In 1916, the National Academy of Sciences organized The National Research Council to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of seeking further knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the National Research Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. Both Academies and the Institute of Medicine jointly administer The National Research Council. The Human Exploration and Operations Directorate primarily uses two National Research Council boards: The Space Studies Board (SSB) and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB). Many of the reports on the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate activities are produced through joint activities between the two boards.
Established in June 1958, the SSB provides external and independent scientific and programmatic guidance to NASA and other government agencies in the basic sub-disciplines of space research. The SSB oversees a constellation of standing committees and ad hoc task groups, which produce long-range strategic research plans, set priorities for goals, and assess progress.
The SSB, its committees, and ad hoc task groups document their work through peer-reviewed reports and letters. In addition, based on its publicly-established opinions, the Board may comment in testimony to the Congress.
The ASEB was established in 1967 "to focus talents and energies of the engineering community on significant aerospace policies and programs." The ASEB recommends priorities and procedures for achieving aerospace engineering objectives, and offers a way to bring engineering and other related expertise to bear on aerospace issues of national importance. The ASEB also serves as a catalyst for introducing scientific and engineering ideas into existing aerospace programs, serving to stimulate innovation that will become the basis for future aerospace programs.
The ASEB makes recommendations concerning major national aeronautics and space programs. It assesses the quality of various technologies and programs, and advises on the relative importance of those programs. It also is concerned with important issues of technology transfer, including (1) the effectiveness of technology transfer to industry from NASA's research and development programs, (2) incorporation of the best technologies from outside of NASA in NASA programs, and (3) enhancing the two-way flow of technologies developed in the defense sector and in civil aerospace.
The SSB and ASEB are part of the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) of the National Research Council, the principal operating agency of the National Academies.
National Academies Reports for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate:
- Review of NASA's Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks: 2013 Letter Report (2014)
- Research for a Future in Space: The Role of Life and Physical Sciences (2012)
- Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (2011)
- "Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts" (2009)
- A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program (2008)
- Review of NASA's Human Research Program Evidence Books (2008)
- A Risk Reduction Strategy for Human Exploration of Space: A Review of NASA's Bioastronautics Roadmap [National Research Council, 2006]
- Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station [Space Studies Board, 2006]
- Preliminary Considerations Regarding NASA's Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap: Interim Report(2005) [Board on Health Sciences Policy (HSP)]
- Science in NASA's Vision for Space Exploration(2005) [Space Studies Board (SSB)]
- National Academies' Study on Systems Integration Options for Constellation Systems [National Research Council (Committee on Systems Integration for Project Constellation, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board), October 2004]
- Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences (TGRISS Phase II) [National Research Council (Task Group on Research on the International Space Station Membership), Committee on Space Biology and Medicine/Space Studies Board, September 2002]
- Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface [National Research Council/SSB/ASEB, 2002]
- Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions [Institute of Medicine/Board on Health Sciences Policy/Committee on Creating a Vision for Space Medicine During Travel Beyond Earth Orbit, 2001]
- The Role of Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (Phase I) [National Research Council/SSB, December 2001]
- Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station (TGRISS Phase I) [National Research Council (Task Group on Research on the International Space Station Membership), Committee on Space Biology and Medicine/Space Studies Board, December 2001]
- Review of NASAs Biomedical Research Program [National Research Council/SSB/Committee on Space Biology and Medicine]
- Microgravity Research in Support of Technologies for the Human Exploration and Development of Space and Planetary Bodies [National Research Council/SSB/Committee on Microgravity Research (2000)]
- Future Biotechnology Research on the International Space Station [National Research Council/SSB/Task Group for the Evaluation of NASA's Biotechnology Facility for the International Space Station (2000)]
- Institutional Arrangements for Space Station Research [National Research Council/SSB, 2000]
- Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station [National Research Council, 1996]
Other Space Studies Board reports relevant to Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate:
- Bibliography of SSB Reports Relevant to Microgravity and Gravitational Physics Research
- Bibliography of SSB Reports Relevant to the Space Life and Medical Sciences
- Bibliography of SSB Reports Relevant to the Human Exploration of Space
- Complete Bibliography of SSB Reports (by subject area)
Other External Advisory Reports on Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Activities:
- Technology Transfer: Bringing Innovation To NASA and the Nation [National Academy of Public Administration, November 2004, PDF 2 MB]
- Reflections on the Commercial Space Center (CSC) Program [National Academy of Public Administration, June 1998]
- The International Space Station Commercialization Study, [Potomac Institute for Policy Studies 1997]
- A Review of the Centers for the Commercial Development of Space: Concept and Operation [National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) 1994]