5

Summary of Recommendations

Based on the assessment of the NFS by the Committee on Space Facilities, several recommendations for improvement and continued study have been made. In virtually every case, the committee's recommendations are driven by the clear need to be more realistic both in recognizing current incentives and disincentives in the aerospace industry and in forecasting future conditions for U.S. space activities. In today 's budget-conscious environment, it is natural that the NFS focused on cost reduction and consolidations. Yet, such a study is only useful to future planning if it gives equal weight to guiding the direction of future facilities needed to satisfy legitimate national aspirations. Even in the context of cost reduction through facilities closures and consolidations, the study is timid in recognizing and proposing program changes and realignments of roles and missions to capture what could be significant savings and increased effectiveness. With this context in mind, the committee makes the following 11 recommendations:

Recommendation 1. Because 30 years without any new launch vehicle is not realistic, the baseline requirements model should be revised to include a major new launch vehicle or family of vehicles. For each vehicle, requirements for assembly facilities, payload integration facilities, launch pad, and mission operations facilities should be assessed to maximize operational effectiveness. This vehicle family could encompass all the missions that are presently captured by the new nonpiloted cargo vehicle in the NFS commercial space excursion model and the new highly reusable launch cargo vehicle in the DoD excursion model. A number of possible approaches are currently being evaluated to upgrade and modernize U.S. launch capabilities, including single stage to orbit, liquid and solid technologies, and hybrids of the two. Regardless of the technology employed, any new vehicle line should be designed from the outset to be an operational system using revised management practices, as well as new automation and information technologies, to minimize the required personnel complement. In addition, the technologies used should be sufficiently robust to minimize the risk of problems that could ground the fleet.

Recommendation 2. A follow-on study should be performed to assess the long-term trade-off between modifying present operational facilities and constructing new innovative operational facilities to achieve the launch cost reductions mentioned in the revised requirements models. A new set of R&D facility requirements, consistent with the requirements models, should be developed and presented to the NFS oversight group.

Recommendation 3. A new set of required operational facility upgrades and construction, consistent with the new launch vehicles and the study mentioned above, should be developed and presented to the NFS oversight group.

Recommendation 4. Using the recommendations in the NFS as a baseline, additional study is needed of the total savings possible from effective consolidation and management streamlining of NASA and DoD space programs. This expanded study will undoubtedly indicate that greater savings are possible when appropriate program changes are taken into account and will make the closing of any facility easier to justify.

Recommendation 5. NASA and DoD should initiate in-depth analyses of their individual roles and missions. Opportunities to increase the total effectiveness of national space efforts, as well as to improve



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SPACE FACILITIES: MEETING FUTURE NEEDS FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND OPERATIONS 5 Summary of Recommendations Based on the assessment of the NFS by the Committee on Space Facilities, several recommendations for improvement and continued study have been made. In virtually every case, the committee's recommendations are driven by the clear need to be more realistic both in recognizing current incentives and disincentives in the aerospace industry and in forecasting future conditions for U.S. space activities. In today 's budget-conscious environment, it is natural that the NFS focused on cost reduction and consolidations. Yet, such a study is only useful to future planning if it gives equal weight to guiding the direction of future facilities needed to satisfy legitimate national aspirations. Even in the context of cost reduction through facilities closures and consolidations, the study is timid in recognizing and proposing program changes and realignments of roles and missions to capture what could be significant savings and increased effectiveness. With this context in mind, the committee makes the following 11 recommendations: Recommendation 1. Because 30 years without any new launch vehicle is not realistic, the baseline requirements model should be revised to include a major new launch vehicle or family of vehicles. For each vehicle, requirements for assembly facilities, payload integration facilities, launch pad, and mission operations facilities should be assessed to maximize operational effectiveness. This vehicle family could encompass all the missions that are presently captured by the new nonpiloted cargo vehicle in the NFS commercial space excursion model and the new highly reusable launch cargo vehicle in the DoD excursion model. A number of possible approaches are currently being evaluated to upgrade and modernize U.S. launch capabilities, including single stage to orbit, liquid and solid technologies, and hybrids of the two. Regardless of the technology employed, any new vehicle line should be designed from the outset to be an operational system using revised management practices, as well as new automation and information technologies, to minimize the required personnel complement. In addition, the technologies used should be sufficiently robust to minimize the risk of problems that could ground the fleet. Recommendation 2. A follow-on study should be performed to assess the long-term trade-off between modifying present operational facilities and constructing new innovative operational facilities to achieve the launch cost reductions mentioned in the revised requirements models. A new set of R&D facility requirements, consistent with the requirements models, should be developed and presented to the NFS oversight group. Recommendation 3. A new set of required operational facility upgrades and construction, consistent with the new launch vehicles and the study mentioned above, should be developed and presented to the NFS oversight group. Recommendation 4. Using the recommendations in the NFS as a baseline, additional study is needed of the total savings possible from effective consolidation and management streamlining of NASA and DoD space programs. This expanded study will undoubtedly indicate that greater savings are possible when appropriate program changes are taken into account and will make the closing of any facility easier to justify. Recommendation 5. NASA and DoD should initiate in-depth analyses of their individual roles and missions. Opportunities to increase the total effectiveness of national space efforts, as well as to improve

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SPACE FACILITIES: MEETING FUTURE NEEDS FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND OPERATIONS efficiencies at specific facilities, should be identified and appropriate actions initiated. Integration of operational responsibilities should be achieved wherever possible. This process should be overseen by the Executive Office of the President. Recommendation 6. Because a broad revision of roles and missions would result in extensive changes in facilities requirements and workloads, and would likely raise political concerns, consideration should be given to establishing a presidential commission, analogous to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, to help generate the political consensus necessary to implement some facilities closure and consolidation recommendations. Recommendation 7. The NASA/DoD study should continue into a second phase with strong involvement from the aerospace industry. In addition, it would be useful to include representatives with expertise in economics, tax policy, and policies affecting commercial use of space. Recommendation 8. If a second phase is added to the study, every effort should be given to evaluate the degree to which facilities can enhance the ability to effectively achieve future missions. One approach that should be considered is to develop a comparative matrix of capabilities with an assigned merit system that values each facility according to its ability to meet future program requirements. There should not be any bias toward government facilities in making total or partial closure recommendations. Where possible, future mission models should be defined to include consideration of commercial uses of space. Recommendation 9. The NASA/DoD interagency team should address the economic and business development incentives and disincentives facing private contractors when they consider closing, mothballing, or building facilities. Specific policy changes should be identified that would encourage rationalization of private facilities by making decisions on facilities financially attractive. Recommendation 10. Given current international trends, any comprehensive, long-term evaluation of U.S. facilities needs must consider foreign capabilities. Major foreign facilities should be included in the inventory, including data on their capabilities, usage, and costs, and on comparable facilities in the United States. Recommendation 11. Just as with domestic facilities, foreign capabilities should be consistently tracked to provide credible assessments of the current state of the art in various types and classes of major facilities. In cases where foreign facilities set the world standard, assessments should be made regarding whether a similar capability is needed in the United States or whether sufficient access to secure use of the foreign facility is available to domestic users. In closing, the Committee on Space Facilities believes important first steps have been taken toward assessing and streamlining space R&D and operations facilities. However, extensive follow-up measures are needed to take advantage of existing opportunities both to cut costs and to modernize the U.S. space infrastructure.