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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 1 Charter and Organization of the Board THE FOUNDING CHARTER OF THE SPACE SCIENCE BOARD The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was chartered by Congress, under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, to provide scientific and technical advice to the government of the United States. Over the years, the advisory program of the institution has expanded, leading in the course of time to the establishment of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine, and of the National Research Council (NRC), the operational arm of the National Academies. After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the pace and scope of U.S. space activity were dramatically increased. Congress created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to conduct the nation’s ambitious space agenda, and the National Academy of Sciences created the Space Science Board. The original charter of the Board was established in June 1958, three months before final legislation creating NASA was enacted. The Space Science Board and its successor, the Space Studies Board, have provided expert external and independent scientific and programmatic advice to NASA on a continuous basis from NASA’s inception until the present. The fundamental charter of the Board today remains that defined by National Academy of Sciences President Detlev W. Bronk in a letter to Lloyd V. Berkner, first chair of the Board, on June 26, 1958: We have talked of the main task of the Board in three parts—the immediate program, the long-range program, and the international aspects of both. In all three we shall look to the Board to be the focus of the interests and responsibilities of the Academy-Research Council in space science; to establish necessary relationships with civilian science and with governmental science activities, particularly the proposed new space agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency; to represent the Academy-Research Council complex in our international relations in this field on behalf of American science and scientists; to seek ways to stimulate needed research; to promote necessary coordination of scientific effort; and to provide such advice and recommendations to appropriate individuals and agencies with regard to space science as may in the Board’s judgment be desirable. As we have already agreed, the Board is intended to be an advisory, consultative, correlating, evaluating body and not an operating agency in the field of space science. It should avoid responsibility as a Board for the conduct of any programs of space research and for the formulation of budgets relative thereto. Advice to agencies properly responsible for these matters, on the other hand, would be within its purview to provide. Thus, the Board exists to provide guidance to the federal government on space research and to help coordinate the nation’s undertakings in these areas. With the reconstitution of the Board in 1988, it assumed similar responsibilities with respect to space applications. The Board also addresses scientific aspects of the nation’s program of human spaceflight.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD TODAY In 1988, the Space Science Board was reorganized, assuming a major portion of the responsibilities of the disestablished NRC Space Applications Board, and renamed the Space Studies Board. A number of new task groups and committees were formed, and several existing committees were disbanded and their portfolios distributed to other committees. In addition, because civilian space research involves federal agencies other than NASA (e.g., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Departments of Energy and Defense (DOE and DOD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF)), increased emphasis was placed on broadening the Board’s advisory outreach. Within the National Research Council, the Board is a unit of the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (CPSMA), and it reports to the Commission for oversight. Members of the Commission review recommendations for Board membership, advise on proposed new projects to be undertaken by the Board or its committees, and coordinate completion of the process of responding to external reviews of all Board reports. On a triennial basis the Commission also conducts a review of the overall operations of each board. The most recent review of the Space Studies Board was in 1997, and the Commission examined the Board’s responses to that review in 1998. MAJOR FUNCTIONS The Board’s overall advisory charter is implemented through four key functions: discipline oversight, interdisciplinary studies, international activities, and advisory outreach. Oversight of Space Research Disciplines The Board has responsibility for scientific planning and oversight in the basic subdisciplines of space research. This responsibility is discharged through a structure of standing discipline committees and includes preparation of strategic research plans and prioritization of scientific objectives, as well as independent assessments of progress in these disciplines. The standard vehicle for providing long-term research guidance is the research strategy report, which has been used successfully by the Board and its committees over many years. In addition, committees periodically prepare formal assessment reports that examine progress in their disciplines in comparison with published Board advice. From time to time, in response to a sponsor or Board request or to circumstances requiring prompt and focused comment, a committee may prepare a short, or “letter,” report. Ad hoc organizational arrangements and appropriate final documentation address agency requests for broader space policy or organizational guidance. Other special agency requests that require responses synchronized with the federal budget cycle