In reviewing and evaluating the draft roadmaps and considering the purpose and strategic goals for the advanced technology development program managed by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT), the steering committee formed some general observations concerning the program as a whole and reached some conclusions on how the effectiveness of the program can be maintained or enhanced.1 Those observations and conclusions are described in this chapter. The topics dealt with tend to address multiple roadmaps.
Effective management of NASA’s space technology program requires careful consideration of technology priorities, trade-offs, and decision points for down-selecting from competing options, as well as the changing needs of future missions. Technology relationships and planning can be complex. Some focused technologies must be developed early to support the development of higher-level technologies. Conversely, other technologies cannot effectively move forward until substantial progress is made with more foundational technologies. In other cases, technology advances are only realized when a suite of multidisciplinary technologies are combined in a subsystem or system. An effective management process that is guided by systems analysis trade studies and includes systems engineering considerations, as appropriate, is necessary to establish and maintain a coherent and effectively phased technology program that coordinates and integrates the research conducted across multiple roadmaps, as necessary.
There will always be multiple technology options available to address a given technical challenge. Establishing milestones with well-defined performance criteria coinciding with down-select points in project plans provides a structured approach to selecting technologies that show the most promise, while terminating those that are less relevant and unlikely to contribute to emerging capabilities. Down-selecting too soon can limit options, but in a constrained budgetary environment pursuing too many competing parallel technical approaches is unaffordable. These competing pressures—keeping options open and down-selecting early to the most promising technology— highlight the importance of emphasizing technologies that can meet a range of likely future needs. For example, the draft Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems roadmap is focused largely on meeting the needs of a human mission
1The draft space technology roadmaps are available at http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/strategic_integration/technology_roadmap.html
to Mars. While this mission beneficially stresses and challenges the technology envelope in entry, descent, and landing (EDL), it would be prudent to ensure that the EDL technology under development is not tied too closely to a specific mission or destination. Technologies that enable a broad spectrum of future missions by accommodating a wide range of destination and schedule options were more highly valued in the roadmap evaluation.
Some technologies in different roadmaps have connections that are not delineated in the draft roadmaps. For example, both a better understanding of the effects of space radiation on humans and development of technologies to mitigate those effects more effectively are a high priority for future human deep-space missions. The risk posed by space radiation is closely linked to mission duration and thus to advances in in-space propulsion that could shorten the duration of long missions, such as a human mission to Mars. Systems analysis could help address the multifaceted challenge of reducing the health risk posed by space radiation. More generally, systems analysis could be used throughout the technology development process to guide technology selection, refinement, redirection, and down-selection in the dynamic environment that shapes NASA’s current and future research and mission priorities.
Recommendation. Systems Analysis. NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) should use disciplined systems analysis for the ongoing management and decision support of the space technology portfolio, particularly with regard to understanding technology alternatives, relationships, priorities, timing, availability, down-selection, maturation, investment needs, system engineering considerations, and cost-to-benefit ratios; to examine “what-if” scenarios; and to facilitate multidisciplinary assessment, coordination, and integration of the roadmaps as a whole. OCT should give early attention to improving systems analysis and modeling tools, if necessary to accomplish this recommendation.
Recommendation. Managing the Progression of Technologies to Higher Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). OCT should establish a rigorous process to down-select among competing technologies at appropriate milestones and TRLs to ensure that only the most promising technologies proceed to the next TRL.
