A
Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee operating under the auspices of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will conduct a review to evaluate how well the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) developed revolutionary aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its mission. NASA funding for NIAC ended in 2007, and Congress has directed the NRC [National Research Council] to review NIAC performance. The review will help guide NASA in assessing NIAC’s processes and results and in shaping future efforts in this area.

The objectives of the review are to:

  1. Evaluate NIAC’s effectiveness in meeting its mission, including a review of the grants made by the Institute, their results, and the likelihood that they will contribute to the Institute’s stated goals.

  2. Evaluate the method by which grantees were selected and recommend changes, if needed.

  3. Make recommendations on whether NIAC or a successor entity should be funded by the federal government and, if so, what changes, if any, should be made to NIAC’s original mission, goals, operations, or other matters

  4. Make recommendations as to how the federal government in general and NASA in particular should solicit and infuse advanced concepts into its future systems.

NIAC generated advanced concepts as its sole focus. NIAC especially pursued revolutionary systems and architectures from external sources of innovation. According to a review of NIAC’s accomplishments published by USRA [Universities Space Research Association], NIAC studies were aimed at having a major impact on NASA missions and activities 10 to 40 years in the future.

In evaluating NIAC’s performance, the committee will address the following questions:

  • To what extent were the NIAC-sponsored advanced concept studies innovative and technically competent?

  • How effective was NIAC in infusing advanced concepts into NASA’s strategic vision, future mission plans, and technology development programs?

  • How relevant were these studies to the aerospace sector at large?

  • How well did NIAC leverage potential partnerships or cost-sharing arrangements?

  • What potential approaches could NASA pursue in the future to generate advanced concepts either internally or from external sources of innovation?

A committee of approximately 12 members will meet twice, with additional discussion and writing via telecon or electronic communications. A prepublication version of the report will be delivered to the sponsor within 10 months after the NRC receives funding and authority to proceed, followed by a 6-month period for printing and dissemination activities.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 45
A Statement of Task An ad hoc committee operating under the auspices of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will conduct a review to evaluate how well the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) developed revolutionary aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its mission. NASA funding for NIAC ended in 2007, and Congress has directed the NRC [National Research Council] to review NIAC performance. The review will help guide NASA in assessing NIAC’s processes and results and in shaping future efforts in this area. The objectives of the review are to: 1. Evaluate NIAC’s effectiveness in meeting its mission, including a review of the grants made by the Institute, their results, and the likelihood that they will contribute to the Institute’s stated goals. 2. Evaluate the method by which grantees were selected and recommend changes, if needed. 3. Make recommendations on whether NIAC or a successor entity should be funded by the federal government and, if so, what changes, if any, should be made to NIAC’s original mission, goals, operations, or other matters 4. Make recommendations as to how the federal government in general and NASA in particular should solicit and infuse advanced concepts into its future systems. NIAC generated advanced concepts as its sole focus. NIAC especially pursued revolutionary systems and architectures from external sources of innovation. According to a review of NIAC’s accomplishments published by USRA [Universities Space Research Association], NIAC studies were aimed at having a major impact on NASA missions and activities 10 to 40 years in the future. In evaluating NIAC’s performance, the committee will address the following questions: • To what extent were the NIAC-sponsored advanced concept studies innovative and technically competent? • How effective was NIAC in infusing advanced concepts into NASA’s strategic vision, future mission plans, and technology development programs? • How relevant were these studies to the aerospace sector at large? • How well did NIAC leverage potential partnerships or cost-sharing arrangements? • What potential approaches could NASA pursue in the future to generate advanced concepts either internally or from external sources of innovation? A committee of approximately 12 members will meet twice, with additional discussion and writing via telecon or electronic communications. A prepublication version of the report will be delivered to the sponsor within 10 months after the NRC receives funding and authority to proceed, followed by a 6-month period for printing and dissemination activities. 45