Partnering NASA and the Universities
We suspect that the NASA Mars Exploration Business Plan (Business Plan) will resemble more closely a startup plan for a multi-national company than that of a traditional space program. NASA has very little expertise in the writing of business plans, particularly ones involving public/private partnerships and the cooperation of several nations and their industrial sectors. The complexities presented by the many cultures, languages, ways of doing business, national and international laws, and governmental differences make the development of the Business Plan one of the major challenges of the entire program.
When coupled with NASA's new, lower-cost ways of doing business (where the Agency does not itself fully understand the implications of imposing new management practices on its forty-year-old bureaucracy), the problem becomes even more complex.
Accordingly, NASA has recognized that it genuinely needs outside skills and expertise to complement its own. Skills required include business planning (domestic and international) and administration, public policy, public administration, marketing, advertising, and communications. Many of those skills are available in the academic community.
The NASA Means Business Student Competition is a HEDS University Partners (HEDS UP) program. The goal of HEDS UP is to broaden and strengthen the professional relationships between scientists, engineers, and administrators in NASA and their counterparts in the academic community. It is designed to generate fresh views on how to accomplish human exploration and development of space, knowledge of technical capabilities that exist in universities, and an opportunity to meet students who are about to begin their careers.
From the university perspective, HEDS UP leaders strive to engage students in rich and meaningful educational experiences, derived from working directly on current and important issues that are central, in real time, to ongoing space exploration programs and missions.
Initially, such experiences will involve - and contribute meaningfully to - the human/robotic exploration of Mars, the exploration and development of the Moon missions to near-Earth asteroids, and the evolution of systems and technologies that link them.
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2000 NASA Means Business Student Competition is sponsored by NASA and is administered by Texas Space Grant Consortium.
Last Modified: Fri Oct 01, 1999