2

Advanced Technology Development

This chapter addresses NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS) advanced technology development (ATD) process by examining it from four perspectives—planning, implementation, infrastructure, and performance measurement.

PLANNING

The 1998 NASA strategic plan establishes four “enterprises” through which the agency implements its missions and executes its programs. The enterprises are space science, Earth science, human exploration and development of space, and aeronautics and space transportation technology (NASA, 1998a). The intellectual framework for the space science enterprise rests on four science themes—the astronomical search for origins, the structure and evolution of the universe, solar system exploration, and Sun-Earth connections. Each theme has a science roadmap, developed in consultation with representatives of the outside scientific community, that outlines scientific goals, objectives, and mission plans covering a 20-year period. The requirements for technology development for each theme, and plans for meeting those needs, are outlined either in companion technology roadmaps or as part of the theme science roadmaps. The four theme roadmaps provide building blocks used to develop the OSS strategic plan, which outlines a top-level set of goals, objectives, missions, and program strategies for the space science enterprise. The OSS strategic plan also was prepared through broad consultation with the research community, and a draft was reviewed independently by the Space Studies Board (NRC, 1997c). OSS representatives indicated to the task group that new mission concepts being considered for incorporation in the strategic plan will include intermediate technology milestones that must be met before a “new start” decision is made to move a mission into development for flight. This policy will become a forcing function for developing technology and, therefore, it makes the effective management and implementation of the technology program all the more important.

OSS is responsible for all technology development activities directed toward enabling and enhancing missions in the space science enterprise. In addition, when the Office of Space Access and Transportation was disbanded in 1996, the responsibility for “all cross-cutting, common spacecraft-related technology supporting multiple missions across enterprises” (NASA, 1996a) also was assigned to OSS. (The only exception is technology for cross-cutting space transportation-related technology, which was assigned to the Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology.)

The OSS technology program is subdivided into three main elements —core programs, focused programs, and flight validation programs (see Table 2.1). The core programs include both the cross-enterprise technology development efforts transferred from the Office of Space Access and Transportation and a space science core program of advanced technology and broadly based research and development, such as work on OSS information systems, integrated space microsystems, science instrument technologies, and advanced radioisotope thermo-electric



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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science 2 Advanced Technology Development This chapter addresses NASA's Office of Space Science (OSS) advanced technology development (ATD) process by examining it from four perspectives—planning, implementation, infrastructure, and performance measurement. PLANNING The 1998 NASA strategic plan establishes four “enterprises” through which the agency implements its missions and executes its programs. The enterprises are space science, Earth science, human exploration and development of space, and aeronautics and space transportation technology (NASA, 1998a). The intellectual framework for the space science enterprise rests on four science themes—the astronomical search for origins, the structure and evolution of the universe, solar system exploration, and Sun-Earth connections. Each theme has a science roadmap, developed in consultation with representatives of the outside scientific community, that outlines scientific goals, objectives, and mission plans covering a 20-year period. The requirements for technology development for each theme, and plans for meeting those needs, are outlined either in companion technology roadmaps or as part of the theme science roadmaps. The four theme roadmaps provide building blocks used to develop the OSS strategic plan, which outlines a top-level set of goals, objectives, missions, and program strategies for the space science enterprise. The OSS strategic plan also was prepared through broad consultation with the research community, and a draft was reviewed independently by the Space Studies Board (NRC, 1997c). OSS representatives indicated to the task group that new mission concepts being considered for incorporation in the strategic plan will include intermediate technology milestones that must be met before a “new start” decision is made to move a mission into development for flight. This policy will become a forcing function for developing technology and, therefore, it makes the effective management and implementation of the technology program all the more important. OSS is responsible for all technology development activities directed toward enabling and enhancing missions in the space science enterprise. In addition, when the Office of Space Access and Transportation was disbanded in 1996, the responsibility for “all cross-cutting, common spacecraft-related technology supporting multiple missions across enterprises” (NASA, 1996a) also was assigned to OSS. (The only exception is technology for cross-cutting space transportation-related technology, which was assigned to the Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology.) The OSS technology program is subdivided into three main elements —core programs, focused programs, and flight validation programs (see Table 2.1). The core programs include both the cross-enterprise technology development efforts transferred from the Office of Space Access and Transportation and a space science core program of advanced technology and broadly based research and development, such as work on OSS information systems, integrated space microsystems, science instrument technologies, and advanced radioisotope thermo-electric

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science generators. The focused programs include support of mission definition studies and ATD for specific missions under each of the four science themes in OSS. The flight validation element covers the New Millennium Program (NMP) of flight demonstrations of new technologies for both space science and Earth science. Figure 2.1 illustrates how NASA views the emphasis in the different elements of the program in terms of the relative maturity of the technology topics being addressed. TABLE 2.1 Office of Space Science Technology Program Budget Organization and Technology Investment (in millions of dollars)   FY 1997 (Actual) FY 1998 (Appropriated) FY 1999 (Requested) Core Programs Advanced Concepts Program conducts studies and proof-of-concept efforts for far-term (10 to 25 years) technology 1.5 1.5 3.0 Cross-Enterprise Technology Development Program supports the cross-cutting technology requirements for all NASA space enterprises, focusing on developments supporting multiple enterprise customers 130.5 124.8 126.3 Space Science Core Program supports mid- to far-term technologies for the Space Science Enterprise 55.5 74.5 85.5 Focused Programs Dedicated to OSS mission-specific technology areas in the current OSS Strategic Plan 26.7 170.7 153.2 Flight Validation Program Completes the technology development process by validating technologies in space 45.6 39.7 60.4 Total Technology Budget 259.8 411.2 428.4 OSS Budget 1,969.3 1,983.8 2,058.4 Percent of OSS Budget 13.2 20.7 20.8 SOURCE: NASA's Office of Space Science. The four theme technology roadmaps, derived from the broadly inclusive science planning process in OSS, are intended to form the basis for planning advanced technology activities to support the orderly progress of the program outlined in the OSS strategic plan. Cross-cutting technology needs and priorities in support of more than one NASA enterprise are identified by the Joint Enterprise Strategy Team composed of senior technology managers from each of the enterprise program offices at headquarters and from NASA's Centers.1 The agenda 1   To distinguish between NASA Centers (e.g., Ames Research Center or Goddard Space Flight Center) and NASA's centers of excellence, the former is capitalized (“Centers”), and the latter is referred to in lower case (“centers”). (See Box 2.1, which clarifies the relationship.)

