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Broadcast 1938 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on January 28th, 2013
Guest: Dr. Albert Carnesale
Guest: Dr. Albert Carnesale. Topics: The NRC study, "NASA's Strategic Direction And The Need For A National Consensus." Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomed Dr. Albert Carnesale, Chair of the Committee on NASA's Strategic Direction to discuss the National Research Council Report, their analysis of NASA, their findings, and their recommendations. You can download the pdf form of the study report at We started our 1 hour 34 minute discussion with Dr. Carnesale introducing us to the National Academies and the NRC, then this specific study. We talked about its origins, its source of funding, its methodology, objectivity, and how it addresses issues within NASA, Congress, and the Executive Branch of the government. Dr. Carnesale talked about the study Statement of Task. We learned that it was equally important as to what they were to do as to what they were not to do. For example, the were not tasked to opine on what NASA should be, rather they looked at NASA's current status and evaluated and reported on what they found. Also, the study was a fast track study completed over seven months. This is in contrast to an NRC-NASA Human Spaceflight Study spanning two years. You can get information on the HSF study at Dr. Carnesale went over their findings and you will hear constant references back to the NASA 2011 Strategic Plan. There were three main findings including the vision statement for the 2011 NASA Strategic Plan did not articulate "a national vision that is unique to the nation's space and aeronautics agency," that the mission statement in the 2011 Strategic Plan does not "articulate a mission unique to the nation's space and aeronautics agency" and finally, that both the NASA vision and mission statements are so plain vanilla that they could apply to almost any part of the government. These findings can be found on page 31 of the study. Dr. Carnesale then discussed some of the specific findings and recommendations for the NASA program areas including human spaceflight, robotics, science missions, and technology. NASA funding was discussed along with Congressional control and the congressional role in making space policy. Our guest received questions about the value of space advocacy, its place in the study, and public feedback/commentary. One of the points made by our guest was that overall, most people they talked with seemed to think the ultimate HSF goal was Mars and that the Moon would be of value as a stepping stone in going to Mars. However, there was no strategy for this, nor was there a strategy or policy or even funding for an asteroid visit or program. We also discussed the gap which exists between the public's liking the space program and the level of interest in congressional funding for NASA and its programs. Listeners asked about pork spending projects and related inefficient characteristics of the congressional & NASA administrative practices. In our second segment, the subject of sequestration came up and our guest said most thought it would impact NASA on the margins. Dr. Carnesale got a question about getting NASA to focus on RLVs but something that specific was outside the scope of their study parameters. Lots of comparisons were made with the Defense Department in terms of efficiency changes, including applying DOD like BRAC reductions to helping make the NASA centers more efficient, perhaps even to consolidate them. Another listener wanted to know about the study suggesting NASA take on more frontline research such as in the earlier NACA. Here, our guest talked about JPL which has a somewhat different structure than other NASA centers & suggested it was one of the management and organizational models that could be considered in streamlining NASA for the future. Later in the segment, I asked what the methodology was for implementing the study findings. He talked about the need for strategy, goals, and objectives with consensus in NASA. Support and direction from both the Administration and Congress was essential. Don't miss his outline for implementation of the study findings and conclusions. Throughout our discussion, we talked about the leadership role of NASA and the value of the contributions NASA has made to the nation and the world, looking forward to how best to see NASA continue in this light. We also talked about partnerships with other government agencies, the private sector, and international players, especially for something as expensive as a Mars mission. Toward the end of our discussion, Dr. Carnesale took a listener question about the need for better NASA communication to take the space story to the public. He said the weakness was not in the communications, the weakness was in the lack of the NASA vision. He cited outstanding communication from JPL and NASA regarding MSL and Curiosity. Our last caller was from Dave Huntsman, a 38 year NASA veteran. Dave raised some excellent points regarding what NASA could do on its own without Congress and the Administration. He talked about programs put in place since the Challenger accident, all with mixed results. The three of us took time to acknowledge remembering the Challenger accident on this day in history, January 28, 1986. Please post your comments/questions about this program and the NRC Study on The Space Show blog URL above.

About our guest...

Dr. Albert Carnesale
Albert Carnesale is Chancellor Emeritus and Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He was Chancellor of the University from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 2006, and now serves as Professor of Public Policy and of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research and teaching focus on public policy issues having substantial scientific and technological dimensions, and he is the author or co-author of six books and more than 100 articles on a wide range of subjects, including national security strategy, arms control, nuclear proliferation, the effects of technological change on foreign and defense policy, domestic and international energy issues, and higher education. Carnesale chairs the National Academies Committee on Evaluating NASA’s Strategic Direction. He was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, which was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy at the direction of the President. He chaired the National Academies Committees on America’s Climate Choices, on Nuclear Forensics, and on U.S. Conventional Prompt Global Strike. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Pacific Council on International Policy; and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, he is a member of the Mission Committees of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Advisory Board of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security. He serves also on the Boards of Directors of Teradyne Inc., NanoPacific Holdings Inc., and Amicrobe, Inc. Prior to joining UCLA, Carnesale was at Harvard for 23 years, serving as Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Provost of the University. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering.

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