HOPE Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 How should margin be calculated for performance, cost, and schedule parameters?
The definition that is found in the Standard SMD AO should be used; see Appendix C, Table C-6.
Q.2 Would it be okay to use all the HOPE funding for procurement and none of it for salary?
Yes. Note that there is a maximum of $800K available for procurement.
Q.3 Would it be okay to procure the flight opportunity for a CubeSat other than through one of the NASA programs listed in the appendix?
Yes.
Q.4 In Section 2.2.4, the HOPE TO states: "Each Center is allowed to select and submit one training proposal composed of personnel from that Center. One additional proposal will be allowed if the second proposal is composed of a team that has participation from multiple Centers (at least one additional Center)." Does this mean that a Center may only participate in two proposals (if one involves another Center), or rather that a Center may only submit two proposals (if one involves another Center), meaning that the Center could potentially be involved in a third proposal which another Center submits?
The latter – only submit 2. That is to limit the work in writing proposals since we will only select 1 (maybe 2) no matter how many are written. But no limit in the number you may participate in as that does not increase the number of proposals.
Q.5 Regarding CubeSats, the HOPE announcement indicates that the missions need to be launched or flight ready within 18 months, which gives one the opportunity to complete the flight readiness of a CubeSat within the schedule constraints and “store” the unit for a predetermined launch opportunity. Since the HOPE TO does not provide the launch opportunity for cubesats, can you elaborate on the expectations for CubeSat proposals to HOPE, specifically the expectations for identifying the flight opportunity and whether a letter of commitment required for launch service for the CubeSats?
We expect the proposing team to provide the information and documentation in the proposal that they think is required to convince us that the proposed project is both feasible and meritorious when evaluated against the criteria in the HOPE solicitation. That being said, it seems reasonable that teams proposing CubeSats should provide a letter of commitment from the launch services provider and/or plans to propose to the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), and specifying the expected launch timeframe. In the case that the projected launch is outside the 18 month window, the team should present its plan for maintaining the payload and team until the launch occurs. More information about the CSLI, including previously-selected Respondents, is available at: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/home/CubeSats_initiative.html.
Q.6 What is the timeline for reviews - following the August submission?
SMD/OCE/APPEL are planning to make selection(s) by the end of October.
Q.7 Can on-site contractors participate in this program (using procurement dollars) or is it limited to civil servants?
Prospective project teams can be composed only of in-house NASA Center (NASA badged) personnel. The team can be comprised of NASA civil servants (or Lab employees for JPL) including early career personnel working at the Center. Center contractors can be used for project implementation support roles but not in roles of management or leadership. The intent is to include the population of people at the Center who intend to have long term associations with NASA. Early career personnel could include NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) fellows and co-op students, but the proposal must justify why they should be considered “people at the Center who intend to have long term associations with NASA.” The proposed project team must also be composed of individuals who will benefit from participation in this training opportunity and whose training will benefit NASA and the Center. (Section 2.2.1; also see Section 5.2.2)
Q.8 Do we need to specifically call out the personnel participating in the proposed project?
Yes. See Requirements in Section 3.1, the NOI (section 1.5), requirement 2, and requirement 26. Proposals shall identify the key ECH project team members, Center Training Professional, and mentors, by name. The proposal should describe why these individuals are appropriate for this project, and why the Center will benefit through their training.
Q.9 Can we use mentors as the PM, PI, and SE?
No. All key participants in the project, including these, must be ECH trainees.
Q.10 Can we appoint mentors for the PM, PI, and SE?
Yes, absolutely. The proposal should identify the senior employees by name who will serve as mentors, and provide resumes for the mentors, along with a mentoring plan.
Q.11 Do mentors have to come out of the FTE allocation?
No. You can pay for the senior personnel any way you wish. SMD/OCE/APPEL do not assume that the available funding ($800K) is necessarily sufficient to conduct the suborbital project. It is assumed that the Center will contribute to the project, and contributing mentors and other personnel is permitted. There is no maximum on the Center contribution.
Q.12 Regarding the requirement to publish the data, please clarify what is the definition of a reasonable/minimum time (Section 2.4)?
Given the small amount of funding available, and early career hires who may not be experienced with MO&DA, we put a constraint of 6 months after the launch.
Q.13 Regarding the schedule of 18 months, what if we can't make the committed schedule (e.g., delayed procurement by our Center), can we get a no cost extension?
You must propose to be flight or launch-ready within the 18 month schedule constraint. We are looking for good proposals that can be executed within the timeframe allowed and that propose an executable schedule (including schedule margin). There is NO “Get out of jail free” card available upfront. Also, because there is no more money at HQ, any overruns must be paid for by the Center.
Q.14 The TO uses the term “suborbital” but also specifically includes CubeSats, which are (orbital) designed to be deployed in LEO. Will you please confirm that CubeSat missions in LEO are within the scope of the HOPE TO?
CubeSats are considered “suborbital-class” for the purposes and scope of the HOPE TO, meaning that CubeSats are in the same mission assurance class as suborbital payloads (with less than Class D mission assurance requirements). A CubeSat mission is within the scope of the HOPE TO solicitation. Teams proposing a CubeSat mission must secure their own launch services, and must apply to the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). CubeSat proposals to HOPE, once selected, will be advised on process to apply to CSLI.
Q.15 In supporting requests from prospective proposers, is it permissible for organizations responsible for supplying HOPE-sponsored suborbital carrier services (e.g., sounding rockets, balloons, aircraft) to have these carrier system team members participate as part of proposals (e.g., as PI or Co-I)?
No. The suborbital class launch services providers cannot be PIs, or Co-Is on a given proposal. However, the launch service provider is expected to work with the proposing teams to answer questions and to provide launch service information necessary to formulate the proposal. After selection, the launch service provider associated with the winning proposals becomes a member of the project team, and participates in carrying out the investigation.
Q.16 Assuming the launch opportunity is on CSLI , can you provide expected cost and launch dates?
No. Regarding launch cost and schedule for CSLI/ELaNA: HOPE proposers must arrange for and include costs for a launch opportunity for their CubeSat. One such launch opportunity is ELaNa which is free, if ELaNa Program conditions are satisfied. Sometime after application and acceptance by the ELaNa Program, launch manifests are provided. Typical launch manifests are about two years from acceptance.
Q.17 Is it acceptable to be flight ready within 18 months, but stand down the team until our flight opportunity several months later?
Yes. From section 3.4: “The selected project must be launch or flight-ready within 18 months from the Project Initiation Conference (PIC).” It is accepted that once your payload is flight ready within18 months, the launch provider may not be able to launch your payload until a later time, such as, in conjunction with a planned aircraft, rocket, or balloon campaign, or an orbital launch opportunity for a CubeSat.
Q.18 Must the proposers cover the costs associated with the oversight function provided by the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office at the NASA Langley (sections 2.1.2 and 5.3.3)?
No. SMD provides the necessary resources for the ESSP management responsibilities called out in sections 2.1.2 and 5.3.3, “to maintain an essential degree of oversight of the project development…the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office(ESSP) at the NASA Langley Research Center will provide the programmatic oversight for this effort.”
Q.19 Please clarify the importance of the HOPE TO goals versus the evaluation criteria.
The primary goal of the solicitation is more important than the secondary goal (40% weighting versus 30% weighting); however, all three evaluation criteria (training, science/technology merit, and TMC feasibility) are evaluated. Your proposal should address the requirements called out in the TO as well as the three elements of the evaluation criteria. In regard to the HOPE-TO primary/secondary goals, the sponsors are looking for a well-balanced project. The sponsors believe the ability to execute (TMC Feasibility) a meritorious project with a valuable purpose (Science/Technology Merit) contributes to training as much as the quality of the training plan itself (Training Merit).

