oversight

Space Operations: NASA Is Not Archiving All Potentially Valuable Data

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-11-02.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                                  ‘“L,
                  United   States   General   Acchunting   Office   \
                  Report to the Chairman, Committee on
                  Science, Space and Technology,
                  House of Representatives


November   1990
                  SPACEOPERATIONS
                  NASA Is Not
                  Archiving All
                  Potentially Valuable
                  Data




GAO/IMTEC-91-3
Information    Management   and
Technology    Division

B-240427

November 2,199O

The Honorable Robert A. Roe
Chairman, Committee on Science, Space,
  and Technology
House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Chairman:

On March 2, 1990, we reported on how well the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) managed, stored, and archived space science data from past missions.
This present report, as agreed with your office, discusses other data management issues,
including (1) whether NASA is archiving its most valuable data, and (2) the extent to which a
mechanism exists for obtaining input from the scientific community on what types of space
science data should be archived.

As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of this report
earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days from the date of this letter. We will then
give copies to appropriate congressional committees, the Administrator of NASA, and other
interested parties upon request.

This work was performed under the direction of Samuel W. Howlin, Director for Defense and
Security Information Systems, who can be reached at (202) 275-4649. Other major
contributors are listed in appendix IX.

Sincerely yours,




Ralph V. Carlone
Assistant Comptroller General
Executive Summary


                   The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is respon-
Purpose            sible for space exploration and for managing, archiving, and dissemi-
                   nating space science data. Since 1958, NASA has spent billions on its
                   space science programs and successfully launched over 260 scientific
                   missions. Through these efforts it has collected massive volumes of data
                   for immediate and long-term scientific use stored on over 1.2 million
                   reels of magnetic tape. During the next 5 years NASA plans to launch
                   over 30 new missions, and expects that by the late 1990s the annual
                   volume of its space science data will increase five thousandfold.

                   Given the nation’s investment in space missions, and the need to pre-
                   serve and safeguard the irreplaceable information they produce, the
                   House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology asked GAO to deter-
                   mine if NASA (1) was archiving all of its valuable space science data, and
                   (2) had a mechanism in place to allow scientists to provide input on
                   what data should be archived.


                   Space missions generate massive volumes ok data. NASA’S 1978 policy
Background         governing the management of space science data specifies the types of
                   data to be archived. The policy requires missions to archive only data
                   that has been analyzed by principal investigators. The end result of that
                   analysis-archival    data-is usually altered and may account for only a
                   small portion of all the data collected. Typically, after analyzed data are
                   archived, tapes containing original and more complete versions of data
                   are erased and reused.

                   Scientists play a key role in space science research. Scientists that are
                   closely affiliated with specific missions often define mission objectives,
                   analyze spacecraft data, and disseminate the results of their work to the
                   world. Even outside scientists, who are not directly affiliated with spe-
                   cific missions, use spacecraft data-sometimes for research never antic-
                   ipated when the data were originally collected. Depending on their roles,
                   involvement in the planning, development, and operation of computer
                   systems processing mission data gives affiliated and outside scientists a
                   voice in deciding what mission data should be archived.


                         is not archiving all potentially valuable space science data. It does
Results in Brief   NASA
                   not archive original data from past missions that may be needed for
                   future research. Further, NASA'S archives are largely incomplete for
                   many important missions and contain no data for others. Valuable data
                   are missing because (1) NASA'S 1978 policy does not require original or


                   Page 2                    GAO~1-9        NASA’r Archhem Are Mhing   Valuable   Data
                          Executive   Summary




                          certain research and scientific data to be archived, and (2) missions did
                          not prepare requisite plans for data management, archiving, and
                          disposition.

                          NASA’S  existing network of committees, advisory panels, and working
                          groups gives scientists an opportunity to provide input on the planning,
                          development, and operation of mission data processing systems. How-
                          ever, affiliated scientists have expressed longstanding concerns that
                          they must be more involved in the actual development and operation of
                          the systems because recommendations they make are often not imple-
                          mented. Participation of outside scientists is important because they
                          may have different perspectives on the value of data NASA plans to
                          archive. Although NASA policy encourages their participation, it is not
                          required and seldom done. NASA said it was taking steps to expand the
                          role of outside scientists in the management and archiving of space sci-
                          ence data.



Principal Findings

Data From SomeImportant   Data from past NASA missions now reside on over 1 million magnetic
                          tapes, yet NASA’s existing data archives are incomplete for many impor-
Missions Not Archived     tant missions and contain no data for others. For 23 out of 37 important
                          scientific missions, less than 60 percent of the required data was
                          archived. And of 263 major science missions NASA launched between
                          1968-1987, 18 had not sent any data to the archival facility. NASA offi-
                          cials attributed the archival shortfalls to many factors, including a lack
                          of (1) formal agreements between NASA and the principal investigators
                          as to what data to archive, and (2) requirements for archiving of data
                          from certain classes of missions.


Policy Permits the        &I&Y’s 1978 data management policy does not require (1) original data
                          to be archived and made available for new research initiatives, or (2)
Destruction of Valuable
n-L_
ual;a
                          any data to be archived from such sources and disciplines as bioscience,
                          microgravity, aircraft, balloon, sounding rocket missions, and NASA
                          instruments flown on foreign spacecraft or the Shuttle. Many space
                          scientists and NASA advisory groups believe NASA should permanently
                          archive selected original data so that future investigators might have
                          access to original, unmodified data suitable for future processing and
                          analysis. Some scientists feel that where possible, all original data


                          Page 3                    GAO/fMTEGBlS   NASA’s Archhm   An Mbdng   Valuable   Data
                             Executive   Summmy




                             should be saved as a first priority. Although scientists recognize that
                             such a changed policy may require the storage of data in a more volumi-
                             nous state, they think future scientists must have access to the original,
                             unmodified data for further research and analysis. NASA agrees that its
                             policy needs more flexibility and plans to revise it during 1990.


Mission Archiv ,ing Plans    Until recently, NASA had not enforced its own policy that requires mis-
                             sions to prepare project data management plans which address essential
Not Prepared                 aspects of mission data management and archiving. Between May 1978
                             and October 1985, only one mission prepared the required plan. As a
                             result, these missions have not formally described or identified data that
                             should be archived or marked for destruction.


Scientists’ Involvement in   NASA'S Space Science and Applications Advisory Committee, manage-
                             ment operations working groups, and mission-level data management
a Key Data Management        and science teams provide a framework thrdugh which NASA seeks input
Area Is Ineffective          from scientists during various mission phases. Mission-level teams often
                             have provisions to involve affiliated and outside scientists in a key data
                             management activity-the      planning, development, and operation of mis-
                             sion data processing systems. Although affiliated scientists have been
                             increasingly involved in planning these systems, they still express con-
                             cern about their limited involvement in the actual development and
                             operation of these systems. As a result, they believe mission data
                             processing systems often do not perform as expected. NASA'S efforts to
                             involve outside scientists in data archiving decisions could be strength-
                             ened by more actively enlisting outside scientists as members of mission-
                             level advisory committees that guide the development and operation of
                             mission data processing systems, as well as recommend specific data
                             that should be archived for future research.


                             Although NASAis taking several steps to improve its management of
Recommendations              space science data, GAO is making a series of recommendations to the
                             Administrator of NASAto ensure the preservation of all valuable space
                             science data from past and future missions. They include recommenda-
                             tions that NASA (1) take appropriate action to ensure that any valuable
                             missing data from past missions is archived, (2) revise data management
                             policy to ensure that all valuable data are archived, and (3) identify
                             areas where the participation of scientists in data management and
                             archiving activities should be strengthened. Details on these and other
                             recommendations are in chapter 4.


                             Page 4                    GAO/fMTEC@1-8   NASA’r Archives   Are Misdng   Valuable   Dam
                  Executive   Snmmuy




                  In commenting on a draft of this report, NASAsaid that it presents a
Agency Comments   useful assessment of some key issues in science data management. Fur-
                  ther, NASA noted that it shares many of the concerns identified by GAO,
                  and said it has programs underway or plans to address them. NASA'S
                  comments and GAO'S evaluation are included in appendix IX.




                   Page 6
Contents


Executive Summary                                                                 2

Chapter 1                                                                        8
Introduction            Background                                                8
                        Space Missions as Complex Information Systems             9
                        Missions Generate Several Types of Data                  10
                        Original Data May Hold Key to Future Research            10

Chapter 2                                                                        12
NASA Is Not             No Data Were Archived From Some Important Missions       12
                        Policy Permits the Destruction of Valuable Data          16
Preserving All          Required Mission Data Management Plans Were Not          17
Valuable Space               Prepared
ScienceData             Better Management Safeguards Needed to Prevent           18
                             Premature Destruction of Original Data
                                                                    *
Chapter 3                                                                        20
Scientists’             Scientists Participate in Data Management Activities
                        Scientists Believe Their Participation in a Key Data
                                                                                 20
                                                                                 22
Participation in Data       Management Area Is Ineffective
Management
Chapter 4                                                                        24
Conclusions and         Recommendations
                        Agency Comments
                                                                                 26
                                                                                 26
Recommendations
Appendixes              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology           28
                        Appendix II: Scientists’ Involvement                     29
                        Appendix III: Typical Data Plow From Past Earth-         30
                            Orbiting or Deep Space Missions
                        Appendix IV: Holdings From Major Missions Archived by    32
                            the NSSDC
                        Appendix V: NASA Missions With No Data Archived by       39
                            the NSSDC
                        Appendix VI: Location and Status of Data for Currently   41
                            Important Missions
                        Appendix VII: NASA Missions Without Project Data         43
                            Management Plans, 1978-86




                        Page 6
         Content8




         Appendix VIII: Status of Project Data Management Plans                             44
             for Active and Planned Missions, 1988-91
         Appendix IX: Comments From the National Aeronautics                                45
             and Space Administration
         Appendix X: Major Contributors to This Report                                      .51

Tables   Table 2.1: Status of Archival Data for Currently                                   14
             Important Missions
         Table V.l: Missions Without Any Data                                               39
         Table V.2: Missions Without Digital Data                                           40




         Abbreviations

         CODMAC     Committee on Data Management and Computation
         GAO        General Accounting Office
                    Information Management and Technology Division
         ISSPP      Information Systems Strategic Planning Project
         JPL        Jet Propulsion Laboratory
         NARA       National Archives and Records Administration
         NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration
         NSSDC      National Space Science Data Center
                    Office of Space Science and Applications
         PDMP       Project Data Management Plan
                    Space Science and Applications Advisory Committee
         l-SF       Tape Staging and Storage Facility


         wm7                       tXCyJMlW414   NABA’r Archives   Are Misdng   Valuable   Data
Chapter 1

Introduction


               KASAhas spent over $24 billion on space exploration and research
               during the last three decades. It has launched over 260 major space sci-
               ence missions and acquired massive volumes of data that are stored on
               more than 1.2 million magnetic tapes, as well as hundreds of thousands
               of charts, reports, microfilms, negatives, and photographs. Its spectac-
               ular successes in many aspects of space exploration have provided
               scientists with data that have greatly expanded our understanding of
               the universe, the solar system, and Earth.


