U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration 2018 Strategic Plan
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Plan period: from 02/02/2018 to 30/09/2022
NASA inspires the world with our exploration of new frontiers, our discovery of new knowledge, and our development of new technology. Our work benefits Americans and all humanity. Since NASA's inception in 1958 to present day, the Agency’s history is written with each unique scientific and technological achievement. We have landed people on the Moon, visited every planet in the solar system, touched the Sun, and solved some of the core mysteries of our home planet. Today, our Nation’s economic prosperity, National security, and cultural identity depend on our leadership in aeronautics, space exploration, and science. NASA accepts the challenge to continue our legacy of achievement and greatly expand the benefits we provide to mankind. Our success will be determined largely by the planning and investments we undertake today. This commitment is what drives our Vision, Mission, and overarching approach that form the core of our 2018 Strategic Plan.
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We strive to accomplish our Vision and Mission with the utmost care -- recognizing that we are stewards of taxpayer dollars, critical human capital, and one-of-a-kind facilities. With guidance from the White House, NASA will lead a new era of space exploration and advancements for our Nation. This plan outlines the strategic direction, goals, and priorities we will pursue to make this Vision of the future a reality. We have identified four strategic goals that will strengthen NASA's ability to accomplish its Mission and contribute to U.S. pre-eminence in space exploration, science, technology development, and aeronautics -- all to the benefit of the American economy. Each strategic goal, as well as their corresponding strategic objectives, is outlined below and discussed in detail in the following section of this plan.
TO DISCOVER AND EXPAND KNOWLEDGE FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMANITY.
LEAD AN INNOVATIVE AND SUSTAINABLE PROGRAM OF EXPLORATION WITH COMMERCIAL AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS TO ENABLE HUMAN EXPANSION ACROSS THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND BRING NEW KNOWLEDGE AND OPPORTUNITIES BACK TO EARTH. SUPPORT GROWTH OF THE NATION’S ECONOMY IN SPACE AND AERONAUTICS, INCREASE UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE AND OUR PLACE IN IT, WORK WITH INDUSTRY TO IMPROVE AMERICA’S AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIES, AND ADVANCE AMERICAN LEADERSHIP.
Goal Statement: EXPAND HUMAN KNOWLEDGE THROUGH NEW SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES.
NASA's enduring purpose is scientific discovery and exploration for the benefit of the United States and humanity. For almost 60 years, NASA's discoveries have been inspiring the world, rewriting textbooks, and transforming knowledge of humanity, the planet, the solar system, and the universe. NASA's missions have not only changed what we know, but also how we think as a society -- truly civilization-scale science. NASA’s missions and sponsored research provide access to the farthest reaches of space and time and deliver essential information about our home planet, directly improving life here on Earth. Together, scientific discovery and human exploration improve and safeguard life on Earth. For example, Earth science research improves our weather forecasts and predictions of catastrophic events. Medical treatments have resulted from NASA studies on the effects of flight and low-gravity on the human body. Furthermore, NASA’s technology developments contribute to economic stability and growth. Scientific research is also opening the pathway for exploration and robotic-human partnerships. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) is poised to be the premier observatory of the next decade -- unlocking the mysteries of the universe for humankind. The International Space Station (ISS) is an orbital outpost for humanity. It is a blueprint for global cooperation and scientific advancement, a catalyst for growing new commercial marketplaces in space, and a test bed for demonstrating new technologies. It extends where humankind lives and is the springboard for NASA's next great leaps in human space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and beyond. Finally, NASA acts as a champion of free and open access to scientific data. The Agency's work incorporates and builds upon the work of others in a spirit of global engagement and diplomacy. As more nations seek to use space for scientific investigation, the body of knowledge grows for the benefit of all.
- Competition & Review
- Sun, Earth, Solar System & Universe
Goal Statement: EXTEND HUMAN PRESENCE DEEPER INTO SPACE AND TO THE MOON FOR SUSTAINABLE LONG-TERM EXPLORATION AND UTILIZATION.
