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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions 2 NASA Interagency Collaboration The NASA Act of 1958, also known as the “Space Act,” was part of President Eisenhower’s and the U.S. Congress’s response to the technology and national security threats that were perceived following the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in October 1957. The act created a new agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to conduct the nation’s civil space activities.1 Subsequent national space policies have reaffirmed NASA’s responsibility for the development of advanced civil space technologies.2 The Space Act also provided NASA with the authority to enter into agreements with other U.S. government agencies, commercial entities, academic institutions, and other organizations. In particular, the Space Act authorizes and encourages NASA to enter into partnerships that help fulfill its mission. NASA has engaged in a wide variety of interagency collaborations to develop and operate space missions. These efforts have involved civil and military agencies, both domestic and international.3 Examples of NASA-USGS-NOAA-DOD, NASA-DOD, NASA-DOE, and NASA-NOAA collaborations are provided in this chapter as well as lessons learned from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, an 11-agency collaboration to coordinate global change research. (An example of NOAA-DOD collaboration, NPOESS, is provided in Chapter 1.) This chapter also briefly reviews lessons that may be derived from international collaborations. NASA-USGS-NOAA-DOD COLLABORATION NASA initiated what has now become the Landsat program as a research activity. Over the years, the program has assumed an operational character with a diverse set of users reliant on the continuing availability of Landsat imagery and derived data products. However, responsibility for funding, management, development, and operations of the Landsat series has changed hands numerous times, with shifting responsibilities among government agencies and private sector entities (Figure 2.1). Landsat also continued to be beset by enormous pressures from its 1 The Space Act of 1958 mandated that NASA direct and control all U.S. space activities except those “peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States” (the DOD was given responsibility for these activities). 2 NASA, National Space Policy Directives and Executive Charter NSPD-1, November 2, 1989, and White House National Science and Technology Council, National Space Policy Fact Sheet, September 19, 1996, are available at http://history.nasa.gov/printFriendly/spdocs.html. 3 NASA maintains a Web site that contains full text of its interagency agreements since 1972 at http://science.nasa.gov/about-us/sciencestrategy/interagency-agreements/partnerships-table/.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions FIGURE 2.1 Landsat timeline and management, 1965-2025. The responsibility for oversight of the Landsat program has shifted from NASA, to NOAA, to NOAA/private industry, to DOD/NASA (overlapping with NOAA/private industry), to NASA/NOAA, to NASA/NOAA/USGS, and to NASA/USGS. SOURCE: Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. user base which further complicated the establishment and implementation of interagency collaboration. Landsat is an example of how the needs of external stakeholders, when not explicitly acknowledged and accommodated at the outset of a collaboration, can result in impediments to interagency collaboration. A brief history below of the Landsat program highlights the challenges of maintaining the nation’s longest continuous space-based data record in the midst of uncertain interagency collaborations. The Landsat Program The Landsat series of satellites began with the launch of ERTS-1 (Earth Resources Technology Satellite, later renamed Landsat 1) in 1972 and continues to this day, providing the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based land remote sensing data. Data from Landsat are used widely in the United States and worldwide in support of a range of applications in areas including agriculture, forestry and range resources, land use and mapping, geology, hydrology, coastal resources, and environmental monitoring.4 Imagery that combines moderate spatial resolution with a multispectral capability is suited to diverse applications ranging from modeling of population dynamics of disease vectors in association with habitat features to support for emergency response and disaster relief and predictions. Landsat data also support a variety of national security applications. Despite its demonstrated utility, the Landsat program has been beset since its inception with shifting agency and public/private roles and responsibilities, which in turn have reflected uncertainty in the political, commercial, and scientific sectors about how to develop and manage a new technology and provide civilian Earth-remote-sensing data. 4 See, for example, National Research Council, “On Research Uses of LANDSAT: Letter Report,” National Academy Press, Washington, D.C, 1991, available at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12326. Also see National Research Council, Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001, available at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10257. NASA also maintains several Web sites devoted to Landsat; see, e.g., http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions Although it was initiated as a research activity, data from the Landsat system soon proved capable of serving a wide variety of government and private sector needs for spatial information about the land surface and coastal areas. NASA designed, built, and operated Landsats 1 through 3. The perceived potential economic value of Landsat imagery led to a plan to transfer control of Landsat operations and data distribution from NASA to the private sector. The first step in the transition gave operational control of the Landsat system to NOAA in 1981 because of NOAA’s extensive experience in operating remote sensing satellites for weather observations. Landsat 4 was launched in 1982, and Landsat 5 became operational in 1984. In late 1983, the Reagan administration took steps to speed the transfer of operation of Landsat 4 and 5 to private hands, because it did not want to continue public funding for the system.5 Proponents of commercialization expected that industry could soon build a sufficient data market to support a land remote sensing system. This view proved incorrect, and the Landsat program underwent additional management changes in the late-1980s during a failed transition to private industry. A decade of attempts to commercialize Landsat and changes in program management ensued, ending with the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992, which returned program management to the federal government under joint management of the Department of Defense (specifically the USAF) and NASA and created the legislative mandate for the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive, assigning this responsibility to the Department of the Interior. The act effectively ended the government’s experiment to privatize the Landsat program. Management of the Landsat program changed frequently from 1992 through 1998, with responsibility moving from NASA-USAF-USGS to NASA-NOAA-USGS to NASA-USGS. The USGS assumed operational responsibility for the Landsat program in 1999, but NASA continued flight operations for Landsat 7 until 2000, when the USGS implemented a new flight operations contract. In mid-2001, the USGS also assumed responsibility for Landsat 4 and 5 flight operations. This turmoil in agency management of Landsat was also reflected in, indeed caused by, the erratic budgetary support for Landsat in Congress. Problems with the Landsat program’s attempt to collaborate with DOD in the development of Landsat 7 illustrate many of the complications of multiagency partnerships. The end of the experiment begun in the mid-1980s to privatize Landsat has been attributed to the recognition of Landsat’s importance to global change research and, most importantly, to U.S. national security. In particular, during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm