For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to achieve many of its space science and exploration goals over the next several decades, dramatic advances in space technology will be necessary. NASA has developed a set of 14 draft roadmaps to guide the development of such technologies under the leadership of the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). Each roadmap focuses on a particular technology area.
OCT requested that the National Research Council conduct a study to review the draft roadmaps, gather and assess relevant community input, and make recommendations and suggest priorities to inform NASA's decisions as it finalizes its roadmaps. The success of OCT's technology development program is essential, because technological breakthroughs have long been the foundation of NASA's successes, from its earliest days, to the Apollo program, to a vast array of space science missions and the International Space Station.
An Interim Report of NASA's Technology Roadmap identifies some gaps in the technologies included in the individual roadmaps. The report suggests that the effectiveness of the NASA space technology program can be enhanced by employing proven management practices and principles including increasing program stability, addressing facility issues, and supporting adequate flight tests of new technologies. This interim report provides several additional observations that will be expanded on in the final report to be released in 2012.