A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review by Committee to Review NASA 's Exploration Technology

By Committee to Review NASA 's Exploration Technology Development Program, National Research Council

In January 2004, President George W. Bush introduced the imaginative and prescient for area Exploration (VSE), which prompt NASA to 'Extend human presence around the sun method, beginning with a human go back to the Moon via the 12 months 2020, in education for human exploration of Mars and different destinations,' between different targets. As said within the VSE, major expertise improvement should be essential to accomplish the objectives it articulates.NASA's Exploration expertise improvement application (ETDP) is designed to help, enhance, and eventually give you the precious applied sciences to satisfy the objectives of the VSE. This publication, a evaluation of the ETDP, is extensively supportive of the cause and targets of the VSE, and reveals the ETDP is making growth in the direction of the said pursuits of know-how improvement. even if, the ETDP is working inside of major constraints which restrict its skill to effectively accomplish these objectives - the nonetheless dynamic nature of the Constellation application specifications, the restrictions imposed by way of a restricted price range, the competitive time scale of early know-how deliverables, and the will to completely hire the NASA staff.

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Additional resources for A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program

Sample text

Similarly, while the work on primary fuel cells is nearly on track to meet schedule requirements, that on regenerative fuel cells needs to be accelerated to meet the Constellation Program’s schedule requirements for the lunar surface systems. , operations at very low temperatures). The multi­billion dollar commercial market for lithium batteries will drive advances by industry, and other federal agencies such as DOE and DOD have much larger programs in lithium battery research and development (R&D).

Since the technology efforts tend to be incremental, there is a low risk of the technologies not achieving their objectives—the existing approach is the backup technology. Probably the most important goal is the change from a consumable-based cooling system to a closed system. From a technology point of view, the project needs to be careful that the technology efforts are not just performing as the feeder team for the hardware programs. Much of the original Orion technology group has moved to hardware roles on the program.

It does not appear that the highest management levels for the Constellation/Orion missions understand these risks, nor is it even clear that appropriate industrial firms have been involved in risk allocations associated with the long-term functioning of space electronics for these missions. This concern is derived from the lack of concrete requirements, the apparent lack of any reasonable priority (by virtue of extremely low funding levels of some of the subtasks), and the apparent lack of upper management’s incorporation of electronics issues into mission architectures and planning.

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