Status Report

NASA Advisory Council Final Recommendations 16 April 2009 Meeting

By SpaceRef Editor
July 2, 2009
Filed under ,

NASA Advisory Council
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, DC 20546
Dr. Kenneth M. Ford. Chairman

May 18,2009

Mr. Christopher J. Scolese
Acting Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, DC 20546

Dear Mr. Scolese:

Enclosed are the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) recommendations as agreed to in a public meeting on April 16,2009, held at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. We were able to leverage the benefits of this meeting location with the Space Operations Committee taking a tour of Orbital Sciences Corporation in nearby Virginia. The Council had very productive meetings culminating in the Council making eight recommendations that we believe will be of assistance as NASA continues its implementation of its space exploration mission. The Council will continue to monitor and consider future recommendations that may be of assistance to you.

Human Capital Committee Recommendations

1. Addressing the need to infuse new talent and knowledge into the NASA workforce: Continued leadership in space science and exploration requires the constant infusion of new ideas and state-of-the-art knowledge provided by a vibrant and creative workforce. Therefore, NASA is encouraged to pursue avenues that will facilitate new hiring, particularly at the entry-level.

2. Assessment of how NASA TV can be more effective and what is required to accomplish that goal: NASA is encouraged to provide resources to an outside organization to conduct an agency-wide evaluation of the current content, effectiveness, and viewership of NASA TV and to recommend a clear plan for its most effective utilization. This outside entity should take into account the NASA internal 2007 review of NASA TV as well as new web based initiatives. The outcome of this study should include recommendations for the level and type of resources required to most effectively engage the public and disseminate NASA content.

Space Operation Committee Recommendations

3. Teaching and Applying Lessons Learned to NASA’s Human Spaceflight Employees: To effectively transfer hard-won “lessons learned” to its human spaceflight work force, NASA is encouraged to institute recurring training for the workforce using a curriculum based’on existing Safety and Mission Assurance materials. The training program should include lessons learned from the Apollo, Skylab, Mir, Shuttle, and ISS accidents, incidents, and close calls. Additionally, NASA’s human spaceflight organizations (e.g. Constellation, Shuttle, ISS) should incorporate the safety lessons and practices learned from conception to operation into their programs. Such institutions should document training programs and take full advantage of learning tools derived from the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia accidents.

4. Documentation and Teaching of Human Spaceflight Lessons Learned: A portion of the NASA training program should focus on lessons learned from the human spaceflight missions in order to retain historical knowledge, as many older employees will be retiring. NASA should document specific major operational lessons learned from human spaceflight programs. These lessons learned should be written / presented in a format to facilitate ease of training for the next generation of space workers.

5. NASA Cost-Benefit Study of Possible Active Methods for Orbital Debris Removal: NASA is encouraged to conduct an in-house study of the current and projected orbital debris situation in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of developing a form of debris removal technology. The study should compare the costs of operating in the ever-expanding debris population with those of developing a selective debris removal method, and how those compare with long-term savings from actively reducing the threat of future collisions. We also recommend that the NASA study identify to the USAF possible enhancements to the nation’s debris detection, tracking, and prediction capabilities that will improve spacecraft protection.

Science Committee Recommendations

6. Form an Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group under the Astrophysics Subcommittee: NASA is encouraged to form an Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) to conduct analyses at the request of the NAC Science Committee, the Astrophysics Subcommittee, and SMD. The ExoPAG will take direction from APS, and report to APS.

7. Process for identifying non-science requirements and funding for Earth observations: NASA is encouraged to work with OSTP and other agencies at the highest levels to define responsibilities and secure funding for Earth observations beyond those recommended by the NRC Decadal Survey to advance Earth System Science.

Exploration, Science, and Space Operations Committees Recommendation

8. Independent study of space communications – requirements, capabilities, and architecture: NASA is encouraged to contract for an independent study of space communications needs for science, exploration, and space operations. The report resulting from this study should include findings and recommendations that will assist NASA in planning a communications architecture that will enable the successful conduct of missions planned or conceivable through 2030. This study should result in recommendations that will assist NASA in development of more detailed, quantifiable requirements.

If there are any questions on the proceedings of our meeting, please contact me. Best regards,

Kenneth M. Ford

SpaceRef staff editor.