National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

ASSESSMENT OF IMPEDIMENTS TO INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION ON SPACE AND EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS

Committee on Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

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 committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH06CE15B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-16350-7

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-16350-1

Copies of this report are available free of charge from:

Space Studies Board

National Research Council

500 Fifth Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20001

Additional copies of this report are available from the

National Academies Press,

500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. Charles M. Vest 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. Harvey V. Fineberg 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.


www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD

Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board [LAB] with the Space Studies Board [SSB] and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2010)

Controlling Cost Growth of NASA Earth and Space Science Missions (SSB, 2010)

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions (SSB, 2010)

Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era of Space Exploration: An Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics [prepublication version] (Board on Physics and Astronomy [BPA] and SSB, 2010)

Panel Reports—New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics [prepublication version] (BPA and SSB, 2010)

Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey [prepublication version] (BPA and SSB, 2010)

Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program: Advancing Science, Driving Innovation, and Developing a Workforce (SSB, 2010)


America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions (SSB, 2009)

Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Heliophysics Program (SSB, 2009)

Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009)


Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring (SSB, 2008)

Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA’s Constellation System (SSB with ASEB, 2008)

Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity (SSB, 2008)

Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA’s Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2008)

Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2008)

Space Science and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Summary of a Workshop (SSB, 2008)


Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (SSB, 2007)

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars (SSB with the Board on Life Sciences [BLS], 2007)

Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2007)

Decadal Science Strategy Surveys: Report of a Workshop (SSB, 2007)

Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond (SSB, 2007)

Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System (SSB with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 2007)

Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Review (SSB, 2007)

The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems (SSB with BLS, 2007)

NASA’s Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation (SSB with BPA, 2007)

Options to Ensure the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2007)

A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Astrophysics Program (SSB with BPA, 2007)

Portals to the Universe: The NASA Astronomy Science Centers (SSB, 2007)

The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (SSB, 2007)


Limited copies of SSB reports are available free of charge from


Space Studies Board

National Research Council

The Keck Center of the National Academies

500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001

(202) 334-3477/ssb@nas.edu

www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

COMMITTEE ON ASSESSMENT OF IMPEDIMENTS TO INTERAGENCY COOPERATION ON SPACE AND EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS

D. JAMES BAKER,

The William J. Clinton Foundation,

Co-Chair

DANIEL N. BAKER,

University of Colorado, Boulder,

Co-Chair

DAVID A. BEARDEN,

The Aerospace Corporation

CHARLES L. BENNETT,

Johns Hopkins University

STACEY W. BOLAND,

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR.,

University of Maryland, College Park

CARLOS E. DEL CASTILLO,

Johns Hopkins University

ANTONIO L. ELIAS,

Orbital Sciences Corporation

MARGARET FINARELLI,

George Mason University

TODD R. LaPORTE,

University of California, Berkeley

MARGARET S. LEINEN,

Florida Atlantic University

SCOTT N. PACE,

George Washington University

MARK R. SCHOEBERL,1

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

GRAEME L. STEPHENS,

Colorado State University

ANNALISA L. WEIGEL,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MICHAEL S. WITHERELL,

University of California, Santa Barbara

A. THOMAS YOUNG,

Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired)

Staff

ARTHUR A. CHARO, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Senior Program Officer

ABIGAIL A. SHEFFER, Associate Program Officer

CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TERRI BAKER, Senior Program Assistant

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director,

Space Studies Board

1

Resigned from the committee on August 28, 2009.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

CHARLES F. KENNEL,

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego,

Chair

JOHN KLINEBERG,

Space Systems/Loral (retired),

Vice Chair

STEVEN J. BATTEL,

Battel Engineering

YVONNE C. BRILL, Aerospace Consultant

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ANDREW B. CHRISTENSEN,

Dixie State College and Aerospace Corporation

ALAN DRESSLER,

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution

JACK D. FELLOWS,

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

HEIDI B. HAMMEL,

Space Science Institute

FIONA A. HARRISON,

California Institute of Technology

ANTHONY C. JANETOS,

University of Maryland

JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE,

Naval War College

MOLLY K. MACAULEY,

Resources for the Future

JOHN F. MUSTARD,

Brown University

ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO,

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

JAMES PAWELCZYK,

Pennsylvania State University

SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN,

University of California, Irvine

DAVID N. SPERGEL,

Princeton University

JOAN VERNIKOS,

Thirdage LLC

WARREN M. WASHINGTON,

National Center for Atmospheric Research

CHARLES E. WOODWARD,

University of Minnesota

THOMAS H. ZURBUCHEN,

University of Michigan

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director (from April 1, 2010)

RICHARD E. ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 2, 2009, to March 31, 2010)

MARCIA S. SMITH, Director (until March 1, 2009)

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager,

Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer

SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

Preface

H.R. 6063, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, was enacted into law on October 15, 2008. Included in the act is the following request to the NASA Administrator to initiate a National Academies study:1

The [NASA] Administrator, in consultation with other agencies with space science programs, shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academies to assess impediments, including cost growth, to the successful conduct of interagency cooperation on space science missions, to provide lessons learned and best practices, and to recommend steps to help facilitate successful interagency collaborations on space science missions.


