•   TA05. Communication and Navigation

•   TA06. Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems

•   TA07. Human Exploration Destination Systems

•   TA08. Science Instruments, Observatories, and Sensor Systems

•   TA09. Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems

•   TA10. Nanotechnology

•   TA11. Modeling, Simulation, and Information Technology and Processing

•   TA12. Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing

•   TA13. Ground and Launch Systems Processing

•   TA14. Thermal Management Systems

For each TA, OCT established a cross-agency team to draft each of the 14 technology roadmaps. They were released to the public in November 2010 (see http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html). The draft technology roadmaps identified a wide variety of opportunities to revitalize NASA’s advanced space technology development program. The draft roadmaps represented the starting point and point of departure for the steering committee to evaluate and prioritize technologies and recommend areas for improvement. Also, there were a number of common themes across the roadmaps where recommendations are made that if dealt with collectively would lead to improvements as a whole.

The roadmaps are organized through a technology area breakdown structure (see Appendix B), which in turn served as the structure for evaluating the technologies for this study. Level 1 represents the technology area (TA), which is the title of the roadmap. Each roadmap describes level 2 subareas and level 3 technologies.2 The draft set of 14 roadmaps produced by NASA contained 320 level 3 technologies. The panels assessed the technology area breakdown structure of the 14 roadmaps and developed a revised structure containing 295 level 3 technologies.3 (The full revised technology area breakdown structure is shown in Appendix B.) Of those 295 technologies, 83 were considered high priority by the panels and are summarized in Chapter 2. The steering committee then evaluated only those 83 technologies in its prioritization. In its first round of prioritization, the steering committee developed an interim list of 11-15 technologies per objective, for a total of 28 unique technologies. The final round of prioritization resulted in 7-8 technologies per objective, for a total of 16 unique technologies. These steps in the prioritization process are described in Chapter 3.

The purpose of the roadmaps is to establish a sustained collection of technology development goals for the next 5 to 30 years. In the process of defining level 3 technologies of interest, NASA mission directorates helped identify “pull” technologies that could contribute to specific future missions. The roadmaps also include emerging “push” technologies that may enable mission capabilities that lie outside the baseline requirements of planned missions and which may enable missions not yet envisioned.

This report is the second of two reports produced by this study. An interim report, released in August 2011, defines a modified set of level 3 technologies for many of the roadmaps. It also makes high-level observations associated with the roadmaps and identifies technology gaps that cut across multiple roadmaps. The interim report is available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13228.


Most of the technologies included in the roadmaps have multiple stakeholders where cooperative research and technology development is beneficial to all parties involved and combines resources where appropriate to achieve greater progress. Other agencies and departments in the government, such as the Department of Defense, as well as parallel efforts in industry and universities, have ongoing technology development efforts. NASA program managers


2 Many of the roadmaps also list and/or describe level 4 technology topics in text and/or figures. Per the statement of task, this report is focused at the level 3 technologies, of which there were more than 300. For the most part, space does not allow this report to address the even more numerous level 4 technology topics

3The evaluation process established by the steering committee was designed to focus on assessing the individual technologies and ranking them in priority order rather than on how the technologies were grouped into the 14 roadmaps.

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