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science FIGURE 2.1 Techonology readiness level (TRL). SOURCE: NASA OSS.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science for the team, which is chaired by the director of the OSS Advanced Technology and Mission Studies (AT&MS) Division, includes cross-enterprise policy, coordination, oversight, and conflict resolution. The team is expected to integrate the technology requirements defined by the individual enterprises and implementation approaches proposed by the Centers and to provide cross-enterprise priorities and recommendations to OSS. NASA representatives have emphasized that the process described above is still “a work in progress.” Because the transition to the new organization is only in its second year and the new AT&MS Division is still in a formative stage, NASA officials acknowledged that more work is needed to make the process effective. Assessment of the Current Process NASA recognizes the importance of establishing an agency-wide process for identifying, developing, and using space science technologies. The task group was pleased with many of the efforts that NASA has made since Managing the Space Sciences (NRC, 1995) was published. Of particular note are the ongoing efforts to develop a NASA-wide integrated technology plan and parallel efforts within the AT&MS Division to improve planning for technology related to the space science enterprise as well as cross-enterprise technology. However, as noted above, there have been major changes in ATD organizational structure and management processes at NASA headquarters, and some of these changes are not yet complete. Also, NASA has appointed a Chief Technologist to provide staff oversight in the Administrator 's office on matters relating to technology and to coordinate technology activities across the agency. The relative authorities of the Chief Technologist and the director of the OSS Advanced Technology and Mission Studies Division need to be clarified. Furthermore, coordination between NASA's technology and science communities will remain impeded as long as the position of Chief Scientist remains vacant. A “technology roundtable” comprising an ad hoc group of senior people from industry, academia, and NASA met in June 1998 at the request of OSS to discuss technology development by NASA. Based on those discussions, the AT&MS Division then drafted an ATD policy document, “NASA Space Technology Program Policies/Decision Rules.” The draft policy document, which appears in full in Appendix E, describes seven specific policies that highlight the importance of achieving excellence; describes the roles of NASA headquarters, Centers, and outside organizations; and discusses the importance of external reviews, technology transfer, and protection for proprietary information. The task group concurs with several of the proposed policies. Excellence should serve as the primary metric, and expert reviews are essential for accurately assessing excellence. Defining “excellence” in a meaningful way will require careful attention to establishing an objective framework with definitive criteria. Such criteria might include relevance, cost-effectiveness, risk, timeliness, and so on. Personnel involved in these reviews must be carefully selected to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Similarly, the planning process should be open to individuals not involved in the current program to help ensure that ATD budgets address NASA needs, not the desire to preserve historic spending patterns. Linking ATD to requirements established by the enterprises will increase the likelihood that ATD results will be relevant to agency missions. Requirements must address both near- and

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science far-term agency missions to allow the ATD program to include an appropriate balance. Also, the task group believes it is essential for Centers to maintain appropriate core competencies. On the other hand, the task group disagrees strongly with the portion of policy 3 that says “in-house efforts justified as the minimal core to discharge management and leadership responsibilities will not be subject to competition with outside organizations.” Such a blanket delegation to the Centers goes far beyond what was recommended in Managing the Space Sciences. Preserving a broad range of in-house activities has too often been justified on the basis of a Center's need to be a “smart buyer” in all the areas for which the Center has management responsibility. As many private corporations have learned, an organization does not need to maintain hands-on efforts to make sound decisions about acquiring goods and services from outside sources. Other high-technology agencies have demonstrated that there are ample alternative ways to be smart buyers. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has capitalized on a process of recruiting very good people from within the military and outside the government for temporary assignments of only a few years, thus ensuring regular turnover. The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, taking an alternative approach, rely heavily on panels of outside experts to guide their decisions on which research programs to support. The most appropriate strategy for maintaining the expertise needed to be a smart buyer can vary depending on the nature of the organization and its mission. The task group believes that NASA would do well to examine alternatives for meeting these needs and develop an explicit strategy for remaining a smart buyer. The task group also believes that it is unwise to sustain core competencies through non-competitive allocations of ATD funding on a routine basis. It remains to be seen what policies will be formally adopted, what methods OSS will use to implement approved policies, or how effective those methods will be. Thus, it is too soon to assess the long-term effectiveness of the ATD management process that is currently being established. Even so, some preliminary judgments are possible. It is essential for offices responsible for ATD and those responsible for future missions to communicate with each other effectively about technology planning and future mission needs. The ATD planning process should also draw on other planning efforts. For example, NRC reports such as A New Science Strategy for Space Astronomy and Astrophysics (1997b), A Science Strategy for Space Physics (1996a), An Integrated Strategy for the Planetary Sciences: 1995-2010 (1994a), and the most recent report on decadal consensus strategies in astronomy and astrophysics (NRC, 1991) provide an important body of integrated science priorities for the OSS program. The ATD planning effort should take these external assessments into account, perhaps through the use of an advisory committee. The task group saw little evidence that technology development is planned in a consistent and coordinated manner among different enterprises and Centers. Although the task group did not have an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive examination of this area, some Centers seemed to conduct ATD much more effectively than others. While not the only Center with exemplary approaches, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has described efforts to explicitly align and integrate new missions and technology that the task group can cite as being promising. As presented to the task group, the process included the use of management fora (a cross-Center Technology Planning Integration Working Group), designation of staff experts as “Technology Community Leaders” charged with promoting technology planning and transfer, and attention to supporting an end-to-end development process that can carry needed technologies from concept

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science to infusion into prototypes of new products. It would be worthwhile for NASA to formally recognize Centers with effective ATD and transfer their best practices to other Centers. The task group also believes that many of the recent and ongoing changes have the potential to improve the utility of NASA's ATD. For example, shifting responsibility for enterprise-specific technologies to the appropriate enterprise and shifting responsibility for cross-enterprise technology to OSS should improve the mission utility of ATD. Similarly, the emphasis that the AT&MS Division is placing on the incorporation of new technology into future missions should help address the long-standing complaint that too much new technology sits on the shelf and never —or too late—finds its way into operational missions. Finally, the concept advocated in policy 2 of the proposed OSS technology policy (Appendix E)—to use “vision pull” rather than “technology push” for enterprise-driven, long-term technologies—is also meritorious. Recommendation 1. NASA's advanced technology development (ATD) planning process should be formally evaluated in 12 months, after changes that are just now being completed have had time to mature. Factors to be considered in the evaluations should include (1) responsiveness to input from the outside research community and (2) the extent to which program balance is addressed regarding such dimensions as technology push versus program pull, near-term versus far-term applications, and science instruments versus spacecraft systems. The evaluation should be conducted by an independent, external body such as the NASA Advisory Council. Cross-Enterprise Technology The cross-enterprise technology program was assigned to OSS in the reorganization that disbanded the Office of Space Access and Transportation. To the task group this part of the program appears to be operating largely as it did before, with the planning done at the Centers by the technology performers themselves and with little outside input to the process of setting priorities. Managing cross-enterprise ATD is potentially more complex than managing enterprise-specific ATD because it is necessary to decide whether a proposed effort is indeed cross-enterprise, and if so, how such an effort is to account for the differing needs of multiple enterprises. In general, there seems to be little support in NASA for cross-enterprise technology programs outside of the personnel directly involved in those efforts; personnel associated with specific enterprises often view cross-enterprise ATD as less effective than and not as desirable as having additional resources available to support their own, enterprise-specific programs. The task group does not share this view, but accepts it as evidence of the importance of providing attention to relevance, priorities, and communication in developing the entire ATD program. Recommendation 2. The planning process for cross-cutting technology should be modified so that it mirrors the process used by the Office of Space Science for space science technologies. Key attributes are the use of technology roadmaps that are linked to enterprise science roadmaps and that are developed with the broad participation of the research community.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Long-Term Technology Development NASA was unable to provide the task group with much historical budget data. For example, NASA could not say how much of its ATD resources have been devoted in the past to long-term technology development. Investing in long-term technology is essential for many ambitious missions NASA envisions for the future. Thus, an appropriate balance is needed in how technology development resources are split between projects with near-term and long-term objectives. Achieving this balance is a task for the overall ATD planning process, which must consider the needs of near-term objectives and the promise of long-term projects and then make informed decisions. With the aid of better data on investment allocations and trends, it would be possible to follow up on the efficacy of this implementation. Retaining data on current expenditures would build a historical record of value to future planning efforts. Some technologies lend themselves to a continuous process of incremental improvements. In other cases, significant improvements require revolutionary changes that involve totally new approaches. Thus, the task group believes that work on revolutionary technology should be viewed as an essential element of long-term ATD, and sufficient ATD funds should be set aside for this purpose. As with short-term technology development, the AT&MS Division should use open, competitive processes to allocate resources for development of long-term and revolutionary technologies to ensure that the best-qualified people and organizations participate (see below). IMPLEMENTATION The Space Act, which provides NASA with its legislative charter, establishes as one of NASA's objectives the preservation of U.S. leadership in space science and technology (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Section 2451). OSS shares responsibility for fostering U.S. scientific, technical, and economic leadership through development of advanced technologies. To facilitate U.S. leadership in technology and science, NASA has an obligation to rely on the best available national resources. In the early years of the civil space program, the best (often the only) available technical resources resided within NASA. As the program progressed, however, research funded by NASA and other federal agencies fostered the emergence of a large and highly competent academic and industrial base. Further, as the commercial space industry grew and matured, industry investments in some areas greatly exceeded comparable activities by NASA. Over the same period, NASA downsized from its peak during the Apollo program, and there is reason to believe that this trend will not be reversed. NASA must increasingly view its role as marshaling the space science and technology skills of academia and industry and building on them to develop necessary technologies for the short and long term (NRC, 1995). It is especially important to include experts from academia and industry in the early evaluation of technology needs and goals related to the development of sensors, instruments, and spacecraft systems—areas in which academia and industry are heavily involved in advancing the state of the art (NRC, 1993). This inclusion will require a spirit of true cooperation between NASA and the rest of the U.S. aerospace and space science community, and the NRC has suggested that NASA aggressively seek partnerships with both private companies and universities (NRC, 1998).

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science The task group believes that the most effective approach to increasing the involvement of academia and industry in ATD involves open, competitive processes to identify the best-qualified people and organizations to undertake each new project. The task group recognizes that there are likely to be cultural and administrative obstacles to implementing a fair and open competitive process that includes NASA Centers, and to define a competitive process that builds—instead of tears down —NASA partnerships with industry and academia. However, open competition and teaming have worked successfully in the space sciences for years, and there is no reason to expect a more difficult implementation for technology. Key aspects of the competitive process are the use of clear and objective criteria by which to establish merit and the use of independent experts to evaluate the merits of competing proposals or approaches. An ATD program based on competition would maximize the value of NASA's technology development efforts and do the most to continue U.S. technological and scientific leadership, while also fostering collaboration between NASA Centers and outside organizations with complementary expertise as they team to bid on competitive ATD opportunities. Core Competencies For NASA Centers to thrive in a competitive environment keyed to excellence, they must develop and maintain core competencies in advanced technologies critical to NASA's future missions. Studies of how both successful and unsuccessful organizations have addressed the topic of core competencies can be instructive for NASA. Quinn and Hilmer (1994) present a set of key attributes of core competencies. They note the following: Core competencies are intellectual skills or knowledge-based activities rather than products or functions. Core competencies should be limited in number; most companies identify two or three and rarely more than five. Successful core competencies are built around areas in which an organization is uniquely qualified to perform and where investments can be highly leveraged to add value to an overall business or mission. Core competencies are ingrained in an organization's systems and are not dependent on one or two superstars in the organization. For NASA, these findings translate into a need for each Center to concentrate on a few technologies, areas of expertise, or activities that are critical to its central missions and that are not being handled adequately by the external community, either in industry or academia. Although in the early decades of the space program there may have been many such areas, a strong measure of NASA's past success is the fact that now communities outside NASA are much more capable of filling many of these needs. NASA has designated centers of excellence, which are intended to provide NASA-wide leadership in a specific area of technology or knowledge (see Box 2.1). In some cases the centers of excellence do, indeed, possess expertise that is unsurpassed elsewhere. Studies of successful organizations have shown, however, that the concept of core competencies includes the ability to

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science integrate multiple streams of technologies, including ones from outside sources (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990). Centers of excellence need not be preeminent in every aspect of the area for which they are so designated by the agency, and therefore there need not be a one-to-one match between a Center's core competencies and the area for which the Center serves as a center of excellence. Each Center director is responsible for planning and implementing the designated center of excellence, for annually assessing its capabilities, and for correcting shortfalls in capabilities, either by consolidating capabilities or proposing programs to maintain capabilities. Centers of excellence are not program entities, although they are fiscally supported by program and/or institutional resources with funding provided through one or more enterprises. Proposals to significantly alter center of excellence facilities, staffing levels, or skill mix are treated as investment issues and, therefore, reside with NASA's Capital Investment Council, which makes recommendations to the NASA Administrator. The Capital Investment Council also addresses proposals to designate new centers of excellence. In some cases, the capabilities to support a center of excellence involve multiple Centers (NASA, 1997, 1998a). Box 2.1 NASA Centers of Excellence Facility Center of Excellence for NASA Headquarters Agency Management Ames Research Center Information Technology Dryden Flight Research Center Atmospheric Flight Operations Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Research Jet Propulsion Laboratory Deep-Space Systems Johnson Space Center Human Operations in Space Kennedy Space Center Launch and Cargo Processing Systems Langley Research Center Structures and Materials Lewis Research Center Turbomachinery Marshall Space Flight Center Space Propulsion Stennis Space Center Rocket Propulsion Testing SOURCE: NASA (1998a). Some NASA Centers have taken the next step and formally identified specific core competencies; for example, the core competencies claimed by Langley Research Center (LaRC) and Lewis Research Center (LeRC) are listed in Boxes 2.2 and 2.3, respectively. However, if core competencies are defined as world-class capabilities, it seems highly unlikely that any organization could truly master the large number of core competencies listed in each of these boxes. Furthermore, it is doubtful either that such a wide range of core competencies would be needed for a Center to feed its principal lines of activity or that trying to fill them all internally would make good business sense. In U.S. industry today companies winnow down the list of core capabilities to those few that are really critical to their competitive position and then rely increasingly on subcontractors, vendors, and strategic partners to supply the rest. In Box 2.2, LaRC lists four core competency topics in structures and materials, the area for which it is a center of excellence. That number seems to be appropriately small. While

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science ambitious, the list does not suggest that LaRC is trying to cover all aspects of structures and materials. In contrast, the range of topics in Box 2.3 for LeRC under materials and structures is as broad and probably overlaps with the LaRC list. Both Centers present broad lists of competencies in other areas that appear to go far beyond their center-of-excellence foci. Trying to establish and maintain too many core competencies within a particular Center or within NASA as a whole has several disadvantages. It disperses available resources among too many different areas. Also, if NASA incorrectly believes it possesses certain world-class capabilities, it will be less likely to rely on other organizations where world-class capabilities actually reside. Instead the NASA manager of a complex program will be expected to rely on various Centers claiming to have the requisite core competencies. If the supporting Centers do not, in fact, possess world-class capability, the resulting effort will cost more, take longer, and/or provide an inferior product compared to the alternative of going directly to a true source of world-class capability. Establishing and maintaining a world-class core competency require focus, funding, and dedication. They will require a process that is no less rigorous than a successful industrial concern uses to first define those capabilities that are central to its competiveness. Rather than trying to do everything in-house, the Centers will need to be able to be “smart buyers” by nurturing a staff of “smart people” who remain aware of and attuned to contemporary developments and technology pacesetters outside NASA. This approach has well served other organizations such as DARPA. While there are some Centers that likely are already demonstrably at the forefront or are highly competitive, the task group recognizes that years may be needed before each Center core competency group—on a much winnowed list—is on an equal footing with academia and/or industry. Box 2.2 Core Competencies for Langley Research Center Mission and Systems Analysis, Integration, and Assessment—Aeronautics Identify and prioritize new aeronautical concepts and systems. including the critical technologies involved, investment options, and system-level global and societal benefits resulting from proposed programs for subsonic through hypersonic speed vehicles. Provide continuing evaluations and technology assessments for ongoing focused and base programs. Develop advanced methods and data for performance, economic, and safety assessments of aeronautical systems, including vehicles and the integrated air transportation system. Conceive, develop, and validate multidisciplinary methods for analysis and design of aerospace systems and products. Mission and Systems Analysis, Integration, and Assessment— Space Conduct mission and systems analysis of space transportation, spacecraft, planetary entry, and sensor concepts. Lead independent assessments of critical space missions for the agency. Conduct technology assessments to enhance space transportation, spacecraft, planetary entry, and sensor concepts. Conceive, develop, and implement computational, multidisciplinary optimization for design and development of space and trans-space transportation vehicle systems. Develop life-cycle analyses (including cost) to support Airborne Systems and Crew Station Design and Integration Design, build, integrate, and test highly reliable, digital electronic and electromagnetic systems for aerospace applications. Develop and demonstrate methodologies for designing and verifying high-integrity digital and electromagnetic systems in mission- or life-critical aerospace applications. Develop techniques to use the microgravity environment to improve semiconductor materials. Develop aerospace vehicle flight dynamics design requirements, modeling methods, analysis tools, and test techniques and conduct flight dynamics evaluations of aerospace vehicle configurations. Develop and validate guidance and control design methods, analysis tools, and algorithms for aerospace vehicles. Develop requirements, concepts, and design guidelines for flight deck systems and their integration into airplane flight decks. Structures and Materials Develop advanced materials and processing technologies to enable the fabrication of low-cost structural concepts for high-performance aerospace applications. Conduct research and technology development that accurately and efficiently predicts behavior, durability, and damage tolerance, evaluates concepts, and validates performance of advanced materials for aerospace structures. Conduct research and technology development for advanced

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science independent assessments of the early conceptual stages of projects and programs for the purpose of making informed decisions on selection as well as investment choices for the agency. Develop and utilize spacecraft and space transportation vehicle preliminary design and mission design and evaluation tools for application to flight mission concepts, agency space mission concepts, and independent assessment evaluations. Develop and implement planetary entry analysis tools for robotic and human spaceflight missions for Earth orbit and planetary systems. Atmospheric Sciences and Remote Sensing Conceive, develop, and use advanced instrumentation to observe, characterize, and analyze regional and global atmospheric processes with emphasis on remote sensing from space. Develop advanced technologies and measurement techniques to enable new science measurements and to reduce science instrument life-cycle cost. Develop and utilize theoretical models and analytical techniques to interpret atmospheric observations and understand global change. Produce, analyze, interpret, and disseminate atmospheric data sets necessary for understanding atmospheric radiative, chemical, dynamic, and meteorological processes and interpreting trends. Identify critical atmospheric science issues and contribute to national and international assessments of the environment, including the impact of aircraft and other anthropogenic activities on long-term global changes. Conduct analysis, design, and hardware development of advanced materials and structures, detectors, electro-optic materials, and controls for advanced aircraft and spacecraft remote sensing systems. Develop advanced remote sensing technique instrumentation and integrated sensors for low-cost, high-performance monitoring of Earth and planetary atmospheres. Develop models and perform measurements and simulation for advanced electro-optic materials and atmospheric lidar systems to predict system performance in both Earth and planetary atmospheres. Develop advanced diode-pumped solid-state lasers and lidar systems to meet the unique atmospheric science needs of the Earth science and space science enterprises. Leverage space and atmospheric science remote sensing technology to develop atmospheric monitoring instruments applicable to aircraft operations performance and safety. sensors, intelligent systems, and ground operational behavior to ensure structural integrity, reliability, and safety for aerospace vehicles. Conduct research and technology development to quantify and control aeroelastic response, unsteady aerodynamic flow phenomena, and structural dynamics behavior for flexible aerospace vehicles. Supporting Capabilities Develop, evaluate, integrate, and implement enabling state-of-the-art technologies for test articles, instruments, and facilities for airframe systems, atmospheric sciences, and related space technologies research programs. Develop, provide, operate, and maintain research models, instruments, facilities, and systems to meet the evolving ground-based requirements of the research community. Develop and provide scientific and technical information services and products for assimilating, managing, and disseminating research results. Develop and provide institutional services and products to maintain the research support infrastructure and facilities. Aerodynamics, Aerothermodynamics, and Hypersonic Airbreathing Propulsion Develop, assess, and apply aerodynamic and component integration technologies to enable development of advanced subsonic, supersonic, and high-performance aircraft. Manage, operate, and provide aerodynamic, acrothermodynamic, aero-and hypersonic-propulsion, and acoustic test capabilities for agency and industry research and development of a broad class of aerospace vehicles. Develop, assess, and apply aerothermodynamic technologies to enable development of hypersonic aircraft, launch vehicles, and planetary and Earth entry systems. Develop, assess, and apply hypersonic airbreathing propulsion technologies to enable development of hypersonic airbreathing vehicles. Develop, assess, and apply acoustic technologies in the development of advanced aerospace systems and to meet environmental requirements. SOURCE: NASA (1998b). Box 2.3 Core Competencies for Lewis Research Center Combustion Emissions measurement and diagnostics Flow field measurement and diagnostics Combustor design technology for emissions reduction Fuel injection and spray technology Combustor materials and cooling techniques Combustion testing, analysis, instability, and heat transfer codes Propellants, including high-density monopropellants, high-cooling-capacity fuels, and high-energy-density fuels Instrumentation and Control Temperature, heat flux, and chemical species measurements Strain sensing High-temperature silicon-carbide electronics and sensors Optical measurements Laser-based measurements Integrated control and robust control synthesis techniques Intelligent controls including fault diagnostics and neural networks

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Fluid Physics Multiphase flows in reduced and variable gravity environment Pool boiling and phase change in reduced gravity Surface-tension-driven or thermocapillary flows in reduced gravity Disorder-order transition in colloids Laser light-scattering instruments Flow of cohesionless granular media Rheological properties of non-Newtonian materials Pattern formation during solidification Dynamics and growth of bubbles Behavior of colloids, foams, and suspensions Magneto-rheological fluids Liquid crystals: hydrodynamics, structure, and phase transition Microscale hydrodynamics of moving contact line (i.e., wetting of solids) Fundamental studies of heat pipes and capillary pumped loops Nonintrusive flow and temperature measurement techniques Biological fluid flows Materials and Structures Advanced materials (polymers, metals, and ceramics) and composites Structural mechanics concepts Environmental durability Fatigue and fracture (life and reliability prediction) Turbomachinery structural dynamics Tribological (friction and wear) concepts Materials processing, fabrication, and testing Computational materials and structures Materials characterization and analysis techniques (including nondestructive evaluation) Materials and structures laboratory facilities Surface analysis, texturing, and thin-film technology Advanced concepts (including deicing) Dynamic modeling of fluid systems Life-extending controls Communication and Computing Microwave technologies Advanced antennas Digital communication technologies (modulation, coding, onboard processing and switching, and network terminals) Communication networks and systems Advanced space communication experiment capabilities with ACTS [Advanced Communications Technology Satellite] Enabling computing capabilities Power Generation and Management Development and testing of next-generation solar cells and concentrator arrays Development and testing of advanced solar concentrators, heat receivers, and thermal transport and radiator technologies Development of Stirling engines for space and terrestrial power applications Development and testing of advanced batteries and fuel cells Development and testing of low-, wide-, and high-temperature electrical components and devices Development and testing of magnetic and dielectric materials Modeling and analysis of space-system-generated plasma effects Modeling and analysis of integrated spacecraft power systems Turbomachinery Mechanical design of high-speed rotating machinery Turbomachinery flow physics Materials, seals, bearings, and lubricants for both high- and low-temperature applications Computer-aided design and modeling Facilities capable of simulating actual operating environments for testing materials, components, subassemblies, and entire gas turbine engines SOURCE: NASA (1996b). The task group believes that NASA should first determine which areas need to be developed into true core competencies (and which should not) and then use objective, external reviews2 to determine which of the winnowed set of core competencies exist at the Centers, at a level of excellence that can sustain success in a competitive ATD environment. All Centers report that they conduct external reviews of their programs, but the character and effectiveness of evaluations conducted by individual Centers vary widely and generally should be improved. For example, Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center reported that they conduct an external review of all programs every 3 years, whereas Johnson Space Center indicated that it 2   The term “external review” as used in this report signifies evaluation by independent, objective experts whose outside perspective and expertise in the subjects at hand can broaden and strengthen the feedback they provide. “Peer review” is the term commonly used throughout the scientific community. The task group has elected to use “external review” to emphasize that it does not mean simply the review of technology by scientists, but merit review by appropriate, independent, relevant experts.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science relied on internal reviews rather than external reviews. Also, it is not clear in all cases that these reviews provide critical, independent assessments. The reviews should focus on excellence, and success in competitions against other organizations should be viewed as a critical element of validating excellence. Some of NASA's core competency groups are already world class and should be able to compete successfully with external groups for technology programs. Other areas may require some nurturing before achieving true core competency status. In such a case it may be necessary to target some ATD funds for this purpose, but a deadline should be set for accomplishing the objective, probably not to exceed 3 years. ATD funds should not be used more broadly to bolster in-house capability. For core competency groups that are close to achieving world class, the 3-year limit provides an opportunity for new staff and improved facilities to significantly enhance existing capabilities. The orderly completion and termination of programs that will be phased out can be accomplished over the same interval. However, the time limit rules out open-ended efforts to fabricate core competencies in areas where NASA's current capabilities are far behind those of outside groups. Each Center director has discretionary funds that can be used for seed efforts, nurturing efforts, and quick response to opportunity. Such funds would help in easing workforce concerns, and headquarters review would prevent misuse. Finally, the AT&MS Division has suggested that it is appropriate to maintain NASA 's core competencies using ATD resources, and that resources dedicated to this effort would not be made competitively available to outside organizations. The task group believes that protecting core competencies from competition is counterproductive to achieving excellence, and the excessive number of core competencies listed in Box 2.2 and Box 2.3 increases the magnitude of this problem. Recommendation 3. NASA should establish a comprehensive Center evaluation process that includes regular, objective, external evaluations of core competencies. Those internal core competencies essential to achieving a Center 's main mission should be identified and appropriate recommendations made to achieve and maintain excellence. As a result of these evaluations, NASA will have to make difficult choices about limiting internal research emphasis in some areas. External organizations with world-class capabilities should be selected competitively to complement the in-house work and ensure the maintenance of NASA's centers of excellence. ATD funds should not be set aside to provide support for in-house capability but should be earned by Centers through open competition with outside organizations. Roles of NASA Headquarters and the Centers As it becomes more common for Centers to compete against academia and industry, increased reliance on objective external reviews will help avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. Proposal reviews should be carried out by knowledgeable, disinterested individuals from other government agencies, industry, and academia whose collective expertise spans the relevant scientific and technical areas in the projects or programs to be reviewed. One of the challenges associated with the widespread use of external reviews is how to manage the review process effectively. Good management is especially important with procurement actions. The government procurement process is already long and complex, and it

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science would be unfortunate if the advantages produced by increased competition were offset by comparable increases in the time taken to complete procurement actions. Therefore the task group believes that NASA 's recent efforts to streamline the proposal review and award process for science research grants should be applied also to technology awards. Furthermore, adequately staffing the external review process is essential. Although the Centers may be asked to manage technology development programs, NASA-wide oversight of technology for the space sciences belongs at headquarters. Currently, the Office of the Chief Technologist plays an agency-wide coordination role, and line management for space science technology resides in OSS. In make-or-buy decisions for individual elements of the technology program, the relative roles of OSS and the Centers are unclear. Open competitions, in which NASA Centers are eligible to compete with industry and academia, are important for ensuring that ATD is conducted by the best-qualified people. However, it would be difficult to structure fair competitions were they administered by Centers that also have a self-interest in funding in-house activities. That situation is handled satisfactorily for OSS competitions for space science funding by administering proposal solicitations (which are open to all organizations, including academia, industry, Centers, other federal agencies, and not-for-profit laboratories) and proposal merit reviews, and making award selection decisions at headquarters. The task group views the stated intention of the director of AT&MS D to follow this process for advanced technology as a sound approach. Recommendation 4. With the support of external reviewers, NASA headquarters should conduct make-or-buy decisions and competitive procurements for all long-term ATD. Recommendation 5. For near-term technology development needed to support ongoing programs already under the direction of a particular Center, that Center should conduct make-or-buy decisions. However, if the Center decides to buy, then NASA should avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest by either administering the competition and external review from headquarters or excluding from the competition all in-house organizations located at that Center. A Center decision to “make” should have headquarters concurrence. Recommendation 6. NASA should ensure that adequate resources, especially personnel, are available for headquarters to organize, conduct, and respond to the needed number of external reviews to support competitive ATD procurements. INFRASTRUCTURE Workforce Development After the Centers winnow the number of areas in which they seek to sustain core capabilities and focus on those few where they may remain preeminent, then one of the important consequences is likely to be that fewer members of a Center's technical staff will be “hands-on, bench” practitioners. Given NASA's ongoing efforts to reduce its workforce, a strategic approach that considers core competencies will become an essential tool in workforce planning. More importantly, the task group believes that the functional responsibilities of the Centers will