America is a Nation of explorers. In everything we do -- science, technology, commerce, the arts, sports -- we strive to reach higher, farther, deeper, or faster than ever before in order to create a better future for the generations to come. NASA is pushing the same boundaries in space. Orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS) right now, astronauts are preparing for space missions that will push the frontiers of human experience outward into the solar system. NASA is also laying the foundation for America to sustain a constant commercial, human presence in low Earth orbit. From there, we will turn our attention back toward our celestial neighbors. We will return American astronauts to cis-lunar space and the Moon to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond. Cislunar space will be a stepping-stone, a training ground, a venue to strengthen our commercial and international partnerships as we refocus America’s space program. NASA is testing technologies and techniques needed to keep humans safe, healthy, and productive on these future deep space missions. Ranging from environmental control and life support, to advanced propulsion and automated rendezvous and docking, these capabilities will be robust, affordable, sustainable, and adaptable to a variety of destinations. NASA will pursue a sustainable cadence of compelling missions in preparation for the first crewed missions to deep space. These include the first test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle near the Moon and the first crewed flight of this transportation system, designed for missions beyond low Earth orbit. At the same time, to support a broader strategy to explore and utilize the Moon and its surface, NASA is establishing a Lunar Orbital Platform - Gateway in cis-lunar space, to include a power and propulsion element by 2022, and habitation, airlock, and the required logistics capabilities soon after. In addition, to help pave the way for human exploration, NASA is planning to develop a series of robotic lunar missions to the surface of the Moon. The United States will seek international partnership on a shared exploration agenda and spearhead the next phase of human space exploration. NASA will promote permanent human presence in space in a way that enables the 21st century space economy to thrive. It will take the best of NASA, the U.S. private sector, academic talent, and the capabilities of international partners to accomplish these bold missions.
- Low Earth Orbit
- Earth-Orbit Economy
- Testing & Maturation
- Openness & Resilience
- Strategic Focus
- Collaboration & Leadership
- Human Presence
- Commercial Activities
- On-Orbit Research
- Safety, Reliability & Affordability
- Fiscal Realism
- Economic Opportunity
- Operations & Staging
- Markets & Demand
- Deep Space
- Commercial Suppliers
Goal Statement: ADDRESS NATIONAL CHALLENGES AND CATALYZE ECONOMIC GROWTH.
Originally tied to keeping the Nation secure and advancing U.S. leadership in aeronautics, communications satellites, and Earth remote sensing, NASA's mandate is broader today. The challenges NASA addresses relate to gathering climate change data; supplying technological solutions for terrestrial problems; advancing the state of Research and Development (R&D) in aeronautics and other fields; developing commercial and human space launch and transportation capabilities; understanding cosmic phenomena as wide-ranging as space weather, asteroids, and exoplanets; and improving the Nation's innovation capacity. NASA drives economic development and growth; the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 calls out this important theme, and the Agency generally invests more than 80 percent of its funds in U.S. industry and academia to carry out its missions of scientific discovery and exploration. In doing so, NASA engages and inspires young people to become scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. This ensures that the Nation's vast intellectual and industrial base -- shared by many other Government agencies, including the departments of Defense, Commerce, Transportation, and Interior -- has a continuous supply of bright minds and skilled hands. NASA enhances a core strategic advantage of the United States: the ability to attract partners and work with talent globally. Because of NASA's role in the international community, the Agency can help National security leaders manage global risks. Technology drives NASA's future human and robotic exploration missions. As its technology efforts mature, NASA transfers appropriate technologies to industry and commercializes them to benefit a wide range of users. This ensures that the American people realize the full economic value and societal benefit of NASA's work. NASA also provides funding for fundamental technology research with broader benefit to the U.S. innovation system. The aerospace sector is considered to be a rough gauge of a Nation's competitiveness, and the United States leads the world in this arena. NASA aeronautics research encompasses an ever-broadening array of technologies to make airplanes safer, quieter, and friendlier to the environment, and air travel more efficient. Today, NASA technology is found aboard every U.S. aircraft and inside every air traffic control facility in the country. This infusion can be attributed to one of the most productive public-private partnerships in U.S. history, as NASA continues to team with industry, academia, and other Government agencies. Transformational demonstrations NASA plans in the next eight years will advance U.S. leadership for the next century of flight, and could bring about the return of overland supersonic flight; new airliners that consume half the fuel of today's models; safe, expanded use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, for economic and societal benefit; and safe, semi-autonomous small aircraft for personal "on-demand" transportation. Attracting students to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is vitally important, and NASA's missions help to inspire the next generation. In 2015, public interest in NASA's mission to Pluto created an internet sensation, with more than 10 million views on the mission page, and 42 percent of all U.S. Government website traffic going to NASA during the historic flyby. NASA similarly inspired millions during Scott Kelly's year-long stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the first flight test of the Orion spacecraft for human exploration, the Mars rover landings, and many other significant missions. One of NASA’s core missions is to ensure that our scientific and technological advances reach the widest possible audience to inspire the current and next generation of explorers.