are relayed to standing committees for action or are taken up by ad hoc task groups. All committee reports undergo Board and NRC review and approval prior to publication and are issued formally as reports of the NRC and the Board. Individual discipline committees may be called upon by the Board to prepare specialized material for use by either the Board or its interdisciplinary committees or task groups. Interdisciplinary Studies Although the emphasis over the years has been on discipline planning and evaluation, the Board recognizes a need for cross-cutting technical and policy studies in several important areas. To accomplish these objectives, the Board creates standing cross-disciplinary committees, internal committees, or ad hoc task groups. Internal committees, constituted entirely of appointed Board members, are formed to conduct short-duration studies or to lay the planning groundwork for subsequent formation of a regular committee or task group. Task groups resemble standing committees in structure and operation, except that they have predefined lifetimes, typically 1 to 3 years, and more narrowly bounded charters. The Board also organizes topical workshops and exercises the NRC’s convening function in other special activities.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 International Representation and Cooperation The Board continues to serve as the U.S. National Committee for the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). In this capacity, the Board participates in a broad variety of COSPAR panels and committees, and a member of the Board’s staff serves as executive secretary for the U.S. National Committee. The current U.S. representative to COSPAR, Louis J. Lanzerotti, is one of the two elected vice presidents of the international body. The Board is supporting the Scientific Program Committee Chair, Stephen S. Holt, for the World Space Congress to be held in 2002. As the economic and political integration of Europe evolves, so also does the integration of Europe’s space activities. The Board has successfully collaborated with the European space research community on a number of ad hoc joint studies and is continuing to broaden its advisory relationship with this community. The Board has established a regular practice of exchanging observers with the European Space Science Committee (ESSC), an entity of the European Science Foundation, and completed a major collaborative study with this group in 1998. Strengthening contacts with the Japanese program has recently assumed a priority, beginning with a joint SSB-ESSC-Japanese Space Research Committee workshop held in Tokyo in 1999. Advisory Outreach The Space Studies Board was conceived to provide space research guidance across the federal government. Over the years, the Board’s agenda and funding have focused on NASA’s space science program. Several influences have acted to expand the breadth of the Board’s purview, both within NASA and outside it. First, the maturation of some of the physical sciences has led to progressive integration of space and nonspace elements, suggesting a more highly integrated advisory structure. One example is the solar-terrestrial science community, where the Board’s Committee on Solar and Space Physics has operated for several years in a “federated” arrangement with the NRC Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research (CSTR). Another example is astronomy, where the Board operates the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics as a joint committee of the Space Studies Board and the Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA), thereby integrating attention to groundbased and space-based astronomy. The life and biological sciences are assuming increasing importance at NASA, and another area of future disciplinary association is with the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation and corresponding NRC entities. Second, the maturation of space applications has implied a broadening of the sponsorship base to NOAA, with its responsibilities for operational weather satellites. NOAA has been a cosponsor of the Board’s Committee on Earth Studies and its work in Earth observations since 1991. This relationship has evolved along with the convergence of DOD and NOAA meteorological satellite programs under the DOD-NOAA-NASA National Polarorbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System partnership. Accelerating opportunities for applications of space remote sensing in other areas (e.g., the environment and resources, land use, and agricultural management) have meant that other federal agencies have recognized the utility of the results of space research and, therefore, are more likely to benefit from the work of the Board. Such “nonspace” agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Third, there is now extraordinary growth in private-sector space activity. In contrast with the early years of the space era when leadership and expertise were largely in the hands of the federal government, primarily in NASA and DOD, commercial entities have become increasingly capable, and commercial investment in space activities is surpassing investments with federal funds. This trend has many implications for the Board, including a need to better understand the capabilities and priorities of commercial space research, development, and service providers and a need to address the impact on the conduct of space research of changing roles and relationships between the government, academia, and industry. ORGANIZATION The Board conducts its business principally during regularly scheduled meetings of its own membership and of its supporting committees. These include the internal committees of the Board, standing discipline and interdisciplinary committees, ad hoc task groups, and workshops and special activities. The organization of the Board and its constituent and associated groups during 1999 is illustrated in Figure 1.1 .