The successful development of game-changing technologies that lead to revolutionary capabilities applicable to a wide range of potential missions is a priority for NASA’s space technology program and was treated as such in the roadmap evaluation process. Not to be overlooked, however, is the fact that many of the game-changing breakthroughs emerge only from a sustained level of disciplinary research and its contribution to a foundational technology base. As such, maintaining (or reestablishing) a technology base that produces a pipeline of evolutionary improvements over time is an important element of the OCT program. There are many areas where continuity of effort is all-important, such as research on aerothermodynamics and hypersonic flow, advanced lightweight materials, fault-tolerant guidance and control, and human factors, to name just a few. These are areas that address problems that will never be completely solved, yet advancing the level of understanding in these disciplines is critical for many of NASA’s missions. Also, in executing challenging missions, it is often necessary to have access to individuals with in-depth competence who reside in the government, at an academic institution, or perhaps in industry, and who are experts in a given subject. These experts are invaluable in providing advice to help solve problems of a critical nature as they arise during a program. Furthermore, hiring the very brightest people as they graduate from universities will help NASA maintain and improve its workforce over the long term. These individuals are usually best placed initially in a disciplinary research organization where they can continue to grow their expertise in their fields. They can later transition to other parts of the organization as they progress in their chosen careers. The steering committee recognizes that many of these core-competency and workforce issues do not rest principally with OCT, but they are mentioned here because the technology development program can influence how NASA addresses these issues.
In 2011, NASA OCT reestablished the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program to fund visionary technologies at TRLs 1 to 3. The NIAC program, which will investigate individual technology concepts at a relatively low level of effort, should not be limited to those technologies identified as high priority by the steering
committee or the panels. Rather, research supported by the NIAC program will complement the more substantial efforts that are necessary to investigate high-priority technologies at a higher TRL. The NIAC approach is also appropriate to meet the policy objectives of enhancing the education of future scientists and engineers and facilitating international collaboration in the development of low-TRL technology.
Recommendation. Foundational Technology Base. OCT should reestablish a discipline-oriented technology base program that pursues both evolutionary and revolutionary advances in technological capabilities and that draws upon the expertise of NASA centers and laboratories, other federal laboratories, industry, and academia.
Programs such as the International Space Station (ISS) demonstrate the benefit of interagency and international cooperation at the mission level. The development of many technologies relevant to NASA is supported and/or conducted by other federal agencies, foreign governments, industry, and academic institutions. In many cases NASA is already cooperating with other organizations to develop critical new technologies and/or adapt the results of work by others to meet NASA’s needs. NASA’s 2011 Strategic Plan confirms NASA’s intent to continue such cooperation, noting that NASA should “facilitate the transfer of NASA technology and engage in partnerships with other government agencies, industry, and international entities to generate U.S. commercial activity and other public benefits” while “expanding partnerships with international, intergovernmental, academic, industrial, and entrepreneurial communities and recognizing their role as important contributors of skill and creativity to our missions and for the propagation of results” (NASA, 2011, p. 3-5). Department of Defense research laboratories have space technology development efforts that the workshops identified as areas where collaboration with OCT would be mutually beneficial. Europe has made significant long-term investments in basic and industrial research to advance and sustain its space program. Similarly, the space programs of Japan and other Asian countries are also advancing rapidly. NASA’s technology roadmaps would be more valuable and actionable if they provided more detail about how various goals might be accomplished through partnerships with outside organizations.
With some technologies, international partnerships are hampered by limitations imposed by U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Even so, technology development efforts by OCT provide a new opportunity for NASA to engage in cooperative development of new technologies. This cooperation could enable NASA to achieve more of its technological goals with available funding, in part by drawing on the available specialized expertise and prior investments made elsewhere.
NASA recognizes that resource constraints of funding and staffing will always be a limiting factor to carrying out all technology development recommended by the roadmaps. Accordingly, cooperative development of applicable high-priority technologies with other organizations will expand the scope of advanced technologies that will be available to future missions.
Recommendation. Cooperative Development of New Technologies. OCT should pursue cooperative development of high-priority technologies with other federal agencies, foreign governments, industry, and academic institutions to leverage resources available for technology development.
Testing and demonstrating new space technologies under realistic flight conditions are always desirable. The steering committee makes a distinction between flight testing and flight demonstrations: flight testing deals with acquiring performance data at any TRL below 6 that happens be in flight, and flight demonstration deals with the TRL 6 validation of a system or subsystem performance to confirm technology readiness and level of risk to the satisfaction of those who will decide to incorporate the technology in a mission.
