Spring is upon us with more changes than just noncommittal weather patterns. At NASA’s Johnson Space Center, spring is bringing forth new annual objectives of JSC 2.0—fashioned 2.017
for a new year ripe for new beginnings.
Our priorities remain the same. The center is focused on maximizing use of the International Space Station; enabling success of the Commercial Crew Program; developing Orion for future missions; and building the foundation for human missions to Mars. What needs to continue to change, however, are the fundamentals that will lead us to where we want to go—and in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
What is new: We are serving the American people under a new presidential administration, though NASA’s journey stays true. The future beckons, prodding us to break free from Earth orbit and explore.
“NASA is clearly a priority for the president and his administration,” said JSC Director Ellen Ochoa during an all-hands meeting on March 3. “They really see NASA as an example of good government.”
One example of the administration’s burgeoning interest in NASA and a nod to 2.017 ideals is that the agency has begun assessing the feasibility of adding a crew to Exploration Mission-1
(EM-1), the first integrated flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.
Blueprint for how we get there
All our methods for advancing human space exploration circle back to JSC 2.0.
“It’s looking at how we can change so that we will continue to be the leader in space exploration well into the future,” Ochoa said.
The actions various programs and organizations will take to meet the demands of the future can be categorized in three different pathways:
- Accelerate Mission
- Advance Commercialization
- Do Things Differently
There are many ways to accelerate mission
. The study about putting crew aboard EM-1 is just one highly visible example, but there are more options. We can, and should, capitalize on X project demonstrations and use streamlined flight processes, like Class I-E certification where applicable, to test technologies in space—well before they are needed in a Martian environment. Some candidates that we are focusing on this year, with the International Space Station Program taking the lead, are more robust life-support technologies and a water evaporator for the spacesuit backpack.
To advance commercialization
, we must embrace it. It’s about bringing partners in and helping outside companies use space in a new way. It’s enabling partnerships through the International Space Station and changing processes that may sometimes insert roadblocks in our abilities to work with other entities. We may be different, but a lot of us are going after the same things. It would be prudent to, when possible, combine resources and brainpower for the betterment of human exploration and technology gains.
But, in order to really change, we must do things differently
As Ochoa said, “Part of job is to come in every day and see how you can do things differently. Please continue to challenge yourselves on that.”
Even if you do not working directly on a human spaceflight mission—you have a supporting role. This is where doing things differently can mean change classes, where the workforce can suggest, adjust and implement innovations. It’s also encompassed with the ongoing Business Services Assessment (BSA) efforts that are reverberating through some directorates at JSC.
Associate Director Melanie Saunders spoke extensively about ongoing BSA efforts during the All Hands, likening many aspects of it to “Star Wars,” which earned more than a few laughs.
“We can’t afford the status quo,” Saunders said, “and that’s why it’s the Death Star.”
She noted that the federal workforce of the future will be shrinking—not growing. “This is why you’re seeing all these initiatives across the agency,” Saunders said.
Upcoming with JSC 2.017 efforts is a new mobile app, which will provide employees with easy, one-touch access to the tools and information most needed for day-to-day processes. While the app will not roll out until the fall timeframe, Ochoa mentioned possibly using focus groups to pin down how to make the most of this emergent technology for the JSC team.
The 2.0 website is transforming
, too, and will highlight how we can challenge ourselves to improve and innovate in every aspect of our jobs. Continuing from last year will be a 2.017 story series showcasing advances and change processes as they unfold and the popular Humans of JSC people profiles.
JSC Deputy Director Geyer, who spoke on Inclusion and Innovation during the All Hands, reiterated that the best indicator of future success is something JSC is already has.
“The best way to succeed is to have the best team,” Geyer said.
View the all-hands meeting here.
A screen grab of the newly revamped JSC 2.017 website. Image Credit: NASA
Catherine Ragin Williams
NASA Johnson Space Center
On March 3, JSC Director Ellen Ochoa updates the JSC team on the latest program developments. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford