Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science

Task Group on Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science

Space Studies Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Task Group on Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Space Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the task group responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Contract NASW 96013 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copies of this report are available from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science TASK GROUP ON TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT IN NASA'S OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE DANIEL J. FINK, D.J. Fink Associates, Inc., Chair ROBERT S. COOPER, Atlantic Aerospace Electronic Corporation ANTHONY W. ENGLAND, University of Michigan DONALD C. FRASER, Boston University ARAM M. MIKA, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space IRWIN I. SHAPIRO, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics OSWALD SIEGMUND, University of California at Berkeley JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Study Director ALAN C. ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board) DENIS F. CIOFFI, Program Officer (Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications) ANNE K. SIMMONS, Senior Program Assistant

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science SPACE STUDIES BOARD CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University FRAN BAGENAL, University of Colorado at Boulder DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado at Boulder LAWRENCE BOGORAD, * Harvard University DONALD E. BROWNLEE, * University of Washington ROBERT E. CLELAND, University of Washington GERARD W. ELVERUM, JR., TRW Space and Technology Group (retired) ANTHONY W. ENGLAND, * University of Michigan MARILYN L. FOGEL, Carnegie Institution of Washington RONALD GREELEY, Arizona State University BILL GREEN, former member, U.S. House of Representatives CHRISTIAN JOHANNSEN, Purdue University ANDREW H. KNOLL, Harvard University JONATHAN I. LUNINE, University of Arizona ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, CIESIN-Columbia University BERRIEN MOORE III, * University of New Hampshire GARY J. OLSEN, University of Illinois at Urbana MARY JANE OSBORN, University of Connecticut Health Center SIMON OSTRACH, * Case Western Reserve University MORTON B. PANISH, * AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired) CARLÉ M. PIETERS, * Brown University THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology PEDRO L. RUSTAN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired) JOHN A. SIMPSON, * University of Chicago GEORGE L. SISCOE, Boston University EUGENE B. SKOLNIKOFF, Massachusetts Institute of Technology EDWARD M. STOLPER, California Institute of Technology NORMAN E. THAGARD, Florida State University ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center RAYMOND VISKANTA, Purdue University PETER VOORHEES, Northwestern University ROBERT E. WILLIAMS, * Space Telescope Science Institute JOHN A. WOOD, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director *Former member.

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS PETER M. BANKS, ERIM International, Inc., Co-chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-chair WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania MARSHALL H. COHEN, California Institute of Technology RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara JERRY P. GOLLUB, Haverford College MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University JOHN L. HENNESSY, Stanford University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN R. KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania M. ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL, Stanford University NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California at Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Foreword A steady stream of new technology is absolutely essential for progress in space research. Science advances by asking more and more difficult questions and demanding increasingly capable instruments to provide the answers. It is technology, far more than sheer money, that fuels this advance. Technology has the added role of enhancing capability at reduced cost, which is especially important in times of limited budgets. NASA recently reorganized the management of technology development, assigning most of the responsibility to its Office of Space Science. This report responds to the agency's request for an assessment of that effort in the context of current needs, concerns expressed by Congress, and previous recommendations of the Space Studies Board (particularly in the 1995 report, Managing the Space Sciences). The task group comprised experienced developers of technology from universities, industry, and government. Key issues addressed here include near- and long-term planning, selection of the players in developing new technology, and maintaining core competency within NASA's own field centers. A major theme is the role of independent external review throughout the technology program. This, in fact, is the focus of the recent congressional attention. Peer review can mean different things in different communities, and some believe it to be incompatible with some of the objectives of a technology development program. The Board has been consistent in holding that the appropriate application of independent, external merit review can be made to function in nearly all situations and is the best way to ensure excellence. NASA and the scientific community have ambitious plans for the coming decade in space research. These plans can be achieved within the expected funding levels if, and only if, the enabling technology is ready when needed. This readiness depends, in turn, on NASA continuing the organizational progress it has made in recent years. Claude R. Canizares, Chair Space Studies Board

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Assessment of Technology Development in NASA's Office of Space Science Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Lew Allen, Jr., Jet Propulsion Laboratory (retired), John A. Armstrong, IBM (retired), James Arnold, University of California at San Diego, Alexander H. Flax, Institute for Defense Analysis (retired), Frank B. McDonald, University of Maryland at College Park, Norman F. Ness, University of Delaware, and Marcia J. Rieke, University of Arizona. Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring task group and the NRC.

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