Status Report

NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) Reorganization

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2001
Filed under ,

January 10, 2001

TO: Code U Employees

FROM: Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Biological and Physical Research

SUBJECT: Office of Biological and Physical Research Nomenclature

I am please to announce that our new organization has been approved. This memo serves to communicate conventions that the Office of Biological and Physical Research should use. First, the office acronym is “OBPR.” Secondly, five divisions are included in the organization. Titles and mail codes are as follows:

  • UG/Physical Sciences Division
  • UF/Fundamental Space Biology Division
  • UB/Bioastronautics Research Division
  • UM/Research Integration Division
  • UP/Policy and Program Integration Division

I have enclosed the OBPR mission statement. May thanks to all that supported our reorganization efforts. In addition, OBPR has a new web address: I look forward to the great accomplishments OBPR will provide to our Nation’s space program.

Dr. Kathie Olsen



4.21.1. OFFICE MISSION. This Headquarters organization with Enterprise responsibilities conducts basic and applied research (including clinical research) to support human exploration of space and to take advantage of the space environment as a laboratory for scientific, technological, and commercial research. The Office oversees the effective use of the International Space Station (ISS) facilities for scientific, commercial, and technology research.

4.21.2. RESPONSIBILITIES. The Associate Administrator for Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) is responsible for the following: Formulates, executes, and evaluates NASA-sponsored programs in fundamental biological research, physical sciences research, biomedical research, advanced human support technology research, and commercial research in space. Ensures that all research involving human and animal research subjects are compliant with the appropriate policies established by the Chief Health and Medical Officer (CHMO) and compliant with procedures followed by the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and Animal Care and Use Committees. The OBPR provides appropriate oversight of the IRB’s and committees in order to ensure protection of the research subjects. Establishes and oversees an open and competitive peer-review process for prioritizing and selecting research tasks. Presents and advocates programs in fundamental biological research, physical sciences research in space, biomedical research, advanced human support technology research, and commercial research in space within NASA and the Administration, and to academia, the general public, and other interested organizations or persons. Defines flight and ground-based scientific and technical programs and associated space-based and related ground-based experimental facilities to advance knowledge in the biological and physical sciences, technology development, and the related commercial use of space. Provides strategic direction for the planning, development, and operation of NASA payloads which use the Space Shuttle and other Shuttle-attached payload carriers. Defines requirements for utilization of the Space Station through the Space Station Utilization Board chaired by the Chief Scientist. Integrates NASA-wide, top-level requirements and provides strategic planning for utilization of the ISS across all sponsoring organizations. Provides policy oversight for NASA Commercial Space Centers, multidiscipline consortia of Government, industry, and academia that conduct research with commercial potential.

4.21.3. SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. The OBPR works closely with the Office of Space Flight (OSF) to enable and exploit human space flight and space exploration. OBPR conducts basic and applied research to develop knowledge and technologies for human exploration in close coordination with OSF. OSF is responsible for developing requirements in support of human health and safety in space.

OBPR conducts a specific exploration-directed research program with an engineering-oriented peer-review process in order to initiate a new base for a microgravity-related Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) technology subprogram. NASA Research Announcements solicitation subtopics will be selected using OSF Enabling Technology Roadmaps. The opportunity of cofunding specific research investigations will be used to effectively develop the process of transitioning basic research results into application-oriented technologies.

OBPR works in close coordination with the CHMO and supports the establishment of health policies for crew health, bioethics, and clinical care of space crews. Deliverables impacting crew health, and under consideration for operational implementation by OSF, will be reviewed by the CHMO prior to implementation.

Working with the Office of Aerospace Technology (OAT), OBPR supports the initial phase of peer-reviewed research in the specific subdisciplines of Biomolecular Systems research and Nano-technology, and transfers the relevant investigations to OAT after successful completion of fundamental scientific feasibility demonstration.

OBPR works with the Office of Space Science and the Office of Earth Science to coordinate and enhance cross-discipline research activities.

4.21.4. LINE OF SUCCESSION. In the following order: Deputy Associate Administrator (Technical); Deputy Associate Administrator (Management), and Director, Physical Sciences Division.

Current Code U Organization

Proposed Code U Organization

SpaceRef staff editor.