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Completed Projects

Committee for the Review of Proposals to Ohio's Third Frontier Program, 2014-2015

Continuing the previous work of the National Academies for the State of Ohio, a committee will be established to review applications to competitions of the Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) Program for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015

Space-Based Additive Manufacturing of Space Hardware

The National Research Council will appoint an ad hoc committee to explore the implications of space-based additive manufacturing technologies for space operations and the manufacture of space hardware.

Committee on Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation

The National Research Council will appoint an ad-hoc committee to develop a national research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation, comprised of a prioritized set of integrated and comprehensive technical goals and objectives of importance to the civil aeronautics community and the nation. The elements of the recommended research agenda for autonomy in civil aviation will be evolved from the existing state of the art, scientific and technological requirements to advance the state of the art, potential user needs, and technical research plans, programs, and activities.

Committee on Human Spaceflight

This study will review the long-term goals, core capabilities, and direction of the U.S. human spaceflight program and make recommendations to enable a sustainable U.S. human spaceflight program.
Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment 

This study will review and assess the SMC/AFRL concept for a Reusable Booster System (RBS) for the U.S. Air Force.

NASA's Strategic Direction (DEPS led study)

This study is being led by the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Assessment of the U.S. Air Force's Astrodynamic Standards

An ad hoc committee will assess the astrodynamic standards established by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and their effectiveness in meeting mission performance needs, as well as possible alternatives.  

Committee to Assess NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities

The National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will establish an ad hoc committee will perform a study to assess and make recommendations about how best to integrate flight research into the current Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s (ARMD) fundamental research activities and integrated systems research activities.  

A Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics)

The Space Studies Board shall establish a Heliophysics Survey Committee to develop a comprehensive science and mission strategy for heliophysics research for a 10-year period beginning in approximately 2013. The survey committee, informed by up to 5 study panels that will also be established by the Board, will broadly canvas the field of solar and space physics.

NASA Technology Roadmap
NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has begun to rebuild the advanced space technology program in the agency with plans laid out in 14 draft technology roadmaps. It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space technology development and its technology base has been largely depleted. However, success in executing future NASA space missions will depend on advanced technology developments that should already be underway. Reaching out to involve the external technical community, the National Research Council (NRC) considered the 14 draft technology roadmaps prepared by OCT and ranked the top technical challenges and highest priority technologies that NASA should emphasize in the next 5 years. This report provides specific guidance and recommendations on how the effectiveness of the technology development program managed by OCT can be enhanced in the face of scarce resources.

Committee on Human Spaceflight Crew Operations

The National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will establish an ad hoc committee to study the activities of NASA’s Flight Crew Operations Directorate. In writing its report the committee will address the following questions: (1) How should the role and size of the activities which are managed by the Flight Crew Operations Directorate change following space shuttle retirement and completion of the assembly of the International Space Station (ISS)? (2) What are the requirements of crew-related ground facilities after the space shuttle program ends? (3) Is the astronaut corps’ fleet of training aircraft a cost-effective means of preparing astronauts for the requirements of NASA’s human spaceflight program? Are there more cost-effective means of meeting these training requirements?

Committee for the Assessment of NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs

The National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will establish an ad hoc committee to assess NASA’s orbital debris programs and provide recommendations on potential opportunities for enhancing their benefit to the nation’s space program. The committee will review NASA’s existing efforts, policies, and organization with regards to orbital debris and micrometeoroids, including efforts in the following areas: modeling and simulation, detection and monitoring, protection, mitigation, reentry, collision assessment risk analysis and launch collision avoidance, interagency cooperation, international cooperation, and cooperation with the commercial space industry. The committee will also assess whether NASA should initiate work in any new orbital debris or micrometeoroid areas and recommend whether NASA should increase or decrease effort in or change the focus of any of its current orbital debris or micrometeoroid efforts to improve the programs’ ability to serve NASA and other national and international activities. The study will result in two reports, a Type II workshop report and a full committee consensus report.

Committee to Review Proposals to the 2011 Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) Wright Projects Program (WPP)

Continuing the previous work of the National Academies for the State of Ohio, a committee will be established to review applications to competitions of the Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) Program for Fiscal Year 2011 to identify proposals that best meet the scientific, technical, and commercialization criteria of the award program. The OTF Wright Projects (WP) program focuses on capital improvement and research and development at universities (which have teamed up with businesses) for near-term commercialization of new products.

