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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report 5 Technology as a Driver for Capability Transformation The afternoon session began with a presentation by Joseph Guerci on DARPA’s space activities and their role in transforming technology used by the armed services. Two panel sessions followed in succession. Both covered technology and transformation of capabilities. The first was moderated by steering committee member Charles Trimble, the second by Dava Newman. Members of the first panel were Brad Parkinson, Stanford University; Christine Sloane, General Motors; and David Hardy, Air Force Research Laboratory. The second panel has as members Jacqueline Haynes, Intelligent Automation, Inc.; Stanley Schneider, National Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System; and Christopher Stevens, NASA’s New Millennium Program. All the speakers were asked to address a half dozen focusing questions in their short presentations: What, briefly, is the role of technology as an agent for organization and capability transformation, specifically as related to your organization? What other factors must be present to facilitate technology as an agent for transformation? What are the obstacles that hinder using technology to accomplish capability transformation? What are the important barriers that must be overcome in using technology to facilitate capability transformation? What are the challenges to achieving technology insertion into capability development? What are the appropriate time templates to use for technology-driven innovation? Joseph Guerci, deputy director of the Special Projects Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), presented information about DARPA’s space activities, vision, and technology transition. He began his presentation by providing an overview of the creation, purpose, and mandate of the agency. DARPA was created by President Eisenhower in 1958 in response to the Sputnik threat. Its role is to bridge the gap between current and near-term armed services science and technology programs and fundamental research made up of long-term investments. Each project funded by DARPA is given a short timeline—3 to 5 years—to accomplish its goal. Guerci stressed that this constraint, in addition to a lean management structure, is DARPA’s way of keeping fresh ideas flowing. Technology is transitioned out of DARPA in one of three ways: DARPA contracts directly with the industry base, which then produces the technology for use by the government. Guerci mentioned that this is the most effective transition mechanism for DARPA.
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report DARPA funds small systems or prototypes through armed services science and technology programs, which then advance the new technology by means of various armed service funding mechanisms and bring it into full production. DARPA enters into a formal transition with a transition partner (usually a branch of the DOD), which submits to it a program objective memorandum (POM). Stealth technology was transitioned in this manner. As a result of recommendations from the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization (the Rumsfeld Commission),1 a larger percentage of DARPA’s budget is invested in space now than in the recent past. According to Guerci, the report stated that U.S. space systems are vulnerable to attack, the space industrial base is weak, and the systems are aging. DARPA was subsequently directed to focus on the access and infrastructure questions related to space. There are three types of DARPA research in space: Direct access (example: affordable launch vehicles and access to space), Both direct and indirect access (example: microsatellites), and Indirect access (example: payload compression). Guerci mentioned the need to change the space research and development process by using a new paradigm to reduce the cost and increase the frequency of space deployments. A paper given by James Wertz at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Utah State University Conference on Small Satellites was referenced as an example.2 Collaboration between various space agencies is also critical, according to Guerci. There is a lot of excess capacity in launches, especially military launches, that could be used. The issue is that individuals and programs do not want to introduce additional risk into their missions even when they have extra space. Guerci suggested that the government mandate that excess capacity be used. Steering committee member Molly Macauley asked if the Moon-Mars mission should be done by DARPA instead of NASA. Guerci replied that DARPA does not typically handle large acquisition projects well. Its focus is on proof-of-concept demonstrations. NASA has tremendous capability as well as resources that do not exist in DARPA, and there is also a lot of synergy between industry and NASA. Macauley then asked about risk at DARPA. Guerci said that DARPA fails often and may even try several times. But when a project finally succeeds, its payoff can be immense (e.g., stealth technology, the Internet). FIRST PANEL Brad Parkinson, Stanford University, began by discussing the Global Positioning System and its role as a transformer of capabilities, first for the military and then for the 1 Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, Final Report, January 2001. Available online at <http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/space20010111.html>. Accessed May 7, 2004. 2 James Wertz, Microcosm, Inc., Changing the Paradigm of Space Testing: The FAST Program, 15th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Logan, Utah, August 13-16, 2001.