The evaluation criteria (Section 5.2) will be weighted as follows during the selection process, as listed:

  • The merit of the proposed project for personnel training, weighted 40% at selection;
  • The science/technology merit and implementation feasibility of the investigation, weighted 30% at selection, and
  • The TMC feasibility of the proposed approach for mission implementation, including suborbital carrier compatibility, weighted 30% at selection.
Q.20 Please clarify the HOPE TO Section 3.5. Specifically, who can serve as the "Team Lead", and who is responsible for full mission success. Is HOPE intended to be a PI-led mission?
HOPE is not mandated to be a PI-led project. The proposal should designate either the PI or PM as team lead and then show how they will work together to oversee and manage the work to carry out the project. From section 3.5: “Either the PI or the PM must be designated as the Team Leader. The Team Leader is responsible for the project’s execution within committed cost and schedule. Regardless of which is designated the Team Leader, the PI and the PM must work closely together in order to ensure that the project meets its objectives within the resources outlined in the proposal.”
Q.21 Why is there so much emphasis on mentoring? What is the mentor's role?
Each early-career hire (ECH) team member who is considered to be a trainee under the HOPE program must have a mentor who is expected to be a “shadow member” of the team, continuously providing expert monitoring, guidance, and advocacy for the trainee in his/her unfamiliar role. Each mentor should meet regularly with the trainee, be continuously aware of project status and should be available as needed to discuss with the trainee technical and programmatic options and to provide a problem solving approach the trainee can learn to apply to make appropriate work decisions. Mentors should assist the trainee in preparing for reviews, and also attend all technical and system level reviews, not as presenters, but as resources for the trainees to provide feedback. In short, the mentor’s role is to guide the ECH during the entire project, but not ‘do’ the work.
Q.22 Is it necessary to involve the center's training office or the center's engineering training program in the writing of the proposal or the management of the team training effort?
Yes. To assure success of both technical and training requirements, the center training office must provide a training/development professional as a member of the HOPE project team. This expertise is essential in defining and meeting individual team member and overall project training goals. This also allows the Center to leverage this learning by repackaging knowledge gained by HOPE project trainees into future courses and learning events at the center.
Q.23 Is there a list of expected training products that the project should develop? Is there a list of courses that team members are expected to complete?
See Appendix-B “Training Guidelines and Best Practices for HOPE Projects.” The list of suggested elements of the Training plan are included in Appendix B. Teams should customize the training needed for the team members based on their roles and assessments by the mentors and the training professional. The sponsors have found that it is critical that individual learning (informal/just-in-time) is achieved within the context of the project and not just for the sake of taking an APPEL training course. The sponsors have found that with this context and the quick application of knowledge to real work, people learn faster and retain far more than when they just take courses to gain information.
Q.24 What about training metrics and measures?
Each trainee should have specific learning goals, reflecting his/her own individual development needs. It is important to document training goals for each individual and to measure his/her own progress against the training goals as the project accomplishes its engineering and program management goals. Each center proposal team is free to develop a measurement framework based upon its own training objectives for the project team members.
Q.25 What are acceptable ways to accomplish the secondary goal of the HOPE solicitation?
This goal can be accomplished either (i) by providing useful (new or complementary) science data in support of SMD science objectives for one of the four SMD Science Divisions or (ii) by advancing the development of technology or capabilities in support of SMD science objectives, e.g., by providing reflights of instruments or components, demonstrating a proof of concept, providing flight calibration, or enabling TRL advancement of SMD sensors or technologies for future use.
Q.26 Do you have to submit the Center contributions as part of the proposal?
Yes. See Section 2.3.2, Center Contributions: “must be specifically identified and allocated against the Total Project Cost (see Cost Tables in Appendix C).”
Q.27 In the previous years was there any commonality between the proposal winners? Was there something they all had that the others didn’t? What was the biggest deciding factor in choosing the winners? Can you share a winning proposal?
The previous winning HOPE proposals have described an exciting hands-on training project that maximized the training benefit of the participants, and which was also achievable (feasible) within the scope of the resources available. From sect. 5.1.1.: “The proposed project will be evaluated against the standard of providing the appropriate training experience for the team members while being able to successfully deliver the required science payload.” As stated previously, the sponsors are looking for a well-balanced project. The sponsors believe the ability to execute (TMC Feasibility) a meritorious project with a valuable purpose (Science/Technology Merit) contributes to training as much as the quality of the training plan itself (Training Merit). We do not want an exceptional science investigation with a poor training plan; alternatively, a challenging science investigation, with a superb training plan, but which is judged ‘high risk’ to be completed within the resources provided. No, SMD will not provide copies of past proposals.