               KM’S Office of Space Science and Applications (0s~~) is responsible for
Background     space exploration and for the overall management, archiving, and dis-
               semination of these data. Individual missions are managed by program
               managers within CHA’S six science divisions’ and by mission manage-
               ment teams located at the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt,
               Maryland, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Pasadena, Cali-
               fornia, and other NASA field centers. Responsibility for agency-wide
               planning, oversight, and coordination of space science data management
               lies within WSA’SCommunications and Information Systems division.

               Goddard’s National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) serves as NASA’S
               principal data archival and dissemination facility. In addition, NASA is
               archiving, or plans to archive, space science data in several discipline
               data systems2 and university-based data analysis and archival facilities
               such as the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California
               Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the Planetary Data Systems and
               the NASA Ocean Data System at JPL, and the Pilot Land Data System and
               the NASA Climate Data System at Goddard.

               The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible
               for periodic reviews of NASA’S and other federal agencies’ management,
               archiving, and disposal of data. NARA is also responsible for reviewing
               and approving NASA’S records disposition regulations governing the dis-
               posal and retention of space science data.




               ‘Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Applications, Solar System Exploration, Microgravity Science and
               Applications, Space Physics, and Astrophysics.

               *Designed to support multiple missions in planetary, space plasma, ocean, land, and climate sciences,
               these systems archive selected mission data, provide investigators with on-line access to the archived
               data, and, in some instances, distribute data of high interest on optical disks.



               Page 8                              ~~0-13             NASA’r Archlvea Are Missing Valuable Data
                          chapter 1
                          Ina-oduction




Scientists Play an        Space exploration and research is a cos-,ly, complex, and often lengthy
                          process requiring close cooperation of hundreds of highly skilled space-
Important Role in Space   craft and mission planners, designers, engineers, communications spe-
ScienceResearch           cialists, and scientists. Successful space exploration is driven, to a large
                          extent, by scientists who define the mission’s scientific focus, analyze
                          the acquired data, and disseminate their findings. In general, scientists
                          who are closely affiliated with NASA missions often serve as principal
                          investigators or co-investigators.3

                          Secondary users of space science data, outside scientists who are not
                          closely affiliated with NASA missions, represent the scientific community
                          at large and substantially contribute to the nation’s space exploration
                          and research. Often having served as principal investigators on past
                          missions, they can competently advise NASA on data management and
                          archiving.


                          The primary objective of NASA space exploration missions is to advance
SpaceMissions as          scientific knowledge through data analysis. The first steps in this pro-
Complex Information       cess are (1) acquiring, (2) processing, and (3) distributing space science
Systems                   data throughout the scientific community. Thus, all major missions
                          include complex information systems consisting of many spaceborne and
                          ground subsystems supported by engineers, data processing specialists,
                          and scientists. These systems may generate and process large volumes
                          and many types of data for periods up to 10 years or more. Given the
                          complexity and volume of data, major missions demand the application
                          of sophisticated inventory, cataloguing, tracking, and data disposition
                          policies and procedures.


Future Missions Pose       Future missions will dramatically increase the volume of data that will
                           have to be processed, analyzed, and archived. Between 1990 and 1996,
Significant Data           NASA plans to launch over 30 new missions. These missions are expected
Management Challenges      to produce tremendous volumes of data, unparalleled in NASA’S history.
                           NASA estimates that by the late 1990s the annual volume of space science
                           data acquired by its missions will increase five thousandfold.4 Thus, by
                           the late 199Os, NASA may annually be handling volumes of data about 29
                           times greater than the volume of text contained in all 15 million books



                           3Appendix II explains in more detail other roles that scientists may have on NASA missions.

                           4?L4SAestimates an increase from .06 terabytes in 1989 to 312 terabytes by the late 1990s.



                           Page 9                             GAO/IhlTECI)lS     NASA’s Archivea   Are Miseing Valuable   Data
                        Chapter          1
                        kroduction




                        held by the Library of Congress6 According to Goddard officials, NASA
                        would annually need over 1.7 million standard reels of magnetic tape or
                        about 48,000 optical disks.


                        In most instances, missions produce large volumes of data which go
Missions Generate       through several phases from their origination in space to their storage at
Several Types of Data   a NASA archival facility. For ease of understanding, we placed the many
                        types of space science data into two broad categories-original   data and
                        archival data.

                        Original data include@ raw data acquired by spacecraft instruments and
                        sensors; master data records that contain the complete original experi-
                        ment(s) data combined with supporting information such as orbital posi-
                        tion, spacecraft attitude, and command and housekeeping data; and
                        experiment data records which are usually extracted from master data
                        records and contain information about a smaller subset of the spacecraft
                        instruments.                                  *

                        Archival data records are usually created and provided to NASA by prin-
                        cipal investigators7 who have analyzed the original data and reported
                        the results of their research through various publications. Often
                        archived data have been irreversibly changed or transformed through
                        calibration and processing, or reduced in volume by sampling. Appendix
                        III shows the general flow of scientific data from spacecraft to data
                        archival facility.


                        Original data have greater long-term scientific value that archival data.
Original Data May       Archival data records usually contain only a subset of the original data,
Hold Key to F’uture     or calculations based on the original data. Our March 1990 report? on
Research                NASA’S archival practices noted that original data retain their scientific
                        value indefinitely because they (1) are unique and may not be replicated


                        6This estimate a.qmmesthat an average book contains 300 pages of text, with 400 words per page
                        and 6 characters (bytes) per word. One terabyte is over 1 trillion bytes.

                        6Although 0riginaI data may include other tywa-so me with no scientific value-we     use the term
                        “origind’ to refer primarily to master data records and experiment data records.

                        ‘In some instances, archival rtxords may be also created by investigator teams and guest
                        iIWestigators.


                                             NASA IS Not Properly Safeguard@ Its Valuable Space Science Data, (GAO/




                        Page 10                            ~~0-13             NAsA’r Archivea Are Missing Valuable Data
                             Chapter 1
                             Introduction




                             by future missions, (2) may be combined with data from future mis-
                             sions, (3) may be needed to plan future missions, (4) may be needed for
                             long-term studies of environmental changes, (5) may not have been fully
                             analyzed, (6) may be reprocessed using new computer technology and
                             advanced analytical techniques to obtain new or more accurate informa-
                             tion, or (7) are of significant historic interest.g


The Value of Original Data   Many space scientists and NASAadvisory groups think that NASAshould
                             permanently archive selected original data so that future investigators
H&3Been Established          might have access to original, unmodified data suitable for future
                             processing and analysis. According to NASA'S Chief Scientist for the
                             global change research program, scientists need original data from early
                             missions to develop longitudinal data bases. Even if these data have
                             been analyzed before by one group of scientists for one set of purposes,
                             their preservation is increasingly important to scientists in other
                             disciplines.

                             A group of scientists recognized the long-term value of original data in a
                             1987 report10 that focused on ocean data. This report recommended that,
                             where possible, all original data be saved as a first priority before any-
                             thing else is considered for storage and archiving. While recognizing this
                             would require storing data in their most voluminous state, the report
                             asserted this would allow scientists to reprocess the original, unmodified
                             data sets-an essential condition for further research and analysis. Sim-
                             ilarly, a 1989 report of NASA'S Information Systems Strategic Planning
                             Project (ESPP) recommended that all mission data, defined as potentially
                             valuable by the scientific community, must be archived.

                             The preservation of original data may be important to the global change
                             research program. A 1988 NASA advisory council report! identified
                             many data sets generated by past, active, and planned missions as
                             needed for the long term measurements of global variables.



                              QNASA officials noted that data from some missions may be underst.~~I only by the or@inal
                              lllVestigators.

                              l”Tssues and Recommendations in Satellite Data Management, report of the Satellite Ocean Data
                              system science Worm Group Archive Panel, Scripps Institution of oCe~o@WY,          September 1987,
                              p. 6.

                              * ‘Earth System Science: A Close View, Report of the Earth System Science Committee, NASA Advi-
                              sory Council, NASA, January 1988.



                              Page 11                           GAO/IMTEC919       NASA’s Archives Are Missing Valuable Data
Chapter 2

NASA Is Not Preserving All Valuable Space
ScienceData

                     NASA  is not preserving all valuable space science data. Except in rare
                     cases, it has not archived original data from past missions that may be
                     needed for future research. Further, NASA’S existing data archives are
                     largely incomplete for many important missions and contain no data for
                     others. These conditions can be attributed to a number of factors. NASA
                     is not archiving original data because its 1978 policy covering archiving
                     of space science data is obsolete. The policy requires that only analyzed
                     data be archived. It permits the destruction of original data that may
                     have significant long-term value for future research. Another reason is
                     that until recently, NASA had not enforced its own policy that requires
                     missions to prepare project data management plans (PDMP) which
                     address essential aspects of mission data management and archiving.
                     With one exception, none of NASA’Sspace science missions launched
                     between May 1978 and October 1985 prepared the required plans that
                     should have described and identified data to be archived or marked for
                     destruction.

                     NASA'S  management practices do not guarantee that original data from
                     past missions is fully processed, analyzed, and archived by project scien-
                     tists and principal investigators before being destroyed.

                     NS!XX  officials cited numerous reasons why it had incomplete or missing
                     data for some missions, including (1) no formal agreements between
                     NASA and the principal investigators as to what data to archive, and (2)
                     a policy that did not require the archiving of data from bioscience,
                     microgravity, aircraft, balloon, sounding rocket missions, or data from
                     NASA instruments flown on foreign spacecraft or on the Shuttle. They
                     admitted that management controls covering the destruction of original
                     data could be improved, but could not readily explain why missions did
                     not submit required data plans-other      than “until recently, no one in
                     NASAtook the PDMP requirement seriously.”


                     A number of NASA'S past missions have not submitted data to NSSDC. For
No Data Were         example, of the 263 major science missions NASA launched between
Archived From Some   1958-1987 (see app. IV), 18 had not submitted any data-digital    or
Important Missions   otherwise-to    NSSDC, while 19 had archived only non-digital data such
                     as paper or film records (see app. V).

                     When asked, NSSDC officials could not readily determine the location and
                     status of data for 28 of the 37 missions. Although unaware of the exact
                     location, they said that it was likely that data for these missions were



                     Page 12
chapter 2
NASA b Not Preserving   All Valuable   Space
Science Data




held by the principal investigators. @SAofficials told us that the pro-
gram managers in OSSA’Sscience divisions should know where these data
are located. Because NASA lacks an agency-wide inventory of its tapes
containing space science data, we could not readily verify these state-
ments or determine whether these data were stored elsewhere.

NSDC officials cited six reasons why the center has not archived any
data for these missions. First, there was often no formal agreement
between NASA and the principal investigators as to what data to archive.
Second, NASA has not previously required the archiving of data from
bioscience, microgravity, aircraft, balloon, sounding rocket missions, or
NASA instruments flown on foreign spacecraft or the Shuttle. Third,
other federal agencies, NASA centers, and universities may be archiving
some of these data. Fourth, between 1978-1986, NASA missions did not
prepare the required project data management plans identifying data to
be archived. Fifth, NSSDC staffing and resources were not, during the last
decade, adequate to handle the number, complexity, and volume of data
to be archived; thus, missing data may not hgve been aggressively pur-
sued. NASA recognized this problem in 1988 and is funding NSSDC’S data
acquisition function at a higher level. Sixth, missions did not accurately
estimate the cost of archiving, resulting in insufficient resources to pre-
pare and distribute archival data to NSSDC. In 1989, NSSDC developed a
cost model1 designed to help managers estimate archival costs for their
missions. It will also help OSSA’Sscience divisions select the appropriate
level of archival service, estimate archival costs, and, one hopes, include
adequate funding for archival services in the missions’ budgets.

Noting inconsistencies in the kind of data archived from mission to mis-
sion or discipline to discipline, a recent report2 underscored the need to
develop a coherent and comprehensive data management policy to pre-
serve all valuable data. Given the absence of uniform format and con-
tent requirements for principal investigators to archive their data, it
recognized how difficult it is to fiid archived data and analyze them.




IA Cota Model for NASA Data Archiving, Version 2.0, National Space Science Data Center, June 1990.

%port of the Information Systems Strategic Planning Project: A Recommended Information Systems
Strategic Plan for NASA’s Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) and Office of Space @era-
tions @SO), January 1990, P. 44.



Page 13                            ~~0-13            NASA’s   Archha   Are Mlsslng   Valuable   Data
                                             chapter 2
                                             NASA la Not Reserving All Valuable     Space
                                             sdence   Dat.d




NSSDC’sData Holdings for                     In 1986, the National Research Council’s Committee on Data Manage-
                                             ment and Computation (CODMAC) requested that i%ssDcreport on the
Many Important Missions                      status of its archival data holdings for 37 missions that CODMAC and
Are Incomplete                               NSSDC termed “currently important.” NSSDC reviewed its data archives
                                             and in June 1987 contacted over 214 principal investigators associated
                                             with these missions to locate valuable data that need to be archived. By
                                             May 1988, NSSDC received 100 valid and 25 inappropriate responses,
                                             with 89 investigators failing to respond to follow-up letters and tele-
                                             phone calls.3 In a briefing to CODMAC, NSSDC presented a “project report
                                             card.” Of the 374 important missions, only 6 missions had archived more
                                             than 90 percent of their data, 7 missions archived between 60 to 90 per-
                                             cent, and 23 missions provided less than 60 percent of data due for
                                             archiving at NSDC. After discussing the ratings with NSDC staff, we
                                             summarized the status of data archival efforts for the 37 missions in
                                             Table 2.1.


Table 2.1: Status of Archival Data for Currently ImPortant Mission8                                       .
                                                                                                                    Percentage
                                                                                                                        of data Current level
                                                                                                       Date of      archived at of archival
Mission (common abbreviation)                                                                          launch          NSSDC. effortb
1.    Atmosphere Explorer C (AE-C)                                                                       12173           60-90     none
2.    Atmosphere Explorer D (AE-D)                                                                       lOJ75           60-90     none
3.    Atmosphere Explorer E (AE-E)                                                                       1 l/75          60-90     none
4.    Active Magnetosphere Particle Tracer Explorer Charge Composition Explorer (AMPTE/                    w84           60-90     good
      CCE)
5.    Active Magnetosphere Particle Tracer Explorer Ion Release Module (AMPTE/IRM)                         8184            > 90    completedC
6.    Active Magnetosphere Particle Tracer Explorer United Kingdom Subsatellite (AMPTE/UKS)                8184                0   noned
7.    Dynamic Explorer 1 (DE-l )                                                                           am              < 10    very good
8.    Dynamic Explorer 2 (DE-2)                                                                             s/s1           c 10    very good
9.    Interplanetary Monitoring Platform J (IMP-J)                                                        I o/73         60-90     faw
10.   International Sun Earth Explorer 1 (ISEE 1)                                                         1o/77          lo-29     good
11.   International Sun Earth Explorer 2 (ISEE 2)                                                         1o/77          lo-29     good
12.   International Sun Earth Explorer C (ISEE C)                                                           0/78         lo-29     good
13.   Orbiting Solar Observatory 8 (OS0 8)                                                                  6/75         lo-29     poor
14.   Solar Maximum Mission (SMM)                                                                           2180         30-59     fair
                                                                                                                                       (continued)



                                             31ncommenting on the poor response to NSSDC’s letter to principalinvestigators, NSSDC’sdirector
                                             noted that if NSDC could not get information on NASA space science data held by individual mvesti-
                                             gators, the members of the scientific community may not fare any better.
                                             4Data from one mission are archived in England and were therefore not included in our analysis of
                                             NSSDC’s holdings.



                                             Page 14                            GAO/lMTEC913       NASA’r Archhes     Are Thing    Valuable   Data
                                                 ChApter 2
                                                 NASA b Not Preserving     All Valuable   Space
                                                 Science Data




                                                                                                                              Percentage
                                                                                                                                  of data Current level
                                                                                                                              archived at of archival
Mission (common    abbreviation)                                                                                                 NSSDC’ effortb
15    Manner 6                                                                                                      2169                 < 10     none
16.   Manner 7                                                                                                      3169                 < 10     none
17    Manner 9                                                                                                      5/7l                 < 10     none
18.   Manner 10                                                                                                   11/73                30-59      none
19.   Pioneer 10                                                                                                    3172               30-59      good
20.   Pioneer 11                                                                                                    4173               30-59      good
21.   Pioneer Venus A Orbrter                                                                                       5178               IO-29      fair
22.   Pioneer Venus 2                                                                                               8178               lo-29      farr
23.   Viking 1                                                                                                      8/75               30-59      none
24.   Vikrng 2                                                                                                      9/75               30-59      none
25.   Voyager 1                                                                                                     9/77               30-59      good
26.   Voyager 2                                                                                                     8177               30-59      good
27.   High Energy Astronomy Observatory    1 (HEAO 1)                                                               8177               30-59      very poor
28.   High Energy Astronomy Observatory B (HEAO B)                                                                llp78                60-90      none
29.   High Energy Astronomy Observatory 3 (HEAO 3)                                                                 Q/79                1O-29      very poor
30.   Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)                                                                       1183                  > 90     completeC
31.   International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE)                                                                     l/79                  > 90      completeC
32.   Earth Radiatton Budget Satellite (ERBS)                                                                     1o/84                60-W        good
33.   Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM)                                                                         4178                    100     complete
34    Nimbus 7                                                                                                    10178                  > 90      completeC
35.   Ocean Dynamic Satellite A (SEASAT A)                                                                         6178                30-59       unknowne
36.   Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME)                                                                             1O/81                  > 90      complete
37.   Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B)                                                                             1o/84                30-29       unknowrY
                                                 sNSSDC estimate of data that should be archrved by each missron.

                                                 bNSSDC’s assessment of the level of effort by the principal investigators    and projects to generate
                                                 archival data for submission to NSSDC.

                                                 COSSA officials told us that the archiving of data for these mrssions was successfully completed.

                                                 dNSSDC officials said that data from this mission are archived in the United Kingdom

                                                 eNSSDC was not aware of the current archival efforts because data from this mrssion are archived at
                                                 JPL.


                                                 An NSSDC official expressed concern about the possible misinterpretation
                                                 of Table ‘2.1, since its determination of the volume of data that ought to
                                                 be archived by the NSSDC is subjective. He provided a listing of facilities
                                                 storing “as yet not archived” data as well as an explanation of MSDC’S
                                                 archival effort for these missions. This information is presented in
                                                 appendix V.




                                                  Page 16                              GAO/IMTEC~M         NASA%    kchlves      Are    Mlsalng    Valuable    Dm
                     Chapter   2
                     NASA ls Not Preeervlng All Valuable Space
                     sdence Data




                     The incompleteness of NSSDC’S archives was addressed in a 1989 NASA
                     report which noted that:

                     A wealth of data has been acquired on NASA missions and some, but not all, of these
                     data have been submitted to the NSSDC.Scientists involved in NASA programs
                     require access to these data to solve outstanding scientific problems and to prepare
                     for future missions in a situation in which present data are insufficient. These users
                     need to know the extent and quality of the NSSDCdata holdings, as does NSSDC,to
                     assess what it has and what it has not, but should have. Thus, NSSDCshould per-
                     form a complete review of its archive, determine what it needs to curate in its pre-
                     sent archive, and what it needs to aggressively procure.6

                     An   NSSDC   official pointed out that in order to accomplish this objective,
                     NSSDC     would need the full cooperation of the scientific community.


                     The overall management and archiving of NASA'S space science data is
Policy Permits the   governed by a 1978 policy.s Among other things, the policy defines the
Destruction of       type of space science data records to be archived. It directs NSSDCto
Valuable Data        archive analyzed data prepared by principal investigators, specifically
                     excludes original data records from permanent archiving, and does not
                     require archiving data from life sciences, microgravity, aircraft, balloon,
                     sounding rocket missions, or from instruments carried by foreign space-
                     craft and by the Shuttle.7

                     According to NASA officials, OSSAformulated its 1978 policy when most
                     missions were flying instruments that were developed and sometimes
                     built by principal investigators. Because it was believed in nearly all
                     cases that only the principal investigators from these missions could
                     understand and analyze the data, the agency deemed it appropriate to
                     archive only analyzed data identified by the principal investigators as
                     important to save. NASA officials told us they were planning to revise
                     NASA’S data management policy during 1990.




                     61nformstionSystemsStrategicPlanning Project,ScienceUserWorkshop,PanelReports,Annapolis,
                     fiaryland, May l-3,1989, p. 7.
                     sPolicy ConcerningData Obtainedfrom SpaceFlight Investigations,NASAManagementInstruction
                     8b30.3A,May 2,197s.
                     7NAS4’s sounding rocket and balloon program is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops
                     Flight Facility. Wallopslaunchesabout QOballoons and sounding rwkets per year. NASA is archiving
                     data from some Shuttle missions, according to one official, “based on common sense rather than on
                     specific lules.”



