NASA Space Technology
Roadmaps and Priorities Revisited
Committee on NASA Technology Roadmaps
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
A Report of
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS500 Fifth Street, NWWashington, DC 20001
This activity was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under Contract No. NNH11CD57B. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any agency or organization that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-44696-9
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-44696-1
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/23582
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities Revisited. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23582.
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OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD
Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2016)
Transformation in the Air: A Review of the FAA’s Certification Research Plan (ASEB, 2015)
3D Printing in Space (ASEB, 2014)
Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight (ASEB, 2014)
Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (ASEB with Space Studies Board [SSB], 2014)
Continuing Kepler’s Quest: Assessing Air Force Space Command’s Astrodynamics Standards (ASEB, 2012)
NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (ASEB, 2012)
NASA’s Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2012)
Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities (SSB and ASEB, 2012)
Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment (ASEB, 2012)
Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (SSB with ASEB, 2012)
Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA’s Meteroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011)
Preparing for the High Frontier—The Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011)
Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010)
Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with SSB and ASEB, 2010)
Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (SSB with ASEB, 2010)
Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years: An International Public Seminar Series Organized by the Space Studies Board: Selected Lectures (SSB with ASEB, 2010)
Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (ASEB, 2010)
Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from
Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
Keck Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
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COMMITTEE ON NASA TECHNOLOGY ROADMAPS
TODD J. MOSHER, Syncroness, Co-Chair
LISELOTTE J. SCHIOLER, Schioler Consulting, Co-Chair
ARDEN L. BEMENT, JR., Purdue University
JOHN C. BROCK, Aerospace Consultant, Northrop Grumman Space Technology (retired)
JAMES L. BURCH, Southwest Research Institute
STEPHEN GOREVAN, Honeybee Robotics, Ltd.
CHARLES L. ISBELL, JR., Georgia Institute of Technology
H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University
DAVID P. MILLER, University of Oklahoma
DANIEL O’SHAUGHNESSY, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
TORREY RADCLIFFE, The Aerospace Corporation
JOHN R. ROGACKI, Doolittle Institute, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
JULIE A. SHAH, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center
ALAN C. ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer, Study Director
DWAYNE A. DAY, Senior Program Officer, Study Director
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
ANESIA WILKS, Senior Program Assistant
AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD
LESTER L. LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair
ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Arizona State University, Vice Chair
ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant
BRIAN M. ARGROW, University of Colorado, Boulder
STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering
MEYER J. BENZAKEIN, Ohio State University
BRIAN J. CANTWELL, Stanford University
EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC
MICHAEL P. DELANEY, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University
ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Pratt & Whitney
KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology
PERETZ P. FRIEDMANN, University of Michigan
MARK J. LEWIS, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Institute of Defense Analyses
RICHARD MCKINNEY, Independent Consultant
JOHN M. OLSON, Sierra Nevada Corporation
ROBIE I. SAMANTA ROY, Lockheed Martin
AGAM N. SINHA, Ans Aviation International, LLC
ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin, Advanced Technology Center
DAVID M. VAN WIE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
SHERRIE L. ZACHARIUS, The Aerospace Corporation
MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director
CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator
TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations
CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate
MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer
SU LIU, Financial Assistant
The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 directed NASA to create a program to maintain its research and development base in space technology. In response, NASA created a set of 14 draft space technology roadmaps to guide the development of space technologies. These roadmaps were the subject of a comprehensive external review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,1 which in 2012 issued the National Research Council report NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space.2 NASA then began a reexamination and updating of its 2010 draft technology roadmaps, resulting in a new set of 2015 roadmaps. A significant aspect of the updating has been the effort to assess the relevance of the technologies by showing their linkage to a set of mission classes and design reference missions (DRMs) from the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Science Mission Directorate. The new set of roadmaps also includes a roadmap that addresses aeronautical technologies. In the spring of 2015, the updated roadmaps were released to the public for review and comment.
Also in 2015, the Academies were asked to assemble a committee to evaluate the technologies in the updated set of 14 space technology roadmaps. Per the statement of task, the aeronautics roadmap is not included in the present study, because the 2012 NRC report, which serves as a baseline for it, has no such aeronautics roadmap. The full statement of task appears in Appendix A of this report. Specific elements of the statement of task include identifying technologies in NASA’s 2015 roadmaps that were not evaluated by the 2012 NRC report, prioritizing those technologies using the same process documented in the 2012 NRC report, and recommending a methodology for future independent reviews of NASA’s technology roadmaps.
In response to this latest request, the NRC appointed the 14-member Committee on NASA Technology Roadmaps. For the sake of continuity, many members of the committee were veterans of the study that led to the 2012 NRC report. The committee met four times: in September and November 2015, in Washington, D.C.; in January 2016, in Irvine, California; and in March 2016 in Washington, D.C.
1 Effective July 1, 2015, the institution is called the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. References in this report to the National Research Council (NRC) are used in a historical context to refer to activities before that date.
2 National Research Council, 2012, NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. 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:
Kenneth M. Baldwin, University of California, Irvine,
Ellen J. Bass, Drexel University,
Mark Devlin, University of Pennsylvania,
Bill Gibson, World View Enterprises,
Alastair M. Glass, Tyndall National Institute of Ireland,
Jonathan Goff, Altius Space Machines,
Joseph H. Koo, The University of Texas, Austin,
Alfred U. MacRae, MacRae Technologies,
Michael Norman, University of California, San Diego,
Stephen M. Rock, Stanford University,
George W. Sutton, Analysis and Applications, and
Daniel Weihs, Technion-Israel 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 Steven J. Battel, Battel Engineering, who 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.