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FY 2002 Biological and Physical Research Enterprise White Paper

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2001

OFFICE OF BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH
(Code U)
Acting Associate Administrator: Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, Ph.D
.
Public Affairs Contact: Renee Juhans, 202/358-1712

The total Fiscal Year 2002 budget request for the Office of Biological and Physical Research is $360.9M; this is comprised of $291.3M of formerly Science, Aeronautics, and Technology Appropriation funding and $69.6M of formerly Mission Support Appropriation funding.

NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) was created at the beginning of FY 2001 to affirm NASA's commitment to the essential role biology will play in the 21 st century and establish the core of biological and physical sciences research needed to support Agency strategic objectives. OBPR was created under the premise that revolutionary solutions to science and technology problems are likely to emerge from scientists, clinicians, and engineers who are working at the frontiers of their respective disciplines and are also engaged in dynamic interdisciplinary interactions.

OBPR asks questions that are basic to the future of humanity:

  • How do fundamental laws of nature shape the evolution of life?
  • How can human existence expand beyond the home planet to achieve maximum benefits from space?

The Office pursues and disseminates the answers to these questions by:
  • using the space environment as a laboratory to test the fundamental principles of physics, chemistry and biology;
  • conducting research to enable the safe and productive human habitation of space;
  • enabling and promoting commercial research in space for the benefit of life on Earth; and
  • conducting educational outreach activities to promote public awareness of its research efforts and results.

Additional information about OBPR may be accessed at its web site (http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov/). NASA plans to transition management of the International Space Station (ISS) Research Budget to OBPR in a phased approach. Commencing in FY 2002, budget execution responsibility will be transferred from the Office of Space Flight to OBPR. In FY 2003, budget formulation and budget execution responsibility will be transferred to OBPR.

OBPR conducts research activities in conjunction with four other major Federal agencies through approximately 40 partner agreements. OBPR has recently initiated a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute on the detection and diagnosis of disease and space-flight-induced physiological degeneration; this research will be relevant to Earth-bound health issues. OBPR also manages 11 Commercial Space Centers across the country.

Bioastronautics Research - Advanced Human Support Technology $31.1M

The goals of Advanced Human Support Technology (AHST) are to:

  • demonstrate and validate fully self-sufficient technologies for air and water regeneration, food production, and waste recycling for long-duration space missions;
  • demonstrate and validate integrated, fully autonomous environmental monitoring and control systems; and
  • validate human factors engineering technology and protocols to ensure maintenance of high ground and flight crew skills during long-duration missions.

AHST also makes NASA technologies available to the private sector for Earth applications. In FY 2002, comprehensive project plan documents for future technology solicitations will be developed for food processing, systems engineering, and advanced controls. AHST will continue to demonstrate key technology capabilities for human support, such as advanced techniques for water processing, solid waste processing, air revitalization, biomass production, food processing, and thermal control. AHST also will continue to solicit the participation of the university community through designated centers for research and training. One such center will focus on Advance Life Support issues, particularly solid waste processing, with special emphasis on water storage and recovery. Additionally, efforts will also be directed toward the development of nutrient delivery systems for plants in a microgravity environment. Work will continue in the area of high risk pilot studies for sensors to monitor the environment. All the efforts in the NRA are directed toward development of technologies that will have applications for space research, as well as improve the state-of-the art for current Earth-based processes.

Bioastronautics Research - Biomedical Research and Countermeasures $66.8M

The goals of Biomedical Research and Countermeasures (BR&C) are to conduct research in space biomedicine that:

  • defines the strategies and develops the tools to reduce the risk to crew health from space radiation;
  • defines strategies and tools to reduce risk of acute and chronic health problems, including physiological, psychological, and behavioral issues;
  • will provide tools to increase crew productivity in flight, and ensure complete crew rehabilitation for a full, healthy life on Earth; and
  • will transfer biomedical knowledge and technology gained through research on the ground and in space to the Earth-based medical community.

In FY 2002, BR&C efforts will include planning for and expanding research operations of the Crew Health Care System (CHeCS) and Human Research Facility (HRF) on the ISS to take full advantage of growing Station capabilities. Over the next three years, 11 research projects are planned for Station increments 2 through 10. Facilities for human research and the Microgravity Science Glove Box will be available to support this research as part of the continuing deployment of the ISS. BR&C continues funding for the Booster Applications Facility (BAF) construction at Brookhaven National Laboratory; this facility will allow NASA to simulate effects from various types of space radiation. BR&C is also planning for a possible Shuttle research flight beyond STS-107; this R2 mission is currently under review. Crew health and safety, as well as public health and outreach, will be the BR&C highlights for this mission.

Fundamental Space Biology (formerly Fundamental Biology) $39.2M

The goals of Fundamental Space Biology (FSB) are to:

  • effectively use microgravity and the other characteristics of the space environment to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological processes;
  • develop the foundation of fundamental biological knowledge required to enable a long-duration human presence in space, and to provide the biological understanding to support other biologically-related NASA activities; and
  • transfer biological knowledge and technology gained through research on the ground and in space to the medical and scientific communities.

FSB will solicit flight research as part of the International Space Life Sciences Strategic Working Group (ISLSSWG) flight solicitation and will release its annual solicitation for ground research. Collaborative efforts with the NASA Astrobiology Program will be planned, including the funding of research at the Astrobiology Institute. FSB will also increase fundamental knowledge in the biological sciences and address critical questions in crew health and safety by conducting flight investigations on the STS-107 Space Shuttle mission and aboard ISS. These include investigations of: the effects of gravity on plant growth and physiology, the effect of the space environment on bacterial virulence, the effect of microgravity on skeletal myofibers, avian development in space, the effects of microgravity on bone as a function of age, changes in gene expression in bacteria in space, and the effects of gravity on plant photosynthesis and respiration.