                     Page 16                           GAO-9143          NASA’s Archived Are Mlaslng Valuable Data
                          Chapter 2
                          NASAImNotPmae~AllV-m
                          8clence Data




                          NASA’s  Records Schedule 268 implements portions of the 1978 data man-
                          agement policy and provides day-today agencywide guidance on the
                          disposal of space science data. It requires that original data be destroyed
                          after analyzed data have been archived, unless a NASA field center
                          director approves their retention. NASA must seek NARA approval to
                          destroy any unprocessed original data.


                          Under a key provision of NASA’s1978 data management policy, each mis-
Required Mission Data     sion must prepare a project data management plan. The plans should
Management Plans          address all essential functions related to the mission’s management and
Were Not Prepared         archiving of space science data, including

                          plans for data analysis and dissemination,
                          milestones for data processing and analysis,
                          identification, and time limits for the transfer of valuable data to perma-
                          nent archives, and
                        . plans for destroying original data.             L
                          NASA  stresses the importance of developing this information because the
                          submission of space science data to N!SSDC often extends over a period of
                          time much longer than the life of the spacecraft project office, thus
                          making the PDIW a valuable post-project agreement. Because NSSDC is the
                          sole NASAorganization responsible for identifying and acquiring archival
                          data in the post-mission phase, its ability to identify and acquire
                          archival data depends on detailed project data management plans and
                          cooperation from each project.

                          Only one of NASA’s25 space science missions launched between May
                          1978 and October 1985 prepared the required plans9 Hence, these mis-
                          sions, which are listed in appendix VI, have not formally identified data
                          that should be archived or marked for destruction. Since 1988, three out
                          of eight active missions have not prepared the plans. (Appendix VII
                          details the submission of PDMPSfor other active and future missions.)




                          *NASA &m-da tS&dule    26: complterserrsiblesdentific,        Engineering, and JQqerimental,
                          December 4,1978.




                          Page 17                           GAo/lMTEcs13           NA!w’B k&ivea    Are Missing   Valuable   Data
                              Chapter   2
                              NASA Ia Not Prwem        Au Valuable SLICE
                              Science Data




Lax Enforcement Cited as      Acknowledging the missions’ lack of compliance, NASA officials could not
                              explain why NASA has not enforced this requirement. One official
Reasonfor Noncompliance       responsible for agency-wide coordination of science data management
                              activities noted that until recently, “no one in NASA took the PDMP
                              requirement seriously.” The ESPP task force partially explained the mis-
                              sions’ lackluster performance in this area, noting that the development
                              of a data management plan has been imposed on individual projects, but
                              the project has been left to its own devices to prepare this document. No
                              management structure or support approach exists to assist in the imple-
                              mentation of such a p1a.r~~~



Better Management             data can
                                     be released after analyzed data has been archived. We noted,
Safeguards Needed to          however,that NASA is routinely releasing tapes without adequately
                              ensuring
                                     that archival data had been created. Between 1986 to 1989,
Prevent Premature             Goddardreleased over 532,000 tapes, a large portion of which contained
Destruction Of~~@Xd           odginddata.*2                               *
Data

Current Policies Permit the   NASA'S agencywide records management policy permits original data to
                              be destroyed only after analyzed data have been archived. Before
Disposal of Original Data     destroying any original data that was not analyzed and archived, NASA
                              must obtain approval from NARA. Goddard’s local policy, however, does
                              not establish a system of sound management controls to ensure that the
                              required data have been successfully archived before destroying orig-
                              inal data. The policy also does not require projects to obtain NARA'S
                              approval for destroying data that was not analyzed or archived.




                               l”Information System Strategic Planning (ISSP) propct, Science User Workshop, Annapolis, Mary-
                               land, May 13, 1989, p. 8.

                               “NASA Records Disposition Handbook (NHB 1441.1A), NASA Records Schedule 26: Computer-sen-
                               SibiesCientific, Engineering, and Experimental, December 4.1978, and Goddard Space Flight Center
                               Management Instruction (GM1 8030.1A), Retention of Magnetic Data Tapes, March 7,1979.

                               12The 632,000 tapes released by Goddard are not included in the count of the 1.2 million tapes in
                               NASA’s storage.



                               Page 18                            GAO-913             NASA’s Archives Are Missing Valuable Data
                           Chapter 2
                           NASA In Not Preaeming   All Valuable   Space
                           Sdence Data




No Guarantee at Goddard    Original data from many missions are often stored at Goddard. Because
That Analyzed Data Are     of overcrowding at its tape storage facility, as well as the cost of storing
                           magnetic tapes indefinitely, Goddard periodically purges its inventory.
Archived Before Original   Essentially, Goddard gives users two options-release the tapes for
Data Are Destroyed         reuse, or get special permission from the Director of Goddard and fund
                           their retention. If users elect to release the tapes, they are not specifi-
                           cally required to determine or certify that archival data have been
                           created.

                           One user explained that he had released thousands of tapes because he
                           could not afford continued storage and was reluctant to raise the reten-
                           tion issue all the way up to the Goddard director. He told us that data on
                           the tapes were valuable, and, in an attempt to salvage some of them, he
                           authorized the destruction of every other carton of tapes, placing the
                           tapes he saved in a basement at Goddard.

                           Because of concerns about Goddard’s practices, we requested NARA to
                           assess Goddard’s tape release program and to determine if tapes have
                           been released without proper authorization.*On March 27,1990, NARA
                           representatives met with NASA and Goddard staff to discuss this issue. In
                           a subsequent letter to NASAdated April 6,1990, NAFtA noted it could not
                           determine conclusively whether any unauthorized disposal had
                           occurred. According to a NM&i official, time constraints and inadequate
                           documentation prevented it from determining whether original data
                           were released without proper authorization. However, because NAFLA
                           believed that original data may have been destroyed before the archival
                           records were created, it recommended that NASA develop a mechanism to
                           prevent the destruction of original records before analyzed data were
                           archived at NSSDC. A NARA official stated that unless NASA implemented
                           safeguards to protect original data from premature disposal, potentially
                           valuable data may be destroyed.




                            P8ge 19                           GAO/lMTEG@ld   NA8A’a hrebiver   he   bfladng   Valuable   Data
Chapter 3

Scientists’ Participation in Data Management


                            An extensive network of committees, advisory panels, and working
                            groups exists to involve closely affiliated and outside scientists in data
                            management and archiving decisions and activities. Affiliated scientists
                            are actively involved in broad aspects of planning future missions. How-
                            ever, they have expressed serious concerns about their limited involve-
                            ment in the development and operation of mission data systems. Outside
                            scientists are generally not involved in data management and archiving
                            activities, even though their involvement is encouraged by NASA policy.

                            NASA   recently sponsored a comprehensive effort known as the Informa-
                            tion Systems Strategic Planning Project (ISSPP). The project was formed
                            to develop strategic goals to meet the information systems challenges of
                            the 1990s. It involved nearly 200 participants from the scientific com-
                            munity, NASA headquarters and field centers, and contractors. In gen-
                            eral, scientists who were interviewed during the project stated that
                            NASA’S mission data systems will never be successful unless they can
                            fully participate in the planning, design, development, operation, and
                            evaluation of these systems. A recent project report’ noted that scien-
                            tists’ participation on high-level advisory p&tels was important but not
                            sufficient. The report stated that frequent involvement by scientists on
                            the working level was more essential, allowing them to work closely
                            with NASA centers and contract personnel in developing and operating
                            mission data management systems.


                            According to an OSSAofficial, several mechanisms involve scientists in
Scientists Participate      the management of space science data, including the Space Science and
in Data Management          Applications Advisory Committee (&UC), management operations
                            working groups, and mission-level data management and science teams.
Activities

Scientists Participate in   In November 1988, NASA established SSAACto advise oss~ on space obser-
                            vations and the use of space technology in support of space exploration
SSAACand Its                and research. The committee set up several discipline-oriented subcom-
Subcommittees to Advise     n&tees to advise 06~‘s science divisions. One of these, the Communica-
OSSA                        tions and Information Systems Subcommittee, was specifically chartered
                            to provide advice to OSSA’SCommunication and Information Systems
                            Division, which is primarily responsible for managing NASA'S space sci-
                            ence data.

                            lInformaUon Systems Scenarios for Space Sdeswe and AppkaUo~,        Information Systems Strategic
                            RaNling~operauo              dM        ti    systema Laboratory   for Atmospheric and Space
                            Physics, Univedty of Col&tt,   Boig     iiiember    1999, p. 6.




                            Page 20                           GAO/lMTlW9lS       NASA’r   Archivea   An Misoin# Valuable    Data
                            Chapter 3
                            Sdentiata’ Participation   in DNA bhnagement




                            SSAAChas met three times since its formation in late 1988. The minutes
                            of its meetings show that the committee and its subcommittees focused
                            largely on funding priorities for proposed missions. It is too early to
                            assess the impact of the new advisory structures on the overall direction
                            of NASA'S space exploration research. However, the committee and its
                            subcommittees-particularly       the Communication and Information Sys-
                            tems subcommittee-could       furnish valuable input and guidance to
                            NASA'S management and archiving of space science data.




Scientists Participate in   OSSApursues scientist participation on the sub-discipline and project
                            levels through management operations working groups. OSSAofficials
Management Operations       told us these groups played an important role in allowing scientists not
Working Groups to Advise    affiliated with NASA missions to participate in the planning and manage-
OSSA’sScienceDivisions      ment of various aspects of space science research. In 1989, OSSA’Sscience
                            divisions sponsored 24 groups in the microgravity, space physics, earth
                            science, solar system exploration, flight systems, astronomy and astro-
                            physics, and life sciences disciplines. Although these groups could influ-
                            ence future NASA missions, as well as guide the management and
                            archiving of data collected by past missions, their activities have been
                            largely focused on programmatic, rather than data management, issues.

                            CESAis planning to expand the role of outside scientists in the manage
                            ment and archiving of space science data. An oss~ official told us the
                            office has two data management working groups-one ongoing and one
                            planned. The Astrophysics Data System working group operates under
                            the aegis of the Astrophysics division’s Science Operations Branch. A
                            second group, the Space Science Data Systems Steering Committee, has
                            been established by the Space Physics division. According to the ISSPP
                            task force, both divisions have gotten user involvement. An NSSDCoffi-
                            cial also told us that the Life Science discipline has put a group of scien-
                            tists together, in a committee, to review future data management issues.
                            In addition, the NSSDCis hosting a microgravity data management and
                            archiving workshop.


