The Center for the Advancement of Science In Space, knownas CASIS, introduced itself this fall to the community of existing National Labpartners as the new non-profit organization that will manage the National Labon behalf of NASA. CASIS was founded specifically to fulfill the statutoryrequirement from Congress that a non-profit entity be engaged by NASA tostimulate, develop, and manage non-NASA U.S. use of the space station. On theNASA side, we are excited to start meeting our new CASIS colleagues as transitionwork begins.
The primary mission of CASIS is threefold:
- Maximize the value of the space station to the nation through both research and development and STEM education activities.
- Stimulate use of the station by other agencies, academia, and private firms.
- Develop tools and techniques to communicate the value of the work done on the station and increase the return on the taxpayer investment.
CASIS intends to accomplish this mission by building astrong, interconnected community, which ties together investigators at anylevel of progress down a particular research pathway, provides both private andpublic sources of funding, and engages experts in science and economics who canadvise the community on technical matters and provide an independent valuationof a particular line of research.
These pathways will connect basic and applied research tothe resulting mission and market applications. The goal is to shorten theoverall cycle time by evaluating projects in terms of the bigger picture andwith an understanding of their added value. As a non-profit, CASIS can alsobring in visionary, speculative, and commercial funding sources, whereappropriate, in the research process by recruiting backers who are seeking thevalue the project provides.
The International Space Station (NASA Image)
CASIS will sponsor both a Science Collegium and anEconomic Collegium to examine the scientific feasibility and economic value ofproposals brought forward to the non-profit, using a value-added approach tocomplement scientific review, as well as proven algorithms for economicvaluation. These valuation models will be benchmarked against real world datafrom existing National Lab partners before they are formally implemented.
All of these various elements will come together in whatCASIS calls, the “Marketplace,” where researchers can seek funding andpartnerships, implementation partners can offer their expertise with flighthardware and integration services, investors can look for promisingopportunities, and all the various participants can negotiate innovativepartnerships and collaborations with the help of CASIS.
Through its initial seed funding from NASA, as well aspartnerships with private investors and other government agencies, CASIS willsponsor annual grant solicitations designed to bolster research lines,education programs, and technology development projects assessed by the Scienceand Economic Collegiums as having particular merit and value. This willcontinue over the 10-year cooperative agreement between NASA and CASIS, whichhas a five-year extension option.
The CASIS concept of operations will further develop overthe next year as the organization grows and the Collegiums form. The transitionwill include CASIS progressively taking on more of the payload developmentsupport and research prioritization roles, while the International SpaceStation National Lab Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center facilitates thehandover with existing partners.
Learn more and keep up-to-date with this promising newcollaborative model between CASIS and NASA at: http://www.iss-casis.org/
Presentations from the CASIS Kickoff Meeting can be foundat: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/nlab/index.html
The Center for theAdvancement of Science In Space, known as CASIS, official logo.
Justin Kugler, strategic relationships managerfor the International Space Station National Lab Office, worked with CASISleaders in developing this initial blog. Stand by for more details as CASISestablishes their organization for enabling new research on the space station.