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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Lessons Learned in the Implementation
of NASA’s Earth venture Class

Committee on the Review of Lessons-Learned in the
Implementation of NASA’s Earth Venture Class

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

A Consensus Study Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH17CB02B with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any agency or organization that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-29504-8
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-29504-1
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA’s Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26499.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

Image

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE REVIEW OF LESSONS-LEARNED IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NASA’S EARTH VENTURE CLASS

CHRISTIAN D. KUMMEROW, Colorado State University, Co-Chair

MAHTA MOGHADDAM, NAE,1 University of Southern California, Co-Chair

MARK R. ABBOTT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (retired)

OTIS B. BROWN, JR., North Carolina State University

IVONA CETINIĆ, Morgan State University

CARLOS E. DEL CASTILLO, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

HELEN A. FRICKER,2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography

KATHLEEN O. GREEN, Kass Green & Associates

DENNIS L. HARTMANN, NAS,3 University of Washington

GEORGE J. KOMAR, NASA (retired)

MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine

JOHN R. SCHERRER, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

BYRON D. TAPLEY, NAE, The University of Texas at Austin

CHRISTOPHER S. VELDEN, University of Wisconsin–Madison

DUANE E. WALISER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STAFF

ARTHUR CHARO, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

GAYBRIELLE HOLBERT, Program Assistant, Space Studies Board

COLLEEN N. HARTMAN, Director, Space Studies Board

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

2 Resigned from the committee on June 25, 2021, and did not participate in the committee’s deliberations or the writing of its report.

3 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

MARGARET G. KIVELSON, NAS,1 University of California, Los Angeles, Chair

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE,2 Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired), Vice Chair

GREGORY P. ASNER, NAS, Carnegie Institution for Science

ADAM BURROWS, NAS, Princeton University

DANIELA CALZETTI, NAS, University of Massachusetts Amherst

JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara

MELINDA DARBY DYAR, Mount Holyoke College

ANTONIO L. ELIAS, NAE, Orbital ATK, Inc. (retired)

VICTORIA E. HAMILTON, Southwest Research Institute

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, NAE, University of California, Los Angeles

ROSALY M. LOPES, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEPHEN J. MACKWELL, American Institute of Physics

DAVID J. McCOMAS, Princeton University

LARRY J. PAXTON, Johns Hopkins University

ELIOT QUATAERT, University of California, Berkeley

MARK P. SAUNDERS, Independent Consultant

J. MMARSHALL SHEPHERD, NAS/NAE, University of Georgia

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR, NAS/NAE, University of Toronto

HOWARD J. SINGER, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

HARLAN E. SPENCE, University of New Hampshire

ERIKA B. WAGNER, Blue Origin, LLC

PAUL D. WOOSTER, Space Exploration Technologies

EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles

STAFF

COLLEEN N. HARTMAN, Director

ALAN ANGLEMAN, Associate Director

ANDREA REBHOLZ, Program Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MARGARET KNEMEYER, Senior Financial Business Partner

ALEXIS BHADHA, Senior Financial Assistant

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
×

Preface

The NASA Science Mission Directorate/Earth Science Division’s (SMD/ESD’s) Earth Venture (EV) is a program element within the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program. Established by NASA in response to recommendations contained in the 2007 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine decadal survey report Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond,1 the EV class of missions were created to, “conduct low-cost Earth science research and application missions to demonstrate innovative ideas and higher-risk technologies and provide training for future leaders of space-based observations for Earth science applications.”2

EV missions currently consist of principal investigator (PI)-led suborbital and orbital missions, instruments developed for spaceflight missions of opportunity, and CubeSats. All EV-class missions are cost- and schedule-constrained and openly competed. Adherence to cost caps and schedule constraints is critical to the success of the EV program; indeed, shortly after the initiation of the EV program, the director of NASA’s ESD stated that strict adherence to these constraints were the only way to ensure availability for funding for regular (relatively frequent) solicitations and the only way to ensure programmatic flexibility and responsiveness.3 EV missions are undertaken to complement existing and planned elements of NASA’s Earth Science flight program. Since their inception, it has been NASA policy that no single EV-class selection be an essential element of the ESD flight program.4

___________________

1 National Research Council, 2007, Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, https://doi.org/10.17226/11820.

2 NASA Office of Inspector General, 2017, Earth Venture Suborbital Investigations, Report No. IG-17-013, https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-17-013.pdf.