Mission-Level Teams         Project and mission-level teams make detailed data management and
                            archiving decisions. However, scientists, including potential users of
Making Critical Data        data who were not affiliated with a specific mission, seldom partici-
Management Decisions        pated in mission-level data management and archival decisions. NSSDC
Seldom Include Scientists   guidelines for developing project data management plans stress the
                            importance of establishing mission-level data management advisory
                            committees to guide the development of mission data management and


                            Page 21                            GAO/IlldTw’rgl-8   NASA’@ Archivea   Are wvine   vdmble   DMA
                         chapter 3
                         Scientists’ Partidpation   in Data Management




                         archival plans. Their role is to determine which data should be archived,
                         what ancillary information should be stored with the data, and when
                         and where the archiving should be done. The guidelines recommend that
                         the committee include, if possible, potential investigators--outside scien-
                         tists-not associated with the mission.

                         JPL officials who manage the Mars Observer, Galileo, and Magellan mis-
                         sions told us that they were not aware of any NASA guidelines requiring
                         them to seek input from outside scientists. However, they noted that
                         each project published data-related information and seeks input in other
                         forms. Examples they cited included the distribution of project newslet-
                         ters and consultations with the NASA-funded Planetary Science Data
                         Steering Group. They believed these activities ensured that the interests
                         of the science community were adequately represented.




Their Participation in   expressed concern about their lack of involvement in planning, devel-
a Key Data -             op-mg, and operating mission data management systems. This concern is
                         not new. In 1982, CODM+~C noted there was commonly a lack of scientific
Management Area Is       involvement in data-system planning during the early mission planning
Ineffective              and system development phase.2 The committee recommended that NASA
                         involve scientists in alI mission phases, noting this involvement should
                         include an oversight of scientific data management activities carried out
                         through a peer review process.

                         &?turning to this problem in 1988, CODMX reported3 that NASA empha-
                         sized the collection of space science data while paying less attention to
                         its handling, management, and dissemination. The report argued that
                         scientists must help plan data collection activities to ensure high scien-
                         tific return from the data. The committee recommended that future mis-
                         sions allow scientists to participate more actively in the data
                         management process.




                          2~     Mwmnt        ad &mput,&bn,    Volume 1: Issues and RecommendatiorL% ‘.kmmk@ on Data
                          Mvnt          and Co          S      Science Board, Assembly of Mathematical and physical Ski-
                          en-,   N&,imal Rese%~~h~onal              Academy Press, Washin@n, DC., 1982, p. 2.

                          3!3elected Lsues in Space Sciene Data Management and Computation, Committee on Data Manage
                          mat md computation,      spaces&m BoardCommission on Physical sciences, Mathematic% and
                          Resources, National Research councii, Natlohl Academy Press, Washington, DC., 1988, p. 6.




                          Page 22                             GAO/WTEGB13      NAfM’r   w       Are Ibiblng   Valuable   Data
chapter 3
Sdentbts’ Partidpation   in Data Management




In December 1989, i’ years after CODhLC’S report, NASA’S ISSPP repeated
the earlier concerns. Its report’ noted that the number one concern (and
frequent complaint) of scientists was the lack of adequate arrangements
for user involvement in the planning, design, building, operation, and
evaluation of experiment control and information handling systems.
Scientists were tired of information systems that did not work well,
promises that were never kept, and studies with no follow-through.
Underscoring the need for user input on both the advisory and working
levels, the report recommended that NASA reverse the recent trend under
which the role of university scientists in system planning and develop-
ment was shrinking in favor of NASA engineers and investigators.




 ‘Information  Systems Scenarios for Space Science and Applications, Information Systems Strategic
 Planning Project, Operations and Information Systems, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space
 Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, December 1989, p. 6.




 Page 23                            GAO/IMTEC@lJ       NASA’0 w           &e Mbdng     Valuable   Data
Chapter 4

Conclusionsand Recommendations


             During the last three decades NASA has achieved spectacular success in
             many aspects of space exploration and has provided scientists with data
             that have greatly expanded our understanding of the universe, the solar
             system, and Earth. Through hundreds of missions it has collected mas-
             sive volumes of data and expects the annual volume to increase five
             thousandfold by the late 1990s. NASA’s data archives, however, are
             incomplete for many important missions and contain no data for others.
             For example, 23 of 37 important scientific missions had archived less
             than 60 percent of the required data, and 18 of the 263 missions
             launched between 1958 to 1987 sent no data to NSSDC.

             NASA officials attributed  the archival shortfalls to several factors,
             including a lack of (1) formal agreements between NASA and the prin-
             cipal investigators as to what data to archive, and (2) requirements to
             archive data from such sources and disciplines as bioscience,
             microgravity, aircraft, balloon, sounding rocket missions, and NASA
             instruments flown on foreign spacecraft or the Shuttle. Considering the
             onslaught of data expected by the late 199Os, now is a good time to
             determine if missing archival data from these missions are worth pur-
             suing. If so, NASA should take aggressive steps to obtain outstanding
             archival data from past missions.

             Although many data have been collected over the past 30 years, NASA is
             not archiving all potentially valuable data. NASA’S 1978 data manage-
             ment policy was written when NASA believed that only analyzed data
             should be saved because scientists may not understand original data.
             However, analyzed data have often been irreversibly changed or trans-
             formed through calibration and processing, or were reduced in volume
             by sampling. Many space scientists and NASA advisory groups now
             believe NASA should permanently archive selected original data as a first
             priority. Although scientists recognize that such a changed policy may
             require the storage of data in a more voluminous state, they think future
             scientists must be able to access the original, unmodified data for fur-
             ther research and analysis. NASA agrees that its policy needs more flexi-
             bility and plans to revise it during 1990.

              NASA’s archives are incomplete because it failed for 10 years to enforce
              its own policy requiring missions to prepare PDMPS, which address essen-
              tial aspects of mission data management and archiving. With 1 excep-
              tion, none of NASA’S 25 space science missions launched between May




              Page 24                    ~~o/nfmCB13   NASA’SAmhives Are Missing Valuable Data
ClUpter4
Concluaiona   and Recommendationa




1978 and October 1985’ prepared them. Because these missions have not
formally described or identified data that should be archived or marked
for destruction, NSSDC has been hard-pressed to ensure the proper
archiving of data from some missions. Recognizing the importance of the
plans, NASA now appears headed in the right direction-five   of the eight
missions launched from February 1988 to July 1990 have submitted the
required plans. However, NASA must remain vigilant to ensure that every
mission prepares a PDMP well before launch.

NASA  must also establish better management controls to ensure that orig-
inal data are not destroyed until archival data have been provided to the
archival facility. Although policy permits original data to be destroyed
after analyzed data are archived, it does not require that project offices
attest to their creation. We found that NASA had routinely released
thousands of tapes-many containing original data-without         guaran-
teeing that analyzed data had been archived. A NARA official echoed our
concerns, stating that unless NASA implemented safeguards to protect
original data from premature disposal, poter$ially valuable data may be
destroyed.

NASA'S  extensive network of committees, advisory panels, and working
groups provides the basic framework within which scientists can par-
ticipate in the planning, development, and operation of mission data sys-
tems. Groups such as (1) SSAAL:  and its discipline-oriented
subcommittees, (2) the management operations working groups, and (3)
mission-level data management and science teams could offer substan-
tial advice and guidance to NASA in all areas of mission planning, devel-
opment, and operations, if specifically tasked to do so. However, early
efforts by several of these groups have apparently focused on budget
and programmatic problems, with less attention to data management
issues. In addition, groups of scientists have persistently complained
about their lack of involvement in the development and operation of
mission data management systems. This was cited as a continuing
problem by CODMAC in 1982 and 1988, and again by NASA'S own ESPPtask
force in 1989.

NASA  could increase the involvement of scientists in data management
and archiving activities by requiring, rather than encouraging, projects
to enlist outside scientists as members of the mission-level data manage-
ment advisory committees. These teams make important decisions on

‘This covers the time period between the date the PDMP requirement   went into effcxt and the last
mission launched prior to the Challenger accident.




Page 26                             GAO,~ITEC@~S     NASA’~ Archives    Are biis~lng Valuable    Data
                      chapter 4
                      Conclusion   and Eecmnmendalio~




                      which data should be archived, what additional information should be
                      stored with the data to make it more usable, and when and where the
                      archiving should be done.


                      We recommend that the Administrator:
Recommendations
                  .   require NSSDC to identify and, if warranted and cost effective, obtain all
                      outstanding archival data from past missions not yet delivered to its
                      archives;
                  .   revise data management policy to (1) recognize the need to archive
                      selected original data of potential long-term scientific value, and (2)
                      specify archiving requirements for data produced by life science,
                      microgravity, aircraft, balloon, and sounding rocket missions, and data
                      from NASA instruments flown on Shuttle missions and foreign spacecraft;
                  .   ensure that all missions develop and submit approved PDMPS;
                  .   establish and enforce an internal controls system to ensure that original
                      data are not destroyed until NSIX has received all appropriate archival
                      data; and
                  .   determine what additional actions could be taken to (1) involve scien-
                      tists more in the development and operation of mission data manage-
                      ment systems, and (2) more strongly encourage missions to include
                      participation of outside scientists on mission-level data management
                      committees.


                      In commenting on a draft of this report, NASA said that it presents a
Agency Comments       useful assessment of some key issues in science data management. Fur-
                      ther, NASA noted that it shares many of the concerns we identified, and
                      said it has programs underway or plans to address them. NASA'S com-
                      ments and our evaluation are included in appendix IX.




                      Page 20                           GAO/IlUTEGB13   NASA’s Archivea   Are Musing   Valuable   Data
                        .




Page 27   ~~0-14   NASA’s   Archivea   Are Missing   Valuable   Data
Appendix I

Objectives, Scope,and Methodology


                      On November 9, 1988, the House Committee on Science, Space, and
                      Technology asked us to report on several aspects of N’ASA’Smanagement
                      and archiving of space science data. Our first report on this subject was
                      issued on March 2, 1990.’ Our current objectives were to determine (1)
                      whether NASA is archiving its most valuable data, and (2) the extent to
                      which a mechanism exists for obtaining input from the scientific com-
                      munity on what types of space science data should be archived.

                      To meet these objectives, we:

              l       reviewed          policies and guidelines governing the management,
                                   NASA’s


                      archiving, and destruction of space science data;
              .       reviewed reports and documents related to the management of space sci-
                      ence data, including reports prepared by         and various scientific
                                                                              NASA


                      groups and committees;
              .       interviewed NASA and JPL officials responsible for the overall manage-
                      ment of   NASA’Sspace science data;
              .       interviewed         representatives and analyzed
                                            NSSDC                                archival data
                                                                                       NSSDC’S


                      holdings;
                  .   interviewed        officials responsible for overseeing
                                            NARA                                     record man- NASA’S


                      agement activities; and
              l       interviewed JPL project managers and staff responsible for the design,
                      development, and operations of the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Magellan
                      mission to Venus, and the Mars Observer mission.