- Propulsion & Energy
- International Partnerships
- Exploration Capabilities
- Research & Technology Development
- Transformational Technologies
- Global Operations
- Commercial Vehicles
- Inspiration & Engagement
- Supersonic Aircraft
- Progress Evaluation
- Reviews & Outcomes
Goal Statement: OPTIMIZE CAPABILITIES AND OPERATIONS.
NASA is proud to be the U.S. agency charged with exploring the unknown in space and driving new advances in aerospace science and technology on behalf of the American public. Reaching for the stars requires dedicated, knowledgeable people and cutting-edge facilities and capabilities to provide the tools and support necessary to carry out our ambitious tasks. NASA strives to accomplish our mission with the utmost care -- recognizing that we are stewards of taxpayer dollars, critical human capital, and one-of-a-kind facilities. NASA maintains a large and diverse set of technical capabilities and assets to support our missions, other Federal agencies’ work, and the private sector to test, validate, and optimize innovations. The Agency understands that a skilled, valued, and diverse workforce is central to creating and maintaining the capabilities to explore the solar system and beyond and for understanding our home planet. NASA will continue to maintain and ensure the availability and safety of critical capabilities and facilities necessary for advancing our space-, air-, and Earth-based activities. This hybrid goal includes both strategic objectives and management focused objectives. NASA has a renewed focus on its essential and distinctive technical capabilities. As a result, the Agency has adopted a new operating model that strengthens its management of the engineering and systems capabilities that are fundamental to every mission and strategic goal. This model provides for proactive, strategic management of these capabilities and allows NASA to optimize the allocation of technical specialties to its Centers, to select key areas for future investments, and to identify and transition those capabilities that are no longer needed or are better obtained from emerging National commercial sources. Recognizing the growth of technologies and innovations increasing outside the Agency, NASA is instituting a robust partnership and acquisition strategy focused on leveraging and collaborating with the private sector and academia in order to benefit from their innovations. NASA's role in global engagement extends directly from the Space Act in areas such as data-sharing agreements and joint science and technology flight projects. More than two-thirds of NASA's science missions have foreign partners. NASA’s domestic and international collaborations are often pathfinders for other forms of cooperation, in part by demonstrating standards of best practices for civil and commercial space activities such as orbital debris mitigation, data sharing, openness, operational coordination, and flight safety. NASA plays a key role in setting global polices for aviation safety and access and specific standards and norms for space operations. NASA is most successful when it leads through example and practice, attracting partners who realize the benefits of shared values. Such principles include a shared understanding of the responsible use of space, free and open data policies, and the broad benefits of fundamental public Research and Development (R&D). U.S. leadership in space is due in part to NASA's ability to inspire and create access to complex challenges. The Agency continues to retain and serve as a unique National resource of engineers, scientists, business and international specialists, and technologies. NASA provides the Nation with tools for leadership and inspiration in aerospace science and technology. This goal enables all of NASA's space-, air-, and Earth-based research and innovation activities, producing the best return on the Nation's investment.
- Data & IT Assets
- Risk Acceptability
- Vulnerability, Susceptibility & Mitigation
- Human Exploration & Robotic Missions
- Human Capital
- Capabilities, Capacities & Quality
- Space Access & Services
- Career Opportunities
- Trilateral Summit
- Investments & Divestments
- Domestic Agreements
- Enterprise Protection
- International Agreements
- Leadership & Inspiration
- Capital Investments & Repairs
- Internships, Fellowships & Hiring
- Employee Viewpoints
- Evidence & Evaluation
- Evidence & Evaluation
- Additional Decisions
- Verification & Validation
- Key Indicators
- Master Plan
- Economic Development & Growth
- Access to Space
- Risk Mitigation
- Capability Leadership
- Satellite & Robotic Planetary Missions
- Needs, Requirements & Priorities
- Value & Alignment
- Effectiveness & Efficiency
- Missions & Programs
- International & Interagency Partnerships
- Advice & Alignment
- Laws & Policies
- Discoveries & Knowledge
- In-Grant Investment
- Safety & Success
- External Factors
- Facility Capability Leadership
- Communication & Tracking Services
- Global engagement & Diplomacy
- Technical Guidance Plans
- Interagency Agreements
- Opportunity, Diversity & Inclusion
- External Factors
- Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
- Standards & Specifications
- Business Services