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science be broader than the select set of skills that Centers will preserve as internal core competencies. Hence, to sustain a total workforce that stays on the cutting edge to meet the demands of the Centers ' mission roles, NASA will have to expand its activities to nurture the skills and maintain the currency of its workforce. As Centers make the transition from being heavily oriented toward in-house technology development to taking the role of facilitating external projects and partnerships, the need to be a “smart buyer” will grow. A key to keeping the workforce sharp in such a transition is exploitation of means to promote staff mobility, both among Centers and between Centers and academia, industry, and other government laboratories. Vehicles such as Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) exchanges are one such means. NASA representatives reported to the task group that most Centers had a few employees (typically one to five) detailed for temporary assignments at other Centers or laboratories, but that limited relocation funding and family considerations were impediments to broader use of exchanges. This number seems too small for organizations the size of the Centers. Centers can attract and retain highly qualified scientists and technologists on their staffs by continuing to use the “dual career ladder” that provides opportunities for researchers to be rewarded and promoted on the basis of their technical work and performance as an alternative to entering the management track. Managing the Space Sciences noted the importance of having competent space scientists at the Centers working closely with project managers to support the most effective flight projects. Promoting teaming of Center scientists and technologists is also important to sustain strong technology programs. Another way to enhance the intellectual vigor of the Centers is to ensure that there is a steady flow of young researchers from outside organizations (e.g., via the use of temporary postdoctoral appointments). Organizational Interdependencies Effectively managing interdependencies among NASA Centers and between NASA and other government agencies is important. The strong technological alliance between DOD and NASA in aeronautics has been a positive example in this regard. An increased level of interdependency will help break down the insular culture that persists at some Centers. Declining budgets in both the civil and military space programs have been increasing the pressure for greater interagency cooperation. Missions by the Department of Defense (DOD) such as Clementine also indicate that a technological alliance between NASA and DOD could produce potentially important benefits to space science in general and technology endeavors such as the New Millennium Program in particular. It will be constructive for NASA to include non-NASA government laboratories and quasi-government facilities in competitive procurements (NRC, 1994b, 1995, 1997a). NASA representatives reported on more than 70 partnership arrangements in support of OSS technology development between Centers and DOD agencies plus a handful of activities with the Department of Energy and other agencies and at least 90 inter-Center collaborative projects (see Figure 2.2). The task group finds these arrangements to signal an encouraging trend. On the other hand, having multiple Centers or laboratories involved in a given project can complicate the management structure and lead to inefficiencies. Thus, the involvement of multiple Centers or facilities should occur only when there is technical or scientific advantage to