Flight testing is needed to validate the maturity of technologies when ground-based testing and/or modeling and simulation (M&S) are inadequate. It can also (1) increase the visibility of new technologies with mission offices regarding the potential of the technology to meet mission needs in terms of performance and reliability in a way
that M&S and ground tests might not convey; (2) lay the groundwork for dialog between technology developers and mission offices to define a rigorous approach to achieving TRL 6; and (3) provide opportunities to train new members of the workforce and give systems engineers and instrument scientists hands-on experience with a new technology across the full span of space mission phases (design, development, fabrication, testing, data analysis, and so on) over relatively short time spans and in risk-tolerant environments.
Flight demonstration would be the final phase of a NASA technology development program. Flight demonstrations should be conducted only if there is sufficient “pull” (and typically cost sharing) from the user. Such co-funding between OCT and the using Mission Directorate in the case of a NASA application is a mechanism for bridging the “valley of death” that often impedes or prevents the transition of advanced technologies from technology development offices and/or organizations to mission development offices and/or organizations.
Various platforms are available to support flight testing and demonstrations, depending on the technology and application in question. Possibilities include high-altitude airborne flights, sub-orbital space flights, and orbital flights on dedicated spacecraft, government or commercial spacecraft (as a secondary payload), and on the ISS.
Recommendation. Flight Demonstrations and Technology Transition. OCT should collaborate with other NASA mission offices and outside partners in defining, advocating, and where necessary co-funding flight demonstrations of technologies. OCT should document this collaborative arrangement using a technology transition plan or similar agreement that specifies success criteria for flight demonstrations as well as budget commitments by all involved parties.
Although facility capability is outside OCT’s direct line of responsibility and is not explicitly addressed in the study’s statement of task, the health and availability of facilities are closely linked to development of advanced technology.
State-of-the-art facilities for aerospace research and development are often large, complex, and expensive. As a result, many aerospace research facilities have historically been built and operated by government laboratories. This tradition was first established in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century (e.g., the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom, which began aeronautics research and testing in 1908). This was followed by the creation of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the United States in 1915 and the opening of the NACA Langley Memorial Laboratory in 1920. The need for such government-run facilities continues today, as underscored by a number of NRC reports, most recently an assessment of NASA laboratories for basic research (NRC, 2010).
Adequate ground test facilities are required to validate analytical models, to benchmark complex computer simulations such as computational fluid dynamics models, and to examine new designs and concepts. Testing is a critical element in material development, such as new TPS materials. Such testing is normally carried out in arcjet facilities that can produce convective heating rates and accommodate test articles in sizes of interest to simulate entry from LEO, NEO, and Mars missions. Large thermal vacuum chambers are needed to perform thermal response testing at or near vacuum or low pressure. As old facilities become obsolete, some may need to be replaced with modern facilities to support the development of new technology.
The ISS is a unique research and test facility that is critical for the development of space technologies. It provides a platform for testing in microgravity and the harsh environment of space (cosmic rays, solar coronal ejecta, micrometeorites, etc.) for long durations. Low-TRL initiatives will develop many technologies that may or may not survive the space environment, and testing in simulated space environments on the ground may not provide credible results. Thus, testing on the ISS is an important step in moving a technology from TRL 3 to TRL 5 or 6. Testing of materials, components, and/or subsystems is mentioned in all but two of the roadmaps (TA01, Launch Propulsion Systems and TA13, Ground and Launch Systems Processing). Examples of level 3 technologies from the roadmaps that would benefit from the testing on the ISS include 2.4.2 Propellant Storage and Transfer; 3.2.1 Energy Storage: Batteries; 4.6.3 Docking and Capture Mechanisms/Interfaces; 5.5.1 Radio Systems; 10.4.1 Sensors and Actuators; 12.1.1 Lightweight Materials and Structures; and 14.3.1 Ascent/Entry TPS. In addition, there
are at least four level 3 technologies in TA06 related to space radiation prediction, monitoring, and protection that would benefit from the ability to use the ISS as a testing facility.
