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National Academies Advisory Boards and Reports
March 19, 2014

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:

Other Space Studies Board reports relevant to Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate:

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]
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