4

The Recommended Organization

The task group examined NASA's current plans for the ISS, defined guiding principles for a research management entity, and evaluated a range of options, including the NASA reference model. It ended up by developing a model for an NGO that would manage the research utilization of the ISS. The model, which is described in the following pages, represents an approach that is intermediate in scope between the minimal change model and the independently chartered corporation model that were described in Chapter 3. Many of the components of the NASA reference model were incorporated into the recommended model.

NASA officials emphasized that they remained open to all alternative approaches as long as they would support NASA's vision to “develop the low Earth orbit environment for all users in order to more efficiently advance scientific knowledge, technological capability, and commerce on Earth ” (NASA, 1998). NASA cited a number of performance objectives for the proposed NGO:

  • Optimal utilization of space and ground assets;

  • Maximum range of productive uses;

  • Minimum cost and schedule demands for users;

  • Responsiveness to the user community;

  • Long-term management stability; and

  • Government functions limited to policy and oversight and international transactions.



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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH 4 The Recommended Organization The task group examined NASA's current plans for the ISS, defined guiding principles for a research management entity, and evaluated a range of options, including the NASA reference model. It ended up by developing a model for an NGO that would manage the research utilization of the ISS. The model, which is described in the following pages, represents an approach that is intermediate in scope between the minimal change model and the independently chartered corporation model that were described in Chapter 3. Many of the components of the NASA reference model were incorporated into the recommended model. NASA officials emphasized that they remained open to all alternative approaches as long as they would support NASA's vision to “develop the low Earth orbit environment for all users in order to more efficiently advance scientific knowledge, technological capability, and commerce on Earth ” (NASA, 1998). NASA cited a number of performance objectives for the proposed NGO: Optimal utilization of space and ground assets; Maximum range of productive uses; Minimum cost and schedule demands for users; Responsiveness to the user community; Long-term management stability; and Government functions limited to policy and oversight and international transactions.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH In the description of the organization that follows, the task group outlined a number of salient features of the recommended approach to an NGO that would satisfy the guiding principles described in Chapter 2 and that should be able to achieve the objectives cited above. First, the outline reiterates the core mission and its implications for the organization. Next, it addresses the most important aspects of organizational and governance structure. Then, it delineates the recommended roles and responsibilities of the NGO and NASA. Finally, the outline addresses implementation issues. There are three important principles to bear in mind when reviewing the organizational description outlined in this chapter: The proposed organization should concentrate its efforts on supporting ISS utilization and leave basic ISS systems operations and maintenance activities to NASA. To fulfill the responsibilities that are described below, the organization must have clear authority and adequate funding. NASA must act in a timely manner to ensure that the NGO is actively involved before the “assembly complete” stage. MISSION OF THE ORGANIZATION The structure and functions of the organization need to be linked to its core mission, which is to optimize utilization of the ISS for high-quality basic and applied research and technology development. The organization would therefore need to be able to do four things: Provide the highest caliber scientific and technical support to enhance research activities. This will require that the organization have a highly competent scientific and technical staff and access to facilities that can help it fulfill its technical responsibilities and help its staff members maintain their technical currency. Provide the research community with a single point of contact through which to utilize the capabilities of the ISS. This will require that the organization be able to coordinate and consolidate, on behalf of the research community, the processes and interactions with all other NASA offices necessary for the implementation of research activities, including research conducted by NASA's international partners and commercial, private-sector sponsors. It will also require that the organization have access to other key participants in the ISS program and appropriate authority and sufficient funding to interact with them and to represent the research community in the end-to-end process of ISS research activities. The NGO will serve as an advocate for research on the ISS. Promote the infusion of new technology for ISS research. This will require that the organization have the capacity to recognize and nurture the evolution of research uses and users and to anticipate what growth in technical capability may be needed over time. Stimulate new directions in research. This will require that the organization be able to sustain outreach efforts so as to maintain an awareness of developments in established user communities and to provide opportunities for new communities to be identified and evaluated.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND GOVERNANCE Structure NASA would prepare the charter for the NGO and formally solicit proposals from sponsoring organizations. These might be academic or research institutions, commercial enterprises, or engineering organizations that collaborate in forming a consortium, or they may represent an existing consortium. However, the dominant partner should be a research institution or a consortium of research institutions (see Box 4.1). Other criteria for selection of NGO candidates could include experience in managing a complex organization on a cost-effective basis. It could be important to include individuals with commercial and aerospace program experience on the executive team, along with individuals having an academic or government background. The proposal should address the resources to be provided by host organizations, including funds, facilities, and in-kind assistance. BOX 4.1 The Research Environment of the NGO The task group envisions an entity in which the director and core sustaining staff are drawn from the ranks of the very best in the scientific community and can command the respect of that community. Their responsibilities would focus on assisting in the design of experiments and the integration of payloads for investigators external to the NGO. They can do so only if they are in full intellectual command of the work being conducted on the ISS. In addition, they would need research-level competence for most of the fields of microgravity inquiry to be pursued. The task group would expect staff members to compete occasionally for experiments on the ISS. The staff would also provide the leadership for periodic upgrading of the research facilities on the ISS and perhaps have a role in the design of any follow-on facility. The task group expects the NGO to be a locus of intellectual leadership for ISS research. That leadership should involve review and analysis of pending and completed missions and of the scientific content of experiments. The NGO should be host to a stream of visitors, seminars, postdoctoral fellows, and Ph.D. candidates. Some shared appointments with science and engineering departments of major research universities could considerably enhance the size and impact of the permanent staff. The overriding rationale for the NGO is to have a very strong presence for the research community in the planning, integration, and execution of research performed on the ISS. In the view of the task group, it would be much easier to recruit and retain first-class individuals if they know they are moving to a location that is associated with an active research institution. Also, it would be easier to jump-start the NGO if a major campus could lend infrastructure and intellectual leverage.