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science FIGURE 2.2 Partnerships between NASA Centers and government agencies to support Office of Space Science technology development. SOURCE: NASA OSS.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science doing so there is a clear delineation of roles between the lead Center and the other involved parties. Recommendation 7. NASA should foster increased workforce mobility among Centers and between NASA and industry, universities, and other government agencies to facilitate the transfer of information, obtain fresh points of view, and maintain the expertise of its workforce. Expanded use of Intergovernmental Personnel Act exchanges and cooperative agreements should be considered to facilitate these efforts. Role of Chief Scientist NASA needs a strong Chief Scientist for many reasons, particularly since NASA's scientific programs are managed by three separate offices. NASA has created and filled the position of Chief Technologist, but the need for an active Chief Scientist remains. The associate administrator for space science is not in a position to carry out the role of Chief Scientist. A Chief Scientist is needed to work in partnership with the Chief Technologist, the director of the AT&MS Division, and other key NASA officials to coordinate the integration of the needs of all of NASA's science offices into an ATD program that appropriately considers NASA's scientific goals and to establish a balanced agency science and technology program. In particular, the Chief Scientist should play a key role in technology planning related to all the space sciences and help ensure that external reviews are scientifically sound. Recommendation 8. NASA should take prompt action to re-staff the Office of the Chief Scientist. Full-Cost Accounting The funds for civil service salaries, office expenses, and other related personnel and operating costs appear in NASA's budget separately from funds allocated for scientific and technical programs. Thus, it has been—and still is—difficult to accurately determine and compare the cost of different programs. A $10 million research program may cost NASA $10 million if all the labor is provided by contractors, who are paid with funds set aside for that program. However, that same program may appear to cost NASA less, but actually cost significantly more because the present NASA accounting procedure omits a large number of civil service employees, whose salaries are paid from a separate account provided to each Center. Without accurate fiscal data about funds allocations and program costs, it is impossible for NASA to make informed judgments about Center roles, make-or-buy decisions, or contract awards for competitive procurements that include proposals from NASA Centers. NASA needs a new financial management system that provides a full accounting of individual program and project costs. This need has been long recognized. Although NASA is in the process of implementing a new, full-cost accounting system, little progress is evident since Managing the Space Sciences was issued in 1995, and implementation of a full-cost accounting system is still at least a year or two away.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Although necessary, the implementation of full-cost accounting could raise significant personnel management issues for NASA. Currently, program cancellations generally do not threaten the civil service workforce because their salaries are separately budgeted. However, under a full-cost accounting system, civil service salaries would presumably be included in the budgets of each program and project —and center of excellence. Suppose, in a full-cost, competitive environment, that a center of excellence is unable to compete for and win enough work to keep its staff funded. As discussed above, the task group recommends against continued use of ATD funds to perpetuate centers of excellence or maintain claimed core competencies when lack of competitiveness demonstrates that they are inferior to other organizations in government, industry, and/or academia. NASA will have to develop plans to deal with workforce redeployments. Given that a complete shift to a fully competitive environment will take several years to implement, there is time to address this issue and put a plan in place. Recommendation 9. Full-cost accounting is essential to effective management of ATD programs, and NASA should provide sufficient resources to complete and implement a full-cost accounting system. NASA should also determine how it will address workforce issues that may be raised when funding allocations are guided by full-cost accounting and organizational excellence, as determined through full and open competition. PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT Data Collection Effective management is greatly hampered without accurate information on the history and current status of ongoing programs. Implementing a full-cost accounting system, as described above, is an essential first step. With regard to ATD, it is important to structure the cost accounting system to provide all necessary information. For example, NASA managers currently have little or no historical information on how ATD funding has been split between long-term and short-term programs; how funding has been divided between in-house efforts and efforts by industry, universities, and other government laboratories; and how much of the ATD funding is competitively awarded. Neither is data readily available to describe the details from collaborative efforts among NASA Centers or between NASA and outside organizations, in which both NASA and its collaborators contribute funding and personnel. Recommendation 10. NASA should identify performance measurement approaches (including independent external reviews) and metrics (including adequate investment data) needed to effectively manage its ATD programs. The findings and recommendations of external reviews of the Centers should be reported to headquarters as well as to senior Center management. Investment data should cover the current program, and these metrics should be tracked for future use.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Technology Insertion There is an inherent contradiction between NASA's wish to advance new technologies and its desire to avoid mission failures. Balancing the long-term payoff that a new technology may provide—if and when it has been proven in flight—with the risk of losing a near-term mission that tests the technology is difficult (NRC, 1996b). OSS representatives indicated that they intend to foster the incorporation of new technology into missions by including such use of new technology as an explicit factor in the selection criteria for new projects. One approach OSS could apply to managing the risk accompanying the use of unproven technologies would be to be more aggressive in incorporating new technologies in smaller-class missions (e.g., Small Explorers [SMEX] and University Explorers [UNEX]) than in more expensive ones. In addition, a Transition and Infusion Manager staff position dedicated to increasing the inclusion of new technology in the flight program has been established in the AT&MS Division. The individual selected to fill this position will need to address several important challenges: How to use new technology in flight programs without adding unacceptable risks; How to arrange for timely flight tests of new technology, so that it can be incorporated into science missions before it becomes obsolete; and How to broker agreements between technology developers and flight program managers to bridge the gap between ground-based validation of technology and prototype flight demonstrations of mission readiness. ATD efforts generally are not funded for flight demonstrations, and managers of flight programs are reluctant to divert program funds to flight demonstrations of technologies that may not work and could endanger the success of the one mission for which the manager is currently responsible. NASA's New Millennium Program (NMP) is intended to help address the above problems. NMP is sponsoring a series of missions with the dual objective of demonstrating advanced technology, while still conducting scientifically useful experiments. Because of the dual objective, however, the desire to ensure a successful scientific outcome can interfere with the goal of determining if new technology is ready for use in future missions. NASA representatives indicated that early in the program the cost and time necessary to prepare new technologies for flight demonstrations had both been significantly underestimated by the NMP. The director of the AT&MS Division reported to the task group that he plans to take action to avoid these problems with future NMP missions. Although Managing the Space Sciences “urges that every technology development flight that is to benefit the space sciences use the new technology to accomplish valid science ” (p. 69), the task group believes that exceptions to this principle may sometimes be required in order to sponsor timely and cost-effective demonstrations of important new technology. Although the use of NMP missions to accomplish interesting science remains a desirable goal, it should not be permitted to impede the primary purpose of such missions—the flight validation of new technologies.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Follow-up Even when the need for change is accepted and a plan for making change is broadly endorsed, day-to-day crises can interfere with efforts to improve long-term effectiveness. The task group believes that the response to Managing the Space Sciences provides a good example of this phenomenon. That report contained few controversial recommendations, yet many recommendations remain unfulfilled as attention has been distracted by changes in organizational structures, personnel, and policies. Recommendation 11. To ensure accountability, NASA should formally respond to the recommendations contained in this task group report. Regular status reports should be made to external bodies, such as the NASA Advisory Council. REFERENCES National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 1996a. Implementation Plan for the Office of the Chief Technologist. Available online at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codea/codeaf/plan.html. NASA, Washington, D.C. NASA. 1996b. NASA Lewis Research Center Core Competencies. Available online at http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/TU/summit/corecomp.htm.NASA, Washington, D.C. NASA. 1997. NASA Strategic Management Handbook—October 1996 (updated March 18, 1997). Available online at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codez/strahand/roles.htm. Office of Policy and Plans. NASA, Washington, D.C. NASA. 1998a. NASA Strategic Plan 1998. NASA Policy Directive (NPD)-1000.1. Available online at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/nsp/framewrk.htm. NASA, Washington, D.C. NASA. 1998b. Strategic and Quality Framework and Implementation Plan of NASA Langley Research Center. Available online at http://larcip.larc.nasa.gov. NASA, Washington, D.C. National Research Council (NRC). 1991. The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Board on Physics and Astronomy. Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1993. Improving NASA's Technology for Space Science. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board. Committee on Space Science Technology Planning. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1994a. An Integrated Strategy for the Planetary Sciences: 1995-2010. Space Studies Board. Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration . National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1994b. Space Facilities. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Committee on Space Facilities . National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1995. Managing the Space Sciences. Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Committee on the Future of Space Science. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1996a. A Science Strategy for Space Physics. Space Studies Board and Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. Committee on Solar and Space Physics and Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science NRC. 1996b. Assessment of Recent Changes in the Explorer Program. Space Studies Board. Panel to Review the Explorer Program. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1997a. Lessons Learned from the Clementine Mission. Space Studies Board. Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration . National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1997b. A New Science Strategy for Space Astronomy and Astrophysics. Space Studies Board. Task Group on Space Astronomy and Astrophysics . National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 1997c. On NASA's Office of Space Science Draft Strategic Plan. Space Studies Board letter report from Claude R. Canizares, chair, to Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., associate administrator for NASA's Office of Space Science. August 27. NRC. 1998. Space Technology for the New Century. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. Committee on Advanced Space Technology. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. Prahalad, C.K., and Gary Hamel. 1990. The Core Competence of the Corporation. Harvard Business Review. May–June. Quinn and Hilmer. 1994. Sloan Management Review 35(4):19-31.