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 FIGURE 1.1 Organization of the Space Studies Board and its committees, task groups, and workshop activities during 1999. The Space Studies Board The Space Studies Board is composed of 26 prominent scientists, engineers, industrialists, scholars, and policy experts in space research, appointed for staggered 3-year terms. The Board meets three or four times per year to review the activities of its committees and task groups and to be briefed on and to discuss major space policy issues. The Board is constituted in such a way as to include as members its committees’ chairs; other Board members serve on internal committees of the Board or perform other special functions as designated by the Board chair. The Board seats, as ex officio members, the chair of the NRC Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB), the chair of the NRC CSTR, and the U.S. representative to COSPAR. A standing liaison arrangement has also been established with the chair of the European Science Foundation’s ESSC. In general, the Board develops and documents its views by means of appointed standing committees, interdisciplinary committees, or ad hoc task groups that conduct studies and submit their findings for Board and NRC approval and dissemination. These committees or task groups may collaborate with other NRC boards or committees in order to leverage existing specialized capabilities within the NRC organization. Meetings in a workshop format are also used. On occasion, the Board itself deliberates cross-cutting issues and prepares its own statements and positions. These mechanisms are used to prepare and release findings and recommendations either in response to a government request or on the Board’s own initiative. In addition, the Board may comment, based on its publicly established opinions, in testimony to Congress.
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 Internal and Steering Committees of the Board Internal committees facilitate the conduct of the Board’s business, carry out the Board’s own advisory projects, and permit the Board to move rapidly to lay the groundwork for new study activities. Internal committees are composed entirely of Board members. Two internal committees were active during 1999—the Executive Committee of the Board (XCOM) and the Ad Hoc Committee on the Assessment of Mission Size Trade-offs for Earth and Space Science Missions. Members of internal committees and steering groups generally serve for 1 to 2 years and then are rotated for replacement by other members. Standing Committees Standing discipline committees have formed the backbone of the Board for many years and are the means by which the Board conducts its oversight of space research disciplines. Each discipline committee is composed of 10 to 16 specialists, appointed to represent the broad sweep of research areas within the discipline. In addition to developing long-range research strategies and formal program and progress assessments in terms of these strategies, these standing committees perform analysis tasks in support of interdisciplinary task groups and committees or in response to other requirements assigned by the Board. In addition to the standing discipline committees, three former internal committees now operate as standing, interdisciplinary committees. These are the Committee on Human Exploration, the Committee on International Space Programs, and the Joint Committee on Technology. In 1999, there were a total often standing committees, including seven discipline committees: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA), Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX), Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP), Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (COEL), Committee on Earth Studies (CES), Committee on Space Biology and Medicine (CSBM), Committee on Microgravity Research (CMGR), Committee on Human Exploration (CHEX), Committee on International Space Programs (CISP), and Joint Committee on Technology (JCT). Task Groups Ad hoc task groups are created by NRC action at Board request. Four task groups were established in 1999. The Task Group on Assessment of NASA’s Plans for Post-2002 Earth Observing Missions (formed under the joint auspices of the Board on Sustainable Development (BSD), the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), and the SSB) and the Task Group to Review Alternative Institutional Arrangements for Space Station Research (formed jointly with the ASEB) completed their work during the year. The Task Group for the Evaluation of NASA’s Biotechnology Facility for the International Space Station and the Task Group on the Review of Scientific Aspects of the NASA Triana Mission (formed jointly with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and BASC) will complete their work in early 2000. Workshops, Symposia, and Special Projects Topical workshops or symposia occasionally provide the most effective vehicle for addressing certain needs of the government or the scientific community. Recent examples of SSB workshops are the Workshop on Substellar-Mass Objects and the Workshop on the Size Limits of Very Small Microorganisms. The report from the former workshop contained both the summaries of scientific papers presented by the workshop participants and a set of recommendations for future research directions, while the latter led to a “state-of-the-science” report without specific consensus recommendations for future research priorities. The Board’s Committee on Earth Studies held a fact-finding workshop during the year to gather input for its report on the integration of climate research and the
