The President's FY-11 Budget request included specific direction to the NASA Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) to establish an independent research management organization for the U.S. share of ISS utilization capacity. This direction was consistent with findings and recommendations contained in the Nov 2009 GAO report on "ISS: Significant Challenges May Limit Onboard Research." Many studies have been conducted over the past decade by NASA and others regarding approaches to managing U.S. utilization of the ISS.
In response to the recent GAO recommendations and White House direction, SOMD reviewed all prior studies and elected to commission an independent assessment by an objective third party. ProOrbis, LLC was selected to conduct the assessment based on two factors: (1) ProOrbis is a management consulting firm specializing in the re-positioning of sophisticated high technology assets for maximum value generation, and; (2) ProOrbis had no prior history in the civil space sector and thus offered freedom from predisposed biases. In June 2010, ProOrbis was formally tasked to provide within 90 days a "reference model" for an organization and strategic approach that could maximize the value to the nation for the U.S. share of the ISS. The ProOrbis final report, "Reference Model for the ISS U.S. National Laboratory" is the result of that effort.
The ProOrbis Reference Model discusses one notional approach to management of the ISS National Lab and solely reflects the views of ProOrbis. The Reference Model may not reflect specific technical, management, financial or strategic restraints and/or requirements applicable to a cooperative agreement with a non-profit organization tasked with managing the ISS National Lab. The Reference Model also was prepared prior to the passage of NASA's 2010 Authorization Act; therefore, it does not necessarily take into consideration all applicable provisions of that legislation. NASA has posted the ProOrbis Reference Model for informational purposes only and this posting does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that the ProOrbis Reference Model will meet NASA's goals for management of the ISS National Lab. NASA also does not endorse the legal statements, conclusions or assumptions contained in the ProOrbis Reference Model.
NASA SOMD is currently working with the White House and Congress to finalize plans for conducting a competitive acquisition of a non-profit organization to manage uses of the U.S. share of ISS by organizations other than NASA. As this efforts proceeds during FY 2011, further information will be made available at a public web site.