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH In responding to the request for proposals, the proposers would specify the form and place of incorporation. This corporation is not envisaged as a federal corporation along the lines of Amtrak, TVA, or the U.S. Postal Service. However, two basic attributes of an NGO must be established. First, it should be structured to ensure an overarching commitment to research. Second, it should be able to support potentially profit-making commercial functions as well as academic research. The NGO should report to NASA at a level that allows it to play a strong advocacy role on behalf of research users of the ISS. The task group recommends that this should be at a high headquarters level, such as the associate administrator for space flight. Governing Board A governing board should direct the corporation. The specific composition of the governing board would be part of any proposal submitted in response to the NASA request for proposals. The composition would more than likely reflect the nature and interests of the principal parties to the proposal. The proposing academic institution(s) and companies should determine the method of the governing board's selection, the terms of office, the precise scope of duties, and so forth. NASA should assume no responsibility for the appointment or approval of governing board members or the director. The governing board would play a number of roles. It would Appoint the director of the NGO; Maintain fiduciary responsibility for the corporation's assets; Ensure the safety and security of facilities under the management of the NGO, as negotiated with NASA; Negotiate the NASA contract and other contracts; Ensure that contract commitments are effectively executed; and Provide a forum for coordinating international utilization issues. Qualifications of the Director The management challenges associated with leadership of the NGO will be significant. Accordingly, the director will need to have the following qualifications: Be an internationally recognized, energetic leader in the research community; Possess the skills to recruit a first-rate staff; Be able to manage a large scientific enterprise; and Be able to work effectively with leaders in NASA, the executive branch, and Congress and with the media, the international partners, and the general public.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH Contract The contract1 duration should be finite, with opportunities for renewal competitions at appropriate intervals, e.g., every 5 to 7 years. The contract could include performance incentives based on criteria of management excellence such as cycle time for experiments, integration costs and cost management, and process improvements.2 Award fees based on these criteria could be established. Goals on which these award fees are based should relate to maximizing access to and utility of the ISS as a research facility. If the NGO is a nonprofit entity, it will be expected to reinvest these award fees in ways that strengthen ISS utilization. Research Advisory Council The members of this multidisciplinary council should be appointed by the governing board to fixed-length, staggered terms, thereby guaranteeing turnover of membership. The chair of the research advisory council should be an ex-officio member of the governing board. Among the council's duties would be the following: Provide general advice to the director and, through the director, to the governing board; Provide advice on the NGO's strategy, plans, international activities, facilities, and staffing; Monitor the balance between in-house work and support for outside research organizations; Review the NGO's research program; and Establish appropriate links with NASA's disciplinary scientific advisory groups and the NASA Advisory Council. For example, some overlap in membership between the NGO and NASA advisory groups might be advantageous. User Group(s) The director should establish one or more user groups to focus on the operational concerns of ISS users. Members are anticipated to be drawn principally from experienced investigators, including researchers from the international user community. The user group(s) would meet regularly to apply lessons learned and identify utilization improvement opportunities. The user 1   The term “contract” is used here to mean whatever form of formal agreement and funding vehicle NASA chooses to use, be it a contract, a cooperative agreement, or some other mechanism. 2   Current perceived high investigation costs are one of the motivating factors for creating an NGO. In the short term there would probably be start-up costs (transition costs) that increase total program cost. Especially given that any new NGO would have to commence operations while the evolving ISS continues to be built and put into operation, there may be some net cost increase in early years. Over the long term, however, one should be able to count on an improvement in cost effectiveness. Whether this leads to a long-term cost reduction will depend, in part, on whether it is decided to take cost savings out of the program or reinvest them in capacity to support additional research.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH group(s) would report to the director. The chair(s) would be members (perhaps ex officio) of the research advisory council. Location and Staffing It would be advantageous for the NGO to be located near a major research facility, for example, near or on a university campus. Because the NGO staff is envisaged as including world-class researchers, technical and laboratory facilities, including hardware validation capability, would have to be provided. The organization should strive to optimize the use of facilities and expertise available through existing NASA programs, centers, and contractors. If a needed facility or capability is not available or if an existing facility is not cost-effective, it would be appropriate for the organization to provide the scientific and technical services and facilities needed to support top-quality research. The proposal is expected to outline how the NGO would meet the needs of specified research disciplines, including how it would reach make-or-buy decisions on specific facilities. Relations with Commercial Users An important task of the NGO would be to seek out and develop relationships with commercial users of the ISS as a research platform. To that end the organization would have to do the following: Proactively explore and stimulate potential commercial uses of the ISS; Assist the community of commercial space centers (CSCs) in using the ISS; Include commercial representation in user groups; and, where appropriate, Leverage funds between NASA and other sources to advance commercial research. The organization would need sufficient flexibility to deal with a wide range of commercial users and funding arrangements. It should be prepared to accommodate commercial involvement in which (a) the government pays all costs, (b) the private sector partially funds the activity, (c) the commercial user is represented by a CSC, (d) the commercial user pays all costs, or (e) there are other split funding arrangements. An area that would probably to be of concern to all users, but especially to commercial users, is the handling of proprietary information and intellectual property. The task group recognizes that this would require a delicate balance in order to protect the interests of the investigators and the interests of the larger public. To create incentives and to encourage academic and commercial researchers to use the ISS, the organization would need to establish a clear policy for the protection of proprietary information and intellectual property. This policy would need to recognize the diversity of users and uses. There should be a common policy for all publicly funded research. In the view of the task group, that policy should require the publication of results as soon as possible consistent with