Astronauts and machines are inevitably exposed to foreign environments during space exploration. Therefore, there is a continued need for exploration surface environment chambers, consisting of both small and large ground-based facilities that simulate space environments in terms of vacuum, CO2 dust, and solar radiation (but not reduced gravity). Such facilities are vital to the future development of EVA suits, rovers, and habitats.
There are only a few locations where synergistic effects of reduced gravity and high radiation can be studied on biological and physical systems prior to committing to a 500+ day mission to Mars. A centrifuge in high Earth orbit or on the ISS would enable testing at all gravity levels of interest, from 0 to 1 g, but there are no plans to build such facilities, and they would not accommodate human subjects. If NASA human exploration returns to the surface of the Moon, testing on the moon would provide the opportunity to conduct long-term research and testing in 1/6 g. Although such data would not be taken in the microgravity environment experienced during a transit to and from Mars or the 3/8 g experienced on the Mars surface, this data would provide much needed information that is not available from current testing in the microgravity environment of the ISS or the 1-g environment on Earth.
Finding. Facilities. Adequate research and testing facilities are essential to the timely development of many space technologies. In some cases, critical facilities do not exist or no longer exist, but defining facility requirements and then meeting those requirements fall outside the scope of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (and this study).
The productivity and the effectiveness of technology development programs are diminished when the direction, content, and/or funding of those programs abruptly change from year to year. Some redirection of effort based on program progress, results, and new understanding is appropriate, but when substantial changes occur repeatedly and unexpectedly, those changes can be extremely disruptive, especially to university research programs. Reconstituting lost capabilities or recovering from major changes in program direction can take years. Stability is important in the short term to avoid disrupting individual programs and in the long term to ensure that other federal agencies, industry, academia, and foreign organizations recognize NASA as a reliable partner.
Maintaining a stable research and technology development program can be particularly difficult when that program is too closely tied to near-term mission priorities. For example, after the Apollo program, Project Viking and other planetary probes capitalized on the ablative heat shield technologies developed for the Apollo spacecraft. However, in more recent years, the focus has been more on the reusable thermal protection systems used by the space shuttle for return from low Earth orbit. During this era, much momentum was lost in the ablative material development and supply chain, and there is a concern that reusable thermal protection systems (TPS) will suffer the same fate in the coming years. In fact, key materials suppliers are already terminating production, and technology development in this area is faltering (Grantz, 2011).
Disruptions caused by reduced budgets and changing goals of space technology programs within NASA and other federal agencies can cascade from one agency to another. Reduced support by one agency can threaten the viability and the continuation of multiagency efforts. In some cases, the resulting disruptions have led to a loss of experienced technology specialists. These losses impact NASA as well as the national aerospace community (NRC, 2009, 2010). Consequently, the need to restore these capabilities across NASA, industry, and academia and to preserve stability and continuity in a core space technology program has become a national issue.
Program stability has been a long-standing concern to the EDL community. Their concern for maintaining core capabilities, skills, and knowledge raises the issue of the role NASA should play in maintaining knowledge so it is not lost (e.g., losing TPS capabilities after Apollo) between periods of peak demand from major mission programs. Ideally, EDL research projects, technology demonstrations, and interim technology goals in the roadmap would smooth out these peak demands while building on past work to meet future requirements. A successful technology program will preserve test capabilities and advance key technologies at a steady pace that does not
depend solely on flight mission initiatives. By ensuring knowledge capture, NASA will not have to relearn lessons from the past. Struggles with Avcoat are a good example of loss of knowledge, experience, and lessons learned. Such an approach is similar to that employed with great success by NACA.
