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NASA To Review ISS Program As Budget Realities Continue To Bite

Maybe if we tell them it's a big plug to stop yet more billions going up into space, they'll chuck another billion or two at the problem
Washington - July 31, 2001
A diverse team of world-renowned experts, including two Nobel laureates and the world's most famous heart surgeon, make up an independent task force created by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin to take a focused look at the budget and management challenges facing the International Space Station program.

"In the last year, we have successfully carried out all of the 14 scheduled assembly missions to the International Space Station. We did so with unbelievable precision and execution, completing the second phase of space station construction," said Administrator Goldin. "It's an incredible management and engineering achievement, but we must ensure it is carried out in a more efficient and effective manner."

The ISS Management and Cost Evaluation Task Force (IMCE) will help NASA address the recent cost growth on the program by assessing the quality of the ISS cost estimates as well as program assumptions and requirements, and identifying high- risk budget areas and potential risk mitigation strategies.

"Since April, we've been working to select a team of outstanding innovators in the fields of science, engineering, finance and business to advise NASA and the Administration how to maximize the scientific returns on the station, while living within the guidelines of the President's budget," added Administrator Goldin. "The financial management of the International Space Station needs an overhaul, but we're going to do it in a way that doesn't sacrifice safety."

Two Nobel Prize winners are among the members of the IMCE Task Force. Dr. Richard Roberts shared the1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for the discovery of "split genes." He is currently the head of the Department of Bioinformatics and Research at New England Biolabs, Beverly, MA.

Another panel member, Dr. Robert Richardson, is Vice-Provost for Research at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for the discovery of superfluidity in the isotope helium-3 (3He).

Another prominent task force member is world-renowned medical pioneer, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Chancellor Emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and an active staff member at The Methodist Hospital of Houston. Dr. DeBakey is internationally recognized for his innovations in open-heart surgery and his recent pioneering work in the field of telemedicine.

Administrator Goldin appointed Thomas Young chair of the IMCE Task Force. Young, a former president at Martin Marietta Corp., managed numerous complex and technically challenging programs in government as well as private industry. He recently led the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team which reviewed NASA's approach to robotic exploration.

The chair and the other members of the IMCE Task Force will report to the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).

"This panel has been empowered to leave no stone unturned. We have experts in all fields that have the capacity to dig deep to help us restructure the business and financial approach of this program, added Administrator Goldin. The task force will identify opportunities for maximizing capability to meet priority research program needs within the planned ISS budget and International Partner contributions. In addition, it will assess and refine cost estimates for potential U.S.-funded enhancements.

A Financial Management Team (FMT) and a Cost Analysis Support Team (CAST) will support the IMCE Task Force. The FMT will assist the IMCE Task Force in reviewing the financial management tools used in the development and operation of the International Space Station, and making Agency-wide recommendations for improvements. The CAST will assess the quality of the space station estimates in an effort to establish cost credibility.

In empowering the external team, Administrator Goldin stated that, in addition to technical excellence, it is essential that NASA maintain strict financial and management accountability. The task force will review management reforms in the ISS Program Management Action Plan and may make recommendations for additional reforms.

The panel will report its findings to the NAC by Nov. 1, 2001. The NAC will consider and formally present its recommendations to the NASA Administrator for an official Agency response.

ISS Management and Cost Evaluation (IMCE) Task Force

  • Mr. A. Thomas Young, Chairman, former President of Martin-Marietta Corp., and former director of NASA's Viking missions to Mars. Member of the National Academy of Engineering
  • Rear Admiral Thomas Betterton, USN (Ret), Vice Chairman, formerly a Senior Navy Official with the National Reconnaissance Office

    Science Group

  • Michael DeBakey, MD, heart surgeon and Chancellor Emeritus of the Baylor College of Medicine
  • Robert Richardson, PhD, Vice Provost for Research, Cornell University; shared 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Richard Roberts, PhD, head of the Department of Bioinformatics/Research, New England Biolabs; shared 1993 Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • Rae Silver, PhD, Kaplan Professor of Natural and Physical Sciences, Columbia University and President of the Society for Biological Rhythms

    Engineering Group

  • Mr. Kent Black, former Chief Executive Officer of United Space Alliance and former Executive Vice-President of Rockwell International
  • Mr. Pete Bracken, vice chairman, ACS Government Solutions Group and former Director of Mission Operations and Data Systems at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Gregory Canavan, PhD, American Physical Society Fellow at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Mr. Sidney Gutierrez, senior executive Sandia National Laboratories, former Space Shuttle commander and member of the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
  • Bradford Parkinson, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering, Stanford University, original director of the Defense Department's Global Positioning System Program and member of the National Academy of Engineering
  • Mr. Peter Wilhelm, Director, Naval Center for Space Technology, Naval Research Laboratory Brigadier General Pete Worden, PhD, Vice-Director of Operations. United States Space Command

    Business, Finance Group

  • Mr. Anthony DeMarco, President of PRICE Systems
  • Mr. William Friend, former Executive Vice-President of Bechtel Group, Inc. and a member of the National Academy of Engineering
  • Ms. Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute
  • Mr. Robert Grady, Partner and Managing Director in Venture Capital, the Carlyle Group and former Executive Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Admiral Paul Reason, USN (Ret), President and Chief Operating Officer of the Metro Machine Corp., and former Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet
  • Mr. Roger Tetrault, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McDermott International and former president of the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics
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 Space Science Row Exposes NASA Budget Friction
Cameron Park - July 25, 2001
While not all the details are yet available, a significant collision seems to be developing between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on how to modify President Bush's proposed NASA budget for the coming fiscal year of 2002.

ESA And The Search For Science
Cameron Park - July 30, 2001
While the continuing woes of the Space Station continue to force deep cuts in NASA's space science program, the European Space Agency appears ready to boost space science funding with a plethora of missions heading out in search of new discoveries reports Bruce Moomaw in this SpaceDaily special report.



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