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH good scientific practice. The task group recommends that NASA, in framing a policy that would serve the public interest while minimizing the risk of improper or premature release of research data, should take the following into consideration: Freedom of Information Act (as amended); International agreements and treaties; International Traffic in Arms Regulation limitations on foreign release of information; and Special circumstances such as the extended cycle times between initial experimental results and the opportunity to repeat the experiment on a later flight. Budget Authority The NGO would require adequate authority and resources to achieve its objectives. The task group expects that formulation of the overall ISS program budget would remain a NASA headquarters responsibility. Working with input and assistance from the NGO on behalf of the research utilization community and with other organizations that have comparable responsibilities in areas such as nonresearch utilization and ISS operations and maintenance, NASA headquarters would play its traditional role in the federal budgeting process. It would also make top-level policy decisions about the allocation of resources among research, other uses, ISS operations, system upgrades, etc. As happens in the budget formulation process, decisions about the allocation of other ISS resources should be based on consultation and coordination with the NGO and the other relevant organizations. Once the overall budget for ISS research is set, the portion for experiments conducted by U.S. investigators should be managed by the NGO, which in turn should allocate the resources (budget, crew time, experiment equipment, and support services) for ISS research. As noted above, allocation of overall ISS resources and scheduling of other (nonresearch) operations and activities would be coordinated with the NGO. Private-sector funding for commercial research would augment research funds appropriated by Congress. While the private-sector funding need not be administered by the organization, the organization would need authority to allocate ISS resources among government-sponsored and privately sponsored users. It would disburse funds not only to research investigators but also to support organizations such as research payload hardware developers, payload integration contractors, and operations support organizations. Recommended Organizational Roles and Responsibilities The task group categorized the totality of activities and responsibilities into three broad groups. First, certain key functions should remain within NASA. These functions—such as negotiation of government-to-government or agency-to-agency international agreements, strategic decision-making, and budget advocacy within the executive branch—must remain at policy levels within the government.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH Second, there are other functions that could be implemented either within existing NASA organizations or contractors or within the NGO. For example, designated NASA field centers or non-NASA centers of excellence now often assist investigators in bringing conceptual designs to maturity for flight, performing feasibility studies and ground-based performance validations, developing flight hardware, and conducting ground-based measurements in support of flight experiments. Where those functions are needed and if they are unique and are being provided cost-effectively, the task group sees no urgency in moving them elsewhere. Furthermore, some functions are best carried out by highly experienced aerospace entities that have been deeply involved in the design and construction of the ISS. These organizations can call upon substantial technical knowledge and experience, engineering resources, and infrastructure that cannot or need not be replicated within a new NGO. Examples of such functions include compliance with ISS and launch system safety procedures and safeguards, ISS systems integration and validation, launch services, ISS operations, crew health maintenance, systems engineering and maintenance, some supporting ground-based research and validation, and some research hardware design, development, and validation. Finally, there is a suite of key functions for which an NGO could assume responsibility, significantly improving the current system. Continuing Roles of NASA NASA headquarters should continue to set policy, define top-level strategy, advocate and defend its budget in the federal budget process, and allocate overall funding for ISS operation and use. NASA headquarters would also monitor fiscal, programmatic, and operational aspects of the NGO, as agreed to under the contract. NASA headquarters would retain responsibility for the policy-level coordination of research planning with the international partners and for any other intergovernmental arrangements affecting utilization. It also would retain responsibility for approving strategic utilization plans and coordination with the international partners. Headquarters would develop cooperative programs with other U.S. agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation, that use the ISS and would continue to ensure that there is a sponsoring program office to represent each payload to the NASA Space Station Utilization Board. Headquarters should engage the NGO for support in these areas and should give it the lead in implementing the strategy for research utilization and for all tactical planning. NASA headquarters program offices (Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, Earth Science, Space Science, Aero-Space Technology, and Space Flight) should continue to solicit research proposals, conduct peer reviews, and select and prioritize investigations for research payloads for the ISS. The headquarters research offices would acquire funding for the implementation of research investigations and the development of associated principal investigator and facility hardware and would transfer those funds to the NGO for management and disbursement. The NGO, working within policy-level guidance from headquarters and in consultation with the ISS operating organization, would assign flights and allocate resources for individual research investigations. The NGO research advisory council, drawing on its access to senior leaders of all the relevant research communities, would provide guidance and oversight in

