The work with our Independent Review Team is coming to a close, at least until the next major program review. In the process, we have received some sage advice on several important issues, most notably on software development, schedule reserve, ground system development and the like. Our Mission Definition Review team, the more technically-focused of the two review teams that met with us back concurrently in December, recommended to Center Management that we be given a green light to transition into the next phase.
The instrument AO process is now in full swing and proceeding on schedule, thanks to Eric Smith and company from Headquarters and his Langley support team. The Phase 2 proposal evaluations are essentially done now, and the procurement team is preparing to communicate with the offerors directly about some things they need to do to allow us to complete the selection task. We are getting closer, but sometimes I admit, the wait seems interminable. I am thankful for such a dedicated, hard-working evaluation team, especially as the weeks and months go by -- and I might add, for patience on the part of our offerors, as the wait is torturous. Regarding another procurement action, the Institute and Goddard folks have been quite productive in the whole area of the contract development for the science and mission operations segment too. Now, believe it or not, it's time to form up new procurement development teams, or PDTs, for some aspects of the instrument module. Momentum is slowly building and things are moving ahead quite briskly now, it seems, in several areas.
We participated in a major interim assessment meeting last month on the Advanced Mirror Systems Demonstrator Program (AMSD), chaired by the NGST Program Manager, Kevin Russell. This meeting was jointly sponsored by our DoD partners. Each of the 3 optics houses presented to the government team for 4 hours apiece at the University of Maryland Conference Center. I attended most of the 1 1/2-day meeting, which was then followed by a government-only technical evaluation session, followed in turn by a meeting of the AMSD Executive Council. I was quite impressed with the progress made on each of the three technologies, but I was particularly struck by the degree of risk management and the mitigation plans presented by each firm. My complements to them and to Kevin Russell and his NASA/DoD team for instilling in them this discipline, for it will pay big dividends downstream in terms of forecasting and mitigating those systems-level concerns that I talked about last time. Very nicely done! Now comes the big push to ready the mirrors for ambient and cryotesting towards the end of this year.
I'd like to close with a note of thanks to Lisa Guerra, our NGST Program Executive at NASA Headquarters for the last 18 months or so. Lisa, as many of our readers know, has been with NGST off and on for the last 4-5 years, and during her time with us she has made many valuable contributions. She will be moving up and out to take a senior position with Mary Kicza, the new Associate Administrator for the Office of Biological and Physical Sciences in Headquarters, Code U. We wish her well. She will be missed.
Bernard D. Seery
Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) Project Manager
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center