Finding. Program Stability. Repeated, unexpected changes in the direction, content, and/or level of effort of technology development programs have diminished their productivity and effectiveness. In the absence of a sustained commitment to address this issue, the pursuit of OCT’s mission to advance key technologies at a steady pace will be threatened.
The draft roadmaps could be improved by explicitly addressing the needs of the commercial space sector. The National Space Policy affirms the importance of commercial space activities, stating that “a robust and competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress in space. The United States is committed to encouraging and facilitating the growth of a U.S. commercial space sector”2 (White House, 2010, p. 3). Further, The National Aeronautics and Space Act declares that “the general welfare of the United States requires that the Administration seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.” In addition, NASA is directed to “encourage and provide for federal government use of commercially provided space services and hardware, consistent with the requirements of the federal government” (P.L. 111-314, sec. 20102). NASA’s contribution to accomplishing these important objectives would be enhanced by a technology development program that:
• Identifies how the commercial space sector could benefit from advanced technology.
• Makes appropriate efforts to develop pre-competitive technology relevant to the needs of the commercial space sector, in much the same way that NASA supports pre-competitive technology development in support of the aeronautics industry.
• Transfers advanced technologies to U.S. industry to help satisfy the needs of the commercial space sector as well as NASA’s own mission needs.
Meeting these objectives requires a proactive and sustained partnership between NASA and industry that goes beyond treating the private sector as a contractor, which is typically the case when NASA funds industry to achieve NASA goals.
The U.S. aerospace industry has developed and matured as a result of the government’s civil and military missions in space. It seems ready to exploit emerging commercial opportunities (beyond traditional services such as commercial communications and imagery), often by selling commercial space products and services where earlier the government would have purchased the space system itself. Promising non-governmental commercial opportunities include orbital human habitats and satellite servicing. Current U.S. space policies are intended to take advantage of the strengths of the United States with its free-market, entrepreneurial business culture. The transition to a more robust commercial space industry would be facilitated if NASA made new and existing research and development data more accessible to U.S. industry (especially industry that is working on its own commercial goals apart from NASA missions). The active collaboration of NASA with industry on precompetitive technologies of interest to industry would also be helpful. It is not up to NASA to predict or select viable commercial endeavors. Industry will initiate relationships with NASA in the technology development areas of interest to them, informed by improved access to archived and ongoing technology program data mentioned, and be prepared to finance their own participation. Such relationships would be confined to pre-competitive technologies.
2As used in the National Space Policy, the term commercial refers to “space goods, services, or activities provided by private sector enterprises that bear a reasonable portion of the investment risk and responsibility for the activity, operate in accordance with typical market-based incentives for controlling cost and optimizing return on investment, and have the legal capacity to offer these goods or services to existing or potential nongovernmental customers” (White House, 2010, p. 10)
It can be difficult for U.S. industry to access some NASA research results, especially for companies not under contract to NASA. Improving this situation requires addressing multiple issues that constrain data transfer to U.S. commercial enterprises. Dissemination of technical data held by NASA to commercial entities is sometimes limited by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and by intellectual property rights associated with a given research project. These factors are complicated by the multi-national nature of many aerospace firms and their involvement in the space programs of foreign nations. NASA prime contractors typically have good access to NASA’s technical data for projects in which they participate, but the impact of NASA technology development would be enhanced by more effectively disseminating technology data— past, present, and future— to companies that are not under contract to NASA. For example, NASA has considerable experimental information about human adaptation to the microgravity environment of LEO and the design requirements for the various life support systems needed to sustain life and human operations in a closed environment. This information would be of particular interest to commercial companies developing crewed systems not only for NASA but also for purely commercial missions. (See for instance Appendix I (TA06), which references robust human factors data going back to the earliest days of human spaceflight.) In addition, new commercial space orbital and suborbital vehicles most likely could take advantage of NASA data on the performance of EDL technologies. Currently, the Life Sciences Data Archive at Johnson Space Center provides a positive example of effective data archiving, sharing, and transparency (see http://lsda.jsc.nasa.gov/lsda_home1.cfm).