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH allocating resources and ensuring balance among competing investigator demands. An appropriate final forum for conflict resolution would be the NASA senior-level Space Station Utilization Board. Roles of the NGO Because there will never be more than seven crew members aboard the ISS and crew time will therefore be at a premium, the NGO will have an important role during flight planning and operations in helping to make the best use of available crew skills and time. While NASA would continue to be responsible for the operation of the ISS and the training of all astronauts in areas such as ISS systems operations, maintenance, and safety procedures and would select the commander and crew responsible for the maintenance of the station, the NGO should select the crew members who will support research activities on the ISS, subject to NASA concurrence. This approach would follow the highly effective payload specialist model employed during the 15-year Spacelab program. All crew training related to the operation of research equipment and support for research should be the responsibility of the NGO (see Box 4.2). Under the recommended model, the NGO would be responsible to NASA headquarters for other functions affecting the utilization of the ISS for U.S. research payloads. It would also assume responsibility for coordinating joint or shared utilization of international payloads for which NASA has accepted responsibility for development, launch, operations, maintenance, or recovery, and it would establish and maintain a close working relationship with all non-U.S. organizations approved for research on the ISS. Specifically, the NGO would do the following: Support NASA headquarters in the development and analysis of strategic planning for ISS and conduct tactical planning (including specific manifest planning) and Provide technical assistance to NASA headquarters in the solicitation and selection of investigation proposals. The NGO would also Determine, in coordination with NASA headquarters, assignments to organizations responsible for research payload development. NASA headquarters would provide the financial resources to the selected organizational element when a NASA center is designated, but there would be close coordination through the NGO to ensure consistency of schedule, interfaces, and performance specifications and requirements; Develop a coordinated payload operations plan for all ISS payloads under NASA management; Manage testing and the analytical and physical integration of all NASA-approved payloads; Manage payload interface development and control; Manage the selection of crew to support research and assume responsibility for training them in the conduct and support of research programs;

