NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. has been selected as the site of NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office.
The Discovery and New Frontiers office provides opportunities for the science community to propose full investigations to be conducted under a fixed price cost cap -- an initiative designed to address high-priority exploration initiatives in the Solar System.
Discovery and New Frontiers investigations are the responsibility of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Marshall program office will assist the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters with program management, technology planning, systems assessment, flight assurance and public outreach.
"We at Marshall Center are excited about being selected to assist the Science Mission Directorate with the management of the Discovery and New Frontiers Program for NASA," said Marshall Center Director David King. "The program comprises some of the most exciting missions in Solar System exploration. The Discovery and New Frontiers programs provide opportunities for science robotic missions that lay the groundwork for future exploration of the Solar System and beyond," King said.
The Marshall Center will assure the availability of the technical expertise to quickly assess needs and manage the required support structure to provide oversight to these missions, and have access to technical expertise that can be made readily available to principal investigators.
The Discovery initiative includes focused, scientific investigations that complement NASA's larger planetary exploration. Its goal is to launch numerous small missions with a faster development phase -- each for considerably less than the cost of larger missions. The Discovery program has launched numerous missions to date, including the Mars Pathfinder, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous-Shoemaker, and Genesis missions.
The New Frontiers initiative addresses high-priority investigations identified by the National Academy of Sciences. NASA's first New Frontiers mission is called New Horizons, which will fly by the Pluto-Charon system in 2014, and then target other Kuiper belt objects. NASA recently selected two mission proposals under the New Frontiers program for pre-formulation study, leading to a selection of the second New Frontiers mission in May, 2005.