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ASK OCE — August 4, 2006 — Vol. 1 Issue 11

NASA’s science portfolio is in danger of becoming unbalanced due to cutbacks, according to a report by the National Research Council.

NASA does not have the resources to carry out the priorities it has been assigned by the President and Congress, and as a result its science programs face a projected growth rate that will not keep pace with inflation, the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC) concluded in An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs.

Based on current plans and projections, the Agency’s science programs lack an appropriate balance of small, medium, and large missions. Research and analysis (R&A) programs, astrobiology, small missions such as Explorers, and the initial technology work for future missions have all been reduced, delayed, or cancelled. The report also singled out cuts to microgravity and physical science programs for their impact on the science community’s ability to study the effects of long-duration spaceflight.

The report recommended that NASA take immediate steps to restore funding for small missions, R&A programs, and the technology investment in future missions, and suggested this could be accomplished in the short term for slightly more than one percent of NASA’s total budget. This action should be taken “before the essential pipeline of human capital and technology is irrevocably disrupted.”

Congress requested the NRC report as part of NASA’s FY 2005 appropriations bill.


In This Issue

Message from the Chief Engineer

A View From Outside: China Shoots for the Moon

This Week in NASA History: 35th Anniversary of Apollo 15

A New Approach to the APPEL Curriculum

GAO Questions CEV Acquisition Plans

Trends in Project Management: The PMI Perspective

Beyond the Chain of Events: A New Model for Safety

National Research Council Assesses NASA’s Science Portfolio

Leadership Corner: Effective Presentations

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