billion by 1997—and the "three-fold augmentation plan"—$l.l billion by 1997 in 1991 dollars. 14 Even the smaller, three-fold augmentation plan would represent nearly a four-fold increase over FY 91's $295 million budget. A three-fold increase in six years would require approximately 20 percent annual real growth. To reach $1.1 billion would require about 25 percent real annual growth and $1.7 billion, a nearly six-fold increase, would require nearly 35 percent real annual growth. Since 1980, OAST has averaged slightly less than an annualized growth rate of nine percent (before adjusting for inflation), which is a little under five percent real annual growth, and about equal to NASA's overall growth rate. Thus, both funding assumptions are probably unrealistic, especially given current national economic and budgetary pressures. The ITP must contain a plan for how OAST will determine not only which projects should be initiated or continued, but which should be canceled. Little emphasis has been placed on the critical evaluation of ongoing technology programs, or on the decision to cease work on projects that, for any of a variety of reasons, no longer merit support. In a flat or low- growth funding environment, such a plan is extremely important to maintain the viability of a program accustomed to growth. It is critical that new innovations be welcomed even within a program that is unable to grow. To implement this recommendation, it is clear that some ongoing projects must be terminated or substantially reduced. To augment the current annual SSTAC review, NASA should regularly (perhaps every three years) subject its ongoing base R&T projects to competitive impartial reviews that are smaller and more directed to systematically "scrub" each segment of the program. As it modifies its programs, OAST should not limit research in its R&T base disciplines to NASA centers. Responding to projected mission needs is file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (15 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) important, but a portion of NASA's technology program must respond to new, even high-risk, ideas that may yield large advances. The avoidance of risk should not be elevated to such a position that innovative but unconventional concepts are summarily dismissed. 6. There are limited measures in place for continuing user involvement beyond the submission stage. The Committee finds that few formal processes for continued involvement of the user community are in place. As with flight programs (but to a lesser extent), the user community should retain a sense of investment in a project and not be involved only at the outset. The ongoing formal involvement of users can contribute to NASA's objectives by aiding technology transfer. Each technology project undertaken by OAST's focused program to meet OSSA's needs should have a clearly stated plan for shifting the project from OAST to an OSSA division, once the technology is sufficiently mature for the division to complete development for a particular application. Some important factors to improve feedback must be addressed. It is unclear how a project in progress is examined by the potential final user, or even by the OSSA division that submitted the technology need that initiated the project. As a project proceeds, changes are inevitable. Frequently, weights increase, power requirements grow, capabilities diminish, costs exceed projections, schedules slip, and tradeoffs are necessary. Such occurrences in any high-technology, high-risk R&D project must be anticipated. If users are to retain a sense of ownership of chosen tasks, they must be involved intimately in tracking the progress of the project, and have the opportunity to contribute to the resolution of problems. 7. Although technology push in support of space science is a major component of OAST's R&T base program, this is not well known outside of OAST. OAST assigns to its R&T base program the primary responsibility for activities designed to create new space capabilities in advance of the expressed needs of users, i.e., technology push. The Committee believes that OAST should take specific measures to search more widely for ideas for technology push efforts and to make its support of space science in the base program more visible to those it aims to serve. The concerns noted above regarding seeking external inputs during program development are particularly important here. NOTES 1. ITP, Chapter 2, section 7 2. ITP, p ii 3. Drawn from ITP pp 3-1,2 4. ITP, p 2-20 5. ITP, p 1-7 (italics theirs) file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (16 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]

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Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science (Chapter 3) 6. SSTAC, Advanced Technology for America's Future in Space, p 3 7. ITP, p 4-2 8. "Technology push" can be loosely defined as the situation wherein new advances enable new capabilities and, therefore, new mission designs or types of research. 9. "Mission pull" can be loosely defined as the situation where new technology development activities are initiated for the purpose of supporting a specific approved or proposed mission. 10. ITP, p 3-39 11. ITP, p ii 12. ITP, p 3-38 13. see also Naugle, First Among Equals, the Selection of NASA Space Science Experiments 14. SSTAC, Advanced Technology for America's Future in Space, p 3 Last update 7/11/00 at 9:05 am Site managed by Anne Simmons, Space Studies Board file:///C|/SSB_old_web/nasatechch3.htm (17 of 18) [6/18/2004 11:38:57 AM]