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 NOAA-DOD operational observing satellite system. Planning began in 1999 for the Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization to hold a series of workshops in 2000-2002 on issues relevant to remotesensing applications and commercialization. The National Academies’ “Distinguished Leaders in Science” lecture series was expanded in 1999 to include leaders in space science. DISSEMINATION Formal reports delivered to government sponsors constitute one of the primary products of the work of the SSB, but the dissemination process has a number of other important elements. The Board is always seeking ways to ensure that its work reaches the broadest possible appropriate audience and that it has the largest beneficial impact. Copies of reports are routinely provided to key executive branch officials, members and staffs of relevant congressional committees, and members of other interested NRC and federal advisory bodies. Members of the press are notified about the release of each new report, and the Board maintains a substantial mailing list for distribution of reports to members of the space research community. The SSB publishes the executive summaries of all new reports in its quarterly newsletter that is made widely available, both by mail and by e-mail. The Board also offers briefings by committee chairs and members or SSB staff to agency officials and scientific societies. All reports are posted on the SSB World Wide Web Home Page at < www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html > and linked to the institution’s site for reports at < www.nap.edu >. Collaboration with Other NRC Units Much of the work of the Board involves topics that fall entirely within its principal areas of responsibility and can be addressed readily by its members and its committees. However, there are also often situations where the need for breadth of expertise, alternative points of view, or synergy with other NRC projects leads to compelling arguments for collaboration with other units of the NRC. The Space Studies Board has been engaged in many such multiunit collaborations, and the increasingly interdisciplinary, multidimensional character of contemporary science and technology is likely to lead to more cross-NRC activities. This approach to projects has the potential to bring more of the full capability of the National Academies to bear in preparing advice for the government. Multiunit collaborative projects also present new challenges, namely to manage them in a way that achieves economies of scale and true synergy rather than just adding cost or complexity. A few examples from 1999 are described below. There are a number of long-standing partnerships between the SSB and other NRC bodies. Closest to home is the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA), which is a joint committee of the SSB and the BPA. Established in 1992, the CAA has co-chairs from each of its parent boards, and both boards oversee its activities. Funding comes from NASA through the SSB, and from NSF through BPA. Another SSB committee, the Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP), operates under a “federated” arrangement with the Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Research. The two committees are independent entities, but they meet together and publish their reports jointly (one in 1999 and a total of six since 1991, including one in 1994 that was written in collaboration with CPSMA’s Naval Studies Board). Funding for CSSP comes primarily from NASA, and funding for CSTR comes primarily from NSF. A third example of a long-standing partnership is the SSB collaboration with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board; the JCT has conducted a series of four studies since 1993, the most recent one completed in 1998. The two boards alternate in taking the lead on joint projects (including handling the funding and major staff support). The reciprocal appointments of their chairs as liaison members of each other’s Board further cement the close relationship between the SSB and ASEB. Funding for the JCT comes from NASA space science offices (via the SSB) and NASA’s technology and spaceflight offices (via ASEB). A new standing committee, the Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, was established in 1999 as a joint committee of the SSB and the Board on Biology (BB) of the Commission on Life Sciences. It has co-chairs from each board, and each board oversees its activities. Funding comes from NASA through the SSB, and the BB intends to seek support from other agencies. In addition to the formal activities listed above, informal collaborations and interactions between the SSB and other NRC units occur on a regular basis. For example, in 1999 the SSB established the Task Group on Institutional Arrangements for Space Station Research, organized jointly under the auspices of the SSB and the ASEB. Both boards participated in appointment of the task group, support of the study, and development and review of the final report. The Task Group on Assessment of NASA’s Plans for Post-2002 Earth Observing Missions operated in a
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Space Studies Board: Annual Report 1999 similar manner under the joint auspices of the SSB, BASC, and BSD. The Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization (SAPPSC), which had been established by the SSB in 1998, held its first planning meeting during 1999 to discuss a series of workshops to address several key issues relating to the application, and commercialization, of space remote-sensing data (e.g., data policy, technology transfer, public-sector use of remote-sensing tools, and so on). Plans were being formulated with the Ocean Studies Board to jointly organize a workshop on the applications of remote sensing to coastal engineering and resource management. Discussions also have been initiated with several other boards of the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources (CGER). Late in the year the Task Group on the Review of Scientific Aspects of the NASA Triana Mission was organized jointly under the auspices of the SSB, the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. All three boards participated in the planning and conduct of the review. The “Distinguished Leaders in Science” lecture series is a collaborative project between the NAS Office of Public Understanding of Science, the Board on Biology, and the SSB. The SSB joined the program for the first time in the 1999-2000 series to bring a group of outstanding space scientists, under NASA sponsorship, to complement the distinguished life scientists who compose the other half of the program of monthly lectures. Finally, other NRC units are often consulted for assistance and advice when new activities are initiated. Recent examples include input from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in selecting new members of the SSB’s CSBM to undertake a review of NASA’s biomedical research program and to identify candidates to participate in the SSB’s review of NASA’s plans for biotechnology research facilities on the International Space Station. The SSB and the IOM have coordinated as the IOM organized its study for NASA on health care for spaceflight crews during long-duration space missions beyond low Earth orbit.
Representative terms from entire chapter: