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product is a stream of suggested projects, based on the
identification of needs and the discovery of opportunities
that are potentially consistent with NASA's mission.
capabilities, priorities, and resources.
In the NASA environment, demands for new
systems derive from several sources. A major one is the
opportunity to solve terrestrial problems that may be addressed by putting instruments and other devices into
space. Two examples are weather prediction and
communications by satellite. General improvements in
technology for use in space will continue to open new
possibilities. Such opportunities are rapidly perceived as
needs once the magnitude of their value is understood.
missions that were previously impossible. Manned trips
to the moon and the taking of high resolution pictures of
planets and other objects in the universe illustrate past
responses to this kind of opportunity. New opportunities
will continue to become available as our technological
Scientific progress also generates needs for
NASA systems. As our understanding of the universe
around us continues to grow, we are able to ask new
and more precise questions. The ability to answer these
questions often depends upon the changing state of
Advanced studies may extend for several years,
and may be a sequence of papers that are only loosely
connected. These studies typically focus on establishing
mission goals and formulating top-level system requirements and operations concepts. Conceptual
designs are often offered to demonstrate feasibility and
support programmatic estimates. The emphasis is on
establishing feasibility and desirability rather than
optimality. Analyses and designs are accordingly limited
in both depth and number of options.
3.2 Phase A—Preliminary Analysis The purpose of this phase is to further examine
the feasibility and desirability of a suggested new major
system before seeking significant funding. According to
NHB 7120.5, the major products of this phase are a
formal Mission Needs Statement (MNS) and one or
more credible, feasible designs and operations
concepts. John Hodge describes this phase as "a
structured version of the previous phase."
Phase A—Preliminary Analysis
Purpose: To determine the feasibility and desirability
of a suggested new major system and its
compatibility with NASA's strategic plans.
Major Activities and their Products:
Prepare Mission Needs Statement
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