Box 4.1 Components of NASA Ground-based Research

Research and Analysis

The traditional R&A NASA budget line items differ across NASA program offices. For example, in the Office of Space Science (OSS), R&A supports designs for future missions, sensor and instrument development, and ground-based observations and experiments, among other activities. In life sciences, the R&A program supports applied and basic research in biomedicine, biology, environmental science, and related technologies, including ground-based research, as well as support facilities and technologies, among other items. In microgravity science, R&A includes ground-based experiments; experiments selected for flight; and research in biotechnology, combustion science, fluid physics, materials science, and low-temperature physics. The Earth science applied R&DA program supports the Office of Earth Science (OES) science and operations, data retrieval and storage, science for Earth Observing System (EOS) programs, airborne science, and applications, among other activities. 1

Other Science Support

Other science support includes mission studies and technology development, a new category of the OSS budget; EOS science; and mission science teams and guest investigator programs in the OES budget.

Suborbital Programs

The category "suborbital programs" includes funding for sounding rockets, high-altitude balloon flights, and the operation of NASA's fleet of space-and Earth-science research aircraft.


MO&DA includes funding for the operations of data-collecting hardware, analysis of data, satellite operations during core missions, and continuation of data analysis after the core mission. Preflight preparations and preliminary data analysis are also supported under this category. It does not include HST operations and servicing funds, which were grouped by the task group as major flight project funding because of the large element of instrument development funding included in this line item. (See Appendix A, Table A.2.)

Supporting Infrastructure2

Included in the category "supporting infrastructure" is funding for a variety of activities that support NASA science programs but are not directly focused on the performance of space research (e.g., engineering, operations, facilities support).

Academic Programs

Academic programs include NASA training grants (all academic levels) and minority research and education programs.


NASA FY 1995 budget submission to Congress.


The supporting infrastructure line in Table 4.1 is not part of the NASA formal budget structure, but this grouping has been used to collect various items in the NASA budget that are essential support items for the research program but differ somewhat from the R&DA activities that are the central focus of this study. For a more detailed look at the content of the infrastructure category and the general framework of historical budget statistics prepared for this study, see Appendix A, which summarizes NASA congressional budget submissions over the entire period from FY 1981 through FY 1998.

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