Q.28 Does the travel allocation of the winning Center get increased by the amount of the proposal, or, do they have to absorb the HOPE travel out of other allocations?
No. The travel allocation for the winning Center must be negotiated at and absorbed at the Center, and included as part of the proposed mission. There are no additional Travel reserves at HQs to provide to the winning proposal team’s Center.
Q.29 How many proposal will be funded during HOPE-5?
HQ plans to fund two projects this HOPE cycle (HOPE-5).
Q.30 We intend to acquire several critical parts from a University? Will that be a violation of the solicitation?
No, that is not be a violation of the solicitation, and previous HOPE project teams have acquired critical components from universities. However, the burden for the proposing team is to describe an exciting hands-on project for the Project Team members. Propose a mission for your team that shows the team will develop the hands-on skills needed at your center.
Q.31 We may acquire an instrument as part of a suite of instruments. Will that be a violation of the solicitation? If we do procure an entire instrument from a university, how should we represent that in our proposal – as a single cost line item?
No, that is not be a violation of the solicitation, and previous HOPE project teams have acquired entire instruments from universities to be a part of a suite of instruments used in HOPE. Again, the burden for the proposing team is to describe an exciting hands-on project for the Project Team members. You may list the cost for the acquired instrument as a single line item. However, if you provide a single line item for a very expensive element of your total cost, you have the burden of providing cost information in sufficient detail as to enable the Technical, Management and Cost (TMC) panel to adequately evaluate your mission’s cost and its corresponding risk.
Q.32 Where do we put a description of our EPO plan?
EPO is not a requirement for HOPE-5. However, your training plan should discuss the knowledge sharing/lessons learned. See Section 1.4, and Appendix B for details.
Q.33 Are the after launch activities, such as data analysis and generating the final report, expected to be part of our budget?
Yes, you must allocate for the after launch activities as part of your budget. We expect you will do the complete end-to-end mission up through the final report-out to NASA (Sect. 2.4).
Q.34 I imagine we are not the only proposal with both a science and technology mission. How does that affect if we identify it as science or technology?
(See Requirement 10, sect. 3.2): Proposals must be identified to aid reviewers in staffing the evaluation panels. Proposals shall provide a payload that contributes to advancing NASA’s strategic science objectives and goals. Proposals shall state explicitly whether they are principally (i) science missions, (ii) technology missions, or (iii) mixed science and technology missions. Proposals shall also describe how the proposed mission and payload will contribute to advancing those goals and objectives.
Q.35 One of the essential elements is the experience of the mentees. Is a resume sufficient to show the mentee’s background?
Yes, a resume is adequate to show the mentees’ experience. The proposer may want to add more to the mentoring plan if needed to show this experience.
Q.36 Question on Requirement 35. Who will make the decision on what is sufficient or appropriate? What do you consider sufficient? Is there specific NASA guidance to substantiate it? Can you provide the margins and contingencies proposed by other HOPE winners?
The proposals are evaluated in three sub-panels, Training, Science/Technology, and Technical Management and Cost (TMC). The proposers should propose adequate margin/reserves to address specific risks in their proposal. The proposal should discuss risks and identify how the reserves mitigate performance, schedule, and cost risks. The TMC panel is interested in seeing what justifications the proposers use for their proposed reserves. There is no one set of guidance for reserves, as Centers have different policies. We cannot provide margins and contingencies from previous HOPE teams, as individual HOPE projects proposed reserves are based on their specific mission.
Q.37 Clarify if contractor costs (labor, hours) have to be captured under the $800K procurement? Should center contributions be characterized as WYE/FTE? Or can all center contributions be labeled as labor hours? Can Center contributions be FTE and WYE?
Yes. You can have contractors providing support to the project but not in leadership roles. Proposals should show the cost of FTE’s, WYE’s and procurements. This can come from either the requested funding ($800K from SMD), or from the Center’s contribution.
Q.38 Does computer/ADP costs have to be covered in the total project cost?
Not necessarily, depending on CM&O services provided. Those arrangements in how to cover computer or other Center support services need to be worked out at your Center. The main point is that proposers need to capture in their budget all elements/requirements needed to successfully complete their project.
Q.39 Are the Traceability Matrices required as part of the text or can they be contained in the appendix?
