Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Space Station Research Should Be Managed By Private Organization Instead Of NASA, Says NRC Report

Date:
January 12, 2000
Source:
National Academy Of Sciences
Summary:
A private organization capable of representing the broad interests of the science and engineering research community should be established to manage U.S. research activities on the International Space Station, says a new report from the National Research Council of the National Academies. The proposed organization would focus on supporting the research agenda of the space station, including planning and scheduling experiments, while NASA would continue to manage the station's construction, basic operations, and maintenance.

WASHINGTON -- A private organization capable of representing the broad interests of the science and engineering research community should be established to manage U.S. research activities on the International Space Station, says a new report from the National Research Council of the National Academies. The proposed organization would focus on supporting the research agenda of the space station, including planning and scheduling experiments, while NASA would continue to manage the station's construction, basic operations, and maintenance.

"NASA must act quickly to ensure that the proposed organization is in place and actively involved in coordinating research plans well before the scheduled completion of the space station in 2004," said Cornelius J. Pings of Pasadena, Calif., chair of the committee that wrote the report and president emeritus of the Association of American Universities. "The organization itself must have clear authority and adequate funding to fulfill its responsibilities for managing high-quality research."

The committee cited areas where a private organization could be more effective than NASA in managing a diverse research portfolio. Chief among these is the ability to better understand and integrate the needs of a broad array of researchers and to foster new directions for research in additional scientific fields. An independent entity outside NASA also would provide the scientific and engineering research community with a single point of contact.

NASA should use a competitive process to select an organization or consortium capable of managing space station research, the report says. The chosen institution should have an independent board of directors and a scientific director with extensive experience in managing a complex range of research activities, and be guided by an advisory process that is broadly representative of the research community. The staff should include scientists and engineers who will serve as contacts for investigators who are developing research activities, as well as for scientist astronauts who will reside on the station.

One option that the committee evaluated was to keep managerial responsibility for the station's research activities within NASA. The committee did not recommend a continuation of current arrangements, however, because it concluded that the agency should not have to diffuse its traditional roles with the added responsibility of managing long-term research on the station. NASA most likely would not have the work force needed to manage the research and development function as well as the operational responsibilities of the station. In addition, NASA has an excellent track record of successfully handing off established, long-term projects, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, for which a nongovernment consortium manages all scientific activities.

The proposed organization should take over from NASA the coordination of any space station research activities that the government is planning to manage for other international partners, the committee recommended. The new entity also should establish and maintain close working relationships with all non-U.S. organizations conducting research on the station.

While engaging academic scientists and engineers, the new organization also should be responsible for stimulating commercial research uses of the space station. It should establish clear policies and procedures for protecting proprietary information and serve as an intermediary between NASA and other private sources to fund commercial research, the report says.

Since the new organization must focus on start-up activities such as hiring staff and beginning to plan for the first series of research projects after station assembly is complete, there are certain roles that should still be performed by NASA. For instance, NASA should continue to manage the process of soliciting research proposals, conducting peer reviews, and selecting projects to include on the station, the committee said. Other activities that should remain indefinitely under NASA management include coordinating plans with other federal agencies and international partners. Once the station is complete and the proposed organization is in place, NASA would continue to set policy and develop strategy to keep the station operating safely.

It is urgent for NASA to move quickly and establish the new organization by 2001, the committee said. Once the entity is in place, implementation of its responsibilities should begin immediately. This would include a period in which the new organization takes the lead in planning research activities for when the station is completed, and a later phase for taking on additional responsibilities and authority.

The study was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides independent advice on science and technology issues under a congressional charter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Academy Of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Academy Of Sciences. "Space Station Research Should Be Managed By Private Organization Instead Of NASA, Says NRC Report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075552.htm>.
National Academy Of Sciences. (2000, January 12). Space Station Research Should Be Managed By Private Organization Instead Of NASA, Says NRC Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075552.htm
National Academy Of Sciences. "Space Station Research Should Be Managed By Private Organization Instead Of NASA, Says NRC Report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075552.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins