NASA Program Management Council Meeting Mintues and Actions 1 November 2006: ESMD Presentation

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007

ESMD - Presented by Doug Cooke, Deputy AA, ESMD

Constellation Program (yellow): Rating was based on the following assessment points:

  • Still in formulation and are defining requirements. Systems Requirements Review (SRR) occurs the week after next and this work is underway. They are doing development work while still in formulation. They are shooting for Design, Development, Test, & Evaluation (DDT&E) to be done in 2012 timeframe. Production will be coming afterward, with first flights in 2014.
  • Still working on programmatic tools, which present issues.
  • Within the program, three of the four projects are rated yellow: Orion, Ares and Ground Operations. Mission Operations Project is rated green at this time.
    • Orion: requirements work is going on, top-level requirements are close to complete. A contractor is on board. There is a concern that the project is not managing reserves, being managed at the program level.
    • Ares: Development schedule on the J2X engine is being worked hard but there is concern with requirements lagging. The J2X is in contract definitization; it is being sole sourced.
    • Ground ops: requirements are still being defined, albeit the concepts are coming along. The schedule is tight and so is funding. The Hubble decision is creating even more complications.

  • Overall, the lunar architecture is not complete and may impact requirements for Constellation. It is being worked toward a completion in December 2006. ESMD believes that this has no strong impacts on the current work, except for the development of the Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit which has a common development for long-term. ESMD decoupled the long-term plans for the surface of the moon with near-term need for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).
  • Reserves posture: carrying 5-16% being held at the program level. This means that each project is not receiving full reserves at this time.

There was a lengthy discussion on reserves. Generally, if reserves are tight, they are managed at a higher level. There is a plan in development for how the reserves will be dispensated; this will be done in the next quarter. There was a comment that Jeff Hanley said he would allocate budget reserves, but schedule reserve remains an issue. The program is driving toward development by 2012 and would like to get flight dates as close as possible to 2012, so they are working different combinations to do that. However, the reserves fall in between 2012-2014, not when needed. It is something that the program is going to have to try and understand and work through.

The Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) had a 60% confidence for 2012 and we are at 40-50% confidence form ESAS. Assuming full funding for Shuttle transition costs. Constellation would be at 70%. The shuttle termination costs are not fully scoped.

Another issue is linkage between shuttle and ESMD. NASA needs to link the reserve posture of Constellation with Shuttle and its impacts. The overall requirements must be looked at. There is likely nothing in there that will buy additional reserves. Budget aspects are an agency issue. ESMD is working budgets together with SOMD.

There was a question about what the colors mean on the charts. The charts show rollups of assessments and their threshold at lower levels combined with expert opinion in combination. Green is on target, yellow is off target but recoverable, red is unrecoverable.

Lunar Precursor Robotics Program (yellow): Rating was based on the following assessment points:

  • Lunar Robotic Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS): still in formulation and are defining requirements.
  • There is a budget threat to this line due to overall Agency budget issues. A definition of what comes next is still in work. There is a threat due to Delta II sitting out there with a cost threat.
  • LCROSS is schedule constrained. It has been cost capped. This is tied to LRO. Some hardware elements that are long lead items have associated risk.

Other Points:

  • Funding outlook for longer-term technology needs: is there enough funding in technology to support the future flight dates?
  • Carrying risk associated with lack of experienced development personnel. Last experience was with Shuttle in the 70's and Station in the '80s. NASA can augment SE&I with contractor base, but if the Agency relies too much on them, the Agency won't develop its own workforce.

Cross-Cutting Issues/Other Topics - Presented by Harry Lyles, Chief Engineer ESMD

ESMD Cross-cutting Issues

  • Requirements maturity: ESMD is still trying to get bottoms-up cost estimates for its programs. They are bringing the requirements of the technology programs into this process and assessing those in he coming month.
  • Shuttle to Constellation Systems Transition is an inter-directorate issue: with the current State of the Agency (SoA) structure of there is not a way to evaluate the transition. OCE/PA&E/OSMA are not saying there is a problem but that is a complicated process and requires review.
  • Staffing for Exploration presents an opportunity and risk and NASA must work at building up technical excellence.

There was a question about human rating and requirements and plan. Will this be an issue in the future? Lyles does not think so but some changes are needed. The biggest worry is just that human rating is something we have not done for a while. For example, with the J2X the performance redesigns are encompassing a lot of the factors of safety and requirements for human rating. ESMD is taking are of margins necessary for human rating.

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