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH Identify areas where new technologies and approaches would enhance the continuing utilization of the ISS; Plan for maintenance and upgrades of all research equipment and ISS supporting capabilities in order to keep the ISS as a vital and current research facility within the normal bounds of reliability and budget constraints; and Support the education and outreach activities of NASA. The NGO would ensure continuing interaction with technical and commercial organizations in order to achieve the following: Encourage their participation in the ISS program; Develop cost-effective public or private partnerships in higher risk research with commercial potential; and, ultimately, Encourage support from nongovernmental sources for ongoing operations and maintenance costs of the program. The task group recommends that the NGO must play an active role on behalf of the user community in areas where other organizations have the lead. These include payload safety, transportation, station operations and maintenance, and crew selection and training. Figure 4.1 is a modified version of the investigation life-cycle diagram presented in Figure 1.1. The NGO would play either a supporting or a lead role in some aspects of the experiment selection and manifesting process. It would have the principal responsibility for facilitating the definition, design, development, and sustaining operations phase and for the details of how those portions of the process are streamlined and restructured. It would also play a role in sustaining research operations, and it would have latitude to reengineer those activities where there are opportunities for improvements and cost reductions. BENEFITS OF THE PROPOSED ORGANIZATION The task group concludes that the functions and characteristics of the NGO as described above constitute an arrangement that could ensure an effective and efficient program to advance the research capabilities and other objectives of the ISS while preserving the capabilities already established within NASA headquarters and field centers. The benefits of the recommended approach fall in four areas—its strong support for research, the logical division of roles, the well-focused responsibilities, and flexibility for evolution. The recommended organization has been optimized to provide strong support for research utilization of the ISS, because it would be established and run by the research community for the research community. Elements such as governance by academic and private research organizations, a strong scientific director, a representative research advisory council, user committees made up of active investigators, and a strong cadre of support scientists and engineers on the NGO staff would combine to build this capability. Equally important, the responsibilities for research support would be integrated in a single, critical-mass-size organization that would be able to attract high-caliber staff and to integrate the activities of the to integrate the activities of the

