NRC Report on NASA Technology: Why NASA is Always Playing Catch-up

Report Identifies 16 Highest Priorities to Guide NASA's Technology Development Efforts for Next Five Years

"It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space technology development," said Raymond Colladay, president of RC Space Enterprises Inc., and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "Success in executing future NASA space missions will depend on advanced developments that should already be under way."

NASA Receives Final NRC Report On Space Technology Roadmaps

"The report strongly reaffirms the vital importance of technology development to enable the agency's future missions and grow the nation's new technology economy," said Mason Peck, chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The report confirms the value of our technology development strategy to date. NASA currently invests in all of the highest-priority technologies and will study the report and adjust its investment portfolio as needed."

Keith's note: According to this project description at the NRC, this project began on 24 September 2010 with a projected final report 17 months later. Given the glacial pace at which NASA incorporates advice - and its tendency to only adopt the portions of the advice they actually want to implement - it will easily take another year to align the NRC report and NASA's plan, synch it with the budget, ongoing and new procurements, etc. Only then will NASA be ready to implement what the NRC has recommended. That's a 2 year lag between advice and implementation.

Of course, just as the new plan settles into place at NASA there might be a new Administration or a new Congress - both of which will fiddle with everything once again. Net result: NASA is always behind. NASA needs to shorten this cycle such that it can respond to emerging trends in technology as they make themselves known - not wait several years and then play catch up. Note that the committee chair said "Success in executing future NASA space missions will depend on advanced developments that should already be under way."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 1, 2012 12:55 PM.

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