The purpose of this paper is to identify and develop a customer engagement plan for NASA to establish and maintain both domestic and international support for a manned Mars mission.
Team: University of Illinois
The challenges to space exploration comes from not only the technical/engineering requirements of a mission, but also from creating and sustaining long-term commitment from NASA's customers. NASA must clearly identify its major customers and understand and meet their specific requirements. This paper will address the needs of NASA's Major customers: government, international community, and US public/private industry.
Engaging The Government
Because the government is the main source of NASA's budget, it controls the fate of space exploration. Due to the government's decreased commitment in space exploration, it has nearly eliminated any momentum for reaching Mars. NASA must understand what motivates elected officials and how to tailor a mission's requirements with the official's political platforms.
Engaging The International Community (IC)
Coordinating major effort in building Space Station Freedom is proving to be a major challenge. As a result of the challenges faces with freedom, it is important that NASA focus on creating an alliance with key nations who all have the same goal on mind. This alliance would then help NASA engage in the IC for mission support.
Us Public/Private Sector
Today, the information age has empowered the people greatly. NASA must understand this change trend and take advantage of the available technology in order to respond to the public's needs. NASA must also allow the private industry to help assist them to engage the public, by communicating the necessity of the mission. Methods to engage the public include holding space related trade shows/conventions and creating movie trailers. The public can be the greatest supporter of what NASA is trying to accomplish if they are approached correctly.
Engaging these customers will not be an easy mission. NASA understands such challenges, but it also recognizes the importance of space exploration. By fulfilling the needs and expectations of its customers, NASA can truly make the human exploration of Mars a reality.