and often lack the modern layouts and utilities that improve operational efficiency. The lack of timely maintenance can lead to safety issues, particularly with large, high-powered equipment. A notable exception is the new science building commissioned at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2009.


Recommendation 2A. NASA should find a solution to its deferred maintenance issues before catastrophic failures occur that will seriously impact missions and research operations.


Recommendation 2B. To optimize limited maintenance resources, NASA should implement predictive-equipment-failure processes, often known as health monitoring, currently used by many organizations.


Finding 3. Over the past 5 years or more, the funding of fundamental research at NASA, including the funding of facilities and equipment, has declined dramatically, such that unless corrective action is taken soon, the fundamental research community at NASA will be unable to support the agency’s long-term goals. For example, if funding continues to decline, NASA may not be able to claim aeronautics technology leadership from an international and in some areas even a national perspective.


Recommendation 3A. To restore the health of the fundamental research laboratories, including their equipment, facilities, and support services, NASA should restore a better funding and leadership balance between long-term fundamental research/technology development and short-term mission-focused applications.


Recommendation 3B. NASA must increase resources to its aeronautics laboratories and facilities to attract and retain the best and brightest researchers and to remain at least on a par with international aeronautical research organizations in Europe and Asia.


Finding 4. Based on the experience and expertise of its members, the committee believes that the equipment and facilities at NASA’s basic research laboratories are inferior to those at comparable DOE laboratories, top-tier U.S. universities, and corporate research laboratories and are about the same as those at basic research laboratories of DOD.


Recommendation 4. NASA should improve the quality and equipping of its basic research facilities, to make them at least as good as those at top-tier universities, corporate laboratories, and other better-equipped government laboratories in order to maintain U.S. leadership in the space, Earth, and aeronautic sciences and to attract the scientists and engineers needed for the future.



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