National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Headquarters Washington, DC 20546-0001

reply to Attn of: S

Dr. Bruce Alberts


National Research Council

2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418

Dear Dr. Alberts:

In 1995, the Space Studies Board released a report, entitled Managing the Space Sciences, that analyzed several important issues in the management of NASA 's space science programs. Since then, the structure and organization of the Office of Space Science (OSS) have been totally overhauled, and a number of the recommendations of the 1995 report have been implemented while others have been superseded by intervening events. As a result, I would like to request that the National Research Council carry out an updated assessment of OSS management processes in the context of the original recommendations and the new organizational environment.

The reassessment should focus particularly on structure and management of technology development. OSS has acquired management responsibility and budget for spacecraft and related technology development from the former Office of Space Access and Technology. During the past year, these technology tasks have been assimilated with other technology tasks formerly OSS funded into a restructured program that must support both generic agency technology needs and OSS-specific requirements in alignment with the new OSS strategic plan. Specific issues that should be addressed are:

  • How well does the current management approach meet the objectives of those technology recommendations provided in Managing the Space Sciences (section 6) that remain relevant in the new organization?

  • How well does OSS's new management approach for Advanced Technology Development tasks meet related congressional concerns articulated in the FY 1998 space science appropriations legislative report?

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