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH BOX 4.2 NGO Support of Research Users The NGO would provide direct support to ISS research users for science, technology, and commercial payloads. This is a pivotal function. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of highly successful NGOs such as the Space Telescope Science Institute (operated by Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy for NASA), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (operated by Associated Universities Incorporated for the NSF), the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System of the NSF, * the National Center for Atmospheric Research (operated by the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research for the NSF), and the Advanced Light Source at the Argonne National Laboratory (operated by the University of Chicago for the Department of Energy). The task group identified the three key aspects of this support role: Single point of contact. An NGO support scientist (use of the word “scientist” is not meant to preclude primarily technical or commercial expertise where appropriate) would be designated as the principal contact for an investigator in dealing with the NGO and other implementing ISS organizations both within and external to the government. The NGO support scientist would provide an effective and knowledgeable interface with the investigator. NASA crew members not currently on flight assignment to the ISS could be excellent candidates for these positions; the experience could refresh and renew the crew members' research credentials and become a vital element in their selection for future flight opportunities. Mentoring. The support scientists would facilitate the introduction of new investigators to the complex world of the ISS and smooth the continuing interaction of more experienced investigators throughout their program. Representation. The support scientists would represent the interests of the investigator throughout the entire process of interface definition; payload development, testing and documentation; flight planning and operations; and postflight processing of results where required. The support scientist staff becomes a crucial resource of the NGO. The positions must attract and retain capable career researchers. Support scientists would be encouraged to propose their own investigations to be evaluated competitively using the same standards as are applied for extramural researchers, but with no more than 5 to 10 percent of ISS utilization resources allocated to internal NGO investigators. This policy would help retain the service organization character of the NGO while permitting and encouraging active research by staff scientists. Funds for research by NGO staff should be tracked separately from funds for the larger service role of the NGO. The performance of the support scientists and, indeed, the whole NGO will rest on the perceived effectiveness of its value-added service function to the broad user communities. * The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOL) is a consortium of some 57 academic institutions that coordinates the planning and allocation of resources of academic research ships for the National Science Foundation. Individual investigators' research proposals are peer reviewed and funded by the NSF; the UNOL ensures community-wide ship access, cooperative ship scheduling, and standards for operations and safety. Individual member institutions provide full-time ship captains and crews and operate their own vessels. The crews, who are highly skilled scientific and technical professionals, work alongside other members of the oceanographic research community, who are selected for field efforts aboard the research vessels (NSF, 1999)

