NRC Creates New Space Technology Roundtable and New Committee on Space Biology and Physics

NRC Creates New Space Technology Roundtable and New Committee on Space Biology and Physics

The National Research Council (NRC) in separate actions today announced the creation of a new roundtable on space technology and a new standing committee on space biology and physics.  The first meeting of the roundtable will take place in Washington, DC on September 11. 

The Space Technology Industry-Government-University Roundtable (STIGUR) will operate under the aegis of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB).   Chaired by Ray Johnson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Technology Officer and head of the company’s Advanced Technology Laboratories, STIGUR is a “convening body” in NRC parlance.  It is not chartered to give advice, but is a venue for representatives from industry, academia, NASA and other government agencies to facilitate dialogue on issues associated with NASA’s space technology efforts.  According to its statement of task, its assignment is “to define and explore critical issues related to NASA’s space technology research agenda that are of shared interest; to frame systems-level research issues; and to explore options for public-private partnerships.”   More information and a list of members is posted on its website.

The NRC’s Space Studies Board (SSB) is also creating a new entity to serve as a forum for discussion, in this case on space biology and physics.  Co-chaired by Betsy Cantwell of Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Robert Ferl of the University of Florida, the new SSB Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space (CBPSS) will, among other things, monitor progress in implementation of the NRC’s Decadal Survey for this field.  Cantwell co-chaired that Decadal Survey, the first for space biology and physics.   Published in 2011, the report, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration:  Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era, is often referred to as RFSE for the last four words of the title.  The date for the first meeting was not announced.  CBPSS joins four other SSB standing committees whose jurisdictions roughly correspond to the scientific disciplines covered by five NRC Decadal Surveys that affect NASA.  Information on all of them is available on the SSB website.

Michael Moloney, who is Director of both SSB and ASEB, said via email that he is “happy to be able to diversify the way the Boards support [NASA], the people who work there, and its full portfolio of activities.”

Editor’s Note:  In the interest of full disclosure, I am honored to have been appointed as a member of STIGUR.

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