operations in the early 1990s, the DOD made heavy use of Landsat for mapping and operations.6 This experience led DOD to pursue a role in the Landsat program; indeed, for a brief period, DOD carried in its budget a significant portion of the funding for Landsat 7 development. However, the agency withdrew from the program at the end of 1993 (i.e., DOD did not request funding for Landsat in its fiscal year (FY) 1995 budget submission to Congress) following a dispute with NASA over funding issues. In presidential decision directive (PDD)/NSTC-3, dated May 5, 1994, President Clinton issued a new Landsat policy that reorganized agency responsibilities for operating Landsat 7. The policy followed the earlier recommendations of the National Science and Technology Council. In accordance with the PDD, on May 20, 1994, the management responsibility for the satellite development contract was transferred from DOD to NASA. Landsat-7 was successfully launched in April 1999. However, in May 2003, the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, ETM+, sensor experienced a partial, but permanent, failure of its scan line corrector (SLC), resulting in a loss of approximately 25 percent of each scene. Although NASA and USGS have developed methods for piecing together scenes from multiple dates to fill the gaps, the resulting product is insufficient for some applica- 5 The Land Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984 was intended to provide legislative authority for the transfer process. During deliberations over the Landsat Act, the administration issued a request for proposals for industry to operate Landsat and any follow-on satellite system. Public Law 98-365 was signed on July 17, 1984. After competitive bidding, NOAA transferred control of operations and marketing of data to the Earth Observation Satellite Company, now Space Imaging, in 1985. Space Imaging continued to operate Landsats 4 and 5 until mid-2001, when it returned responsibility to the U.S. government. Throughout these changes, the USGS retained primary responsibility for long-term preservation as the U.S. government archive of Landsat data. 6 United States Space Command, United States Space Command Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, January 1992. Declassified, pp. 39-46. Available at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB39/. See also Three decades of Landsat instruments, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 63(7):839-852, July 1997, available at http://www.asprs.org/publications/pers/97journal/july/1997_jul_839852.pdf; and C.E. Behrens, Landsat and the Data Continuity Mission, Report to Congress 7-5700, R40594, Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C., 2009.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions tions.7 In September of 2003 (3 months after the Landsat 7 ETM+ SLC failure), NASA canceled the request for proposals for the Landsat 7 follow-on mission, called the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), leaving the future continuity of Landsat data in question. In August 2004, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum that directed USGS and NASA to initiate a partnership with the NPOESS Integrated Program Office for the inclusion of an LDCM sensor on NPOESS.8 However, the NPOESS program continued to suffer from budget overruns and technical problems with several key sensors. On December 23, 2005, OSTP issued a second memo calling for NPOESS to proceed without Landsat and for NASA to build and launch a Landsat follow-on mission to be operated by USGS.9 As of March 2010, plans called for the launch of LDCM in December 2012. Landsat is emblematic of the problems that can arise in multiagency programs. In summary: The Land Remote Sensing Act of 1992 defines a need but does not assign responsibility or provide funding.10 Despite Landsat’s success both for the United States and globally, an acceptable and fully funded management arrangement has never been agreed to. The USGS has a basic need for Landsat capabilities; however, the expertise to implement the space component is at NASA. Various forms of collaboration have been tried over the years, but the agency with operational responsibility continues to lack resources and technical capability. The practice of satisfying one agency’s mandate using another agency’s budget has resulted in program volatility. NASA-DOD INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION Although NASA was created to lead the nation’s civil space efforts, NASA’s origins also fostered very strong ties to DOD, especially in the area of propulsion. Over the years, the two agencies have collaborated on several scientific missions that also had value to DOD. Most recently, this includes the Advanced Composition Explorer (described earlier in the Chapter 1 section entitled “Use of Resources Example: Space Weather Data from the Advanced Composition Explorer”) and the Communication/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS; described below) space weather missions. Through discussions with individuals involved in NASA-DOD interagency collaborations, the committee found that civil-military interagency relationships differ significantly from civil-civil interagency relationships. In particular: Conflicting aspirations are less significant than is often found in civil-civil collaborations, Cultural differences and differences in priorities and process are more dramatic in civil-military collaborations, and Budget pressures appear to sharpen the conflicts that can appear in civil-military collaborations. 7 K. Green, Landsat in context: The land remote sensing business model, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 72(10):1147-1153, 2006. 8 J. Marburger, Landsat Data Continuity Policy, Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, D.C., August 13, 2004. 9 J. Marburger, Landsat Data Continuity Strategy Adjustment, Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, December 23, 2005. 10 The full text of the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c102:H.R.6133.ENR. Reference to agency roles and responsibilities is made in Section 5631, entitled “Continued Federal Research and Development.”
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions CINDI and C/NOFS The Coupled Ion-Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI) on the C/NOFS satellite is an example of NASADOD coordination. CINDI is a NASA-sponsored mission of opportunity conducted by the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). The instruments comprised by CINDI are critical parts of C/NOFS undertaken by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space and Missile Command Test and Evaluation Directorate. CINDI consists of two instruments on board the satellite, the Ion Velocity Meter and the Neutral Wind Meter, which separately measure the ionized (electrically charged) and neutral particles that exist in the ionosphere. C/NOFS was successfully launched on April 16, 2008, and the CINDI instruments were turned on in early May 2008. Although CINDI is an example of a multiagency scientific success according to the principal investigator,11 there was a lack of communication between the agencies (NASA and DOD) after the initial startup agreement. As a result, UTD often had to negotiate requirements, reviews, and specifications with each agency independently, often resulting in the need for separate (often duplicative) design reviews and status reports for each agency. This example illustrates the need for all agencies and third parties to have a clear agreement on project management roles and responsibilities from the outset, supported by clean, well-defined management interfaces and single points of contact to resolve conflicts during implementation. In addition, conflicting mission objectives impacted the mission design, for example by requiring a higher orbit to meet USAF requirements at the expense of a science mission preference for a lower orbit. NASA-DOE INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION As detailed below, NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have collaborated to pursue research in high-energy astrophysics. Although NASA and DOE also have interests that align in areas related to climate research, advanced computational capabilities, and characterization of the near-Earth space environment, NASA-DOE collaborations in the Earth sciences typically have focused more on specific activities than on space and Earth science missions. For example, a July 9, 1992, NASA-DOE memorandum of understanding (MOU) for energy-related civil space activities covered joint nuclear propulsion activities as well as joint efforts on atmospheric and environmental phenomena, radiation effects on humans, and advanced computing research.12 Perhaps the most significant NASA-DOE collaboration in the space and Earth sciences was on the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST; renamed Fermi in February 2008) mission. In recent years, there have also been attempts, led by OSTP, to reach agreement on a new collaboration for the Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM), which has had a particularly contentious history. Agency officials and mission representatives who briefed the committee noted that, in pursuing these collaborations, NASA and DOE have had to overcome challenges that derived from significant differences in agency practices (cultures), especially with respect to: Management styles; Differing definitions of “peer review” and “independent review,” including different levels of competitiveness associated with each; and Approaches to developing instruments and hardware, which reflect DOE’s historical experience in developing ground-based accelerators and detectors versus NASA’s historical experience in developing space-qualified instruments and hardware. 11 As part of this study, the committee interviewed the principal investigator for CINDI, Roderick Heelis, who is also the director of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences at UTD. 12 “Memorandum of Understanding Between National Aeronautics and Space Administration and U.S. Department of Energy Regarding Energy-Related Civil Space Activities,” available at http://nasascience.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/interagency-agreements/partnershipstable/DOE-NASA-MOU-Energy-related-Civil-Space-Activities-920709.pdf.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope Mission (Renamed Fermi) In the 1990s, a group led out of Stanford University and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)13 developed a concept for a space instrument to follow up on the discoveries made by NASA’s Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope instrument on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. GLAST was selected by NASA as a mission concept study in 1994, endorsed by NASA’s Gamma-Ray Astronomy Program Working Group as the highest priority in gamma-ray astronomy in 1996, and chosen in 1997 by NASA’s Structure and Evolution of the Universe Subcommittee as the top priority (with Constellation-X). Plans for the GLAST mission collaboration were presented to the DOE-NSF High Energy Physics Advisory Panel14 (HEPAP) in January 1997. In January 1998, NASA issued an open call for proposals for instrument technology development for a potential GLAST mission; DOE funded its own internal team. At about the same time, in February 1998, a proposal to begin to fund Stanford’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) instrument development was submitted to DOE and was reviewed by the DOE-NSF Scientific Assessment Group for Experiments in Non-Accelerator Physics15 (SAGENAP) in April 1998. In June 1998, NASA competitively selected two proposals for funding for GLAST instrument technology development, one of which effectively covered the U.S. part of DOE/Stanford/SLAC’s proposal. To obtain advice on the mission, NASA and DOE formed the GLAST Council, which had its first meeting in January 1999. In March 1999, NASA issued an announcement of opportunity (AO) for flight investigations for the GLAST mission. Although the call for proposals was open and invited submissions from any qualified party, the significant funding16 for and sponsorship by DOE of the Stanford/SLAC team’s proposal were, the committee was told, viewed by some in the community as making it unlikely that an unsponsored collaboration could compete effectively for the opportunity. In February 2000, NASA selected the Stanford/SLAC proposal for the GLAST flight investigation, as well as the LAT instrument, reinforcing that view. NASA and DOE negotiations on an implementation agreement for GLAST that would establish the two agencies’ roles and responsibilities became a highly contentious process, and the agreement went through approximately 25 draft versions. The final agreement established a collaboration under the 1992 MOU on energy-related civil space activities and assigned NASA overall responsibility for the mission.17 NASA was not, however, an exclusive stakeholder with authority to unilaterally set the mission requirements. A separate NASA-DOE MOU established the Joint Oversight Group (JOG), co-chaired by NASA’s Structure and Evolution of the Universe director and DOE’s director of High-Energy Physics, to set jointly accepted requirements for GLAST, oversee LAT management and execution, and coordinate DOE and NASA procedures for the LAT project. The JOG made decisions that otherwise would have been specified in a signed implementation agreement. The interdependency between NASA and DOE for GLAST mission implementation makes the collaboration on GLAST/Fermi an example of what the committee terms “cooperation” between agencies. Cultural differences between the NASA and DOE communities complicated many aspects of the collaboration. Further, when the LAT team ran into financial trouble,18 there was no clear prior agreement to implement as to whether DOE or NASA 13 On October 15, 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy renamed the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, calling it the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. 14 HEPAP provides advice to DOE and NSF in the area of high-energy physics. Its members are appointed on a rotating basis by the two agencies. 15 SAGENAP is commissioned by NSF and DOE to provide advice on high-energy physics proposals submitted to the two agencies. 16 The proposal was endorsed by the SLAC director, who committed $35 million in DOE funds for the fabrication of LAT. 17 NASA assigned GLAST mission management and mission systems engineering to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). GSFC also managed and built the anticoincidence detector. The Mission Operations Center and the GLAST Science Support Center are located at GSFC. SLAC hosts the Instrument Science Operations Center, where the LAT raw data is processed and prepared for scientific data analysis. The data is sent to the GLAST Science Support Center at GSFC, which then distributes it to the scientific community. 18 The LAT team originally had foreign team members and associated funding from agencies in France, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, each of which endorsed the proposal and was assigned specific mission roles. Early in development, before formal agreements with NASA were concluded, one of the foreign agencies (CNES in France) pulled out, creating a significant financial shortfall that threatened development of the instrument. However, the remainder of the international LAT collaboration remained intact and the Stanford principal investigator and Stanford/SLAC management worked to adjust the instrument fabrication responsibilities to cover the shortfall caused by CNES’s action. DOE and NASA shared the associated financial shortfall in the LAT instrument funding. [Editor’s note—Following release of the prepublication version of this report, this footnote was expanded to clarify the nature of the financial shortfall and how the parties worked to resolve it.]
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions would pay for the cost overrun. Each party expected the other to pay. Despite the many interagency tensions, however, NASA and DOE worked to make GLAST/Fermi a major scientific success.19 The Joint Dark Energy Mission Like GLAST/Fermi before it, JDEM has been constructed to be an interdependent interagency cooperation, with neither NASA nor DOE in full control of the mission, its requirements, or its implementation. The discovery of the accelerated expansion of the universe in 1998 relied on Type 1a supernovae as “standard candles” by which distances could be derived. In 1999 a group centered at the DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) proposed a space mission called the SuperNova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) to collect more measurements using supernovae. In response to the 2003 NRC report Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century, NASA formed the Beyond Einstein program, which included concepts for two flagship missions and three lower-cost probe-class missions. One of the probe-class missions was the Dark Energy Probe. In 2004, NASA and DOE formed a JDEM science definition team (SDT) to lay out the requirements for a dark energy mission sponsored by DOE and NASA. All of the SDT members had significant interest in the dark energy problem, but there was considerable disagreement as to the best measurement approach. Although supernovae were used to discover the accelerated expansion of the universe attributed to dark energy, new techniques for characterizing the dark energy were becoming prominent. At the same time, the approach using supernovae was encountering systematic measurement errors. The SDT initiated calculations to elucidate the merits of the different approaches. In 2005, NASA issued an open competitive call for mission concept study proposals. Of the many teams that submitted proposals, three were given grants for further investigations of specific mission concepts. The SNAP team proposed adding a method called weak gravitational lensing to its mission concept. Another team with a concept called DESTINY had previously received a NASA study grant, and the new grant provided an opportunity to continue the team’s work. DESTINY used the same two techniques (supernovae and weak gravitational lensing) as SNAP but aimed at a lower-cost mission. Also selected was a newly formed team with a mission concept called ADEPT (Advanced Dark Energy Physics Telescope). ADEPT put primary emphasis on a newly developed technique involving baryon acoustic oscillations. In February 2005 the NSF-NASA-DOE National Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee and the NSF-DOE High Energy Physics Advisory Panel established the Dark Energy Task Force as a joint subcommittee to advise NSF, NASA, and DOE on the future of dark energy research from the ground and from space. That subcommittee recommended funding of SNAP. However, all related missions were delayed in the president’s FY 2005 budget request. In May 2006, ongoing congressional support for a dark energy mission was expressed in H.R. 5427.20 In the end, this bill never became law, but it helped to advance the steps that were eventually taken to resolve significant interagency controversies that were playing out in the legislative and executive branches of government. In August 2006 the OSTP director, together with the NASA administrator and the DOE science undersecretary, requested that the NRC Space Studies Board and Board on Physics and Astronomy convene a panel to recommend which of the Beyond Einstein missions should fly first. Additional prioritizations would await the subsequent 2010 NRC decadal survey, which would prioritize the remaining Beyond Einstein missions, along with the entire Astrophysics Division mission suite. 19 For example, Science magazine named GLAST the runner-up for the 2009 “Breakthrough of the Year” for its role in opening up gamma-ray astronomy. 20 Both the House and the Senate appropriations committees voiced strong support for JDEM but recognized that the multiagency aspect of the mission was insurmountably flawed. In H.R. 5427 DOE was directed to continue investigating the launching of the SNAP mission on its own, and the Senate (in S. Rpt. 110-127) provided “$7 million above the combined requests for JDEM, SNAP, and other dark energy programs” to encourage the research program competition and to ramp up activities toward a launch in 2014. The JDEM mission had become an item of contention between agencies and their respective congressional committees. Funding reductions for NASA in the FY 2007 presidential budget placed LISA and Con-X, the flagship missions of the Beyond Einstein program, on a low level of technology development with a funding wedge opening for only one new Beyond Einstein start in 2009. See H.R. 5427/H. Rpt. 109-474.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions The NRC Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee (BEPAC) met in November 2006 to consider 11 mission candidates in five mission areas. The BEPAC final report was issued in 2007.21 Although BEPAC favored the science of the LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) mission,22 in the end it recommended JDEM as the first start, based on science and technological readiness. BEPAC had also indicated (in Table 3.32 of its report) that the cost of SNAP and other missions had been significantly underestimated and their technological readiness overestimated. Because Congress had repeatedly emphasized the need for a full and open competition,23 it had been anticipated that the three teams with approved mission concept study grants from NASA (DESTINY, ADEPT, and SNAP) would compete in response to an AO for JDEM. However, in September 2008 DOE and NASA announced that they would establish a JDEM science coordination group to set mission requirements so that NASA and DOE could build the mission with no hardware solicited from outside the government and, thus, without the standard competitive NASA AO process. In October 2009, DOE and NASA announced an intention to form a JDEM interim science working group (ISWG) to provide the JDEM project offices at NASA and DOE with scientific assistance during pre-Phase A (mission formulation) activities. As is the case for members of the JDEM SDT, JDEM Figure of Merit Science Working Group, and JDEM Science Coordination Group, NASA generally provides no financial support for ISWG members, ensuring that funds appropriated for JDEM stay within the agencies, while the critical but uncompensated expertise is provided by the university community. Two mission concepts—JDEM/Omega and an international version called IDECS—were submitted as mission candidates for consideration in the astronomy and astrophysics (Astro2010) decadal survey. The NRC Astro2010 report24 recommended mission priorities for the upcoming decade, and its highest-priority large-scale space mission was a dark energy mission—the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which uses the JDEM/Omega hardware design approach but has a broader science focus. The survey report noted that the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) candidate mission called Euclid, which would have many of the same scientific goals as WFIRST, was in its definition phase and competing with two other European mission candidates for selection for a launch opportunity in 2017-2018. The survey report acknowledged that there had been NASA-ESA discussions about collaborating on a possible joint mission, and the report indicated that international collaboration would be attractive if “it leads to timely execution of a program that fully supports all of the key science goals of WFIRST… and leads to savings overall,” and also meets expectations “that the United States will play a leading role.”25 Although JDEM resembles GLAST/Fermi in the sense that it has been constructed as an interdependent interagency cooperation with neither agency in full control of the mission, its requirements, or its implementation, there are important differences. Unlike GLAST/Fermi, the JDEM mission was not founded as a bottom-up NASA-DOE scientific collaboration. Further, in contrast to its comparatively limited experience in the development of the high-energy detectors required for GLAST/Fermi, NASA has considerable experience (as do some university laboratories) relevant to the development of the JDEM spaceborne infrared detectors, some of that experience having been acquired in work on the detectors for the James Webb Space Telescope.26 21 National Research Council, NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2007. 