- Status Report
- Feb 1, 2023
Memorandum of Agreement Among The Offices of Space Science, Biological and Physical Research, and Space Flight Establishing the NASA Exploration Team
Memorandum of Agreement Among The Office of Space Science, The Office of Biological and Physical Research, And The Office of Space Flight Establishing the NASA Exploration Team
6 August 2002
The Associate Administrators of the Offices of Space Science (OSS), Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) and Space Flight (OSF) agree that it is in the best interest of their organizations to formalize the coordination in developing the strategy, options, and priorities for human/robotic exploration of space.
Exploration draws from all three Enterprises, the space science requirements from the OSS, the crew health, research and countermeasures from the OBPR and human space flight interests from the OSF.
This Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishes a structure and process to be known as NEXT which will coordinate activities (as described in the attached charter) to create and enable a multi-Enterprise long-term vision for human/robotic exploration of space.
To achieve NASA’s mission of “To explore the universe and search for life,” the Enterprises hereby establish a single entity that has responsibility for cooperatively providing the options, priorities, and assessments for future human/robotic exploration. In addition, NEXT will coordinate current technology investments, advocate new initiatives and ensure alignment of long range strategic planning to achieve this goal.
With respect to this activity, the Enterprises reserve to themselves the determination of science priorities, management of missions, projects, programs, and the budgets to carry them out.
The NEXT organization is a collaborative activity which is led by a Management Team composed of representatives from each of the three Enterprises. The Management Team is chaired by one of these Enterprise representatives as selected by consensus of the Associate Administrators. This Team is responsible for ensuring the day-to-day management of the NEXT, providing direct oversight and responsibility for the funding lines. The Management Team is supported by the leaders of several teams and working groups, which are constituted by experts from the Centers.
The enclosed charter defines the responsibilities and organization of NEXT activities.
The Enterprises will provide adequate resources to support the operation of NEXT.
|NASA Enterprise||Resource Contribution|
|The Office of Space Science||$ 4M*|
|The Office of Biological and Physical Research||$ 1M|
|The Office of Space Flight||$ 5M|
*Assumes current DPT/NEXT funding is retained and controlled by OSS
Each Enterprise will also supply data on current and future technology investments to enable NEXT analysis efforts.
Implementation and Termination
This MOA becomes effective upon endorsement by the three Associate Administrators below. It will be reviewed biennially to determine if modifications are desired and may be terminated at any time by written notice from one Associate Administrator to the others. If no modifications are desired, it will continue in force until terminated by written notice.
Approval of Agreement
- [signed] Edward J. Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science
- [signed] Mary E. Kicza, Associate Administrator for Biological and Physical Research
- [signed] Frederick D. Gregory, Associate Administrator for Space Flight
As authorized by the enclosed MOA, this Charter establishes a structure and process to coordinate activities to create and enable a multi-Enterprise long-term vision for human/ robotic exploration of space. NEXT will have overall responsibility among the participating Enterprises to:
- Promote alignment of Enterprise strategic plans
- Collect scientific requirements and generate technical and programmatic requirements to assess strategic technology investments and ongoing NASA Programs within the scope of this MOA.
- Conduct and coordinate advanced concepts analyses and develop new innovative approaches for space exploration.
- Assess technology programs and pursue alignment of relevant programs with the NASA exploration vision and missions.
- Identify and promote commercial and space development opportunities that are consistent with the vision.
- Identify resources and requirements that could be added to an existing activity to yield benefits for more strategic purposes.
- Serve as the source of studies for incubating the Agency’s space exploration technology efforts and decision tools.
- Manage a small investment portfolio for specific concepts and technologies that would serve as seed money for future initiatives.
The NEXT organization is a collaborative activity which is led by a Management Team composed of representatives from each of the three Enterprises. The representative from Space Science is the Enterprise Technology Director, the representative from Biological and Physical Research is the Special Assistant to the Associate Administrator of OBPR and the representative from Space Flight is the Assistant Associate Administrator for Advanced Systems.
The Management Team is chaired by one of these Enterprises representatives as selected by consensus of the Associate Administrators. This Team is responsible for ensuring the day-to-day management of the NEXT, providing direct oversight and responsibility for the funding lines.
The Management Team is supported by the leaders of several teams and working groups, which are constituted by experts from the Centers (refer to attachment 1). The following teams are envisioned to be a permanent part of the NEXT support effort.
The Systems Engineering Team (SET) provides the integration of all NEXT working group tasks and the development and control of requirements, goals, and milestones. It also recommends new initiatives based on the synthesis of many other studies and the coordination of NEXT efforts among the Enterprises and external groups.
The Advanced Concepts team (ACT) provides systems analysis to develop advanced concepts which achieve the science objectives in the most affordable, productive and safe manner. Technologies and mission concepts are developed into system architectures. These architectures will be used to identify and prioritize key technologies and technical requirements necessary to achieve NEXT goals.
The Exploration Science Working Group (ESWG) ensures that science priorities determined by the Enterprises remain the foundation of NEXT goals. This working group provides strategic science guidance and assures alignment with Enterprise priorities. This working group develops and advocates the science priorities, establishes and maintains science requirements for exploration, and coordinates conceptual exploration scenarios and approaches.
The Technology for Human/Robotic Exploration and Development of Space (THREADS) team develops technology programs that will enable the human/robotic exploration capabilities defined by the NEXT. The technology analyses will include an assessment of the technology readiness, current technology investments being made by the various Enterprises and an assessment of the gaps between these investments and those needed. The output of THREADS will include technology roadmaps, proposed prioritized technology funding, and specific recommendations for prioritization of Enterprise technology programs.
The current working groups are listed below for reference, but are subject to change as necessary.
The Revolutionary Aero-Space Technology Working Group (RATWG) seeks and identifies innovative concepts and technologies that can have a dramatic effect on future exploration missions. These ideas are intended to result in substantial increases in capability or safety, or major reductions in risk or cost. This group will look inside and outside the Agency and provide recommendations so that additional appropriate steps can be taken to infuse particular technology innovations into future systems concepts or architectures or for a special study to further investigate the technology’s value.
The Human/Robotic Working Group (HRWG) analyzes and advocates effective partnerships between humans/robots in planetary and deep space exploration. This team will assess enabling technologies and potential mission scenarios.
The Humans as a Subsystem Working Group (HSWG) carries out studies and identifies technologies that ensure a healthy and productive crew during and after operations. It also ensures that human-related issues are considered in NEXT planning. It will identify the “points of intersection” between humans and other major mission considerations (e.g. mission architecture, vehicle design, science requirements, and technology requirements and capabilities).
The Transportation Working Group (TWG) analyzes and defines the space transportation technologies and requirements to achieve NEXT goals. These include Earth-to-orbit, in-space, and ascent/descent transportation technologies and system concepts.
The role of each NEXT working group and team is to conduct analyses on their subject matter specialties and to provide inputs to the other working groups and teams. These working groups are essential for performing the detailed work needed to develop science scenarios, advanced concepts, and prioritize technology development.
NEXT management will work with the NASA Centers to obtain commitments for staff with supporting responsibilities. NASA center reps will ensure effective and broad utilization of NASA resources.
The NEXT conducts telecons and videocons as necessary and holds a meeting of the full team three times each year. It produces an annual report which summaries study results and provides recommendations for strategic plans and future pursuits. NEXT products will support the annual performance planning and reporting processes of the Agency. Each supporting Enterprise will supply data on current and future technology investments to enable NEXT analysis efforts.