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report general public. Parkinson described GPS as a just-in-time technology that was really a collection of new technologies, all of which were necessary to develop the final product. The constituent technologies included spaceborne atomic clocks, spread-spectrum ranging, and inexpensive, low-power computing, among others. He provided examples of GPS successes. GPS had allowed the tracking of sheep and the accurate automated landing of aircraft; it had also led to an understanding of crustal motion and earthquakes. Parkinson defined “disruptive” as something that used to be really hard but is now taken for granted. His message boiled down to three key enablers: focus, time, and leadership. For technology to be useful it needs to have the focus of a mission. The focus needs to have substance. One example of substance is reliability—not simply performance, but instead the reliability of the mission itself. Technology development has a natural rhythm. It takes time to mature technology appropriately. For example, a baker cannot double the temperature at which a cake is baking and then halve the baking time to achieve a baked cake. There is also a need for leadership from someone who understands how much time it will take to achieve a disruptive technology and who has the courage to stand up to the mainstream world, which is saying it can’t be done. This person is not the advocate and does not lead by committee. For example, GPS was cancelled by the Air Force on four separate occasions. Fortunately, civil leaders with more authority stepped in to prevent that from happening. Moderator Trimble mentioned that the new Code T process is driven by requirements, while GPS was driven mainly by the capability itself. Parkinson confirmed that there had not really been any requirements for GPS. Because the Air Force did not think it wanted the capability, he could design to what he thought was achievable within constraints of cost and time. In a development program, one has to change requirements in a feedback loop once one realizes that a technology is not feasible. Parkinson also mentioned that the idea of a capability is more helpful than the idea of a requirement, because often requirements are defined so rigidly that they can never be achieved at a reasonable cost. Newman asked how long technology development typically takes. Parkinson said that it depended on the mission. Typically, a technology planner can add 25 to 50 percent to the time an advocate says he needs to provide the technology. Accurate estimates require concrete and specific knowledge. Christine Sloane, General Motors, began by describing her role in the Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles and the new Freedom Cooperative Automotive Research (FreedomCAR) research effort. FreedomCAR is designed to accelerate the development of technologies for new, energy-efficient vehicles and for hydrogen fuel and use them to transform an existing infrastructure (in this case, petroleum-fueled automobiles, or, more broadly, passenger transportation). The biggest challenge to inserting technology into the automobile industry and the fuel industry is acceptance of the new technologies by the marketplace and the public. Key to achieving that acceptance are cost, familiarity, performance, and durability (including tolerance for abuse by the consumer). She believed that these issues are probably less applicable to space travel, since the equipment and vehicles are all funded, assessed, operated, and maintained by professionals, not the marketplace. Technology insertion in the automotive industry must also take into account customer preferences at the point of purchase. Since the societal benefits of energy efficiency, such as reducing petroleum dependence or greenhouse emissions, may be
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report more important than the personal benefits, Sloane believed the government needs to support the long-term research (over 10 years in the automobile industry) required to achieve such efficiency. There is a conflict in the marketplace when purchasers decide whether to spend incremental dollars for a personal benefit (such as a tape deck) or for a societal benefit Because personal benefits have historically dominated purchase decisions, technology insertion is needed. FreedomCAR is a government program in which industry is a partner. A key industry role is to set research targets that reflect the comprehensive requirements of the automotive marketplace and real-world driving so that fundamental technology developments from this research will take into account industry’s engineering challenges in technology insertion. The FreedomCAR partnership is focused on transforming the automotive sector’s nearly total dependence on petroleum by giving it the flexibility to use diverse fuels. The major research focus is therefore on energy-efficient systems powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Beyond the engineering performance of these systems, their affordability is key. Affordability can be seen as a technical challenge because it requires achievements such as material substitution, parts integration, and innovative manufacturing processes. Insertion of these technologies into the automobile industry marketplace will likely require market incentives to overcome customer hesitancy to adopt a new technology, infrastructure incentives to stimulate deployment of the new refueling system coincident with vehicle introduction, and the development of commercial codes and standards, none of which are required in the space industry. Sloane mentioned several obstacles to the successful completion of a long-term program to develop the hydrogen fuel cell automotive technology that the space exploration program may not face. They included commitment to the long-term vision; retirement of existing infrastructure; codes and standards; public acceptance; and affordability. There are also difficulties associated with the introduction of a new automotive vehicle into the marketplace, including durability of the inserted technology, timescales for infrastructure development, market acceptance, and cost, especially for the small number of vehicles that will initially be sold. Trimble asked if the introduction of a new vehicle was feasible from an engineering standpoint. Sloane said that it was feasible and that the companies engaged in developing the technology are optimistic enough to continue to invest in the new technology and to operate demonstration vehicles. General Motors has six fuel cell cars being driven in the Washington, D.C., area that are performing very well. The key remaining challenges are to make them more affordable and durable. Macaulay asked about the time needed to develop the infrastructure. (For example, the current infrastructure for space exploration includes the space shuttles and the ISS.) How does the industry figure out how long it will take? Sloane responded that in the fuel/automotive marketplace, a key element will be the coincident development of opportunities for the energy and automotive industries to invest in that will bring a return on the investment. That will require not only technology readiness but it also requires that the government coordinate simultaneous deployment by energy and vehicle companies and that it encourage the vehicle-buying public to switch to the new technology. General Motors has spent over $1 billion on new technologies for these next-generation vehicles and expects to market them in the next decade. The technical issues surrounding fuel cells for automobiles are therefore expected to be solved by 2010. The energy industry, meanwhile, is preparing for the availability of the technology by exploring opportunities
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report for improved hydrogen production and deployment and by demonstrating hydrogen infrastructure technologies to bring them both to the same stage of readiness as fuel cell technology. Cost and public acceptance will be key to a successful introduction into the consumer marketplace. An audience member suggested that there is a need to invest in interoperability (codes/standards) for the space program. Charles Walker mentioned systems engineering for large systems and asked how the introduction of cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be different from the introduction of a new model car. Is the FreedomCAR transformational or evolutionary? Sloane replied that it is a disruptive technology, not an evolutionary technology. The infrastructure will be substantially different for both the automotive companies and the energy companies. In the FreedomCAR, the “engine” is being completely reinvented, whereas new model cars always entail evolutionary improvements on earlier designs and are manufactured using traditional casting and machining technologies and catalyst hardware, for example. The supply base for the fuel will also be totally different, no longer relying principally on petroleum feedstocks. To the driving public, the vehicle should look attractive enough to inspire the purchase of a new, less familiar vehicle system. For example, for a fuel cell vehicle, which is a completely electric vehicle, there is no need for a traditional engine compartment. The General Motors fuel cell vehicle Autonomy demonstrated one possible use of the design freedom offered by fuel cell power systems—it had a skateboard chassis that had under it the entire power system and all the vehicle controls. David Hardy, Air Force Research Laboratory, provided a DOD perspective on the focusing questions and described the DOD Space Experiments Review Board. DOD has been given incredibly difficult goals, including launch on demand, the ability to hit any target anywhere in the world in 60 minutes, the ability to track objects anywhere at any time, and a global information grid, among others. The development of new technologies is the one way to achieve these goals, and also DOD leadership understands that. However, in the current fiscal environment, capabilities must also be a “good buy.” Missions and programs must analyze the problem, determine the technology needed to solve it, and then start a new program if necessary. Obstacles to this process include the long times for technology development and the complexity of the process by which ideas are converted into an operational system. These obstacles are partly inherited from the time when space systems were originally developed, when requirements and technology were not evolving as rapidly as they are today. Hardy believes that the TRL system to determine technology maturity is too subjective. It leads one to think that systems are more technologically advanced than they really are, especially when researchers become advocates for specific technologies and overstate technology readiness, letting managers make decisions based on overly optimistic numbers. There are many players in the space technology arena, including, on the military side, the National Reconnaissance Office, DARPA, the Air Force, and—to some extent—the Navy. On the civil side, the space technology arena includes NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is a rather large community, with many cultures and different organizational structures. It is hard to work together. For example, lift requirements do not mesh easily for historical and organizational reasons and because the organizations have fundamentally different
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report missions. Launches are expensive. For the Air Force, cheaper access to space is a huge driver. Hardy also believes that the space infrastructure is currently fixed, static, and predictable. The military would like to see it much more flexible and robust. If the entire space infrastructure of the United States were to be wiped out, the military would not be able to rebuild it. Hardy also said that the Air Force has no incentive to support humans in space, so it is developing unmanned vehicles. However, when it comes to responsiveness and affordability, in space, one can find much in common between NASA and DOD. Joanne Gabrynowicz asked if the military would be interested in experiments on the Moon. Hardy said that this was unlikely. The military likes to look down at Earth from space and to do so at the lowest possible altitude. It might have some interest in low Earth orbit and the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrangian point, but not in exploration. He said there might be some overlap with capabilities demonstrated by the Clementine mission.3 The DOD might be interested in rendezvous with other objects in space or in very close operations. In general he felt that there was no utility in joint DOD and NASA missions. Hardy also commented on terrestrial defense against near-Earth asteroids, saying that there is high risk but low probability. There is some interest on the part of DOD, but not enough to spur any action. Terry Allard, NASA, asked Hardy which technologies would be worth exploring through joint DOD and NASA programs or missions. Hardy replied that interagency plans are difficult, and that sometimes the only result of the partnership is to justify the research of each agency. He is skeptical of interagency working groups, even though real synergies can be achieved SECOND PANEL. Jacqueline Haynes started the second panel, continuing the theme “Technology as a Driver for Capability Transformation” and providing her perspective as the owner of Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI), a small, woman-owned business focused on advanced artificial intelligence applications and technology innovation. Answering the question about the role of technology as an agent of organization and capability transformation, she said flexibility was paramount. Flexibility was mentioned as key in the small business community, whose members are typically organized around technologies in which they are already invested through their personnel. As for the other factors that must be present for technology to achieve transformation, Haynes observed breakthrough scientific achievements come from a combination of vision, motivation, and funding. She presented as an example a three-dimensional model of ballistic identification. Haynes suggested that small businesses might have special concerns about new NASA programs. Among the concerns were these: Small businesses might not be able to break into NASA’s new programs because of the existing relationships between NASA and large companies. 3 Clementine was a joint mission between the DOD and NASA in 1994 to test the effects of extended space exposure on sensors and spacecraft components. Although its primary mission was to test new lightweight satellite technology, mapping of the Moon was a secondary mission.
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report Limited time and costs would make it hard to establish new relationships and new communication channels. Businesses might be hesitant to participate because they are not confident that the program will outlast the administration. She also suggested that two important barriers must be overcome in using technology to facilitate capability transformation—namely, negative perceptions of engineers and scientists, causing young people to opt for the other careers, and a poor public understanding of space missions. She declared that education in science and engineering was important, saying, “the universities are not producing the scientists needed now, and the prognosis [for the future] is worse.” She then broadened her point to include educating the public and enhancing communication between scientists and the public. When asked what the main contribution of her business was, she cited active participation in the small business innovative research (SBIR) program (50 percent of her company’s portfolio) and providing applications of basic theoretical sciences. Her company does not directly sell products but licenses some technology. It is not difficult for small businesses to enter the SBIR program, which she saw as attractive. She supports the SBIR and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in pushing innovation but is concerned that the programs are becoming overly focused on accomplishing program objectives. Stanley Schneider, associate director for technology transition in the National Polarorbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office, provided the perspective of a federal interagency program. NPOESS is a collaboration by DOD, the Air Force, NOAA, and NASA. A recommended model for a robust risk reduction program was presented involving both hardware and software. User buy-in was mentioned as necessary for success, as was the involvement of all stakeholders. Flying all the instruments beforehand was a way to further reduce risk. NPOESS needs several new technologies for making various measurements. Schneider said that a guideline that calls for setting aside 25 percent margin of payload space in the satellites for technology testing is being followed. Payload mass, volume, and data rate are reserved for new technologies that will be piggybacked for testing. In answering the focus question on the role of technology as an agent for organization and capability transformation, Schneider described a unique contracting arrangement whereby NPOESS contracts, primarily with Northrop Grumman Space Technology, under a “shared system program responsibility” model. Northrop Grumman and NPOESS consider themselves partners, and this model was suggested as a way to reduce risk. Everyone works under the same roof and in the same office at NPOESS regardless of which government agency employs them. The operational mentality is that you “leave your badge at the door.” In this way NPOESS has created its own identity. One of the benefits is that the people there think outside the box, working together to create success. Performance-based requirements were implemented, and the contractor presented a processing timeline where data needs are met in 30 minutes. The SafetyNet architecture
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report was the innovative industrial solution.4 Schneider reported that instrumentation accounted for about a third of the entire NPOESS budget, which was development oriented. Moderator Newman asked Schneider how the message had got out about the success of the NPOESS model of agency collaboration and cooperation? The answer was to have a lot of community interaction and numerous briefings, as well as special sessions at relevant programmatic, science, and engineering conferences and symposia. He was also asked what NPOESS’s international role was, especially in light of existing international polar-orbiting satellites. NPOESS will be bringing in data from European systems and vice versa, but there is no exchange of instrumentation. The European group sits on the NPOESS advisory group, which meets quarterly. Christopher Stevens, manager of the NASA New Millennium Program (NMP) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), provided the final perspective.5 The objective of NMP is to accelerate the infusion of revolutionary technologies into NASA science missions by validating them in space, to provide new and lower cost capabilities for Earth and space science missions and reduce the risks to the first users. The NMP is similar to the proposed Code T Technology Maturation program, but the NMP is sponsored by the Earth (Code Y) and Space Science (Code S) Enterprises. The NMP helps fill the gap between low-TRL work and the science missions. NMP was set up when the Earth and space science programs realized that the technology capabilities needed to accomplish Earth and space science goals would not be available without further investment. Approximately $35 million of the annual budget for the NMP comes from the Earth Science Enterprise and $80 million, from the Space Science Enterprise. When discussing the relationship between ASTRA and NMP, Stevens noted that the technology validation projects in the NMP program fit the ASTRA model in the “applications pull” area. The NMP program conducts two types of technology flight tests: (1) stand-alone subsystem validations and (2) integrated system validations. He spoke of multiple applications and potential dual use opportunities as well as NMP’s education and outreach efforts. A 5- to-8-year period before launch was suggested as the time typically needed for mid-TRL technologies to be developed. A 10-year period for technology development from lower TRLs was mentioned, and a shorter period, 3 to 5 years, was suggested for subsystems. Someone asked how the NMP fits into NASA’s ASTRA or a Moon-Mars initiative. Stevens responded that there is no formal relationship. It was his understanding that there were discussions at NASA about whether the NMP should be moved to Code T. When Code T was formed, NASA decided that was not appropriate to move NMP into the new organization. NMP is specifically addressing the needs of Codes S and Y, but the attributes and processes of NMP may be suitable to Code T’s plans, particularly where the capabilities needed by Code T for robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars are also needed for future space and Earth science missions. Macauley reminded everyone that Deep Space 1’s original objective was to validate technologies. Later, the emphasis 4 SafetyNet is a data routing and retrieval architecture built by Northrop Grumman Space Technology. Information available at <http://www.st.northropgrumman.com/media/SiteFiles/mediagallery/factsheet/NPOESSSafetyNetFactSheet.pdf> accessed March 17, 2004. 5 Christopher Stevens, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “New Millennium Program: Technology as a Driver for Capability Transformation,” presented to the steering committee on February 23, 2004.
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Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space Exploration: A Workshop Report seemed to be on a combination of technology validation and science. Now it seems that the effort has returned to the original objective. Stevens said that the program had been restructured to focus on technology. When asked how the NMP program had changed over the years, Stevens replied that the program emphasizes enabling future capabilities rather than allowing projects to morph into quasi-science missions. At the close of the second panel discussion, steering committee member Rice commented that small businesses are an important asset, as most technology innovation has come from the small businesses. Stevens’s reply was that the NMP’s challenge has been how to help small businesses determine what the needs are. The interdisciplinary aspect of small businesses is a good model, Gabrynowicz said, NMP’s seamless integration of different cultures and its attention to different populations of scientists, engineers, and social scientists is very useful and can be a good model. Sharon Traweek, an anthropologist, has researched the anthropology of science and technology.
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