The TO does not specify where they must be. Although the TO does not specify, the traceability matrices are an important part of the proposal and it is recommended that the traceability matrices and the supporting documentation be a part of the main body. The TO lists the items to be included in the appendices, and the traceability matrices are not part of the list.
Q.40 Is it possible to have a launch readiness review prior to the 18 months (Requirement #22, sect 3.4), but not launch within the 18 months?
Yes, a team must propose to be flight/launch ready prior to the 18 month requirement. However, the team may then launch their payload according to the schedule provided by the suborbital carrier organization, which may occur after the 18 month requirement.
Requirement #31: What is considered WBS Level 2? What do you define as a second level of WBS.
It is a key component that has a cost and schedule requirement, such as flight systems, instruments, mission operations, etc.. You need to layout your schedule to highlight in a sufficient level of detail to describe how your team will develop those major elements which make up your mission.
Q.42 What is a major element?
WBS level 1 is defined as the entire project; level 2 elements are the major product elements along with key common, enabling products. The WBS elements in Cost Tables 3 & 3 (Appendix C) are standard NASA space flight level 2 WBS elements. Requirement #31 specifies that cost should be provided to WBS Level-2, except for WBS elements 05 (payload) and 06 (platform/carrier). For WBS element 05 and 06, cost should be provided down to a lower level. For example if the payload includes several instruments, the cost of each instruments should be listed separately in the cost tables.
Q.43 (Requirement #30): Is reserve and travel part of the 800K?
The reserves and the travel are part of the Total Project cost (see sect. 3.7). The total Project Cost is composed of the Requested Funding and the Center Contribution. Reserves and Travel may be taken from the Requested funding (e.g., $800K), or the Center’s contribution.
Q.44 How shall CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) costs be shown/dealt with in the proposal?
There are no CSLI launch costs associated with the HOPE projects. However, costs associated with your project’s development activities (e.g, building/testing your CubeSat) to meet the CSLI integration requirements must be included in your budget.
Q.45 Would HQs be open to one month of intercenter team forming prior to the start of the 18 month “clock”?
Yes, HQs is supportive of team building, and think it is a wise thing to do (see Sect. 5.3.2). Regarding the TO, the 18 month clock will start at the Project Initiation Conference (PIC). That being said, there is time for team building after the proposal is submitted, and prior to the PIC, while the project funding is being setup.
Q.46 In the TO the phrase 'early career' is repeated used. Can ‘early career' be interpreted as 'junior' scientists and engineers? For the HOPE effort, Project Managers and Project System Engineers as well as Scientist may be considered junior but not early career. So is it fair to assume that 'early career' people and 'early career hires' may not be people newly hired into the CS workforce and may be junior personnel?
The primary goal of this TO is to provide a training opportunity for less experienced in-house NASA Center (or Lab employees for JPL) personnel. “Early Career Hire” (see Sect. 2.2.2) is not tied to years of service, but experience. It should be interpreted as less experienced personnel who will benefit from the HOPE training opportunity because they are qualified to successfully execute the project but need additional experience to hone their expertise.
Q.47 Regarding the training requirements and the page limits, Table 1, Section 4.1, section C “Hands-On Project Experience Personnel Training” 6 page limit, can one put the resumes and training assessment in the appendix?
Yes. The resumes of team members, assessments, IDPs, as well as the listing of any training courses planned for the ECH should be included in an appendix to the proposal versus including them in the 6 pages of the training proposal.
Q.48 The TO mentions that STMD is no longer part of the call. Does the removal of STMD as a supporting organization substantively change the value of technology vs. science objectives? In other words, are science enabling technologies just as well supported as they were in previous calls, or should we expect a shift in emphasis?
There is no shift in emphasis of science and technology goals in the HOPE-5 solicitation, or the evaluation criteria for science and/or technology merit. Further, there is no change in the value of technology; rather there is a change in the scope of the technology investigation, meaning that the technology must be relevant to SMD science goals. Previously when STMD was a co-sponsor, the scope of technology investigations had been either relevancy to either SMD science goals or STMD technology goals. In HOPE-5, the technology focus is solely on SMD application, thus a proposed technology investigation must have a useful purpose toward the goals of one or more of the SMD Science Divisions as called out in the 2014 NASA Science Plan.
Q.49 As before, the TO requires descriptions of ECH team members mentoring plans, qualifications, etc., and it encourages teams with a large number of ECH personnel. If a team has a large number of ECH personnel, it may not be possible to adequately describe individual mentoring plans and qualifications for each individual ECH person within the allotted number of pages. To mitigate this issue,

  • Is it acceptable to describe general mentoring plans that apply to more than 1 individual without getting dinged for failing to meet Req. 4 that we describe a mentoring plan for each individual?
  • Can the resumes required in Req. 6 satisfy Req. 3 if the resumes demonstrate the qualifications and experience of the individual, or must the qualifications and experience of each individual ECH team member be specifically stated in the text of the proposal?
  • Can a "selected" number of ECH individuals meet these requirements while the rest can be provided upon request, or in an Appendix, due to lack of space in the proposal text?

There is no target number of ECH members per team. Centers should create the project team appropriate for the size and scope of the investigation, with ECH members in key project leadership positions/roles. The number of ECH members is up to the Center.

The page limit was increased to provide proposers the ability to describe mentoring plans for the ECH team members. Further, the proposer should include the resumes, and ECH assessments in the appendix of the proposal, which could include the detailed mentoring plan objectives without impacting page limits. It is acceptable to provide resumes which address Requirements 3 and 6, as long as the information needed to evaluate those requirements (e.g., experience) is included.

The proposer is free to propose their own processes for mentoring. Appendix B is provided to better describe what elements of a training plan the sponsors are looking for. The intent of Requirement 4 is for the proposer to describe a mentoring plan that ensures each ECH project member is mentored by a senior-level employee with relevant background.

Q.50 Can an instrument supplied by another Government agency be used in a HOPE project if it's used to accomplish NASA science goals, and if working with the instrument accomplishes HOPE training objectives?
Yes. As related in FAQ question #30, previous HOPE project teams have acquired critical components from other institutions (e.g., universities). However, the burden for the proposing team is to describe an exciting hands-on project for the Project Team members that shows the team will develop the hands-on skills needed at your center.
Q.51 Are all team members in leadership roles expected to be ECH, or is it understood that it may not be possible to fill all of the roles with ECH individuals? (Example: a senior instrument developer or systems engineer who is not an ECH serving in a leadership role.)
All team members in leadership roles should be ECH employees, as the objective of HOPE is for ECH project team members to take on meaningful leadership roles and complete all phases of the project. Senior level personnel are not eligible to serve in key project team roles. (Also see FAQ #9). If an ECH is not available, the Center has the burden of showing how the team proposed meets the training requirements of the solicitation.
Q.52 Is there any incentive in the evaluation criteria for multi-Center efforts that might offset the added complexity and risk associated with a geographically distributed team?
No. There is no incentive. Multi-Center efforts are encouraged in HOPE, but there is no incentive or advantage for Multi-Center teams versus single-Center teams within the evaluation criteria.
Q.53 Is there any way that during the debriefing, that proposers might get an assessment or feedback of proposal elements that were superfluous or unhelpful.
The evaluators will attempt to provide value-added feedback on the proposal submittal during the debriefing.
Q.54 Can a copy of the slides used during the Question and Answer Telecom be provided?
Yes. The Question and Answer Telecom slides can be found at the HOPE website.
Q.55 Please clarify what is meant by "stretch assignment."
From section 2.2.2., “The ideal candidate for an ECH team member in HOPE is a stretch assignment with increased responsibility for a team member with evidence of some past experience serving in a similar or lower-level role of responsibility. Examples of potential stretch assignments include: a post-doc or junior researcher serving as the PI, a mechanical, aerospace or electrical discipline engineer serving as the payload systems engineer, a resource analyst serving as the project business manager, or a previous Payload Development Lead (PDL) serving as the Project Manager. For more guidance, see the team member experience guidelines in Appendix B, Training Guidelines Training Guidelines and Best Practices for HOPE Projects.”
Q.56 Please clarify what the minimal level of effort (FTE) is for an ECH.
From what was discussed during the Q&A telecom, it was conveyed by a previous HOPE participant that low levels of FTE per ECH is not adequate for a project like HOPE where participants have reported after project completion that they worked beyond their 1.0 FTE planning level in order to complete their project on schedule and due to training requirements. The lesson learned has been for teams is to adequately plan and integrate the training aspects as well as the technical aspects of their project in developing the project schedule.
Q.57 NASA suborbital projects are normally managed under NPR 7120.8, rather than NPR 7120.5E. Would it be acceptable to use NPR 7120.8 for the management processes for our proposed project?
As referenced in the revised version of section 2.1.1, “proposals selected in response to this TO must be in conformance with the NASA project management principles, as defined by NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5E, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements, and Project Management Requirements, and NPR 7123.1B, NASA System Engineering Processes and Requirements.

While the HOPE training utilizes a suborbital-class platform, the rationale for the NPR 7120.5E requirement is highlighted in the TO Foreword, “notwithstanding the low cost approaches being employed (i.e., suborbital-class platforms), every effort will be made to ensure the project experience provided by this training is as similar as possible to that of larger flight projects (e.g., system level reviews that do not occur with suborbital missions), from proposal to selection, through project implementation.”

However, the requirement to use NPR 7120.5E in HOPE is not meant to be a prescriptive approach, but rather to provide a training experience that is consistent with the principles of NPR 7120.5E. In executing this training, the sponsors want the project to emulate NPR 7120.5E to the extent that it provides a valuable training activity for working on a “real” 7120.5E flight project.

Those aspects of a flight project include a more rigorous planning and control process to help ensure project success. For example, a review process that flows from requirements to a detailed design, a requirements process that flows from level 1 to the lower level requirements, a systems engineering process that performs trades to evaluate different technical approaches, and a reporting process that reports to the Program Office (PO) and NASA HQ.

The appropriate tailoring of NPR 7120.5 requirements is expected. As stated in section 3.5, “Project teams are free to propose their own processes, procedures, and methods for managing their mission as long as they are consistent with the principles of NPR 7120.5E.”

In short, the successful HOPE team should propose the “right processes” for their project, consistent with the principles of NPR 7120.5E, and using appropriate tailoring. After selection, the team will work with the ESSP PO to document those requirements in a project plan.

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