As part of the same arrangement with the National Academies, the Administrator, in consultation with NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and other agencies with civil Earth observation systems, shall have the National Academies assess impediments, including cost growth, to the successful conduct of interagency cooperation on Earth science missions, to provide lessons learned and best practices, and to recommend steps to help facilitate successful interagency collaborations on Earth science missions.

In mid-2009, NASA arranged with the National Academies to conduct the study described in this language. The committee’s statement of task is reproduced as Appendix A. Specifically, the study should:

  • Examine the rationale for interagency cooperation in Earth science and space science missions, including variations in motivation for interagency cooperation among agencies.

  • Survey Earth science and space science missions, either in operation or under formulation or development, which involve a significant partnership in either mission execution or instrument development by NASA with one or more other federal agencies….

  • From these case studies, identify lessons learned and best practices. Areas include:

    • Acquisition strategies;

    • Program management and structure, including partnership models; and

    • Interagency issues related to the “research to operations transition.”

1

Title V, section 507, “Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions.” The full text of the act is available at http://legislative.nasa.gov/PL%20110-422.pdf.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

Following approval by the National Research Council, the Space Studies Board appointed members to the Committee on Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions, which was tasked to carry out the study. Biographies of the committee members are given in Appendix F. Collectively, the committee was able to draw on significant personal experience involving senior agency leadership at NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation; senior leadership at NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories; space and Earth science mission scientific leadership, project management, and systems engineering; space program systems and cost analyses; aerospace industry program and project management; interagency and international program planning and execution; and research on complex organizations.

The committee met twice during the course of the study (Appendix E shows the agendas for these meetings). In addition, members of the committee met in informal splinter groups, and the committee also convened via teleconference on multiple occasions. Information in the report was current as of early 2010; however, the report was largely completed prior to the announcement on February 1, 2010, of the termination of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System program.2

The report is organized as follows: Chapter 1, “Introduction,” provides the context for subsequent discussions on interagency collaboration. Included in this chapter is a brief discussion of the inherent challenges of executing space missions and the unique opportunities and challenges associated with collaborative missions. Chapter 2, “NASA Interagency Collaboration,” reviews recent instrument and mission-level interagency collaborations for Earth and space science missions among NASA, NOAA, DOE, and the Department of Defense. The chapter also reviews the impact of collaboration on cost, schedule, and complexity. Chapter 3, “Lessons Learned and Best Practices,” provides committee views on when collaboration should be undertaken and steps to increase the likelihood of its success.

2

Office of Science and Technology Policy, “Restructuring the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System,” February 1, 2010, Washington, D.C., available at http://www.whitehouse.govadministration/eop/ostp/rdbudgets/2011.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its 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 review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Mark Abbott, Oregon State University,

Susan Avery, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,

Vinton G. Cerf, Google, Inc.,

Paul G. Gaffney II, Monmouth University,

Charles G. Groat, University of Texas, Austin,

Molly Macauley, Resources for the Future,

Craig Thomas, University of Washington,

Michael Turner, University of Chicago, and

Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Byron D. Tapley, University of Texas, Austin. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13042.
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Through an examination of case studies, agency briefings, and existing reports, and drawing on personal knowledge and direct experience, the Committee on Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions found that candidate projects for multiagency collaboration in the development and implementation of Earth-observing or space science missions are often intrinsically complex and, therefore costly, and that a multiagency approach to developing these missions typically results in additional complexity and cost. Advocates of collaboration have sometimes underestimated the difficulties and associated costs and risks of dividing responsibility and accountability between two or more partners; they also discount the possibility that collaboration will increase the risk in meeting performance objectives.

This committee's principal recommendation is that agencies should conduct Earth and space science projects independently unless:

  • It is judged that cooperation will result in significant added scientific value to the project over what could be achieved by a single agency alone; or
  • Unique capabilities reside within one agency that are necessary for the mission success of a project managed by another agency; or
  • The project is intended to transfer from research to operations necessitating a change in responsibility from one agency to another during the project; or
  • There are other compelling reasons to pursue collaboration, for example, a desire to build capacity at one of the cooperating agencies.

Even when the total project cost may increase, parties may still find collaboration attractive if their share of a mission is more affordable than funding it alone. In these cases, alternatives to interdependent reliance on another government agency should be considered. For example, agencies may find that buying services from another agency or pursuing interagency coordination of spaceflight data collection is preferable to fully interdependent cooperation.

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