How the International Space Station Benefits Humanity

Navigant worked with NASA to identify and quantify the advantages of research and development programs run on the International Space Station

Challenge

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) needed to validate and verify the benefits of the research and development (R&D) programs run on the International Space Station (ISS). The results would be published in the third edition of the Benefits for Humanity report. NASA wanted the report to highlight the benefits of conducting research in the microgravity laboratory through new economic value assessments and detail more information about the scientific and innovation value of the ISS.

Solution

To provide data for the report, Navigant’s defense and national security advisory team conducted due diligence on 60 ISS R&D programs. The work included the following tasks:

  • Establish criteria to evaluate resulting economic, innovation, and/or societal value
  • Assess if the programs’ benefits can be quantified against one or more of the value dimensions 
  • Conduct secondary research to quantify the value of the programs
  • Write detailed narratives of individual program benefits and overarching assessments of NASA’s impact on low-cost access to space, commercialization of Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and technical development of “smallsats” (small satellites, Cubesats, Nanosats)

Navigant was well positioned to do this work because it conducted detailed R&D portfolio reviews of programs on the ISS over the last three years for the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), a nonprofit set up by Congress to manage the commercialization activities of the U.S. National Lab on the ISS.

Impact

This was the first time that an independent party did this type of assessment for NASA. The results were published in their third annual Benefits for Humanity report. The report’s input is being used to discuss the advantages of further utilizing the ISS world-class microgravity lab, as well as the role the ISS can play in NASA’s rapidly evolving mission.

To learn more about the types of R&D programs that were investigated, and the benefits for NASA, watch the report video.

 
Navigant’s team was led by John Walker, managing director in the defense and national security advisory practice, and Greg Belogolovsky associate director in the defense and national security advisory practice, and included Jeremy Rosenblatt, managing consultant in the Energy practice, Mrinal Kapoor, senior consultant in the life sciences practice, and Robert Sanchez, consultant in the Energy practice.

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