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5 Report of the Pane' on Enabling Concepts anti Technologies INTRODUCTION NASA's Enabling Concepts and Technologies (ECT) program was created as one of three subpro- grams of the Pioneering Revolutionary Technology (PRT) program by the Aerospace Technology Enter- prise (ATE) in October 2001. The program consists of several elements that were previously funded under separate programs throughout NASA. ECT is described as the "front-end of the technology pipeline that feeds the focused development and validation programs of the NASA Enterprises" (Moore, 2002~. ECT is de- scribed by the same source as the arm of NASA that performs fundamental research and development of "high-risk, high-payoff cross-cutting technologies with broad potential application to the needs of multiple Enterprises." According to Moore, the program objec- tives for ECT are these: . . . The ECT program is divided into three main projects, which map to these goals: . . Explore revolutionary aerospace system con- cepts to enable the grand challenges and strate- gic visions of the NASA Enterprises and to expand the possibilities for future NASA mis- s~ons. · Advanced Systems Concepts, which includes three elements: Technology Assessment Analysis (TAA), Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC), and the NASA In- stitute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), Energetics, which includes Advanced Energy Systems and On-Board Propulsion elements, and Advanced Spacecraft and Science Compo- nents, which includes four elements: Advanced Measurement and Detection (AMD), Distrib- uted and Micro-Spacecraft (D&MS), Resilient Materials and Structures (RMS), and Space Environmental Effects (SEE). An organization chart for the entire PRT program can be found in Appendix C. Projects are located and managed at four NASA centers: Glenn Research Cen- ter, Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Langley Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The ECT program's projects and elements were Develop advanced technology for sensing and funded at the levels reported In Table 5-1. External spacecraft systems to enable bold new m~s- sions of exploration and to provide increased scientific return at lower cost. Develop advanced energetics technology to provide low-cost power and propulsion for en- hanced mission capabilities and to enable mis- sions beyond current horizons. iNASA research budgets, until the recent release of the proposed FY2004 budget, were not presented in full-cost accounting form. As a result, budget figures presented here do not reflect full-cost accounting. 53
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54 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM TABLE 5-1 Enabling Concepts and Technologies (ECT) Program Organization and Budget, FY2002 and FY2003 (million $'a Project/Element FY2002 FY2003 Advanced Systems Concepts project Technology Assessment Analysis element Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts element NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts element NASA Technology Inventory and Miscellaneous Space Architect Energetics project Advanced Energy Systems element On-board Propulsion element Advanced Spacecraft and Science Components project Advanced Measurement and Detection element Distributed and Micro-Spacecraft element Resilient Materials and Structures element Space Environmental Effects element Space-based NRAs Congressional earmarks ECT program, total 13.0 0.0 8.0 4.0 1.0 0.0 17.7 13.1 4.6 18.5 10.2 2.8 4.0 1.5 40.0 3.6 92.8 34.6 16.6 1.6 8.0 4.0 1.0 20.0 n/a n/a 23.2b 13.1 3.9 4.7 1.5 40.0 n/a 114.5 aProgram organization and budgets for FY2005 and future years are currently under planning and as a result are not presented in this table. Preliminary information indicates that further changes will be made to the ECT program at this time, including possible refocusing and defocusing of several program elements. bThis entry reflects the sum of projects and elements within ECT that were organized within the Advanced Spacecraft and Science Components (ASSC) project in FY2002. During FY2003, projects were organized in a slightly different manner, which is not reflected in this chart. Components of the ASSC project were broken into three new projects: Revolutionary Spacecraft Systems (including Distributed and Microspacecraft and Space Environmental Effects), Advanced Measurement and Detection, and Large Space Structures (including Resilient Materials and Structures and a new Large-Aperture Technology element). A third reorganization is anticipated in FY2005. SOURCE: Adapted in part from Moore (2002 and 2003b). NASA Research Announcements (NRAs), also re- ferred to by the program as the Space-Based NRAs, are funded at $40 million per year. This broad set of NRAs, discussed in a section to follow, was designed to infuse innovative technology into NASA from various ex- perts, both foreign and domestic. Two future program elements, Revolutionary Spaceflight Research and Multi-technology Integrated Systems, were not evalu- ated by the panel since they are not scheduled to begin until FY2005. The ECT program is also designed to promote a transition between fundamental research and mission- oriented, applied research (see Figure 5-1~. The goal of the program is to fund 50 percent in the exploration phase (TRL 1-3) and 50 percent in the transition phase (TRL 4-6~. Furthermore, the intent of the exploration phase is to promote the development of ideas from out- side NASA via NRAs and other contractual mecha- nisms. The transition phase is used to promote new technologies to other NASA enterprises. The cofunding of projects is emphasized in this phase. REVIEW PROCESS The Panel on Enabling Concepts and Technologies was constituted in early June 2002 as one of three pan- els supporting the Committee for the Review of NASA's Pioneering Revolutionary Technology (PRT) Program. Its charge was to review all projects and ele- ments within the ECT program. The ECT panel met June 10-12, 2002, at NASA Ames Research Center in conjunction with the Computing, Information, and Communications Technology (CICT) and Engineering for Complex Systems (ECS) panels. At this first meet- ing, panel members received broad overviews of the PRT program, the research within ECT, and the ele- ments and tasks within the ECT projects. After this ini- tial meeting, members of the panel visited various
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES Application 2 Exploration Phase Transition Phase Insertion Phase 1-5 years ' 3-9 years ~ 5-15 years FIGURE 5-1 ECT program implementation strategy. SOURCE: Adapted in part from Moore (20021. NASA field centers to interact directly with the re- searchers and to delve more deeply into specific project areas (see Appendix D). Parallel to the site visits, panelists received re- sponses from questionnaires designed to elicit infor- mation on specific tasks within the ECT program (see Appendix E). Information on the research's tie to pre- vious work, potential customers for the technology, roadblocks being faced, and other information were obtained. ECT panel members then met in Washington, D.C., for a final panel meeting to report on site visits, tele- conferences, and other information-gathering activities. Subgroups held meetings to come to consensus on fi- nal observations, findings, and recommendations, and the complete panel addressed similar topics from a glo- bal standpoint. After the final meeting, the systems sub- group of the panel held a final teleconference on Octo- ber 3, 2002, with NASA PRT and ECT managers to discuss the status of systems analysis and to address issues that had arisen during the open sessions with NASA in this area. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS The following subsections present general findings and recommendations that apply to the ECT program as a whole. More detailed findings are presented in sub- sequent sections that discuss individual projects and elements within ECT. 55 Goals and Research Portfolio The appropriateness of each research project was evaluated based on (1) the relevance of the tasks to the overlapping NASA strategic plans2 (Goldin, 2000; O'Keefe, 2002), its science themes, and the derivative missions and (2) the criteria for PRT research within the charter and strategic plan of NASA's Office of Aerospace Technology (Code R) (Venneri, 2001~. The ECT panel also evaluated each project in terms of the degree to which it is revolutionary or evolutionary, its risk, and its orientation to fundamental science or ap- plications. To distinguish evolutionary from revolu- tionary, the panel assessed whether the work was (1) a natural extension of known methods applied to the same problem (evolutionary) or (2) a departure from traditional methods, or used methods from another area or discipline not normally applied to this field, or in- volved the discovery or utilization of new physical dis- coveries and theories or phenomena (revolutionary). The panel understands that terms such as "revolu- tionary" and "pioneering" can be subjective and un- clear in the context of this review. In the area of space- craft technologies, concepts can appear very revolutionary and generate significant visibility for 2The PRT program was formulated under the NASA Strategic Plan 2000. The program began operating under the new Strategic Vision in April 2002, just a few months before the review began.
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56 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM themselves yet provide little or no benefit to actual space systems when flight engineered to the spacecraft system level. For example, a new propulsion device may be very efficient at accelerating propellant in the laboratory and therefore seem attractive in terms of re- ducing power and propellant requirements. However, if this same device requires other high-risk, high-im- pact subsystems, the additional requirements must also be considered in the evaluation of the device. There- fore, the following guidelines were adopted for use in , . . the review: . . . "Revolutionary" or "pioneering" technologies are technologies that could have orders of mag- nitude benefits for a spacecraft or space mis- sion. Specifically, the panel recognizes a tech- nology as revolutionary if it has the potential to remarkably improve satellite and space mis- sion performance, cost, or simplicity, taking into account the issues associated with devel- opment, qualification, and insertion into flight systems. Conversely, seemingly revolutionary new con- cepts that do not consider the systems applica- bility and impact are not automatically highly regarded by the panel. Since both cost and performance are principal drivers in new technology development, revo- lutionary new concepts are also evaluated in terms of their total life-cycle costs, supportabil- ity, and test and evaluation requirements. The ECT program is intended to include both revo- lutionary basic research and evolutionary basic or tran- sitional work that meets NASA's needs. The balance of this research should be consistent with top-level pro- gram goals. In analyzing the entire portfolio of ECT, the panel felt that the ratio between evolutionary and revolutionary work should be reevaluated. It seems that the program's top-level goals (Hanks, 2002) empha- size revolutionary work while the program itself actu- ally consists of both revolutionary and evolutionary re- search. Placing an emphasis on research labeled "revolutionary" might wrongly imply that evolution- ary work has less value. What NASA appears to really need is excellent quality, high-impact research. A consideration in achieving such excellent qual- ity is the degree to which the research is (and should be) connected to an application. The ECT program properly includes research across this spectrum. There are applied projects well connected to specific mis- sions, balanced by other projects more oriented to so- lutions that can be generalized. ECT includes both ba- sic and applied research. Finding: To carry out its mission of both innovation and transition, projects with varying degrees of risk and maturity must be part of the ECT program. Recommendation: Value should be attached to ex- cellent quality research that will have (or could have) a substantial impact on NASA missions, inde- pendent of whether it is perceived to be revolution- ary or not. Recommendation: Regular critical reviews of the progress of projects (both in-house and out-of-house) should be performed, with periodic quantitative reassessment of their relevance and system benefit to proposed high-level NASA mission priorities and com- parison with competing technologies. At the same time, several elements within ECT should reevaluate their portfolio and goals and consider riskier, even revolutionary approaches. For example, the Resilient Materials and Structures element should consider more tasks that embrace the ECT far-reaching vision of resilient materials and structures (Hanks, 2002), which involves concepts such as self-assess- ment, self-healing, and multifunctionality. It is also im- portant to note that the onboard propulsion Energetics work has been purposefully chosen to be more evolu- tionary in nature than other NASA programs in on- board propulsion. (See additional discussion on page 72. ) The most rigorous way of choosing a research port- folio should be through a systems analysis that consid- ers the realistic potential of proposed technology de- velopments. NASA should require, for example, that research in radically new approaches consider perfor- mance goals in relation to the current state of the art. The performance of a new technology sometimes be- gins behind that of a state-of-the-art technology, but over time, the new technology should overtake and exceed the old. The panel recognizes that there is not always a way to rigorously represent new technology in a systems analysis since appropriate performance metrics may not yet be available. In this case, manag- ers should use their current knowledge of potential technological advances in concert with systems analy- sis in order to not miss potentially revolutionary work.
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES This is particularly the case for research into mission- enabling technologies that might not necessarily pro- vide cost, weight, or power saving but instead might enable missions that were previously technologically impossible. Program goals for the ECT program are well con- nected to both PRT-level goals and Aerospace Tech- nology Enterprise (ATE)-level goals that ultimately feed into the NASA-wide goals developed in the 2000 NASA Strategic Plan (Goldin, 2000~. However, little top-down strategic planning within ECT connecting these top-level goals with the actual research being performed was seen. The top-down direction may be lacking simply because ECT inherited projects and NRA work from the previous management of various individual PRT components. The panel notes that NASA managers plan to develop future portfolios within this program using strategic planning tools and processes, such as the Technology Assessment Analy- sis (TAA). The panel supports a systems approach, but notes the current direction of TAA may not provide this capability (see TAA section). The panel also observed that many of the elements focused on individual technology advancement with- out an overall look at the effect those individual com- ponents had on an entire spacecraft system or a specific mission. While increasing the performance of indi- vidual components is important, the impact of various choices on the entire system must be considered. The panel was troubled by the lack of even simple (i.e., first-order) systems calculations to support technology investment decisions. For example, the Stirling work in Energetics (see page 76) has promise, but the panel did not hear of an adequate assessment of the effects of vibration on the entire spacecraft or a comparison with other technological solutions in development at other research organizations. The panel also saw several rou- tine thermal projects within ECT that address the low- est mass and cost elements of small satellites and there- fore would be expected to have little impact. Panel members note that most activity within ECT focuses on space systems, yet the scope of the objec- tives could also apply to planetary probes, rovers, and other space exploration and development technologies. Other NASA technology development programs that are not within the purview of this review overlap the ECT technology areas but are managed and funded within other NASA enterprises. However, the basic research being conducted by these other programs should also be considered during ECT program portfo- 57 lio selection. For example, a NASA-wide microspace- craft technology roadmap would enable better coordi- nation between related technology development pro- grams throughout NASA. Finding: Many ECT tasks do not include a systems- level viewpoint in their research. Systems analysis was lacking in many areas and at various levels of the ECT program. Recommendation: Systems analysis should be strengthened as a crucial part of the portfolio man- agement and project selection process to support in- vestment decisions in the technology areas needing development. This process should recognize the pri- orities NASA has for its missions and the potential impact the research projects have on enabling and enhancing those missions. This process should also be applied to individual tasks and used by individual researchers as a mechanism for ensuring that re- search goals retain their original desired relevance. However, it should not be so rigid as to disallow ser- endipity and ideas of opportunity. Technical Quality Most of the tasks within the ECT program were deemed either good or excellent on an individual basis. A few projects had poor methodology, limited experi- mental setups, and/or lack of planning, but they were generally funded at relatively low levels. ECT panel members judged approximately 20 percent of the ECT program to be world-class (criteria listed in Chapter 2~. Areas (and individual tasks) of world-class quality singled out by the panel were these: . . . · Hall, ion, and pulsed plasma thrusters in elec- tric propulsion, advanced photovoltaics tech- nology, and advanced energy storage work, all within the Energetics element, The radio frequency/terahertz (RF/THz) thrust, the focal plane thrust, microshutter arrays, and microthermopile arrays within the AMD ele- ment, Modulation Sideband Technology for Abso- lute Range (MSTAR) and formation flying work within D&MS, and Experimental and Analytical Methods for Characterization of Gossamer Structures in RMS.
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58 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM The SEE element also provides a unique and much- needed service to the spacecraft design community. These areas of research are discussed in more detail in the individual project and element sections below. Finding: The panel judged approximately 20 per- cent of the ECT program to be world-class. Specific areas of world-class quality within the ECT pro- gram include the radio frequency/terahertz thrust, the focal plane thrust, the microshutter arrays, and the microthermopile arrays in Advanced Measure- ment and Detection; electric propulsion, advanced photovoltaics technology, and advanced energy storage in Energetics; modulated sideband technol- ogy and formation flying in Distributed and Micro- Spacecraft; and gossamer structure characteriza- tion in Resilient Materials and Structures. Generally the panel found good quality researchers in all programs. There were, as for any program, re- searchers at all levels of capability, experience, and quality of work. Many of the top researchers also had a firm grasp of what needed to be considered for a tech- nology to be adopted by a mission or transitioned for other uses. Such an understanding is not always found in the research community or reflected positively in the mission orientation and end goals of the ECT program. In other cases, the ECT panel observed a lack of con- nection between the researchers and their customers. The role of on-site support contractors in the ECT pro- gram was not made clear to panelists during site visits or other briefings. Most support contractors work seamlessly with NASA civil servants on a day-to-day basis. There were a few instances of researchers pursuing concepts that they had invented and patented, such as electric propulsion hollow cathodes, microelectro- mechanical system (MEMS) Stirling coolers, and in- tercalated graphite shielding. These tasks were funded by the Energetics project, albeit at a relatively low and appropriate level. In some instances a case could be made that these research projects were out of scope and better moved to another NASA center. However, the ECT panel found this to be an excellent practice when it comes to developing and retaining top researchers. Scientists need the flexibility to pursue their new ideas. Good managers provide these scientists with a reason- able amount of time and funding to encourage innova- tive concepts that can lead to pioneering, revolutionary technology. Such "blue-sky" ideas may mature into valuable and much-used technology. The panel also noted instances where researchers appeared overburdened with marketing and advocacy activities that competed with existing and new research for valuable time and resources, although the need to "sell" a program is recognized. Recommendation: Since flexibility and serendipity are key elements of basic research programs, the ECT program should continue to allow its top sci- entists small, short-term amounts of funding to pur- sue ideas that may not be entirely within the rigid scope of the program or that may at first seem to provide little return on investment. Facilities at all locations were deemed excellent for the types of work performed, the main exception being the inability to test chemical propellants at NASA Glenn. The E-beam lithography lab at the Jet Propul- sion Laboratory (JPL) and the Polymer Rechargeable Battery Lab and the electric propulsion test facilities at NASA Glenn are all world-class facilities. More spe- cific discussion of facilities can be found in the pro- gram element sections below. External peer review seems to be used effectively in selecting the external work funded under Space- Based NRAs and in the external NRA s within the SEE element. However, the panel observed little evidence of comprehensive external peer review of internal NASA work in the ECT program. The panel notes that PRT-wide reviews are performed by the PRT subcom- mittee of the Aerospace Technology Advisory Com- mittee (ATAC) and the PRT Technology Needs Coun- cil; however, these reviews focus on programmatics and not necessarily on technical quality. Peer review is used at one of the ECT centers, NASA Langley Re- search Center, to evaluate its own organization. How- ever, this review is not taken into account by the PRT management at NASA Headquarters in making pro- grammatic decisions or evaluating technical quality. Specific comments on the usefulness of the reviews and the review process at NASA Langley are also out- side the purview of this panel's work. Publications can be an excellent way to evaluate and ensure continued excellence in a research program. The panel did observe that ECT researchers for the most part had had a large number of conference papers published. However, in many cases the researchers did
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES not take the extra step of preparing their work for peer- reviewed journal publication, apparently because such publication is neither encouraged nor explicitly sup- ported by NASA management. The number of publica- tions and patents in some specific areas of excellence was, however, commendable, and is noted in the indi- vidual project and element sections that follow. NASA should maintain an environment that nur- tures and rewards intellectual leadership and technical excellence. Expectations should be aligned with the metrics of excellence and leadership that apply within the broader technical community for example, accep- tance of work in refereed publications and the award of patents. Metrics like these should be encouraged in addition to, not in place of, metrics for measuring progress toward technology maturation and transition to NASA flight programs. The highest-quality tasks managed to do both. The ECT panel does note, how- ever, that it is sometimes difficult to publish articles on technology under patent and undergoing the licensing process. Recommendation: ECT managers should imple- ment a set of criteria, used either in a critical assess- ment or in an external peer review, for assessing the quality of in-house or external research. The assess- ment should be carried out for ongoing projects and proposed new efforts. Criteria should be adjusted to reflect the expectations of different fields and should include the number of peer-reviewed jour- nal articles, the number of patents, and the number of missions adopting the technology and its impact on those missions. Such assessments will not burden the staff of suc- cessful programs since their delivered hardware and publications are already a measure of their excellence. Management and Strategic Planning There is a general need for better strategic plan- ning within the ECT program. The panel saw little top- down direction for the program in this area. With the exception of the Advanced Measurement and Detec- tion (AMD) element and some new developments in the Distributed Spacecraft Systems area, there was little evidence that the portfolio and future work were planned in a truly strategic manner. In part, this is due to the circumstances that brought portions of the ECT program together into a single program. These pro- 59 grams were originally conceived and begun in differ- ent areas of NASA, often at different field centers and sometimes with different goals, objectives, and man- agement structures. Some of this dispersion of strate- gic intent remains in the program. Many managers admitted that they were awaiting the technical and portfolio assessment capability touted in the Technology Assessment Analysis (TAA) ele- ment within the Advanced Concepts project. This ca- pability, which would, in concept at least, provide valu- able information for strategic planning, has not yet been advanced to a point where it can be effectively and confidently used. As recommended by the PRT com- mittee in Chapter 2, systems analysis and research tech- nical assessment capabilities should be developed and would be useful tools for strategic planning. Approximately 20 percent of the ECT budget is devoted to Advanced Systems and Concepts (ASC); this funding is supposed to serve as seed money for new technologies. This is a reasonable portion of the budget to devote to exploration, but it is disconnected from the actual technology research and development. In other words, little of the funded ASC work actually stimulates a research program. It might be more appro- priate to use some of this money to explore outside- the-box ideas for example, 10 percent of the ASC funding could be used at the overall ECT level uncon- strained by project area and another 10 percent used by the individual ECT element managers to explore out- side-the-box technologies and concepts within their el- ements. Another alternative is to measure the success of ASC by how many of the ideas are transitioned to projects in ECT and to fund future ASC work based on past success. These issues in strategic planning are due in part to the lack of consistent objectives and funding and even to management structure within NASA over the last decade. A link can be shown between the stability of an individual project and the project's technical perfor- mance over a long time horizon. This is especially so for the more fundamental and challenging research tasks, in which basic advances in science and engineer- ing are required. The ECT program is fundamental re- search, and fundamental research often takes a long time to bear fruit. However, the ECT program (or at least those parts that were in the Space Technology program) has undergone frequent and sometimes dis- ruptive restructuring and reorganization. Most elements of the ECT program (earlier, the Space Technology program) have been managed by five different enter-
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60 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM 350 300 250 200 73 150 LL 100 50 o Code R Code X Code S Code R 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 FIGURE 5-2 Space technology program funding history. Legend: Code R. Aerospace Technology Enterpnse; Code C, Com- mercialization Enterpnse; Code X, Advanced Technology Enterpnse; Code S. Space Science Enterpnse. Current NASA Codes X and C are not the same organizations listed above. SOURCE: Taken in part from Moore (2002~. prises within NASA in the last 10 years (see Figure 5-2~. The panel recognizes that certain program time spans are imposed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). However, these OMB constraints in- volve 5-year time horizons, while parts of the ECT pro- gram have experienced 1- and 2-year lifetimes between reorganizations. As a result, top-down planning and direction (not to mention funding) were difficult to sus- tain. The panel found, however, that the most success- ful elements within ECT had managed to perpetuate long-term research in spite of rather than because of the changing program structure at the top. If current plans for the FY2005 ECT program are implemented, the ECT program will have undergone three top-level organizational changes within the course of this review. While the panel understands that many of the research projects within these programs will continue, this is yet another example of constant churning in the program. Finding: The ECT program and its previous incar- nation, the Space Technology program, have under- gone frequent and disruptive restructuring and re- organization over the past decade, which has af- fected top-down planning and direction. This dis- ruption has undercut the long-term support necessary for fundamental research. Recommendation: NASA should commit to and provide a stable management environment that will encourage and support long-term research within both the agency and its community of collaborating industrial, academic, and other government re- searchers. Managing risks in a basic research program is a difficult task. By definition, portions of a research pro- gram should contain a reasonable amount of risk due to the uncertainty and serendipity that inhere in such pro- grams. High-risk efforts should have risk-reduction mechanisms built into their structure in order to drive risk down to an acceptable level. The panel notes that many individual areas within the ECT program address
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES risk satisfactorily. The AMD element employs a realis- tic assessment of risk and addresses it well. The D&MS testbed work inherently addresses risk while testing integration issues before technologies are pursued fur- ther. The Energetics project performs excellent work in many areas, but the panel saw little treatment of risk. By design, any work in systems analysis, if done prop- erly, will address risk. However, risk assessment was not a primary consideration in the ASC project. A portion of strategic planning and management should involve a determination of which portions of the program should be performed in-house and which portions of it outside. The ECT program in FY2002 comprised over 51 percent externally funded work (Moore, 2002), most of it through a set of Space-Based NRAs. While this statistic appears to demonstrate nu- merical parity between in-house and outside work, it should not be interpreted to mean there is an effective mix between NASA and non-NASA personnel in the projects. Collaboration outside NASA ranged from excellent to good to, in some cases, poor. This means it is not possible to draw general conclusions about the level and quality of ECT-wide collaboration with ef- forts outside NASA. Instead, the matter is discussed as necessary in specific sections below. Most technolo- gies within the ECT portfolio could (and should) be open in some way to external research. The panel notes, however, that NASA must continue to maintain exper- tise in many technology areas where industry or other government agencies do not have an interest or over- lapping missions. There are also areas where NASA must continue to maintain a knowledge base in order to successfully plan missions and incubate new technol- ogy. Examples of such areas are these: . . . Energetics project Radioisotope powered devices High-specific-impulse electric propulsion (<2,500 s) Radiation-tolerant solar power Spacecraft batteries and fuel cells Distributed Spacecraft element Ultraprecision formation flying with large baselines (100s of meters) Control of large constellations/clusters of formation flying satellites Microspacecraft element Technologies and integration of innovative microsensorcraft 61 . . Technologies for microspacecraft in hostile environments (i.e., solar proximity, outer planets, etc.) Miniature propulsion for control of large gos- samer structures Advanced Systems Concepts element Systems analysis tools Resilient Materials and Structures element Gossamer structures Space-durable materials Deployable telescope technology Conversely, there are areas in which NASA should involve top external researchers in order to get new ideas. The SEE element does this very successfully, using $1.1 million of its $1.5 million FY2002 budget to fund competitive research whether in-house or out- side. Of the $1.5 million total, $927,000 is for work performed completely outside NASA. Other areas within the ECT program rely on Space-Based NRA s to fund external work. The Energetics program, however, could easily expand its interaction and cooperation with external or other in-house NASA efforts. A systems analysis and technical assessment capa- bility, such as proposed by the TAA, is an essential capability that NASA should have in-house so it can properly judge its portfolio. While expertise from the outside (i.e., from universities and industry) can supple- ment this capability or help in the creation of tools, it is important that the knowledge and a significant portion of the analysis be performed within NASA so NASA managers have the understanding necessary to make sound decisions about technology balance and content. Finding: The TAA element within the ECT pro- gram is an important area for NASA to continue investing in. However, the panel believes that the element has not been given the emphasis it needs. Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) and the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts (NIAC) are parallel activities, the former in-house and the latter outside. Having an ability to generate ad- vanced concepts both within and outside NASA is im- portant and should be maintained. However, as is pointed out in the specific sections on these project el- ements below, both the RASC and NIAC activities should be tied closely with NASA's technology port- folio as well as the missions it hopes to perform, be-
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62 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM cause if the advanced concepts resulting from them are not relevant, they will be ineffective no matter where they are generated. Recommendation: NASA should maintain internal research and development activities and expertise in areas unique to NASA's mission where commer- cial or defense interests are limited and for items that are on the critical path for future missions. The sections that follow address each of the techni- cal areas within ECT. Within each section are specific observations, findings, and recommendations that ap- ply to the respective areas. NASA CROSS-ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENTS During FY1999, the Office of Space Science at NASA released a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled the Cross-Enterprise Technology De- velopment Program (NRA-99-OSS-05~.3 The NRA's goal was to infuse the agency with research at a low level of technical maturity (i.e., basic research) to con- ceptualize and develop revolutionary new technologies. NASA centers, JPL, and other organizations were all allowed to compete under the announcement (NASA, 1999~. Management of the awards was shifted to the ECT program in FY2002. Ten technology thrust areas were chosen in a broad search: Advanced Power and On-Board Propulsion; Breakthrough Sensor and Instrument Component Tech- nology; Distributed Spacecraft; High Rate Data Deliv- ery; Thinking Space Systems; MicrolNano Science- craft; Surface Systems; Ultralightweight Structures and Space Observatories; Next Generation Infrastructure Systems; and Atmospheric Systems and In-Space Op- erations. The effort ultimately awarded $40 million per year to 111 awardees selected from 1,229 proposals. Each award was for 3 years. The selection proceeded as follows: First, 43 separate external technical peer review panels4 evaluated all submitted proposals ac- 3Also referred to as the Space-Based NRAs. 4The names, affiliations, and expertise of the external reviewers and the content of nonawardee proposals were not available to the panel due to procurement sensitivities. cording to criteria listed in the solicitation announce- ment. Then, the top-rated proposals (which numbered 428) were evaluated for relevance to the needs of NASA's various enterprises, with 111 of the them be- ing selected based on various criteria. Table 5-2 shows the selection in various thrust areas. The NRA was advertised as "NASA's primary ve- hicle for undertaking basic research within the Agency to conceptualize and develop revolutionary new tech- nologies" (NASA, l999~. The panel saw little evidence of that boldness in the list of awarders. Despite the lack of detailed information on all the research performed under the NRA, the panel saw many good ideas. However, across the awards, one could question the degree to which they were "revolu- tionary new technologies." For example, radioisotope power sources, hot electron detectors, solid state microrefrigerators, and thermochemical research on sensing materials appear to be topics that are either al- ready covered within the internal ECT portfolio or not necessarily truly new ideas. The panel recognizes that the process for selecting proposals was challenging because of the large number of proposals and the wide range of technologies and applications the NRA was trying to support. The large number of technical review panels make it difficult to normalize results across so many panels and technical areas. The panel observed that the management of the NRA was problematic. The NRA s had been transferred from the Space Science Enterprise to the Aerospace Technology Enterprise when the Enabling Concepts and Technologies (ECT) program was formed. This management change, coupled with the broad focus of the announcement, has led to a general lack of integra- tion of the projects with NASA programs and centers. However, the NRA s associated with the research top- ics within the Resilient Materials and Structures (RMS) element appear to be well integrated into the ongoing research program. The element should maintain its cur- rent procedure for integrating the Cross-Enterprise NRAs. This general disconnect between NASA programs and the NRA awards is due in part to the competitive environment set up between the awardees and the NASA researchers who did not win awards. Effective competition enhances productivity and quality. How- ever, the winning teams are now competitors for fund- ing and can no longer freely exchange ideas and find- ings. For example, an excellent NRA contract may be awarded to an outside group for a new thruster design,
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES TABLE 5-2 Cross-Enterprise Technology Development NRA Awards 63 Technology Thrust Area Proposals Reviewed Proposals Selected Percentage Selected Percentage of Total Advanced Power and On-Board Propulsion Breakthrough Sensor and Instrument Component Technology Distributed Spacecraft High Rate Data Delivery Thinking Space Systems Micro/Nano Sciencecraft Surface Systems Ultralightweight Structures and Space Observatories Next Generation Infrastructure Systems Atmospheric Systems and In-Space Operations Total 172 308 73 90 114 106 80 140 99 47 1~129 13 40 7 13 10 10 2 9 6 111 7.6 13.0 9.6 14.4 8.8 9.4 2.5 6.4 6.1 2.1 9.8 11.7 36.0 6.3 11.7 9.0 9.0 1.8 8.1 5.4 1.0 100.0 but if the awardees have a firewall between their basic research and the NASA Glenn test and analysis capa- bility, more may be lost than gained from the competi- tion. The panel believes that the NRA work could have a higher payoff if individual NRAs were solicited in various thrust areas and managed directly by the PRT project most closely related to the subject matter, al- lowing increased cooperation and interaction between NASA researchers and those winning the NRAs. The panel observed that NASA has showed little ownership of the NRA work. As mentioned previously, this is probably attributable to two factors: (1) allowing NASA centers to compete for awards and (2) no clear mechanism for evaluating progress during the award's duration. The lifetime of the NRA awards, while excel- lent for stability of research funding for the outside contractors, seemed to cause problems with their man- agement by NASA. Awarding 3-year-long NRA con- tracts every 3 years with no rotation of awards or over- lap of award tenure causes NASA management to be locked into certain technology choices. A more stag- gered approach to funding the NRAs should be consid- ered. It is the panel's understanding that PRT/ECT management plans to restructure the NRA solicitation in the coming year to address these concerns. NASA managers have proposed that, eventually, a rotating set of technical topics be used each year, allowing for re- search at various stages to be in progress at any given time. To begin this process in FY2004, a portion of the NRA funding will be used to transition the most prom- ising work into various enterprises in NASA. The first set of rotating topics will include advanced measure- ment and detection technology, large-aperture technol- ogy, and low-power microelectronics technology (NASA, 2003a). The panel agrees that the technical concept behind the NRA is good. It will allow NASA to contract with leaders in various fields external to NASA and could prove to be an effective way to infuse many new and revolutionary ideas into the NASA program with very little risk and at relatively low levels of funding. How- ever, the panel feels that the collaboration and manage- ment of the NRA s could be improved in several ways. Since September 2002, ECT management has held "re- views" of the NRA work related to AMD, Energetics, RMS, and D&MS in order to better integrate the re- search in the ECT program. There are, however, no current plans to review the NRA work that is directly related to the CICT program. While such reviews are a good start to improving the integration of external re- search into the program, future NRA management should expand opportunities for collaboration between the awardees and NASA researchers. Panel members briefly reviewed materials avail- able from the NRA reviews. They found the overall scientific quality of the work to be good. In the Ener- getics area, however, the research was not always aligned with NASA's mission and did not always ad- equately evaluate system-level payoffs or identify the mission-enabling drivers of such technology. Further collaboration between the winning teams and NASA will do much to improve this, as suggested above.
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88 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM ity, but the panel has suggested ways to improve the work or increase collaboration with other efforts, as outlined in the sections that follow. Research Portfolio Most tasks fit within the stated objectives of the RMS element. However, some are clearly stronger than others and will have greater scientific impact for future needs of NASA missions. The element tried to bring different disciplines together, beginning with a 60-40 split between the number of applied and fundamental research tasks. However, by having well-established applied components in the element, the risks of indi- vidual tasks were minimized, and the whole effort is now moving toward 75 percent applied research and 25 percent basic research. The balance of technology maturity in the whole element is good. Advancing technology from a lower to a higher TRL is a good decision that will enhance the visibility and impact of the element. For even better results, the element needs to focus on fewer but better- interconnected tasks, which will also secure better tran- sition of technology. Great benefits are expected from moving the element's focus from lower precision struc- tures to higher precision structures, e.g., antennas and telescopes. A shift in the balance between more fundamental high-risk, high-payoff research and user-driven, lower- risk, mid-payoff research is also warranted. The over- all PRT program has a far-reaching vision of resilient materials and structures (Hanks, 2002) that involves concepts such as self-assessment, self-healing, and multifunctionality. However, little of this grand vision was apparent in the RMS tasks. Recommendation: A shift toward higher risk re- search on revolutionary materials and structures and a longer-term vision would greatly enhance the program. One example would be expanded research on multifunctional material systems, active controls, and advanced vehicle concepts, which would shift the research focus from lower precision structures to higher precision structures. Overall, the quality of the work being done in RMS Is good. As discussed above, several of the strongest tasks had excellent publication records and were pro- ducing work on a par with efforts in academia, the na- tional laboratories, or large research centers in indus- try. For example, the majority (about 80 percent) of the publications, presentations, and patent disclosures for the element come from two very successful tasks, Space Durable Polymers and Experimental Methods for Shape/Dynamic Characterization of Gossamer Structures. Other tasks focused more on user-driven research and were less productive in terms of scholarly publications and presentations, but in many cases they had greater relevance to specific NASA missions or applications. The research under these user-driven tasks would also be comparable to that conducted by similar applied research pro crams in industry and at DOD laboratories. r- -~- Most of the tasks in the RMS research portfolio are relevant for future space technology and NASA mis- sion needs. In particular, the ultralightweight, space- durable materials and membrane structure technologies under investigation have the potential to satisfy the technology requirements for missions described in the Space Science Enterprise and Earth Science Enterprise mission sets, as defined in their long-term strategic plans (NASA, 2000b,2001c). It appears, however, that no relevant systems analysis has been done to quantify the potential payoff. Research Plans The RMS element objectives are clearly defined and are connected to the NASA mission and the PRT goal of developing "revolutionary technologies and technology solutions to enable fundamentally new aerospace systems capabilities and missions" (Moore, 2002~. The development of space-durable materials, multifunctional and adaptive structures, and large deployable and inflatable structures to reduce space- craft mass and launch volume and to improve space- craft performance and reliability in extreme environ- ments are the main objectives of the resilient materials and structures element. These objectives are stated well in NASA's Strategic Plan and its Vision (Goldin, 2000; O'Keefe, 2002~. New research goals should be set within the element, focusing on multifunctional mate- rial systems, active controls, advanced vehicle struc- tural concepts, and radiation shielding materials, which will move the program from lower precision structures to higher precision structures. The task deliverables are clearly stated for most components of the RMS element. The element should
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES consider whether the guiding technical metrics of the deliverables are consistent with basic structure stiff- ness requirements. For example, is a "reduction in mass by a factor of 3" realistic in view of material specific stiffness and deployed structure stability requirements? Is there a fundamental limit to mass reduction given known material properties? Also, a "reduction of the package volume by a factor of 10" is meaningful only if further constrained by the volume of the deployed structural system, which also flows from the deployed structure stability requirements. The RMS element's key metrics for progress and accomplishments were publications and the mentoring of students. Metrics for quality of research should also include patents, new analysis tools, and innovative ex- periments. The funding for this element exhibited a flexibility that is very positive for the health of the whole effort. The element portfolio was refocused af- ter the first year, consolidated during the second year, and then expanded in the third year, with an emphasis on the analysis that was needed for the research effort. The analysis group that was added during the third year provided a mechanism by which increased funding could be wedged into the element. The quality of RMS managers has been shown by the way they selectively emphasize some tasks, eliminate others, and introduce new ones. This flexibility was a positive aspect of RMS that should be considered for other ECT projects and elements. Because some tasks are not performing or do not seem to map to RMS goals as well as others, the panel believes they should be consolidated to achieve a more focused RMS program. Recommendation: RMS management should con- tinue to reevaluate the research portfolio each year in order to most effectively focus the research un- der the current program's available resources. There is adequate internal review of the element. RMS program managers evaluate the element yearly, refocusing it as necessary. The recent restructuring is a strong indicator that the review process brings needed reorganization in a timely manner. However, no exter- nal review of the element' s portfolio is apparent. The critical personnel and facilities were defined clearly. The experimental facilities are certainly avail- able and adequate. Critical personnel are available for most of the efforts, even though external expertise (out- side NASA) is, appropriately, sought in a few areas as required. 89 Methodology and Scientific Hypotheses Most of the research plans for individual tasks were well formulated and comparable to work done else- where within the government. Little RMS work could be accurately called "academic" or basic research, so such a comparison would be inappropriate. Most of the plans were focused on the application of basic technol- ogy to particular structural architectures or materials. The panel did not observe any scientific hypoth- eses to specifically support the experiments that were under way. Most were "tests" or "demonstrations" rather than experiments in the strictest sense. In one case (Experimental Methods for ShapelDynamic Char- acterization of Gossamer Structures), this was appro- priate, because the activities involved sensor and meth- odology development efforts. However, one might expect that the work on sensor technology should con- sider specific experimental hypotheses in future activi- ties for example, a hypothesis on critical load levels leading to particular wrinkle patterns. Experiments should be devised that focus on such an issue rather than on a system-level demonstration. One of the strong points of the RMS element was the integration of lab equipment, modeling and simula- tion, and field testing. The element is close to provid- ing a direct correlation between the buckled thin-mem- brane wrinkle patterns observed in the laboratory and those predicted from analysis with a commercial finite- element model code. However, this comparison will only validate the nominal static stiffness of membrane structures. The research should also address the predic- tion of dynamic response. One weak point in the RMS element was the lack of system-level assessments of the research. It seemed that most of the work was directed at membrane struc- tures, but the design goals or performance breakpoints were not quantified. In fact, such structures may be useful only to particular missions, such as solar sails, unless the effects of structural instability and low fiber- volume fraction can be mitigated. When goals were identified, they were generally not linked to system- level impacts. The importance of evaluating system- level impacts applies to all areas of the ECT program and is a major recommendation of the panel. NASA should undertake a series of mission studies that use system-level sensitivities to guide research directions. The element is largely a bottom-up portfolio, based on the local interests of the researchers. A balance of top- down and bottom-up research should be sought.
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9o AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM The RMS element intends to redirect the portfolio into higher precision structural technology over the next 3 to 5 years. This should be augmented to include more aggressively visionary technologies, such as smart materials and multifunctional structural compo- nents and systems. Technica/ Community Connections 1 The membrane structures research in RMS over- laps with similar efforts at AFRL. However, the NASA activity in basic test instrumentation for membrane structures appears to be a unique capability. The rela- tively low level of activity on smart materials appeared to duplicate some of the work being done for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and AFRL. The tasks showed an appropriate interaction with non-NASA experts, particularly those from other gov- ernment laboratories and industry. Most of the indus- trial interaction consisted of leveraging NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) awards or coop- erating with a DARPA program. The use of academic researchers was noticeably lacking, with such funding accounting for less than 2 percent of the total RMS budget. The RMS element's outside work is Primarily in the Cross-Enterprise NRAs, the Small Business In- novative Research program, and a few unsolicited small university grants. There was some commendable leveraging of SBIR and NRA activities to complement the in-house work. Researchers are in large part widely published in conference proceedings. They should increase their publication in peer-reviewed journals to enhance their interaction with the broader research community. NASA management should support and encourage this publication and interaction. Also, in the past, travel funds were linked to salary line items. As a result, NASA personnel had difficulty traveling to visit other researchers or to attend conferences. This situation can only be addressed at the highest levels within NASA. In the past year, NASA has moved to a full-cost ac- counting method, which may change the way travel funds are allocated. Faci/ities, Personne/, and Equipment The RMS element benefits from well-qualified NASA personnel to carry out the necessary research tasks. There is a complementary mix of personnel spe- cializing in experimental and analytical work as well as a broad range of disciplines including materials sci- ence, physics, mechanics, and structural engineering. The program also has strong interaction with academia and industry through the Cross-Enterprise NRAs, which have been heavily leveraged by several research efforts. The equipment that was viewed during the labora- tory tours was in good working order and provided the necessary capabilities for the research at hand. NASA Langley clearly has unique capabilities for the testing of large space structures. Its high bay and large vacuum chambers are national resources that should be main- tained and possibly enhanced. The state-of-the-art equipment used for the photogrammetric dynamic/ shape measurements of gossamer structures is particu- larly noteworthy and provides a unique measurement capability. The facilities and work environment were also well suited for the research tasks. The facilities at NASA Langley enabled several unique capabilities such as the ability to test 30-m rigidizable columns in compression and 10-m solar sail panels in vacuum. NASA should consider component and subsystem test- ing of parts of the Webb Observatory as a mechanism for improving in-house test and analysis capability. Contracts are well integrated with the stated goals and objectives of the RMS element. Based on the lim- ited information available, there appears to be little duplication with other government capabilities. As stated previously, several of the capabilities and facili- ties used in this program are unique. Recommendation: NASA Langley Research Center should maintain its unique ability to test large space structures in its high bay and large vacuum cham- bers, which are national resources. Space Environmental Effects Element /ntroduction The Space Environmental Effects (SEE) element within the ECT program develops engineering tech- nology products in the areas of electromagnetic effects and space charging, ionizing radiation, meteoroid and orbital debris, and neutral external contamination, among others (Kauffman, 2002). The element is mod- estly funded at $1.5 million for both FY2002 and FY2003.
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES Genera/ Observations The Space Environments and Effects (SEE) ele- ment, managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), is unique within NASA in that it is the only activity that develops and distributes computer codes, models, tools, and guidelines for dealing with space environment effects on the design of spacecraft sys- tems. The spacecraft design community across the na- tion extensively uses the deliverables issued by the SEE project to improve the reliability and survivability of future space missions. The SEE element is currently conducting research and developing codes to predict outgassed material contamination, space plasma interactions with space- craft, the size distribution and damage impact of space projectiles, deep charge storage in insulators, and risk assessment of solar particle events. The element is com- pleting a highly collaborative 5-year effort with the AFRL Hanscom laboratory to develop a comprehen- sive revision to NASA's spacecraft charging analysis codes (NASCAP-2K). The project heavily leverages the activities of over 100 scientists and engineers from industry, academia, NASA, and other government agencies through the SEE Technical Working Group. The scientists and in- stitutions selected to work on the SEE-funded projects are all highly respected within the space science com- munity. The SEE element is an engineering technology de- velopment activity (TRL 4-6) and does not involve a lot of risk. Because it is neither a fundamental research project nor an applied research project, it will not lead to breakthrough results. Rather, the SEE project is a pragmatic and necessary activity that produces reliable, standard design codes needed and used by the entire spacecraft design community. The SEE project is ac- complishing its goals. Priorities for future activities are determined by a steering group of NASA/AFRL senior technical and program personnel. The panel does note that the high TRL of this activity means that its goals do not necessarily fit in with the more revolutionary goals of the ECT program. This project should con- tinue to be funded and supported by NASA owing to its importance to the nation; however, it should be con- sidered for placement within another element of NASA funding. Finding: The SEE element is a unique, pragmatic, and much-needed technology development activity 91 that produces standard design codes, models, tools, and guidelines for dealing with the effects of the space environment on the design of spacecraft sys- tems that are used by the entire U.S. space commu- nity. The SEE element demonstrates good coopera- tion with the AFRL in selecting relevant topics and makes excellent use of NRA opportunities to select the best scientists and engineers in the nation to con- duct research. The SEE element is accomplishing its goals and widely distributes the results to the space science and design communities through re- ports, publications, and symposia. Recommendation: The SEE element's technology development activity should be continued but should be considered for placement within another funding element of NASA. The concept of technical working groups used by the element's management should be considered for other areas of the PRT program. Research Portfolio The SEE research portfolio currently consists of nine tasks that are performed at various institutions by respected scientists in the space science community. All tasks were selected from responses to a NASA Re- search Announcement (NRA8-31) using a peer review selection process. All tasks are funded yearly starting in FY2002, with options for additional funding up to a maximum of 3 years, i.e., through FY2004. In addi- tion, the SEE project was directly funding the comple- tion in FY2002 of three tasks: Satellite Contamination and Materials Outgassing Knowledge Base, a physics- based Integrated Environments Tool that models mi- crometeorite environments in interplanetary space, and the collaborative NASCAP-2K code described above. The panel did observe that the recent and current SEE tasks are more focused on near-earth space envi- ronments. While this is an important area for continued research, the SEE element should consider expanding its portfolio to include more basic research in space environmental effects for deep space missions. Recommendation: Future SEE element activities should consider adding to SEE's portfolio more re- search tasks dealing with future NASA deep space · ~ mlsslons.
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92 Research Plans AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM All of the tasks in the current SEE element's port- folio contain realistic, measurable goals and mile- stones. Progress is assessed through quarterly techni- cal reports and reviews. The tasks are all low to medium risk (TRL 4-6) and performed by experienced scien- tists, so the probability of completing the stated objec- tives is high. The computer codes, models, and data- bases provided as deliverables are needed and used by the entire spacecraft design community at NASA, the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and aerospace companies. The funding levels in general are adequate to accomplish the tasks, particularly since the element heavily lever- ages other funding at the performing institutions. Methodo/ogy and Scientific Hypotheses The fact that the tasks are competitively selected from the space science community based on NASA priorities determined by the NASA/AFRL Technical and Program Steering Group assures that the right re- sources and personnel are being applied to the most relevant challenges. The SEE project is highly collabo- rative, with research being performed at the various USAF research laboratories and activities relevant to NASA priorities being funded and incorporated into the appropriate space environment databases. One of the principal challenges is the resolution of conflicting data obtained from different sources. In these cases additional tests are conducted to resolve discrepancies and to increase the accuracy of the resulting models, codes, and tools. Gaps and weaknesses in current mod- els are used to guide new space and ground data collec- tion activities. Technica/ Community Connections There are approximately 100 people within the SEE technical working groups, including 50 from in- dustry, 12 from academia, 32 from NASA centers, and 6 from other government institutions. Membership and collaborative activities encourage the exchange of knowledge and avoid duplication of research. The SEE element is also collaborating with AFRL Hanscom and the European Space Agency to sponsor the Eighth Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference, to be held in October 2003. Topics such as models and com- puter simulations, ground-testing investigations and techniques, on-orbit missions and investigations, envi- ronment specifications, plasma propulsion, and mate- rials development will be discussed. Participation in conferences such as this provides an excellent opportu- nity to discuss and disseminate the end products of the SEE element and to learn of new results that can be incorporated in future SEE tasks. The SEE element has funded work resulting in 33 publications since 1994 and eight new models or tools for distribution. (This does not include publications of members of the tech- nical working groups.) Faci/ities, Personne/, and Equipment The SEE element does not possess extensive fa- cilities or equipment but uses instead the resources of the various institutions conducting the contracted re- search. Through a competitive process involving sci- entific peer review, the most capable scientists and in- stitutions are selected to perform all of the tasks in the SEE element. This approach assures that the best sci- entists, test facilities, and equipment are always se- lected to conduct a task without incurring the overhead and maintenance costs associated with an in-house ca- pability. REFERENCES Augustine, N., et al. 1990. Report of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, December. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Bearden, D.A. 1999. A Methodology for Spacecraft Technology Insertion Analysis Balancing Benefit, Cost, and Risk. Ph.D. dissertation, Univer- sity of Southern California, May. Beichman, C.A., N.J. Woolf, and C.A. Lindensmith. 1999. The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). NASA/JPL Publication 99-3. Cassanova, Robert. 2002. NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Phase I Evaluation Form. Chao, C.C., G.E. Peterson, E.T. Campbell, and D.J. Dichmann. 2000. Col- lection of Code S Mission Profiles for Distributed Spacecraft. Report TOR-2000(2131)-1. E1 Segundo, Calif.: The Aerospace Corporation. Farris, Bob, Bill Eberle, Gordon Woodcock, and Bill Negast. 2001. Inte- grated In-Space Transportation Plan Phase I Final Report, September 14. Huntsville, Ala.: Gray Research, Inc. Ferebee, Melvin J., Patrick A. Troutman, George G. Ganoe, Jeffrey T. Farmer, Frederic H. Stillwagen, Washito Sasamoto, Donald W. Monell, Robert F. Estes, Michael L. Heck, Carolyn C. Thomas, and Paul A. Garn. 1994. Satellite System Design and Simulation Environment (SSDSE): A Survey of Space Systems Analysis Software Tools and Models. Unpublished report. Langley, Va.: NASA Langley Research Center. Goldin, Daniel. 2000. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Stra- tegic Plan 2000, September. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Martin, R.M., and M.J. Stallard. 1999. Distributed Satellite Missions and Technologies The TechSat 21 Program. AIAA Paper 99-4479. AIAA Space Technology Conference, Albuquerque, N.M., September.
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PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES Moser, R., A. Das, R. Madison, D. Collins, R. Ferber, G. Jaivin, M.J. Stallard, and J. Smith. 2001. "Novel missions for next generation microsatellites: The results of a joint AFRL/JPL study." Paper Number SSC99-VII-1 in Proceedings of the 13th Annual AIAA/USU Confer- ence on Small Satellites, August 23-26. Logan, Utah: Utah State Uni- versity. NASA. 1999. Selection Statement: NASA Cross-Enterprise Technology Development Program, NRA 99-OSS-05. NASA.2000a. The Sun-Earth Connection Roadmap: Strategic Planning for 2000-2025. Available online at
94 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM ANNEX: TECHNOLOGY GRADUATION PATHS- EXAMPLES OF THE MATURATION PROCESS IN THE ECT ADVANCED MEASUREMENT AND DETECTION ELEMENT The Advanced Measurement and Detection (AMD) element within the ECT program has devel- oped an excellent process for maturing technologies. Each technology is examined for possible overlap with various graduation paths both internal and external to NASA. Figure 5-A-1 shows how that process works. Possible paths include (1) direct insertion into a NASA mission, (2) competitive space and earth science and biological and physical research instrument programs (such as PIDDP, SARA, ROSS, IIP, AEMC), (3) fo- cused technology programs, and (4) non-NASA efforts in both the federal government and industry. The AMD element gave the panel many examples of specific tech- nologies that had followed various graduation paths successfully. Twenty of those examples are listed in Table 5-A-1. One success occurred in the area of uncooled ther- mopile broadband detector arrays. Figure 5-A-2 pro- vides a schematic of the technology research funding. the competitive call used to transition the technology to a NASA mission area, and the specific NASA mis- sion on which the technology was baselined. Research into the uncooled thermopile arrays began in what is now called the ECT program in FY1995 and lasted until FY2000. The technology was then transitioned into the Space Science Enterprise through the PIDDP, where focal planes for a waveguide spectrometer based on linear array technology was funded from FY1999 until FY2003. This focal plane technology was subse- quently used for the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) in- strument in the Mars '05 mission based on the thermo- pile linear detector arrays. The AMD program is now funding the next generation of uncooled two-dimen- sional thermopile detector arrays beginning a new cycle of technology maturation and graduation. Briefings Tim Krabach, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Advanced Spacecraft Systems: Advanced Measurement and Detection," presentation to the ECT panel on June 11, 2002(a). Tim Krabach, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Uncooled Thermopile Broad- band Detector Arrays Graduation Path," material provided to the ECT panel on November 6, 2002(b). Tim Krabach, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Graduation Paths for Advanced Measurement and Detection Development," material provided to the ECT panel on November 6, 2002(c).
PANEL ON ENABLING CONCEPTS AND TECHNOLOGIES / l FIGURE 5-A-1 Graduation paths used by the Advanced Measurement and Detection element. SOURCE: Adapted in part from Krabach (2002a, 2002c). NASA Mission Code S Mars '05 FY2002-FY2003 Focal planes for MCS instrument based on thermopile linear detector arrays Code S Competitive Call P!DDP FY' 999-FY2003 Focal planes for waveguide spectrometer based on linear array technology ECT Technology Task FY1995-FY2000: Uncooled thermopile broadband linear detector arrays FY2001-FY2005: Next generation of uncooled 2D thermopile detector arrays FIGURE 5-A-2 Graduation path for uncoated thermopile broadband detector arrays. SOURCE: Adapted in part from Krabach (2002b). 95
96 AN ASSESSMENT OF NASA 'S PIONEERING REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM TABLE 5-A-1 Graduation Paths for Various AMD Technologies Direct Transfer Examples Hybrid Imaging Technology (HIT) task E-Beam Lithography Development task Silicon Nitride Micromesh Bolometer task HIT for Mars '05 Op-Nav camera Gratings for Hyperion (EO-1), Warfighter, COMPASS, CRISP (Contour) Gratings for upcoming CRISM (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) and HSIT (SPIRITT) Herschel and Planck missions Superconducting Detector and Mixing tasks Herschel, Planck, and SOFIA Casimir instrument Insertion in progress (camera will demonstrate high-accuracy approach navigation) Insertion in progress Insertion in progress Insertion in progress Code S Technology Call Transfers Code R Work Code S Task/Call Relationship Hybrid Advanced Detector for Space Physics Instrument task Lidar for Mars Missions task Geochronology task and Miniaturized Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer task Microfluidics task PIDDP: compact, low-voltage, high-resolution, Technology development initiated and robust solar-blind UV imager enabled by Code R PIDDP: Planetary Microlidar for Wind and Dust PIDDP: In Situ Geochronology System Based on Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy and Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry ASTEP: AstroBioLab A Mobile In Situ Subsurface Biotic Detector and Soil Reactivity Analytical Laboratory ELXS development task (finished in FY01) ASTID: Electron-Induced Luminescence and X-Ray Spectrometer (ELXS) System for Life Detection Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Miniaturized Quadrupole Mass ASTID: Measurement of Isotopic Composition Technology development initiated and Spectrometer task of Iron Oxides as a Biosignature on Mars enabled by Code R Development of Carbon Nanotubes task Tunable Laser Diodes Development task ASTID: Detection of Nanoscale Activity (DNA) with Carbon Nanotubes Used as Mechanical Transducers MIDDP: Tunable Laser Spectrometers for Mars Scout Mission Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Technology development initiated and enabled by Code R
PANEL ON COMPUTING, INFORMATION, AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY TABLE 5-A- 1 (continued) 97 Focused Technology Programs Status Tunable Laser Diodes task Mars Focused Technology: Tunable Laser · Development of near-IA tunable laser Spectrometers for Atmospheric and Subsurface spectrometers (TRL 4-6) for Mars Gas Measurements on Mars · Measurement: lander, balloon, cryobot, probe; atmospheric and subsurface (evolved) gases and their isotopic ratios · Science: biogenic signatures, mineral composition, climate history · Emphasis on space-qualifying laser sources and signal processing electronics Hybrid Imager task Mars Focused Technology: Optical · Mars Exploration Program is planning Navigation Camera to use optical navigation for mission- critical guidance in CNES '07, MSL '09, and MSR '13 · The accuracy required for optical navigation is better by a factor of 10 than has ever been demonstrated at Mars (by Viking Orbiters) Code U Competitive Call Code R Work Code U Task Status Nanotube Based Nanoklystron BSRP: Remotely Coupled DC Power for Proposed technology development Technology task Driving Nanotubes initiated and enabled by Code R Antimony Based Lasers task AEMC: Tunable Diode Lasers for Trace Proposed technology development Gas Monitoring initiated and enabled by Code R Microfluidic Technology Development task AEMC: Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Ion Analysis for Water Quality Monitoring Proposed technology development initiated and enabled by Code R Sensors for Electronic Nose task AEMC: Ground Testing of the Second Proposed technology development (NRA with NIST) Generation Electronic Nose for Air Quality initiated and enabled by Code R Monitoring in Crew Habitat Code Y Competitive Call Code R Work Code Y Task Status MEMS Transmit/Receive Module for ACT: Ultra-High Efficiency L-Band Proposed technology development Thin-Film Membrane Antennas task Transmit/Receive Modules for Large-Aperture initiated and enabled by Code R Scanning Antennas ACT: T/R Membranes for Large-Aperture Scanning Antennas Solar Blind Detectors ACT: Development of Large Format Visible- Proposed technology development NIR Blind Gallium Nitride UV Imager for initiated and enabled by Code R Atmospheric Earth Science Applications NOTE: See Appendix F for the spelled out form of the acronyms in this table. SOURCE: Adapted in part from Krabach (2002c).
An Assessment of NASA 's Pioneering Revolutionary Technology Program allucled to by the ECT management, but it was uncertain how they would be used. As a whole it was unclear exactly who wouIc! perform the work and how any of the TAA effort would be completed in light of the changing clefinition of this proposed new area for FY2003. In March 2003, pane! members received an update on the plans for TAA. It is now focused on four pilot mission studies actually selected by and performed in conjunction with personnel associated with different NASA enterprises: (~) large telescope systems (Code S), (2) Lidar Observatories (Code Y), (3) Space Power Systems (Cocle M), and (4) Automation of Microgravity Research (Code U) (Moore, 2003a). TAA's focus is currently on mission scenarios chosen by other NASA enterprises and staffed by individuals associated with those enterprises. Each pilot study uses tools aireacly developed and utilized by other NASA enterprises. Each pilot study is scheclulect to run for 6 months so that results can be used in planning the FY2005 ECT program and NRA topic selection for future years. The top-level approach presenter! for TAA (i.e., progressing from desired science goals ant! capabilities to identifying potential technical concepts to determining system-level benefits of new technologies and finally using a prioritization process to optimize the technology portfolio) is sound in concept. However there was no clear inclication that TAA, as structured for FY2003 with pilot studies, will ever develop a true portfolio analysis too! set. NRC panelists also saw no plans for the future development of new tools under TAA. Rather than perform narrow mission studies, as proposed, TAA shouicl focus more broadly on how technologies support the NASA mission set and on evaluating competing technologies. Code R's mission is to clevelop technologies across the entire agency, not to fund pilot studies for other NASA enterprises. The panel recognizes that knowledge of mission enterprise needs is key to effectively using scarce technology development resources. However, Code R's basic research should be funding cross-agency enabling technology and the tools needed to evaluate its applicability across the agency. One example of technology assessment and prioritization is the recent work clone for the NASA Integrated In-Space Transportation Planning (FISTS) Phase ~ activity (Ferris et al., 2001~. Conductec! in 2001, the IISTP activity involved a NASA-wicle team of more than 100 engineers and scientists assessing and prioritizing in-space propulsion technologies. In a 6-month period, the IISTP effort evaluated primary propulsion systems for transportation between various in-space destinations for nine potential missions selected from the NASA mission set that inclucled the Earth Science Enterprise, Space Science Enterprise, and Space Flight Enterprise missions. Seventeen propulsion architectures were evaluated and priorities assigned to the technologies according to their ability to meet mission requirements, sche(lule, cost, and other selection criteria. Thirty- one figures of merit were selected, scored, and balanced using Kepner-Tregoe and Quality Function Deployment techniques. Cost-benefit analysis was also assessed and uses! with a figure of merit rating to prioritize these technologies. While one can debate if this exact process is the proper one, TAA should emulate the characteristics of a focus on technology, a broact view across the NASA mission set, a review of a technology type with a common set of merits, and performance of cost- benefit analysis. If TAA finds itself short of funds to perform a review of the complete ECT portfolio, pilot studies on a few specific technology types should be complete(l. This is strongly preferrer! over the mission ant! enterprise focus currently proposed. 98
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