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The Space Shuttle program is the major segment of NASA's National Space Transportation System (NSTS) managed by the Office of Space Flight (OSF) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D. C. The office is headed by an associate administrator who reports directly to the NASA administrator and is charged with providing executive leadership, overall direction and effective accomplishment of the Space Shuttle and associated programs, including unmanned launch vehicles.

The Associate Administrator for Space Flight exercises institutional management authority over the activities of the NASA field organizations whose primary functions are related to the NSTS program. These are Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, Texas; Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla.; Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Huntsville, Ala.; and Stennis Space Center (formerly National Space Technology Laboratories), Bay St. Louis, Miss.

The directors of these organizations, along with the Associate Administrator for Space Flight, also are members of the Office of Space Flight Management Council. This group meets regularly to review Shuttle program progress and to provide an independent and objective assessment of the status of the overall program.


    Within the OSF, centralized management authority for the Space Shuttle program is charged to the Director, NSTS. This individual is the program's general manager and has full responsibility and authority for the operation and conduct of the Shuttle program. These responsibilities include program control, budget planning and preparation, scheduling and the maintenance of a balanced program. The NSTS director reports to the Associate Administrator for Space Flight.

    Organizational elements of the NSTS office are located at NASA Headquarters, JSC, KSC, MSFC and at the Vandenberg Launch Site (VLS); in California.

    The NSTS office has two deputies who are responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the Shuttle program. They are: Deputy Director, NSTS Program, a NASA Headquarters employee whose duty station is at JSC, and the Deputy Director, NSTS Operations, also a NASA Headquarters employee, whose duty station is at KSC. Both individuals report directly to the NSTS director.

    Specific major responsibilities of the Deputy Director, NSTS Program, include the following:

    „Establishing policy and providing continuous direction to all elements engaged in Shuttle program activities.

    „Establishing and controlling the Level II requirements baseline that provides the detailed requirements that supplement and implement the Level I requirements.

    „Detailed program planning, budgeting, scheduling, system configuration management and program direction.

    „System engineering and integration of the flight vehicle, ground systems and facilities.

    „Integration of payloads with orbiter.

    „Mission planning and integration.

    There are five organizational elements under the Deputy Director, NSTS Program, charged with accomplishing the management responsibilities of the program. They are: NSTS Engineering Integration, NSTS Management Integration, NSTS Program Control and NSTS Integration and Operations -- all of which are located at JSC. The fifth division is the Shuttle Projects Office, located at MSFC, which has overall management and coordination of the MSFC elements -- the solid rocket boosters, external tank and main engines -- involved in the Shuttle program.

    The Deputy Director, NSTS Operations, on the other hand, is specifically charged with the following major functions:

    „Formulating policy, program plans and budget requirements in support of Shuttle operations at KSC, JSC, Edwards AFB and Vandenberg AFB, as well as other program operations facilities including the worldwide contingency landing sites.

    „Final vehicle preparation, mission execution and return of the orbiter for processing for its next flight.

    „Management of the presentation and scheduling of the Flight Readiness Review (FRR).

    „Chairing and management of the Mission Management Team (MMT).

    The duties of the NSTS Deputy Director, Operations, are carried out by three Operations Integration offices located at JSC, KSC and MSFC.

    Management relationships in the centralized NSTS organization are configured into four basic management levels which are designed to reduce the potential for conflict between the program organizations and NASA institutional organizations.

    The NSTS Director serves as the Level I manager and is responsible for the overall program requirements, budgets and schedules.

    The NSTS Deputy Directors are Level II managers and responsible for management and integration of all elements of the program. This includes integrated flight and ground system requirements, schedules and budgets.

    NSTS project managers located at JSC, KSC and MSFC are classified as Level III managers and are responsible for managing design, qualification and manufacturing of Shuttle components, as well as a launch and landing operations.

    NSTS design authority personnel and contractors are Level IV managers and are responsible for the design, development, manufacturing, test and qualification of Shuttle systems.


    As part of the FRR, a launch constraints list is established and approved by the Associate Administrator. The Deputy Director, NSTS Operations, has the responsibility to tract each of the constraints and to assure that they are properly closed out prior to the L-2 day MMT review. The Associate Administrator or his designee (Director, NSTS) has the final closeout authority.


    Major decision-making meetings leading to a decision to launch are FRRs and MMT reviews.

    The FRR is usually held 2 weeks before a scheduled launch. Its chairman is the Associate Administrator for Space Flight. Present at the review are all senior program and field organization management officials and support contractor representatives.

    During the review, each manager must assess his readiness for launch based on hardware status, problems encountered during launch processing, launch constraints and open items. Each NASA project manager and major Shuttle component support contractor representative is required to sign a Certificate of Flight Readiness.

    The MMT, made up of program/project level managers, and chaired by the Deputy Director, NSTS Operations, provides a forum for resolving problems and issues outside the guidelines and constraints established for the Launch and Flight Directors.

    The MMT will be activated at launch minus 2 days (L-2) for a launch countdown status briefing. The objective of the L-2 day meeting is a assess any deltas to flight readiness since the FRR and to give a "go/no-go" to continue the countdown.

    The MMT will remain active during the final countdown and will develop recommendations on vehicle anomalies and required changes to previously agreed to launch commit criteria. The MMT chairman will give the Launch Director a "go" for coming out of the L-9 minute hold and is responsible for the final "go/no-go" decision.


    In the area of management communications, weekly integrated program schedules are published which provide detailed data from each project element and the NSTS Engineering Office. These widely distributed schedules are designed to create management awareness of the interrelated tasks and critical program paths needed to meet important program milestones.

    Additionally, all project and program management personnel meet monthly at the Program Director Management Review to brief the program status and to resolve any program issues and concerns. This review is followed by a meeting of the Management Council to also review status and to resolve any issues brought forward by the Director, NSTS. Click Here for SPACE SHUTTLE MISSION SUMMARIES

Table of Contents

Information content from the NSTS Shuttle Reference Manual (1988)
Last Hypertexed Wednesday October 11 17:53:07 EDT 1995
Jim Dumoulin (

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