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For Release: April 23, 1996

Catherine E. Watson

(804) 864-6122

Release No. 96-027

Space Science Information Office Shifted to NASA Langley

As part of NASA's policy to shift program implementation from headquarters to its centers, the agency has transferred responsibility for the independent review and evaluation of its small flight programs to Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

The new office will have responsibility for administration of the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) process for the Discovery, Explorer and Solar-Terrestrial Probe programs. AOs tell researchers that funding is available to do a specific type of research. Scientists then write research proposals to the originator of the AO to be considered for that funding, responding to all the science requirements contained in the AO.

The new office will coordinate the preparation of these space science-related AOs with NASA headquarters, receive the proposals, and help headquarters organize and manage the proposal review panels. The office also will conduct independent evaluations to assure that selected investigations meet established criteria and provide high-quality science return.

After an investigation has been selected, the SSSO will support headquarters in assessing program activities and assuring tasks are completed on schedule and within budget, as well as participate in mission reviews and technical audits. These responsibilities will include managing and conducting independent and external independent readiness reviews of these space sciences missions.

The Discovery, Explorer and Solar Terrestrial Probe programs provide frequent access to space for small space science missions that perform high-quality scientific investigations using small- to mid-sized spacecraft. The Discovery program has supported missions such as the Mars Pathfinder, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous and the Lunar Prospector.

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