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH Flight crew members who support research activities on the ISS should be considered as integral members of the science and engineering staff upon which the NGO will draw. These astronauts play essential roles in the conduct of research on the ISS, and their qualifications, technical currency, continuing training and education, and flight increment utilization are essential ingredients of a successful research program. Therefore, they need to be viewed by the research community (and need to view themselves) as key members of the NGO staff. The approach used on Spacelab missions—having a small number of working-scientist (“payload specialist”) crew members drawn from the research community for flights on which the career astronaut corps could not adequately provide the necessary expertise for a mission—was extremely productive and successful. The task group recommends that NASA employ the Spacelab payload specialist model for ISS in which research crew members are selected by the research community, in adherence to rigorous procedures, and whose primary responsibilities are support of on-orbit research operations. The NGO should be responsible for recruitment, selection, and flight assignments of such ISS payload specialists. FIGURE 4.1 Recommended NGO roles and responsibilities.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH diverse disciplines from which ISS researchers are expected to come. The recommended organization would also be an entity that is explicitly charged to provide service and advocacy on behalf of ISS research. There would be a clear and logical division of roles and functional responsibilities in at least two ways. First, the recommended approach leaves inherently governmental functions (e.g., policy decisions, international and intergovernmental agreements, the federal government budgeting process) inside NASA and permits the NGO to provide assistance where appropriate. Second, it leaves unchanged other activities that are working effectively and for which there are no pressing arguments for reassignment. Examples of such activities include the NASA headquarters ' leadership of proposal solicitation, review, and selection as well as its leadership of strategic planning to ensure the integration of spaceflight and ground-based elements of research programs. The recommended approach incorporates well-focused sets of responsibilities. Long-term research operations would be placed in the private sector, leaving NASA free to pursue its traditional high-technology R&D roles. The NGO would be given the responsibility and authority to restructure and streamline the investigation development and integration process (see discussion of Figure 4.1 above). Furthermore, by leaving activities in support of less-well-defined, nonresearch utilization areas to others, the NGO would be able to focus on research, which is the one area that is now confidently expected to be fully subscribed immediately and sustainable over the lifetime of the ISS. Finally, the recommended approach offers the flexibility to reflect experience as the ISS program evolves and matures. As described below, it is incremental and anticipates immediate, medium-term, and long-term phases. No matter how well organized and managed the NGO may be, it would have to pass through a learning curve as it assumes its responsibilities. By concentrating first on certain critical tasks and functions rather than trying to assume a larger range of responsibilities all at once, the NGO could gain experience and assume other duties, if and when doing so is warranted, over a period of years. By selecting the managing organization for the NGO competitively, providing for performance-based fees, and planning for new competitions at appropriate intervals, NASA would retain its ability to select the strongest possible organization and to make major changes if needed. TRANSITION AND IMPLEMENTATION The task group recommends that NASA concentrate on defining the expectations for the NGO and give the organization latitude to work out the details of the processes necessary for their fulfillment. Some general aspects of the implementation process nevertheless warrant discussion at this point. The timetable for implementing the task group's recommendations would be affected by three factors: There would need to be a transition period during which the NGO is established and staffed and during which organizations transfer certain roles and responsibilities to the NGO. The ISS is already under construction on a schedule that plans for reaching “assembly complete” in 2004. Consequently, planning for the early phases of research utilization is already under way, and there is an urgency to bringing an NGO on board.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH Implementation could be accomplished most effectively in an incremental manner in which there are (a) specific near-term activities and roles for the NGO, (b) additional tasks to be included in the medium term (2002-2004), and (c) a post-“assembly complete,” long-term stage when the NGO might appropriately take on a broader set of responsibilities. The proposers' response to the request for proposals should set forth in detail a plan for transition and implementation of the NGO's responsibilities. Given the long lead times associated with utilization of the ISS for research (now about three years), two important milestones can be identified: The director of the NGO should be in place by January 2001. The NGO should assume responsibility no later than November 2002 for ISS increments in the post-“assembly complete” period. Other early transition and implementation tasks would include the following: Recruiting personnel; Establishing the research advisory council and user group(s); Working with NASA field centers that are currently managing ISS research experiments to develop a transition strategy; Developing the specifics of transferring duties (Figure 4.1 would serve as a transition template) from field centers to the NGO, working towards the goal of a “solid line” encompassing NGO responsibilities. Once the transition process is complete, the NGO's authority must extend to all elements of the ISS research utilization process, including utilization and facility upgrades of ISS research facilities and control of the funding necessary for such upgrades; and Ensuring sufficient resources to allow the NGO to carry out its responsibilities as the transition proceeds. The NGO will not necessarily execute these various tasks directly, but it must have the resources to see that the work is done by the appropriate entity. Initial funding will be needed in 2000 to begin early tasks, such as the recruitment of a director and key staff. Other important near-term activities would include the development of ISS manifesting criteria and selecting and manifesting experiments for the first flight increment after “assembly complete.” The NGO would develop the payload and experiment manifesting criteria, including the standard services that would be available to a researcher (for example, allowable weight and volume, quantity and quality of electrical power, heat rejection and cooling, data management, and crew support). It would also have to specify the optional services that could be provided (for example, robotic servicing, sample return, experimental equipment change-out or upgrading, crew support, and EVA). Pricing policies for these various support services would need to be developed. The first complement of ISS experiments (along with all succeeding complements) would be selected with the help of the research advisory committee, since that action would establish precedents for subsequent selection processes.

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INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPACE STATION RESEARCH REFERENCES National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 1998. Commercial Development Plan for the International Space Station. November 16. National Science Foundation. The Academic Research Fleet: A Report to the Assistant Director for Geosciences by the Fleet Review Committee. 1999.