Principal Investigator-Led (PI-led) missions are an important
element of NASAs space science enterprise. While several NRC
studies have considered aspects of PI-led missions in the course of
other studies for NASA, issues facing the PI-led missions in
general have not been subject to much analysis in those studies.
Nevertheless, these issues are raising increasingly important
questions for NASA, and it requested the NRC to explore them as
they currently affect PI-led missions. Among the issues NASA asked
to have examined were those concerning cost and scheduling, the
selection process, relationships among PI-led team members, and
opportunities for knowledge transfer to new PIs. This report
provides a discussion of the evolution and current status of the
PIled mission concept, the ways in which certain practices have
affected its performance, and the steps that can carry it
successfully into the future. The study was done in collaboration
with the National Academy of Public Administration.
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