In addition, new NASA programs could implement data plans that target specific governmental and commercial markets. A good (non-NASA) example of this practice is found in the National Science Foundation (NSF); the NSF Grant Proposal Guide requires a data management plan which is reviewed as an integral part of every grant proposal submitted (see http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmpfaqs.jsp).
Recommendation. Industry Access to NASA Data. OCT should make the engineering, scientific, and technical data that NASA has acquired from past and present space missions and technology development more readily available to U.S. industry, including companies that do not have an ongoing working relationship with NASA and which are pursuing their own commercial goals apart from NASA’s science and exploration missions. To facilitate this process in the future, OCT should propose changes to NASA procedures so that programs are required to archive data in a readily accessible format.
Recommendation. NASA Investments in Commercial Space Technology. While OCT should focus primarily on developing advanced technologies of high value to NASA’s own mission needs, OCT should also collaborate with the U.S. commercial space industry in the development of precompetitive technologies of interest to and sought by the commercial space industry.
OCT’s draft technology roadmaps identify many crosscutting technologies that have the potential for broad and significant advances. In fact, all but one of the roadmaps (TA09, EDL Systems) has a section on interdependencies with the other roadmaps, and TA09 still addresses many technologies related to other roadmaps. For example, many of the level 3 technologies in the roadmaps for TA10 (Nanotechnology), TA11 (Modeling, Simulation, Information Technology, and Processing), and TA12 (Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing) support technology advances in other technology areas. The current set of draft roadmaps would be improved if they explicitly and systematically addressed two additional crosscutting technologies: avionics and space weather beyond radiation effects.
Space weather refers to the dynamic state of the space environment. It includes space radiation as well as other phenomena, such as solar electromagnetic flux, magnetic fields, charged and neutral components of the solar wind, and energetic particles superimposed on the solar wind from solar and galactic sources. The space environment extends from the Sun throughout the solar system, and it includes the magnetospheres and ionospheres of planets and moons. The space environment changes over time scales ranging from seconds to millennia, but the most
common time scales of interest to NASA mission operations range from minutes to hours or days. For mission planning and design the relevant time scales range from days to years or decades.
Space weather affects NASA operations through multiple phenomena, including spacecraft charging and discharging from plasma effects; single event effects (SEEs) in electronics; thermal and material degradation from exposure to ultraviolet radiation and atomic oxygen; communications and navigation disruption from x-rays and geomagnetic storms; and enhanced orbital drag from atmospheric heating. Advanced technologies are needed to improve space situation awareness, to provide dynamic models of the space environment, and to develop innovative approaches for mitigating the varied effects of space weather and to resolve operational failures and anomalies.
Currently, space weather and the space environment beyond radiation seem to be touched upon in just one of the draft roadmaps: TA08, Science Instruments, Observatories, and Sensor Systems (see technology 8.3.1, which comprises sensors for particles, fields, and waves, including charged and neutral particles, magnetic fields, and electric fields).
Avionics systems are critical to the success of a wide range of space vehicle operations. Avionics systems include processors, software, data buses, and other electronic components that assess overall system health. Avionics systems require some share of available vehicle volume, mass, power, and thermal management capacity, and they operate properly throughout the environmental envelope within which a given space vehicle operates. Technologies related to avionics appear in nine of the draft roadmaps, as shown in Table 4.1, though avionics per se as a technology is not specifically mentioned. Because no single roadmap is responsible for presenting a comprehensive and coordinated approach for developing avionics technologies, important gaps in avionics technologies remain, as detailed in Table 4.2.