3 See M.H. Freilich, 2009, “Earth Science Division Strategic Issues,” presentation to the National Academies’ Committee on Earth Studies (since renamed the Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space), October 19, 2009. The word “only” appears in boldface type in Dr. Freilich’s presentation.

4 Of note, the most recent EV announcements of opportunity (AOs) state explicitly that alignment with decadal survey priorities will be a consideration for proposal selection. For example, the most recent AO for Earth Venture-Mission states, “For this solicitation, NASA will prioritize consideration of proposals that address the questions laid out in the 2017 Decadal Survey and will use the classification of the question being addressed as a guide for consideration.” See NASA, 2020, “Announcement of Opportunity, Draft Earth Venture Mission – 3, Earth System Science Pathfinder Program,” NNH20ZDA006J, April 10, 2020, https://nspires.nasaprs.com.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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In 2020, at the request of NASA, the National Academies convened an ad hoc study committee to examine the Earth Venture Instrument (EV-I) and Earth Venture Mission (EV-M) components of EVs and report on lessons learned in the more than 10 years since the first EV selection. NASA’s request excluded the EV-Suborbital (EV-S) component, which is expected to undergo a separate review in a forthcoming National Academies study. It also excludes the only recently initiated EV-Continuity (EV-C) component. As noted in the statement of task (see Appendix A), there was particular interest in derivation of lessons learned that could be applied to optimize future EV selections. The implementation of several EV missions has proved difficult, with notable violations of core principles that characterize EVs—selected missions are to be implemented in strict accord with the cost and schedule established at the time of selections. The scope of the study does not include commenting on whether EV mission costs caps are appropriate, though discussions of the trade space among factors including risk, mission cadence, and mission cost are in scope.

All meetings of the Committee on the Review of Lessons-Learned in the Implementation of NASA’s Earth Venture Class were held virtually to comply with emergency state and federal bans—initiated as part of a response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic—on large meetings or gatherings. Some 25 teleconferences were held over the course of the study, each typically lasting 1 to 1.5 hours.

As part of its information gathering, the committee contacted PIs and key members of their project management teams for all selected EV missions except INCUS (EVM-3).5 Due to confidentiality rules, NASA was unable to provide the committee with the names of PIs from proposal teams that were not selected in response to EV-I or EV-M solicitations. However, some of the selected PIs that were interviewed volunteered that they had proposed unsuccessfully to previous solicitations, and they also volunteered to discuss these experiences.

The committee was also informed by its members, many of whom had experience with NASA Earth science flight programs, and from interviews and briefings with current and retired NASA officials associated with the management of EV. A partial list includes the following: Rosemary Baize, NASA Langley Research Center; Sandra Cauffman, NASA Headquarters (HQ); David Considine, NASA HQ; Karen St. Germain, NASA HQ; Ken Jucks, NASA HQ; Ramesh Kakar, NASA, retired; Jack Kaye, NASA HQ; Hank Margolis, NASA HQ; Adalberto Sierra and Bradley Smith, NASA Launch Services Program; Greg Stover, NASA Langley Research Center; Tom Wagner, NASA HQ; and Charles Webb, NASA HQ. For insight into EV technical, management, and cost review, the committee interviewed, among others, Jim Bell, NASA Ames Research Center, and Lindsey Hayes, University of California, Berkeley. Members of the committee also had discussions with Albert Sierra, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and Bradley Smith, NASA HQ, regarding EV-class launch options and NASA’s Launch Services Program.

___________________

5 NASA’s selection of INCUS for EVM-3 occurred after the committee had completed its initial draft report; INCUS project team members were not interviewed.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Douglas W. Burbank, NAS, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Christopher O. Justice, University of Maryland, College Park. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

___________________

1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

2 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Lessons Learned in the Implementation of NASA's Earth Venture Class. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26499.
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The NASA Science Mission Directorate/Earth Science Division's (SMD/ESD's) Earth Venture (EV) is a program element within the Earth System Science Pathfinder Program. At the request of NASA, this report examines the Earth Venture Instrument (EV-I) and Earth Venture Mission (EV-M) elements of Earth Ventures and explores lessons learned in the more than 10 years since selection of the first EV mission, including a review of the foundational principles and approaches underlying the program.

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