Physical Sciences Research (formerly Microgravity Research) $130.1M

The goals of Physical Sciences Research (PSR) are to:

  • carry out outstanding multi- and cross-disciplinary basic research enabled by the space environment to address NASA's goal of advancing and communicating knowledge;
  • develop a rigorous cross-disciplinary scientific capability, bridging the physical sciences and biology to address NASA's human and robotic space exploration goals;
  • establish the ISS facilities as unique on-orbit science laboratories addressing targeted scientific and technological issues of high significance; and
  • enhance the knowledge base, benefiting Earth-based technological and industrial applications.

In FY 2002, PSR plans to continue development and preparation of upcoming ISS flight research and perform focused research activities on the R2 mission, which is currently under review. Six flights will deploy research aboard the ISS, and PSR will deliver 24 payloads in FY 2002. Early ISS utilization will expand, with science investigations being conducted with the Microgravity Science Glovebox and EXPRESS Rack. New research projects will be selected in biotechnology, fluid physics, and materials science. PSR also plans to create a research institute in Bioengineering through a competitive procurement process. This will involve the direct collaboration between academic and NASA researchers to closely integrate research at the frontiers of the biophysical sciences.

Research Integration - Space Product Development $14.5M

The Space Product Development (SPD) activity:

  • facilitates the use of space for the development of commercial products and services (including appropriate supporting ground-based activities);
  • couples NASA and private sector technology development to the advantage of both; and
  • incubates commercial enterprises that use space on a profit-making basis.

SPD also promotes the benefits of space-based research to industry, facilitates industry's access to space, provides space research expertise and flight hardware, and advocates the development of policies to encourage the commercial use of space. SPD supports the operation of the NASA Commercial Space Centers (CSC), along with the development of commercial flight research hardware for Space Shuttle, and ultimately ISS payload development. SPD provides ground-based and parabolic aircraft flight opportunities for initial commercial research efforts. As the sponsored commercial research evolves, SPD will provide support for flight hardware associated with Space Shuttle flight activity, and ultimately for payload development presently funded by the Space Station office and developed for commercial research on the International Space Station. The CSCs are partnerships of industry, universities, and local, state, and other federal agencies engaged in commercial space research. CSCs furnish an infrastructure that provides a cost-effective and efficient way for companies to conduct research in space. In FY 2002, SPD will continue its support to six commercial payloads in the fields of materials research, protein crystal growth, agriculture, and fire safety that will be flown on STS-107. Sixteen payloads are manifested for the ISS, and another seven commercial payloads are scheduled to fly on the Space Shuttle. Planning will continue for additional flights as the ISS assembly progresses.

Health Research $9.4M
Space Medicine Research [$8.2M]
Occupational Health Research [$1.2M]

In FY 2001, a reorganization created the Health and Medical Office (HMO) within the Office of the Administrator. This new office was created from the former OLMSA's Office of Health Affairs and given additional broad responsibility for oversight and advice on all aspects of health and medical care for the ground workforce and space crews in training and in flight, medical quality assurance, and protection of human research subjects and patients. The goals of Occupational Health Research (OHR) include:

  • improve NASA's Occupational Health program effectiveness and efficiency through medical quality assurance and the development of an employee health longitudinal study as part of overall knowledge management; and
  • ensure NASA compliance with all Federal safety and health requirements. During FY 2002, OHR will continue: emphasizing quality assurance for its occupational health program, supporting certification efforts for safety and health programs, and conducting its professional education series. OHR will also continue to support the new Health Council, and will conduct an Agencywide Occupational Health Conference on risk assessment and management.

The goals of Space Medicine Research (SMR) are to:

  • ensure the health, safety, and performance of space flight crew members, in training and in flight, for all U.S. Space Shuttle, ISS, and exploration missions; and
  • oversee the establishment of requirements for clinical care and medical research and ensure the protection of human research subjects and patients.

During FY 2002, SMR's mission will be one primarily of oversight, policy review and approval, providing advice, conducting special studies, authorizing permanent medical waivers, and providing assurance of professional education and competency.

Research Integration - Mission Integration $0.2M

The goals of Mission Integration (MI) are: (1) provide physical, analytical, and operations integration support for Human Space Flight missions, in order to achieve NASA mission objectives for the science and technology communities; and (2) ensure integrated scientific, technological, and commercial user advocacy and coordination of requirements for the next generation of space laboratories, the ISS. These activities include the integration, coordination, and policy planning and analysis for international research activities within OBPR , as well as across the Agency, for ISS research.

Institutional Support $69.6M

Institutional Support (IS) represents the OBPR portion of the formerly separate Mission Support Appropriation. The two primary goals of this budget segment are to: (1) acquire and maintain a civil service workforce that reflects the cultural diversity of the Nation, and is both sized and skilled consistently with accomplishing NASA's research, development, and operational missions with innovation, excellence, and efficiency for OBPR; and (2) ensure that the facilities critical to achieving the goals of OBPR are constructed and continue to function effectively, efficiently, and safely, and that NASA installations conform to requirements and initiatives for the protection of the environment and human health.

In summary, OBPR's programs constitute a novel interdisciplinary focus that will enable NASA to take advantage of research advances made across a diverse array of scientific and technical fields.

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