TABLE 4.1 Existing Level 3 Technologies at Least Partly Applicable to Avionics
|Technology Area (TA)||Technology Number||Technology Name||Identified Objectives|
|01: Launch Propulsion Systems||1.4.5||Health Management and Sensors||Fault management|
|03: Space Power and Energy Storage||3.3.1||Fault Detection, Isolation, and Recovery (FDIR)||Fault management|
|04: Robotics, Tele-Robotics, and Autonomous Systems||4.1.6||Multi-Sensor Data Fusion||Processing speed and data throughput|
|4.5.1||Vehicle System Management and FDIR||Fault management|
|4.7.3||On-Board Computing||Processing speed and data throughput|
|08: Science Instruments, Observatories, and Sensor Systems||8.1.2||Electronics||– Volume, mass, and power reduction– Integrated capabilities|
|8.2.5||Wireless Spacecraft Technologies||Data throughput|
|09: Entry, Descent, and Landing||9.4.6||Instrumentation and Health Monitoring||Fault management|
|10: Nanotechnology||10.4.2||Electronics||– Volume, mass, and power reduction– Radiation tolerance|
|11: Modeling, Simulation, and Information Technology and Processing||11.11.1||Flight Computing||– Radiation tolerance– Fault-tolerant processing|
|12: Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing||12.3.5||Reliability/Life Assessment/Health Monitoring||Fault management|
|13: Ground and Launch Systems Processing||13.3.3||Inspection, Anomaly Detection, and Identification||Fault management|
|13.3.4||Fault Isolation and Diagnostics||Fault management|
|13.4.5||Safety Systems||Fault management|
NOTE: Excludes technologies specific to GN&C or scientific sensors.
TABLE 4.2 Space Vehicle Avionics Technology Gaps Across the NASA Roadmaps
|Avionics Technology Gap Area||Limits of Draft Roadmaps|
|Processing Speed and Data Throughput||High-performance computing is mentioned in TA 11 as a flight computing technology, but only based on use of multi-cores as a technical approach.
Discussion of data bus technology is absent except for (1) TA08 under Wireless Spacecraft Technologies and (2) wireless and optical networks addressed in TA 13 under Safety Systems technology.
|Radiation Tolerance||In TA10, there is passing reference to possible radiation-tolerant benefits of nanomaterial-based electronics.
In TA11, only integrated circuits are identified as needing radiation-hard capabilities (as Flight Computing technology).
|Reliable, Fault-Tolerant Processing||This area of interest is superficially mentioned in the TA11 under Flight Computing technology where it is addressed solely in the context of multi-core processing.|
|Fault Management||This area is not consistently identified across the draft roadmaps where these technologies are applicable.|
|Integrated Capabilities||This area is only superficially mentioned in TA08 under Electronics technology.|
Finding. Crosscutting Technologies. Many technologies, such as those related to avionics and space weather beyond radiation effects, cut across many of the existing draft roadmaps, but the level 3 technologies in the draft roadmaps provide an uneven and incomplete list of the technologies needed to address these topics comprehensively.
Recommendation. Crosscutting Technologies. OCT should review and, as necessary, expand the sections of each roadmap that address crosscutting level 3 technologies, especially with regard to avionics and space weather beyond radiation effects. OCT should assure effective ownership responsibility for crosscutting technologies in each of the roadmaps where they appear and establish a comprehensive, systematic approach for synergistic, coordinated development of high-priority crosscutting technologies.
Grantz, A.C., Experimental Systems Group, Boeing Company. 2011. “TA-09 Entry, Descent, and Landing Panel Discussion,” presentation at the National Research Council NASA Technology Roadmaps Panel 6 Workshop in Irvine, Calif., on March 23. National Research Council, Washington, D.C.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). 2011. 2011 NASA Strategic Plan. NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
NRC (National Research Council). 2009. America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs. The National
Academies Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 2010. Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research. The National Academies Press, Washington,
D.C. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12903.html. White House. 2010. National Space Policy of the United States of America. White House, Washington, D.C. June 28. Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf.
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