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Principal Investigator-Led Missions in Space Science

NASA’s space science program managers commissioned this study to identify corrective actions to address the increase in the number and magnitude of cost overruns in PI-led space science flight missions.

The associate administrator for space science asked the National Research Council’s (NRC) Space Studies Board (SSB) to take a broad look at PI-led projects, examining the overall successes and difficulties of PI-led space science missions, and to recommend ways to improve their overall performance. The National Academy of Public Administration (Academy) study team worked closely with the SSB’s Committee on PI-Led Missions in the Space Sciences.

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Key Findings

In the course of this study, the NRC committee and the Academy study team interviewed PIs, industry and government program and project managers, and other members of project management teams. The Academy study team collected and reviewed an extensive amount of budgetary, cost estimating, and schedule data to document changes from the initial cost estimates to the estimates at the time NASA approved the projects for development through the final estimates and, where available, final costs.