Committee for the Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety Related Programs

The National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board, will establish an ad hoc study committee to conduct an independent review of NASA’s aviation safety-related research programs. The review shall assess whether the programs have well-defined, prioritized, and appropriate research objectives; The programs are properly coordinated with the safety research programs of the Federal Aviation Administration and other relevant federal agencies; The programs have allocated appropriate resources to each of the research objectives; and suitable mechanisms exist for transitioning the research results from the programs into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner.

Assessment of NASA Laboratory Capabilities

An ad hoc committee of the Laboratory Assessments Board, in conjunction with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, has completed an independent external review of NASA's laboratories, including laboratory equipment, facilities, and support services used for fundamental science and engineering research. Over the past 5 years or more, there has been a steady and significant decrease in NASA's laboratory capabilities, including equipment, maintenance, and facility upgrades. This adversely affects the support of NASA's scientists, who rely on these capabilities, as well as NASA's ability to make the basic scientific and technical contributions that others depend on for programs of national importance. The fundamental research community at NASA has been severely impacted by the budget reductions that are responsible for this decrease in laboratory capabilities, and as a result NASA's ability to support even NASA's future goals is in serious jeopardy.

Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program

A committee will prepare a report to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st century U.S. civil space policy. The committee will identify overarching goals that are important for our national interest. Issues that are critically important to achieving these goals and ensuring the future progress of the U.S. civil space program will be identified, and options to address unresolved issues will be discussed. Using its best objective judgment and recognizing other national priorities, the committee will explore a possible long term future for U.S. civil space activities that is built upon lessons learned and past successes; is based on realistic expectations of future resources; and is credible scientifically, technically, and politically.

Radioisotope Power Systems Project

The Space Studies Board, in conjunction with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, will appoint a study committee to assess the technical readiness and programmatic balance of NASA's radioisotope power systems technology portfolio in terms of its ability to support NASA’s near- and long-term mission plans. In addition, the study will also examine related public and private infrastructure and the effectiveness of other federal agencies involved in relevant R&D. The study will also review strategies for re-establishing domestic production of Pu-238, which serves as the fuel for radioisotope power systems.

NASA's National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) Project: An Independent Assessment

The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, in conjunction with the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, will create an ad hoc study committee to make an independent assessment of NASA's NAOMS project. This project used a survey methodology to anonymously collect data from commercial and general aviation pilots over several years regarding aviation safety-related events. The NAOMS project contracted with Battelle Memorial Institute to design the survey and collect the data. The committee will assess the NAOMS survey methodology, and, to the extent possible, analyze the survey data. Meeting Agendas and Presentations

Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts

An ad hoc committee operating under the auspices of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will conduct a review to evaluate how well the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) developed revolutionary aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its mission. NASA funding for NIAC ended in 2007, and Congress has directed the NRC to review NIAC performance. The review will help guide NASA in assessing NIAC's processes and results and in shaping future efforts in this area.

Review of Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies

The National Research Council Space Studies Board, in cooperation with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, shall conduct a two-part study to address issues in the detection of potentially hazardous NEOs and approaches to mitigating identified hazards. Both tasks should include an assessment of the costs of various alternatives, using independent cost estimating. Options that blend the use of different facilities (ground- or space-based), or involve international cooperation, may be considered. Each study phase will result in a report to be delivered on the schedule provided in the contract. Key questions to be addressed during each phase of the study concern two areas: NEO Surveys and NEO Hazard Mitigation.

NEO Survey Panel
Review of Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, Survey/Detection Panel

NEO Hazard Mitigation Panel
Review of Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies, Mitigation Panel

Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space

The National Research Council Space Studies Board, in cooperation with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will organize a decadal survey to establish priorities and provide recommendations for life and physical sciences research in microgravity and partial gravity for the 2010-2020 decade. The committee will develop criteria for the prioritization.  The decadal survey will define research areas, recommend a research portfolio and a timeline for conducting that research, identify facility and platform requirements as appropriate, provide rationales for suggested program elements, define dependencies between research objectives, identify terrestrial benefits, and specify whether the research product directly enables exploration or produces fundamental new knowledge. These areas will be categorized as either those that are required to enable exploration missions or those that are enabled or facilitated because of exploration missions