The Space Shuttle Transition and Retirement team demonstrated that identifying a cross-cutting environmental function and having an integrated team are essential to successful management and disposition of a large amount of property.
The Space Shuttle Transition and Retirement (T&R) team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center was responsible for identifying and satisfying many diverse environmental requirements while managing and dispositioning a large amount of real and personal property spread across various NASA centers, contractors, subcontractors and vendors.
Environmental requirements and potential environmentally driven risks impact all aspects of property disposition, including the management of hazardous materials; end state of hardware sent to museums, transferred to other programs, or sold; end state of real or personal property; and compliance with numerous federal, state and local regulations. The T&R team managed the diverse requirements and potential risks by identifying the need for a cross-cutting function to address environmental issues that didn’t exist when the program originated; developing an environmental management plan, relying on the expertise of Marshall’s environmental offices and prime contractors; and establishing an integrated environmental support team.
Marshall Space Flight Center Chief Knowledge Integrator Jennifer Stevens on the importance of this lesson learned:
I like this lesson because it illustrates how NASA and its contractors and vendors came together to address environmental issues when retiring hardware and facilities at the end of a long program. It’s a positive lesson that highlights cooperation, teamwork and concern for the environment. Some of the laws and regulations they had to address at program transition and retirement didn’t exist when the program was planned at the beginning. The significance of complying with modern regulations wasn’t a visible priority when they started the transition process. The team was proactive in coming together, cooperating and doing their part to care for the world around them. I think we can all learn how to act positively and proactively across diverse interests and responsibilities if we care enough about our impact and look for solutions that weren’t obvious at the outset.