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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NNH05CC16C between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Cover: Design by Timothy Warchocki. International Standard Book Number 13: 978-0-309-12583-3 International Standard Book Number 10: 0-309-12583-9 Available in limited supply from Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001, (202) 334-2858. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program COMMITTEE TO REVIEW NASA’S EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM EDWARD CRAWLEY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Co-Chair BONNIE J. DUNBAR, Museum of Flight, Co-Chair GARY L. BENNETT, Metaspace Enterprises ELIZABETH CANTWELL, Los Alamos National Laboratory SHYAMA P. CHAKROBORTY, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems RAMON L. CHASE, Analytic Services, Inc. GARY S. GEYER, Consultant, Las Cruces, New Mexico KENNETH GWINN, Sandia National Laboratories AYANNA HOWARD, Georgia Institute of Technology STEVEN D. HOWE, Universities Space Research Association JOHN R. HOWELL, University of Texas at Austin JOHN E. HURTADO, Texas A&M University RAMKUMAR KRISHNAN, Fluidic Energy, Inc. IVETT A. LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory RAYMOND MARIELLA, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory DANIEL MASYS, Vanderbilt University EDWARD McCULLOUGH, Boeing Company DOUGLAS MEHOKE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory JAMES F. MILLER, Argonne National Laboratory TODD J. MOSHER, MicroSat Systems, Inc. GUILLERMO TROTTI, Trotti and Associates, Inc. GERALD D. WALBERG, Walberg Aerospace IAN WALKER, Clemson University WILLIAM W. WANG, The Aerospace Corporation MARILEE J. WHEATON, The Aerospace Corporation Staff JOHN WENDT, Study Director BRIAN DEWHURST, Study Director (from January 2008) KERRIE SMITH, Study Director (through December 2007) SARAH CAPOTE, Program Associate HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate (through March 2008)
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics (retired), Chair CHARLES F. BOLDEN, JR., Jack and Panther, LLC ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, Aviation Safety Consultant, Catlett, Virginia AMY L. BUHRIG, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group PIERRE CHAO, Center for Strategic and International Studies INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park ROBERT L. CRIPPEN, Thiokol Propulsion (retired) DAVID GOLDSTON, Harvard University R. JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PRESTON A. HENNE, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired) RICHARD H. KOHRS, Independent Consultant, Dickinson, Texas IVETT A. LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory EDMOND L. SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired) Staff MARCIA S. SMITH, Director
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Preface In January 2004, President George W. Bush announced new elements of the national space policy by issuing the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).1 The new policy set out goals for NASA, including that of exploring the “solar system and beyond” with human and robotic missions—specifically, to “extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020.” In the year that followed, NASA created the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) as the primary agent for the development of the exploration program. NASA assigned ESMD the primary responsibility for the development of space technology to support the exploration program. ESMD in turn created and charged the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) to execute this development. In the report2 that accompanied the Science, State, Justice, and Commerce fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives,3 NASA was directed to “enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council (NRC) for an independent assessment of NASA’s restructured Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) to determine how well the program is aligned with the stated objectives of the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE), identify any gaps, and assess the quality of the research.” Although that bill did not become law, NASA nonetheless asked the NRC to make this assessment. A statement of task was developed by NASA and the NRC (see Appendix A), and a committee was formed by the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board to carry out this task. The Committee to Review NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program was assembled and approved by the NRC Governing Board on September 28, 2007. The committee consists of 25 members (see Appendix B) and includes a cross section of senior executives, engineers, researchers, and other aerospace professionals drawn from industry, universities, and government agencies, with expertise in all of the fields comprised by the ETDP. 1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), The Vision for Space Exploration, NP-2004-01-334-HQ, NASA, Washington, D.C., 2004, p. iii. 2 U.S. House of Representatives, Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, Fiscal Year 2007, H. Rept. 109-520, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, 109th Congress, 2nd Session, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 2006. 3 U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5672, Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2007, available at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program The committee held its first meeting on October 10-11, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The meeting included a series of presentations by NASA personnel that provided an overview of the administrative and technical background for the ETDP. A set of questions to be used in the assessment process was agreed on by the committee and was sent to NASA for distribution to the centers. This was done in order to provide the centers with a clear and concise idea of the issues that the committee was charged to assess. (See Appendix C for a list of these questions.) A subset of the committee met at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on November 8-9, 2007, for specialized presentations and a tour of the laboratory. A second subset met at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on November 27-30, 2007, and a third subset visited the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 11-12, 2007. At each site visit, specialized presentations of the projects that constitute the ETDP were made and a tour of relevant facilities was given. A lead specialist and at least two other committee members were selected to perform a concentrated review of each project. Their reports and preliminary ratings were discussed by all other members of the committee using e-mail and in teleconferences organized on January 8, 11, and 16, 2008, to ensure consistency in the ratings given to each project. These reviews formed the basis of the committee’s interim report, described below. The full committee met for a second time on February 5-6, 2008, in Irvine, California, to continue its data-gathering activity, obtain clarification on selected areas of ETDP technologies, and examine in detail crosscutting issues that emerged as a result of the overall study process. Following the second meeting, the interim report prepared by the committee was transmitted to NASA, on March 28, 2008.4 The interim report contained the committee’s assessments of each of the 22 ETDP projects, as well as a brief discussion of the crosscutting issues that the committee planned to discuss in the final report. The reviews of the 22 ETDP projects are presented in Chapter 2 of this final report and are largely unchanged from those delivered in the interim report. It is important to emphasize that the committee’s assessments were of the projects as they stood in November/December 2007. Thus the committee did not attempt to account for any technical progress made by the projects in early 2008. The committee co-chairs briefed ETDP management and project leaders on the interim report on April 15, 2008. At that time, the committee solicited written comments from the program in response to the interim report. The resulting input was considered during the drafting of the final report. The full committee met for a third and final time on April 21-22, 2008, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to come to consensus on its findings and recommendations and to begin drafting the final report. A number of teleconferences were held later to finish preparing the report for the NRC review process. 4 National Research Council, Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program: An Interim Report, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2008.
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Steven Battel, Battel Engineering, Jesse Beauchamp, California Institute of Technology, Robert L. Crippen, Thiokol Propulsion (retired), John C. Mankins, ARTEMIS Innovation Management Solutions, LLC, E. Phillip Muntz, University of Southern California, Simon Ostrach, Case Western Reserve University (retired), David Van Wie, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and Dianne Wiley, The Boeing Company. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Maxine Savitz, Honeywell Incorporated (retired). Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 9 2 ASSESSMENTS OF THE PROJECTS OF THE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 14 01 Structures, Materials, and Mechanisms, 16 02 Ablative Thermal Protection System for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, 18 03 Lunar Dust Mitigation, 19 04 Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development, 20 05 Cryogenic Fluid Management, 22 06 Energy Storage, 23 07 Thermal Control Systems, 25 08 High-Performance and Radiation-Hardened Electronics, 27 09 Integrated Systems Health Management, 28 10 Autonomy for Operations, 29 11 Intelligent Software Design, 31 12 Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology, 32 13 Automated Rendezvous and Docking Sensor Technology, 33 14 Exploration Life Support, 34 15 Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control, 36 16 Fire Prevention, Detection, and Suppression, 37 17 Extravehicular Activity Technologies, 39 18 International Space Station Research, 40 19 In Situ Resource Utilization, 42 20 Fission Surface Power, 44 21 Supportability, 46 22 Human-Robotic Systems/Analogs, 48 Finding and Recommendation on ETDP Projects, 49
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A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program 3 GAPS IN THE SCOPE OF THE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 51 Integration of the Human System, 52 Preserving the Option for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, 54 Summary Comments, 55 4 MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTION OF THE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 56 Context of the Program, 56 Program Management and Implementation Methodology, 58 Balance Between Near-Term and Far-Term Technology Investments in the ETDP Portfolio, 62 Involvement of the Broader Community, 63 Testing, 64 Concluding Summary, 66 APPENDIXES A Statement of Task 69 B Biographies of Committee Members 71 C Questions Used by the Committee to Gather Data on Each Project 78 D Definitions of Technology Readiness Levels 80 E Acronyms 83 F The Constellation Program 86 G Mapping of Bioastronautics Roadmap Risks to Relevant Projects of the Exploration Technology Development Program 87 H Description of the Exploration Technology Development Program 90