22 LISA is a joint NASA-ESA mission to observe astrophysical and cosmological sources of gravitational waves of low frequencies. See http://lisa.nasa.gov/. 23 Following the release of the BEPAC report, U.S. Senate Report 110-124 stated, “Joint Dark Energy Mission—The National Academy of Sciences has recommended that NASA and the Department of Energy work together to develop a Joint Dark Energy Mission [JDEM]. The Committee provides the budget request of $2,300,000 for JDEM, and strongly supports development of the JDEM through full and open competition with project management residing at the appropriate NASA center.” The Senate Appropriations Committee text for the FY 2009 Appropriations Bill for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies stated, “The Committee also provides the full budget request of $8,500,000 for the Joint Dark Energy Mission [JDEM] and continues to support development of the JDEM through full and open competition with project management residing at the appropriate NASA center.” 24 National Research Council, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2010. 25 National Research Council, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2010, p. 208. 26 Editor’s note: Following release of the prepublication version of this report, this paragraph was revised somewhat to emphasize NASA’s capability for building a JDEM detector.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions The 2008 DOE-NASA decision to build JDEM without a competition open to non-government institutions raises an important issue that was not explored in depth in this study. Namely, what is the extent to which interagency missions might lead to more missions executed at NASA centers versus development of missions with significant university involvement? The JDEM experience would suggest that when agencies split project roles, university roles are diminished, with a concomitant loss of intellectual capital, innovation, and opportunity to benefit from the project as a training ground for future scientific and technical workforce. NASA-NOAA INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION27 NASA’s history of collaboration with NOAA dates to the start of the space age. For example, NASA developed the first TIROS polar-orbiting satellite in 1960 and the precursor to NOAA’s current Polar Operational Environmental Satellite system, and in 1974 it launched SMS-GOES (Synchronous Meteorological Satellites-Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite), the precursor to NOAA’s current GOES system (the latter collaboration is described more fully in a Chapter 1). Generally, NOAA has relied on NASA to fund and develop new sensors, several of which NOAA has subsequently adopted for its environmental satellites. A 1973 agreement between NASA and NOAA resulted in the Operational Satellite Improvement Program (OSIP) within NASA, which provided funding at the rate of some $15 million per year to support development of new sensors and other technologies to improve NOAA’s operational satellites. Partnerships under OSIP subsequently contributed to the development of sensors, including the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer. In the context of the present report, what is particularly noteworthy about the OSIP model is that each agency operated within roles consistent with their cultures and neither was reliant on the other for funding. Research to Operations NASA and NOAA are charged to fulfill distinct but complementary missions related to space-based observations relevant to Earth science. NASA is a mission-based agency whose program is strongly focused on research, development, and launching of space-based instruments; NOAA is an operational and regulatory agency that draws on the results of research and that serves external user communities and internal entities such as the National Weather Service. An important theme of NASA-NOAA collaboration is the transfer of research to operations. NASA and NOAA have collaborated in the development of operational spacecraft from the early years of the space program, perhaps best exemplified by NASA’s Nimbus series of satellites that began in 1964 with testing instruments for later transfer to NOAA.28 However, with respect to the development of operational spacecraft for weather-related observations, this model, while successful, proved short-lived. Although NASA remained the procurement agency for NOAA spacecraft, budget constraints resulted in the termination of its OSIP partnership with NOAA in 1981. The elimination of OSIP impacted NOAA’s ability to access the requisite engineering support and expertise to design, develop, and test new spacecraft and instrument technologies before incorporating them into the agency’s operational satellite systems. Indeed, termination of OSIP is cited in a 1997 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report29 as an important contributing factor in the technical problems, cost overruns, and schedule delays that beset NOAA as it developed GOES-Next, the second generation of operational geostationary satellites in the 1980s. The GAO report further suggests that many 27 Material in this section is adapted from U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, The Future of Remote Sensing from Space: Civilian Satellite Systems and Applications, OTA-ISC-558, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1993. 28 See, for example, G. Davis, History of the NOAA satellite program, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 1:012504, 2007, available at http://www.osd.noaa.gov/download/JRS012504-GD.pdf; and NASA, Nimbus Program History, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., 2004, available at http://atmospheres.gsfc.nasa.gov/uploads/files/Nimbus_History.pdf. 29 Government Accountability Office, Weather Satellites: Planning for the Geostationary Satellite Program Needs More Attention, GAO/AIMD-97-37, Washington, D.C., March 1997, available at http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/text/gao97.goes.pdf, p. 41.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions of the technical problems that plagued GOES-Next development could have been addressed and resolved more efficiently and less expensively within the context of a smaller, experimental precursor program, such as OSIP.30 Today, NOAA uses many NASA research data and model products in carrying out its operational responsibilities. NASA’s practice of providing many of those products online and in near real time further enhances their operational value to NOAA and other operational agencies. Yet the issue of the technology transfer from research to operations is still a thorny one that bears heavily on interagency collaboration. For example, when a NASA-funded research satellite that has provided valuable data for operational applications reaches its end of life, NASA has no research requirement (and consequently no funding) to continue collecting the same type of data, even though a need for this valuable data still exists (as seen, for example, in the fire detection data products produced by MODIS, the harmful algal bloom detection by MODIS and SeaWiFS, and the precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, TRMM). The same is true when NASA develops a new data set that can improve a current operational product (e.g., QuikSCAT ocean vector winds to improve severe storm/hurricane forecasts or AIRS atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles to significantly improve weather forecasts). Problems in executing the transition to operations, in extending the lifetime of Earth-observing missions,31 and in sustaining measurements over long time periods in support of climate research (see Appendix B) are all examples of a misalignment between NASA and NOAA roles and responsibilities and their budgets. This issue was discussed at length in a 2003 NRC report on the transition of research to operations;32 it also is informed by the analysis and key recommendation that were offered in the 2007 decadal survey, Earth Science and Applications from Space.33 In that report, it is stated that: The [survey] committee is concerned that the nation’s institutions involved in civil Earth science and applications from space (including NASA, NOAA, and USGS) are not adequately prepared to meet society’s rapidly evolving Earth information needs. Those institutions have responsibilities that are in many cases mismatched with their authorities and resources: institutional mandates are inconsistent with agency charters, budgets are not well matched to emerging needs, and shared responsibilities are supported inconsistently by mechanisms for cooperation. These are issues whose solutions will require action at high levels of the federal government. Thus, the committee makes the following recommendation: Recommendation: The Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the relevant agencies and in consultation with the scientific community, should develop and implement a plan for achieving and sustaining global Earth observations. This plan should recognize the complexity of differing agency roles, responsibilities, and capabilities as well as the lessons from implementation of the Landsat, EOS [Earth Observing System], and NPOESS programs. The present committee finds it particularly noteworthy that several NASA-NOAA collaborations have succeeded when they focused on specific goals with very clear roles for each agency (e.g., GOES and Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2). These agreements generally grow from the bottom upward; they are not top-down mandates and thus inherently have buy-in at the working level. In general, however, lack of effective collaboration between these agencies and lack of resources (time, personnel, funding, infrastructure, expertise, 30 However, the GAO report also noted that even without OSIP, NASA had several avenues within its existing programmatic structure for undertaking research and demonstration projects related to advanced weather satellites. 31 See National Research Council, Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2005, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11485. It is noteworthy that some of the recommendations in that report have been adopted by NASA. In particular, during the latest NASA Senior Review for Continuation of Earth Science Missions, one of the criteria was how science data were used by operational agencies—evidence that despite differences in culture and interest, NASA is well aware of the immediate societal benefits of its research data products. 32 National Research Council, Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment: Accelerating the Transitions of Research to Operations, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10658. 33 National Research Council, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2007, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11820, p. 66.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions and so on) to incorporate the new data sets into their operations affect the agencies’ capability to execute efficient transition to operations. Finally, the committee notes that problems in executing the transition to operations are not confined to Earth science missions. The importance of ensuring critical measurements of the solar wind upstream from Earth is noted in Chapter 1 (see the section entitled “Use of Resources Example: Space Weather Data from the Advanced Composition Explorer”). A similar problem in the development of operational capabilities for space weather prediction is evident in the failure to develop an operational coronagraph, which is required to provide advanced warning of the effects of a coronal mass ejection (a powerful eruption of the Sun’s atmosphere). MULTIAGENCY COLLABORATION The history of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is instructive for interagency collaboration because it shows how a partnership between OSTP and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) can facilitate interagency collaboration. The lessons learned—both opportunities and challenges—from this facilitation can be usefully applied to interagency collaboration on space missions, and therefore the committee has included a short summary of USGCRP here. Begun as a presidential initiative in 1989 to integrate the research programs from 11 agencies through the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Education, and Technology, USGCRP supports research on the interactions of natural and human-induced changes in the global environment and their implications for society. Congress codified the program in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606),34 which mandates development of a coordinated interagency research program. The success of USGCRP in its early years is attributed to the creative use of a budget cross-cut process and the active leadership of and effective participation by OSTP and OMB. The budget cross-cut was described in a 1993 report from the congressional Office of Technology Assessment as follows:35 Internal budget negotiations culminate with the presentation of a single budget for global change research that spells out individual agency responsibilities in detail. By evaluating agency proposals as part of an integrated program, CEES [the OSTP Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences] and OMB attempt to avoid duplication of effort and make optimal use of agency expertise. An agreement that had been in effect between OMB and agencies during the first 3 years of the USGCRP required agencies to fence off monies for global change research in return for an OMB commitment to an overall funding envelope over 5 years. In effect, agency heads agreed to their global change research budgets once the process of negotiation with OMB and CEES was complete. Thus, an agency could not reprogram global change funds if it later suffered an unexpected cut in its overall budget. The prohibition on reprogramming global change funds ended in FY 1993 with detrimental effects on the program, according to participants interviewed by this committee. In particular, one lesson learned from the implementation of the USGCRP is that the senior interagency project leadership budget must be sufficient to influence the direction of the various agency contributions. In a letter to the committee, Jack Fellows, chief of the Science and Space Program Branch of OMB from 1984 to 1997, suggested that senior leadership should control a central pool of funds totaling roughly 10 to 15 percent of the overall interagency budget to effectively influence the direction of individual agency investments. Other factors cited by Fellows for successful interagency projects include ensuring that OMB and its budget examiners are assigned responsibility for, and are active partners in, the effort; having clear objectives and small and achievable priorities; managing in a way that is perceived as transparent and fair; and, of critical importance, providing incentives to the agencies for their participation. 34 See http://www.gcrio.org/gcact1990.html. The Climate Change Science Program, which was established in 2002, incorporated the USGRCP with the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative of President George W. Bush. See Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2009, a Report by the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, a Supplement to the President’s Fiscal Year 2009 Budget, available at http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/ ocp2009. 35 U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Global Change Research and NASA’s Earth Observing System, OTA-BP-ISC-122, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., November 1993. A scanned version of this report is available at http://www.fas.org/ota/reports/9324.pdf.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS: NASA’S APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION AS A “BEST PRACTICE” The historical record from international collaborations in Earth and space science missions also offers insight into the challenges of multiagency U.S. missions. International collaboration on instrument development, satellite operations, data exchange, and data analysis can spread the cost burden internationally, mitigate risks of gaps in the delivery of data sets or the generation of particular data products, encourage technical innovation by broadening the engineering expertise base, and increase the number of science users. NASA and its international partners have enjoyed such benefits through numerous programs. There are many parallels between working with foreign partners and working with partners from other U.S. agencies. Given the success of international collaboration in the space arena since the earliest days of the space program, it is instructive to look at international activity as a “best practice.” The potential advantages of international collaborations are numerous, but realizing these advantages can be complicated by a number of factors. Instruments built by one partner may not be designed to the exact requirements of another partner, and technology-transfer restrictions may prevent the exchange of technical details about the instruments which are needed to facilitate mission development. Restrictions on access to data and software vary from country to country, as do approaches to calibration and validation. Issues with data cost, availability, and distribution can ensue when one or more collaborating space agencies has commercial partners. Over the years, the vast majority of U.S. space programs in space and Earth science have been undertaken with other countries. This is not because international collaboration is an end in itself, although it can support U.S. foreign policy objectives, but rather because of the potential benefits that result from having partners, which include economic leverage on U.S. investments, enhanced scientific productivity, and access to foreign technology.36 Each negotiated agreement between participants is different depending on the specifics of the project, what each brings to the table, and what each needs to gain from the cooperation. A lopsided agreement bringing great benefit to one side and taking advantage of another is not only hard to negotiate, but also hard to implement and inadvisable if future cooperation is desired. Thus, as a bottom line, mutual benefit has been viewed as a mandatory requirement—all participants must feel that their benefits outweigh their costs and risks. Many advantages can flow from international collaboration. Collaboration may permit a program to be more affordable to a participating nation, even though the overall program may turn out to be more expensive than if conducted by one nation alone. In addition, engaging with partners often creates a critical mass that enables a program by leveraging each government’s investment off that of others. Collaborating also expands the scope of a program beyond individual participants’ capabilities by tapping into an extended base of scientific and technical expertise and industrial capability. Additional benefits to international collaboration include the elimination of gaps and overlaps via coordination of individual efforts (e.g., the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, GEOSS37) and also the enhancement of operational robustness and redundancy (e.g., launchers, launch facilities, and ground networks). International collaboration has been known to generate political support for an initiative and to provide greater stability, and it is especially effective in insulating programs from drastic budgetary and political changes (as seen, for example, in development of the International Space Station). International collaboration has also been used to reap foreign policy benefits.38 International collaboration brings complications to programs as well. Communications problems can arise, ranging from the obvious—such as budget cycle and time zone differences—to the more subtle, such as cultural differences in management styles, decision-making approaches, and design practices and documentation. Collaboration is further complicated because each nation will have established unique management structures between its 36 See National Research Council, Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2009, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12694. 37 For a detailed up-to-date discussion of accomplishments from GEOSS, see I. McCallum, S. Fritz, N. Khabarov, S. Fuss, J. Szolgayova, F. Rydzak, P. Havlik, F. Kraxner, M. Obersteiner, K. Aoki, C. Schill, et al., Identifying and quantifying the benefits of GEOSS, posted on July 12, 2010, to Earthzine, available at http://www.earthzine.org/2010/07/12/identifying-and-quantifying-the-benefits-of-geoss/. 38 Indeed, the title of an opinion piece published on June 26, 1993, in the New York Times by Michael Nacht, a scholar at the University of Maryland, and Roald Sagdeev, an émigré from the former Soviet Union and former science adviser to then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, was titled, “Space Policy Is Foreign Policy.”
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions space agencies and industrial contractors. Technical and programmatic risks are greater as more interdependencies are created, and failures and delays on one partner’s part can greatly impact other partners’ costs and schedules. Furthermore, international programs can be held hostage to domestic politics, especially during administration or regime changes. Beginning with the first collaborative efforts with the United Kingdom in 1962, U.S. international civil space collaboration has followed a few stable principles:39 Designation by each participating government of a central agency for the negotiation and supervision of joint efforts, Each country’s acceptance of financial responsibility for its own contributions to joint projects, Agreements on specific projects rather than generalized programs, Projects of mutual scientific interest, and General publication of scientific results. The second item above, which requires that there be no exchange of funds, is an especially important constraint in that it decouples U.S. and foreign budgetary processes and focuses on the delivery of hardware, services, or other capabilities needed by the mission. Similarly, technical and managerial expertise is not exchanged. Foreign contributions, insofar as possible, take the form of discrete hardware packages that lend themselves to clean interfaces, thus facilitating management and minimizing technology transfer. These rules were originally followed quite strictly by NASA, and over the years they have lent stability to the cooperative projects themselves and generated general enthusiasm for international collaboration in the agency. The rules are less rigidly adhered to today but still form the basis for assessing international activities.40 Recent and notable examples of joint ventures in Earth sciences include EOS, a series of space-based precision altimetry missions (TOPEX/Poseidon, 1992; Jason-1, 2001; and Jason-2, 2008), RADARSAT-1, and TRMM.41 Moreover, it is now relatively common for space agencies to offer announcements of opportunity to the international science community as the agencies attempt to maximize the payoff of each flight project. Lessons learned from international collaborative projects are applicable to national interagency collaborative efforts, particularly with regard to the degree of upfront planning involved to define clear roles, responsibilities, and interfaces consistent with each entity’s strategic plans and with a sense of mutual benefit being a prerequisite. Proposals for interagency collaboration within the United States should receive similar serious attention as part of each agency’s strategic decision-making process prior to proceeding with technical commitments and procurements. THE IMPACT OF COLLABORATION ON MISSION COST, COMPLEXITY, AND SCHEDULE A significant data set exists for the examination of relationships between space system cost and schedule and the implications of various collaboration approaches. To examine the relationship among multiagency and foreign collaborations, cost and schedule data were assembled for numerous (>100) missions launched over the past two decades (1989 to 2009) using a database developed by the Aerospace Corporation of technical specifications, costs, development time, and cost/schedule growth during development.42 These data include NASA planetary, near-Earth, and Earth-orbiting spacecraft, as well as other U.S. government satellite systems. 39 Division of International Affairs, NASA, 26 Years of NASA International Programs, NASA, Washington, D.C., January 1, 1984, p. 2. 40 The agreement covering the Russian participation in the International Space Station is an exception to the no-exchange-of-funds rule that has created its own problems as a result. 41 See http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov/ for information about EOS; references to the other missions mentioned above can be found via links at the NASA Web site, http://www.nasa.gov/missions/index.html. 42 Although much of the information in the database is based on publicly available information, cost and other sensitive data are made available by industry to Aerospace, a federally funded research and development center, with the understanding that they are to be considered proprietary. In its publications and in the present report, the Aerospace data are used only to derive information depicted in a generalized manner. See D. Bearden, Small-satellite costs, in Crosslink: The Aerospace Magazine of Advances in Aerospace Technology, Volume 2, Number 1 (Winter 2000/2001), available at http://www.aero.org/publications/crosslink/winter2001/04.html.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions In addition to single U.S. agency missions, two classes of collaborations were considered: (1) collaborations between multiple U.S. agencies and (2) collaborations with foreign participants. U.S. multiagency partnerships include cases where multiple agencies sponsored development of the system and systems with multiple-agency operators. Only cases with significant payloads that drove system design or operational requirements were included. Cases where multiple agencies were users of the system but did not interact significantly during development or jointly levy design or operational requirements were not categorized as U.S. multiagency. Collaborations with foreign participants included missions whose participants contributed specific systems such as one or more payload instruments, a spacecraft bus, or one or more significant subsystems (e.g., solar panels, propulsion, avionics). Cases where a foreign participant contributed only a ground station for downlink of data, spacecraft components (e.g., star tracker, momentum wheel, etc.), or launch vehicle/services were not included as foreign collaborations. Figures 2.2 and 2.3 show the average cost growth and schedule growth for U.S. multiagency, foreign, and single-agency developed space systems. Cost and schedule growth is most pronounced for foreign collaborations; however, U.S. multiagency developments experienced significantly larger cost and schedule growth compared with those developed by a single agency (i.e., “No Collaboration”). Note that while cost and schedule growth is larger for multiagency developments, the system may still be considered more affordable due to cost sharing among the partners. Similarly, although international collaborations may experience the highest-percentage cost growth, cost sharing may still make the system more affordable to the United States. To understand how technical complexity relates to budget and schedule, a complexity index may be derived based on performance, mass, power, and technology choices to arrive at a broad representation of the system for the purposes of comparison (Figure 2.4).43 The complexity index uses a matrix of technical factors (on the order of 30 to 40) to place, in rank order, the complexity of a particular spacecraft relative to all the other spacecraft in the data set. Complexity drivers are demonstrable objective technical parameters (e.g., number of instruments, mass, power, performance, subsystem characteristics, pointing accuracy, downlink data rate, technology choices, etc.). The strength of using a number of parameters is that peculiarities associated with any given implementation are averaged out. These descriptive parameters are normalized based on the applicable range as designated by the programs in the database; i.e., they are given as percentile values for the data set.44,45 The total flight system development cost (payload instruments and spacecraft bus, excluding launch and operations) is the independent variable against which the complexity is compared. Missions were grouped according to level of foreign participation and U.S. multiagency involvement. Figure 2.4 shows complexity versus cost for the data set, with collaboration approach noted. Several of the case studies shown in Appendix C and discussed in this report are represented in Figure 2.4. A positive correlation between complexity and cost based on actual program experience is apparent. Foreign collaborations and multiagency missions are generally more complex and costly. This trend is underscored in Figure 2.5, which shows the average complexity for U.S. multiagency, foreign, and single-agency developed space systems. A recent NRC study on controlling the costs of Earth and space science missions46 indicated that the most commonly identified factors that contribute to mission cost and schedule growth are (1) overly optimistic and unrealistic initial cost estimates, (2) project instability and funding issues, (3) problems with development of instruments and other spacecraft technology, and (4) launch service issues. Collaborative missions can be vulnerable to all four factors, and especially factors 1 and 2. Mission complexity also can be particularly important for factors 1 and 3. 43 D.A. Bearden, A complexity-based risk assessment of low-cost planetary missions: When is a mission too fast and too cheap?, presented to the Fourth IAA International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, JHU/APL, Laurel, Md., May 2-5, 2000. 44 D.A. Bearden, Perspectives on NASA robotic mission success with a cost and schedule-constrained environment, presented at the Aerospace Risk Symposium, Manhattan Beach, Calif., August 2005. 45 Only robotic spacecraft missions that meet certain criteria and constraints were considered (i.e., shuttle science experiments and university-developed spacecraft were not considered). Large (e.g., Flagship/Great Observatory-class), medium (e.g., New Frontiers-class) and small missions (e.g., Discovery-class or smaller) were included. Landed systems (e.g., Mars landers) are included with the caveat that when a larger data set becomes available, the technical drivers used to assess these missions may differ from those used for orbiting systems. Missions yet to complete a portion of their development are included; however, it is noted that final cost is yet to be determined. 46 National Research Council, Controlling Cost Growth of NASA Earth and Space Science Missions, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2010, available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12946.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions FIGURE 2.2 Cost growth during development (phases B through D) for U.S. multiagency developments and foreign collaborations compared with U.S. single-agency developments (no collaboration). FIGURE 2.3 Schedule growth (delay) during development (phases B through D) for U.S. multiagency developments and foreign collaborations compared with U.S. single-agency developments (no collaboration). In summary, engaging in collaboration carries significant cost and schedule risks that need to be actively mitigated. Agencies are especially likely to seek collaborators for complex missions so that expected costs can be shared. However, as the committee observed from historical experience and interviews, inefficiencies arise when collaborating agencies’ goals, authorities, and responsibilities are not aligned. Thus, collaborations require higher levels of coordination, additional management layers, and greater attention to mechanisms for conflict resolution—as is discussed in Chapter 3.
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Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions FIGURE 2.4 Complexity of U.S. multiagency developments, foreign collaborations, and U.S. single-agency developments (no collaboration) versus development cost (phases B through D). FIGURE 2.5 Complexity of U.S. multiagency developments and foreign collaborations compared with U.S. single-agency developments (no collaboration).