                      Our audit work was performed in accordance with generally accepted
                      government auditing standards, between December 1989 and May 1990.
                      We obtained written comments on a draft of this report from NASA offi-
                      cials and have incorporated these comments where appropriate.




                                rations: NASA Is Not Properly Safeguarding   Valuable Data From Past Missions (GAO/




                      Page 28                           GAO,‘IMTECz)lS       NASA’s Archivea Are Mieeh@i Vduabie Data
Appendix II

Scientists’ Involvement


                          Virtually all of NASA’s past missions and some future missions used or
Principal Investigators   will use the principal investigator model. Under this approach or model,
                          the principal investigators, frequently working with co-investigators,
                          are responsible for the planning, development, and integration of experi-
                          ments and instruments, data analysis, and the selection and preparation
                          of the analyzed data for archiving.


                          Although guest investigators seldom participate in the initial mission
Guest Investigators       planning or instrument design, they have access to space science data to
                          conduct independent investigations. This approach was used in several
                          missions, and NASA plans to use this approach in future missions, most
                          notably the Hubble Space Telescope, which will have a major guest
                          investigator component.


1Investigator Team
                          their instruments. This approach helps collaborative research and
 Member                   allows them to share intermediate results a&l data processing tech-
                          niques. For example, this approach worked in the Atmospheric Explorer
                          program, where a common mission data base was accessible to all
                          investigators.


                          To a great extent, retrospective investigators represent the scientific
Retrospective             community. They are usually not associated with NASA missions and
Investigator              play no part in the instrument development, the initial data analysis, or
                          in archiving analyzed or reduced data. By and large, they conduct
                          research using data archived by the NSSDC or by other NASA data storage
                          facilities and projects, as well as data provided informally by the prin-
                          cipal investigators.




                          P8ge 29                   GAO/IMTEGB~~   NASA’s Archivea   Are Mbeing   Valuable   Data
Typical Data Flow From Past Earth-Orbiting or
Deep SpaceMissions

  Earth orbrnng satellrie acqurres       TDRS relays spacecraft telemetry                   Domestrc communrcatron    satelkie
  and Iransmfts space scfence data       to TDRS ground termmal in Whtte          ~         IDOMSAT)
  to one of the three Trackrng and       Sands, New Mextco.                            -+
  Data Relav SatelInes ITDRS).                                               1’       -




                                                                                                                         L.-.~C’““C’II YcaLca
                                                                                                                         Records to pnncrpal
                                                                                                                         mvestrgators.


                                                                                                     Goddard’s mrssron data processmg
                                                                                                     center creates vanous type of
                                                                                                     ntermedfate data records, and
  Whrte Sands relays the captured                                                                    distnbutes EDRs to NASA’s pnncrpal
  telemetrv vra domestrc communrcatfon                                                               rnvestrgators. All rntermedfate data.
  satellite to NASA’s Goddard Space                                                                  Including the Ongfnal. Master. and
  Flight Center.                                                                                     Expenment Data Records are sent to
                                                                                                     NASA tape storage facrlrtres.




                                                                                            Ongrnal. Master, and
                                                                                            Exoenment Data
  Several drscrpkne data systems
  WIII provide data management and
  archival support to selected earth
  orbftal mfssrons.’




                                                                                                     NASA’s tape storage facrlrtfes wrll destroy
                                                                                                     Intermediate data after archfved data are
                                                                                                     created and archrved.


  aJPL’s WIII support Magellan. Gallleo. and Mars Observer Mfssions.
  ‘Operatronal   systems Include (1) NASA Ocean Data System, NASA Climate
  Data System, and (3) Pilot Land Data System. Other systems are under
  development,    rncludrng the Astrophysics Data System, wdh the Hubble                    Tapes contarmng
  Space Telescope Data System as one of Its nodes, the Space Physics Data                   Intermediate data
  System. and the Earth Observrng Data and Information    System.                           reused or destroyed.




                                                   Page 30                  GAO/lMTEC913             NASA’r Archivea       Are Missing    Valuable   Data
                                                                                                                                                       ~-
                                              Appendix III
                                              Typical Data Plow Prom Pant Eatthorbking
                                              or Deep Space MIssi




                                                                                      Planetary exploration spacecraft
                                                                                      acqurres and transmrts space
                                                                                      scrence data to JPLs Deep Space
                                                                                      Network (DSN) rn Goldstone. CA.




                                                Expenment Data
                                                Records to princrpal
Pnncrpal Investrgators.                         rnvestrgators
                                                                       JPL rmsston data processrng center
                                                                       creates various types of rntermedrate
                                                                       data records, and drstnbutes EDRs to
                                                                       NASA’s pnncrpal rnvesttgators. All
                                                                       rnlermedrate data, rncludrng the Ongrnal.
                                                                       Master. and Expenment Data Records
                                                                       are sent to NASA tape storage factlrttes.




                          Analyzed or Reduced
                          Data Records to
                          NSSDC.

                                                                                                        I           Captured data are shopped or
                                                                                                               *    transmrtted to JPCs mrssion data
                                                                                                                    processrnq center




                               Natronal Space Scrence Data Center-
                               NASA’s pnnctpal data archwe.


                                                                                                                   Planetary Data System (PDS) wrll
                                                                                                                   provrde data management and
                                                                                                                   archival support to selected deep
                                                                                        TAPE                       space mrsstons.’
                     Analyzed or Reduced                                              STORAGE
                     Data Records to other
                     rnvestrgators.



                                                                                                      NASA’s tape storage facrlrties WIII destroy
                                                                                                      rntermedtate data after archrved data are
                                                                                                      created and archwed.


                                 Secondary or
                                 restrospectwe                                                        Tapes contatntng
                                 rnvestrgators.                                                       rntermedtate data
                                                                                                      reused or destroyed




                                                Page 31                          GAOA~ITEG~~~           NASA’s     Archivee   Are Misaiug Valuable Data
Appendix IV

Holdings From Major Missions Archived by
the NSSDC

                                                                                             ,.,,


                                                                                                             Quantity of holding8 by
                                                                                                                Storage  medium.
Mission name   Alternate name(s)                                                        Launch date          Tapes      Paper      Film
Pioneer 1      Able 1                                                                        10/l l/56             0        4          6
Pioneer 3      1956 THETA 1                                                                   1216156              0        0          0
Vanguard 2     Vanguard SLV 4                                                                 2/l 7159            0         0         13
Proneer 4      1959 NU 1                                                                       313159              0        0          0
Explorer 6     Able 6                                                                          am                  3       14        109
Vanguard 3     Vanguard TV4 Backup                                                            911a/59              1        0         11
Explorer 7     1959 Iota 1                                                                   1O/l 3159           la         0         10
Pioneer 5      1960 ALPHA 1                                                                   3/l l/66             0    2,ooo         39
TIROS 1        Television Infrared Observation    Satellite 1 (TIROS A)                        411If.33           0         0          4
ECHO 1         1960 IOTA 1                                                                    a/12/60             1         0         38
Explorer 6     1960x11                                                                        11/3;60             0         0          6
TIROS 2        Television Infrared Observation    Satellite 2 (TIROS B)                      11/23/66           126         0         14
Explorer 9     1960 DELTA 1                                                                   2/l S/61            0         0          4
P 14           1960 KAPPA 1, Explorer 10                                                      3125161             0         0           3
s 15           1960 NU 1, Explorer 11                                                         4/27/61             3         0           7
TIROS 3        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 3 (TIROS   C)                        7/12/61            79         0         17
EPE-A          1961 UPSILON 1, Explorer 12                                                    a/16/61            37         0         la
S 55A          1961 CHI 1, Explorer 12 (Meteoroid Satellite)                                  a/25/61             0         0           4
TIROS 4        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 4 (TIROS   D)                         2/a/62           144         0         22
OS0 1          Orbiting Solar Observatory 1 (OS0 A)                                             3i7m             27         0        119
ARIEL 1        1962 OMICRON 1, UK 1                                                           4126162             2         0         21
TIROS 5        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 5 (TIROS   E)                        S/l 9162            0         0         17
Mariner 2      1962 ALPHA RHO 1                                                               a/27/62             6         0         11
TIROS 6        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 6 (TIROS    F)                       9/18/62             0         0         23
Alouette 1     1962 BETA ALPHA 1                                                              9/29/62           108        14     10,872
EPE-B          1962 BETA GAMMA 1, Explorer 14                                                 1O/2/62           122         0         43
EPE-C          1962 BETA LAMBDA 1, Explorer 15                                               1O/27/62            26         0           9
Relav 1        1962 BETA UPSILON 1                                                           12/l 3162           11     3900          16
ii 558         1962 BETA CH 1, Explorer 16                                                   121l6/62             0         4         15
AE-A           Atmosphere Explorer A (Explorer 17)                                                  413163        0         0           7
TIROS 7        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 7 (TIR OS G1                         6/19/63           701         0         52
IMP-A          lnterplanetarv Monitorina Platform A (IMP 1, Explore ?r la)                   11;27;63            44         0         20
AD-A           Air Density Explorer A (Explorer 19)                                          12/19/ 63            0         0          7
TIROS 6        Television Infrared Observation Satellite 6 (TIROS H)                         12/21/63             0         0         29
Relay 2        Relay B                                                                        1;21;64             6         0         26
Echo 2         Echo C                                                                         l/25/64             1         0         39
Ariel 2        Ariel2                                                                         3/27/64             0         0         14
Ranger 7       RAB                                                                            7128164             0         0       4,325
                                                                                                                             (continued)




                                                 Page 32                     GAO/IMTESB14   NASA% Archiva      Are Missing Valuable Data
                                               Appendix IV
                                               Holdinga From biajor    blldona   Archived   by
                                               the NSSDC




                                                                                                                 Quantity of holdings by
                                                                                                                    storaqe medium.
Mission name     Alternate name(s)                                                               Launch date     Tape8     Paper       Film
IE-A             Ionosphere Explorer A (Explorer 20)                                                  0/25/64        1                0         1,176
NIMBUS 1         Nimbus A                                                                             0/20/64      238                0           195
OGO 1            Orbttrng Geophysrcal Observatory 1 (OGO A)                                              g/wJ      410               39           146
IMP-B            Interplanetary Monrtonng Platform B (IMP 2, Explorer 21)                              1o/4/64      40                0            11
BE-B             Beacon Explorer B (Explorer 22)                                                     10/10/&t        3               27            39
s 55c            Explorer 23                                                                           11/S/64         0              1            17
AD-B             Air Denstty Explorer B (Explorer 24)                                                1l/21/64        0                0            28
lnjun 4          Explorer 25                                                                         1 l/21/64     282                0            24
Manner 4         Mariner 4                                                                           11/28/64       12                0           192
San Marco 1      San Marco A                                                                         12/15/&I        0                0             2
EPE-D            Energetic Particle Explorer D (Explorer 26)                                         12/21/&I      256                0            17
TIROS 9          Televwon Infrared Observation Satellite 9 (TIROS I)                                  l/22/65          0              0            18
OS0 2            Orbiting Solar Observatory 2 (OS0 8)                                                   213165         0              0            10
Pegasus 1        Pegasus 1                                                                            2/16/65          1              0            17
Ranger 8         Ranger 8                                                                             2/l 7165         0              0         7,142
Ranger 9         Ranger 9                                                                             3/21/65          0              0         5,819
BE-C             Beacon Explorer C (Explorer 27)                                                      4/25/65       140               0            55
Pegasus 2        Pegasus 2                                                                            5/25/65         1               0            17
IMP-C            Interplanetary Monrtoring Platform C (IMP 3, Explorer 28)                            5129165       118               0            15
Geminr 4         Gemini 4                                                                              613165         0               0             0
TIROS 10         Television Infrared Observation Satellite 10                                          7Jm            0               0            12
Pegasus 3        Pegasus 3                                                                            7/30/65         1               0            16
Gemini 5         Gemini 5                                                                             8/21/65         0               0             1
OGO 2            Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 2 (OGO C)                                          10/14/65       43               227           35
GEOS 1           Geodetic Explorer 1 (GEOS A, Explorer 29)                                            11J6J65      274                 0            7
Pioneer 6        Pioneer A                                                                           12116165       47               122           39
Solar Explorer   Explorer 30                                                                         11/19/65       22                 0           13
DME-A            Explorer 31                                                                         11/29/65      100                 0        2.539
Alouette 2       Alouette B                                                                          11129165      118             1,626        7,348
Gemini 7         Gemini 7                                                                             12/4/65        0                 0             1
ESSA 1           OT3                                                                                   2131%          0                0          10
ESSA 2           OT2                                                                                  2/28/66         0                0          22
NIMBUS 2         Nimbus C                                                                             5115166     1,858                5       3,031
AE-B             Atmosphere Explorer B (Explorer 32)                                                  5/25/f%         1                1            9
Surveyor 1       Surveyor 1                                                                           5/3oJ~          0                0      11,540
OGO 3            Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 3 (OGO B)                                            6J7J66       254                0         702
PAGEOS 1         Pageos A                                                                             6124166        55                0          24
IMP-D            Interplanetary Monitoring Platform D (AIMP 1)                                         7/l/66       436                0          60
Gemini 10        Gemini 10                                                                            7/l 0166        0                0            1
                                                                                                                                        (continued)




                                               Page 38                             GAOm91-8        NASA’r Adha     h       Muln#     Valuable   Data
                                                Appendix   IV
                                                Holdin@ Prom b&W IWatolls   Archived   by
                                                the N§SDC




                                                                                                              Quantity of holdings   by
                                                                                                                 storage mediuma      -
Mission name      Alternate name(s)                                                           Launch date     Tapes     Paper         Film
Lunar Orbiter 1   Lunar Orbiter A                                                                 a/IO/                      0      1315
Pioneer 7         Pioneer B                                                                       8/l 7/66        28        94         29
Gemini 11         Gemini 11                                                                       g/12/66          0         0          0
Lunar Orbiter 2   Lunar Orbiter B                                                                 1 l/6/66        22         0     35,011
Gemini 12         Geminr 12                                                                      11/11/66          0         0           0
ATS 1             Applrcation Technology Satellite 1 (ATS B)                                      12/7/66        142        36         99
Biosatellite 1    Biosatellite 1                                                                 12/14/66          0         0          0
ESSA 4            TOS B                                                                           l/26 167         0         1          6
Lunar Orbiter 3   Lunar Orbiter C                                                                  2 15167        22         0     20,960
OS0 3             Orbiting Solar Observatory 3 (OS0 E)                                             310167        293         0         24
ATS 2             Application Technology Satellite 2 (ATS A)                                       416167         65         0          15
Surveyor 3        Surveyor 3                                                                      4/l 7167         1         0       12,997
ESSA5             TOSC                                                                            4120167          0         0           13
San Marco 2       San Marco B                                                                     4126167          0         0            3
Lunar Orbiter 4   Lunar Orbiter D                                                                  j/4/67         18         0       19,281
Ariel 3           UK3                                                                              5/S/67        138         0           70
IMP-F             Interplanetary Monitoring Platform F (IMP 4, Expl. 34)                          5124167        366        17          521
Mariner 5         Mariner Venus 67                                                                6/14/67         10         0            4
IMP-E             Interplanetary Monitoring Platform E (AIMP 2, Expl. 35)                         7/l 9167       402         0        170
OGO 4             Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 4 (OGO D)                                      7;20;67        580         0        219
Lunar Orbiter 5   Lunar Orbiter E                                                                  a/1 167        21         0     35,045
Biosatellite 2    Biosatellite 2                                                                   917167          0         0         12
Surveyor 5        Surveyor E                                                                       9;8;67          4         0     36.487
OS0 4             Orbiting Solar Observatory 4 (OS0 D)                                           IO/18167         29         0         26
ATS 3             Application Technology Satellite 3 (ATS C)                                      1l/5/67          0         5         86
Surveyor 6        Survevor F                                                                      11I7167          2         0     60.512
ESSA 6            TOS D                                                                          11/10/67          0         5         li
Pioneer 8         Pioneer C                                                                      12/13/67         19        52          65
TETR 1            Test and Training Satellite 1 (TETR A)                                         12Jl3J67          0         0            2
Survevor7         Survevor G                                                                       l/7/68          3         0     42.241
GEOS 2            Geodetic Explorer 2 (GEOS B, Explorer 36)                                       1,; l/68        81         0          31
OGO 5             Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 5 (OGO E)                                       3/4/m         918         0         599
SOLRAD 9          Explorer 37                                                                      3/5/@3          0         0            0
ESRO 2            International Radiation Satellite 1 (ESRO 28, IRIS)                             5/I 7/68         0         0            2
RAE-A             Radio Astronomv Explorer A (RAE l( Explorer 38)                                  7/4/68          0         0       2,499
AD-C              Air Density Explorer C (Explorer 39)                                             0/W@            0         0          16
lnjun 5           lnjun C (Explorer 40)                                                            ww~        11,829         0      21,829
ATS 4             Application Technology Satellite 4 (ATS D)                                      S/10/66          0         0            2
ESSA 7            TOS E                                                                           8/16/68          0         0            7
                                                                                                                              (continued)




                                                Page 34                       GAO/IMTEC91-3     NASA’s Archives Are Missing Valuable Data
                                               Appendix IV
                                               Holdinga Prom hfajor   Missions   Ad&d    by
                                               the N!3SDC




                                                                                                                   Quantity of holdings by
                                                                                                                      storaqe medium.
Mission name     Alternate name(s)                                                                Launch date      Tapes     Paper       Film
Aurora           ESRO 1A                                                                               1o/3/68             0           0         1
TETR 2           Test and Training Satellite 2 (TETR B)                                                11/a/68             0           0 ___-. 14
Proneer 9        Pioneer D                                                                             11;8;68            14          53        37
HEOS 1           HEOS A                                                                                1215168            12           3         6
OAO 2            Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 (OAO A2)                                          1217168           427           0       125
ESSA 8           TOS F                                                                                12/l 5168            0           0        22
OS0 5            Orbrting Solar Observatory 5 (OS0 F)                                                  l/22/69           499           0       731
ISIS 1           ISIS A                                                                                l/30/69           150          14     6.274
Mariner 6        Mariner 6                                                                             2/25/69            16           0       572
ESSA 9           TOS G                                                                                 2;26;69             0           0        14
Apollo 9         Apollo 9                                                                                313169            0           0         0
Mariner 7        Mariner Mars 698                                                                      3127169            21           0       894
NIMBUS 3         Nimbus 82                                                                             4/l 4;69        1,545          12    10,413
OGO 6            Orbiting Geophysrcal Observatory 6 (OGO F)                                              615169          516           0       186
IMP-G            Interplanetary Monrtoring Platform G (IMP 5, Explorer 41)                             6121169           648          28        30
Biosatellrte 3   Biosatellrte D                                                                        6/29i69             0           0         2
Apollo 11        Apollo 11                                                                             7/ 16169           25           1     6,515
PAC-A            Package Attitude Control                                                                8/9/69            0           0         9
OS0 6            Orbiting Solar Observatory 6                                                            8 /g/69          84           0        28
ATS 5            Application Technolow Satellite 5                                                     8/l 2/69          320           0        55
Boreas           ESRO 18                                                                               10/l/69             0           0          1
GRS-A            German Research Satellite A (AZUR)                                                    11/a/69            60           0              5
ADOIIO12
 1~
                 ADOIIO 12                                                                            1l/14/69         1.970           1         21,671
ITOS 1           TIROS M                                                                               1;23;70             0           0              4
SERT 2           Space Electric Rocket Test 2                                                            214170            0           0             12
TOP0 1           TOP0 1                                                                                  4l8J70            0           0              1
NIMBUS 4         Nimbus 4                                                                                4/8/70        3,278           0         12,667
Apollo 13        Apollo 13                                                                             4/l l/70            2           1          2,241
OF0 1            Orbiting Frog Otolith                                                                 11/s/70             0           0              0
RMS              Radiation Meteorold Satellite                                                         11/g/70             0           0              1
NOAA 1           ITOS A                                                                               12/l l/70            0           0              2
SAS-A            Small Astronomy Satellite A                                                          12/l 2170          352           0             15
ADOIIO 14        Apollo 14                                                                             t/31/71             6           1         28,285
IMP-I            Interplanetary Monitoring Platform I (Explorer 43)                                    3/13/71           286          11          1,881
San Marco 3      San Marco 3                                                                           4/24/7 1            0           0              7
ISIS 2           ISIS 2                                                                                4/31/71           273          54       6.028
Mariner 9        Manner 9                                                                              5;30/71            50          85     44,531
SOLRAD 10        Explorer 44                                                                            mm                 0           0          21
Apollo 15        Apollo 15                                                                             7126J7 1        2,072           4     80.436
                                                                                                                                        (conttnued)




                                               Page 36                             GAO/IMTlW913      NASA’s Archives    Are Missing   Valuable    Data
                                              Appendix IV
                                              HoWnga Prom Major     Mhions   Archived   by
                                              the NSSDC




                                                                                                               Quantity of holdings by
                                                                                                                  storaqe medium’
Mission name   Alternate name(s)                                                              Launch date      Tapes     Paper       Film
Apollo 15      Apollo 15 Subsatellite
SUBST                                                                                                B/4/71       737              0         74
EOLE 1         CAS A                                                                               B/16/71          1              0          4
TETR 4         Test and Trarnrng Satellite 4                                                       g/29/7 1         0              0          2
OS0 7          Orbiting Solar Observatory 7                                                        9/29/7 1       134              1        193
S-Cubed A      Small Screntrfic Satellite A (Explorer 45)                                         11/15/71     25,072              0      1.391
Ariel 4        Ariel 4                                                                            12/l l/71     1,904              0          6
HEOS 2         HEOS 2                                                                              l/31/72         15              0          3
Pioneer 10     Pioneer F                                                                             313172       317              5        517
TD 1A          TD 1                                                                                3/l 2/72         3              0          7
ADOIIO 16      Apollo 16                                                                           4/16/72      2,110              1     90,121
Apollo 16      Apollo 16 Subsatellrte
SUBST                                                                                              4124172           95             0             8
LANDSAT 1      Earth Resources Technology Satellite A                                              7123172            0             0            20
Explorer 46    Meteorotd Technology Satellite                                                      B/l 3172           0             0             6
OAO 3          Orbiting Astronomrcal Observatory 3 (Copernicus)                                    8121I72           50           145           198
IMP-H          Interplanetary Monitoring Platform H (Explorer 47)                                  g/22/72          886            26         1,559
NOAA 2         ITOS D                                                                             1O/l 5172           0             0             7
SAS-B          Small Astronomy ’ Satellite B (Explorer 48)                                        1l/16/72             1           1          1,743
 SRO 4         ESR04                                                                              1l/21/72             3           0              4
Apollo 17      Apollo 17                                                                           1217172             8           0         86,242
NIMBUS 5       Nimbus E                                                                           12/l l/72        3,151           0         47 279
Aeros          Aeros                                                                              12/l 6;72            2           0             18




Skylab CSM 3   Skylab Command and Service Module 3                                                lt/t6/73             0            0         4,800
AE-C           Atmosphere Explorer C (Explorer 51)                                                12116173           869            0           127
San Marco 4    San Marco C2                                                                         2/18/74            0            0            14
SMS 1          Synchronous Meteorological Satellite 1                                               5/ 17174       6,561            0         4,343
ATS 6          Application Technology Satellite 6                                                   5130174        1,186            1         1,693
Hawkeye        lnjun F (Explorer 52)                                                                  613174           0            0            14
Aeros 2        Aeros B                                                                              7/ 16174           8            0             7
ANS            Astronomical Netherlands Satellite                                                  a/30/74              2           0            8
UK5            United Kingdom 5                                                                   to/1 5/74             2           0          18
                                                                                                                                     (continued)




                                               Page 36                         GAO/IMTEG913      NASA’s Archivea    Are hfissii   Valuable     Data
                                                   Appendix IV
                                                   Holdings Prom ?&jor   Missiona   Archived   by
                                                   the NSSDC




                                                                                                                         Quantity of holdings by
                                                                                                                            storage medium.
Mission name      Alternate name(s)                                                                  Launch date         Tapes     Paper       Film
NOAA 4            ITOS G                                                                                11II1 5174
                                                                                                              -I              0          0           14
Hellos-A          Helios 1                                                                              12/l o/74           177          1           8.5
                                                                                                                                                     _-
LANDSAT 2         Earth Resources Technology Satellite B                                                  1;22;75             0          0           15
SMS 2             Synchronous Meteorologrcal Satellite 2                                                   216175         6,392          0        3.823
GEOS 3            Geodetic Explorer 3                                                                      419175           160          0           1S
SAX               Small Astronomy Satellite C (Explorer 53)                                                5;7;75             0         24           ‘-
                                                                                                                                                 3,019
NIMBUS 6          Nimbus F                                                                               6/l 2175         1,058          0     48,538
OS0 8             Orbiting Solar Observatory   8                                                         6121175            660          1         213
ASTP-Apollo       Apollo Soyuz Test Project                                                              7/l 5175             4          0       3,633
COS-B             Cosmrc Ray Satellite B                                                                  0/g/75              0          0            0
Viking 1          Viking B                                                                               a/20/75            668          7     56,785
Viking 2          Viking A                                                                                g/9/75            520          1     37,486
AE-D              Atmosphere Explorer D (Explorer 54)                                                    10/6/75             44          0            3
GOES 1            Geostationary Envrronmental Satellite A                                               1O/l 6175         5,289          0       2,934
AE-E              Atmosphere Explorer E (Explorer 55)                                                   11/20/75            886          0          29
Helios-B          Helios 2                                                                                l/15/76            98          1          65
LAGEOS            Laser Geodetic Satellite                                                                514176            115          0            0
NOAA 5            ITOS H                                                                                 7129176              0          0          12
GEOS/ESA          GEOS 1                                                                                 4120177             22          0          14
GOES 2            Geostatronary Environmental Satellite B                                                S/l 6177         2,957          0         103
GMS               Geostationary Meteorological Satellite                                                 7114177              0          0             1
HEAO 1            High Energy Astronomy Observatory 1 (HEAO A)                                           S/l 2177           186          0         113
Voyager
   _ - 2          Mariner Jupiter/Saturn B                                                               B/20/77            385          1     68,466
Voyager 1         Mariner Jupiter/Saturn A                                                                9/5;77            409          1     83,666
ISEE 1            International Sun Earth Explorer 1 (ISEE A)                                           1O/22/77            629          2       9,435
ISEE 2            lnternatronal Sun Earth Exdorer 2 (ISEE 8)                                            1O/22/77            267          0       2.120
METEOSAT 1        Meteorological Satellite A                                                            11/23/77              0          0            0
IUE               International Ultraviolet Explorer                                                     1/ 26178         1,460          0     55,501
LANDSAT 3         Earth Resources Technology Satellite C                                                  315178              0          0             6
HCMM              Heat Capacity Mapping Mission                                                          4126178          2,678          0 158,830
Pioneer Venus 1   Pioneer Venus Orbiter                                                                  5/20/78            411          4       5,580
GOES 3            Geostationary Environmental Satellite C                                                6/16/78            619          0         841
SEASAT 1          Ocean Dynamics Satellite A (SEASAT A)                                                   6/26/78            19          0             3
GEOS-B/ESA        GEOS 2                                                                                   7/l 4178          15          0          28
Proneer Venus 2   Pioneer Venus 78                                                                          8/8/78           31          2             8
 SEE 3            International Sun Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE C)                                              01; 2;78         181          0       6,685
CAMEO             Chemrcally Active Materials Ejected in Orbit                                           i o/24/78            0          0            0
TIROS-N           Television Infrared Observation Satellite N                                            1Of 13178             1         0             3
NIMBUS 7          Nimbus G                                                                               1O/24/78        13,595          0     88,796
                                                                                                                                          (contrnued)




                                                   Page 37                           GAo/lMTJZG913     NASA’s Archives     Are ~+&&IJJ Valuable   Data
                                             AppendixIV
                                             HoldhqpPromb@jorMl~Io~Archtndby
                                             the NSSDC




                                                                                                                       Quantity of holdings by
                                                                                                                          Storage medium’
Mission name    Alternate name(s)                                                                  Launch date         Tapes     Paper       Film
HEAO 2          High Energy Astronomy Observatory 2 (HEAO B, Einstein)                                  l l/13/78           23            0          22
SAGE            Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Expenment (AEM B)                                           2/ 18179         235            0           2
UK 6            Anel6                                                                                       612179           0             1          3
NOAA 6          NOAA A                                                                                    6/27/79            0            0           0
HEAO 3          High Energy Astronomy Observatory 3 (HEAO C)                                              9/20/79           33            0           1
MAGSAT          Global Magnetic Survey Mission (AEM C)                                                  1O/36/79           228            0          65
SMM             Solar Maximum Mission                                                                    2/14/8O             7            0         232
GOES 4          Geostationary Environmental Satellite D                                                   9/9/8fJ            0            0           0
GOES 5          Geostationary Environmental Satellite E                                                  5/22/8l            17            0           0
DE2             Dynamics Explorer 2 (DE B)                                                                0/3/a 1            4            0          41
DE 1            Dynamics Explorer 1 (DE A)                                                                  0/3/a 1          8            0          50
SME             Solar Mesosphere Explorer                                                                 1O/6/81          131            0           0
STS 2/OSTA- 1   Office of Space and Terrestrial Application 1                                           1l/12/81            11            0       2,200
STS 3/OSS-1     Shuttle OFT 3                                                                            3122182             0            0       2,582
IRAS            Infrared Astronomical Satellite                                                           l/25/83          165            0       1,178
NOAA 8          NOAA E                                                                                   3128183             0            0           0
GOES 6          Geostationary Environmental Satellite F                                                  4128183            81            0           0
EXOSAT          European X-Ray Observatory Satellite                                                     5126183              1           0            0
Spacelab 1      Spacelab 1 (STS9)                                                                       1 l/28/83            0            0           0
AMPTE/CCEb      Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer                                           8/16/84            78            0      63,597
AMPTE/IRM       AMPTE/lon Release Module                                                                 8116184           194            0           4
AMPTEIUKS       AMPTE/United Kingdom Subsatellite                                                        8/16/84             0            0            1
ERBS            Earth Radiation Budget Satellite                                                         1o/5/84           277            5           0
STS-41 G        Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR B)                                                          1o/5/84           173            0      36,298
NOAA 9          NOAA F                                                                                  12/12/84           120            2           0
Spacelab 3      STS-51 B                                                                                 4/29/85            23            0           0
PDP             Plasma Diagnostic Package                                                                7129185             0            0           0
Spacelab 2      STS-51 F                                                                                 7lW85              13           50       2,924
Spacelab D-l    STS-61 A                                                                                1o/30/85             0            0           0
NOAA 10         NOAA G                                                                                   9/l 7186            0            0           0
GOES 7          Geostationarv Environmental Satellite H                                                  2/26/87             0            0           0
                                             aThe numbers in these columns represent identifiable record holdings on three storage media--tape.
                                             paper, and film. Units for tape and paper usually represent individual magnetic tapes or paper docu-
                                             ments. Film units may be different, depending on the type of film used. For example, mtssions using
                                             1003 reels of microfilm are measured in number of reels. Those using other types of stnp film, of various
                                             wrdths. are measured in linear feet of film. Slides or other individually held film frames, are measured in
                                             number of slides or frames. Microfiche are measured in number of microfiche cards. The holdings shown
                                             do not include ERBS and NC44 9 data stored on 19 optical disks.
                                             bCharge Composition Explorer.




                                             Page 38                              GAO/lMlEC@l%         NASA% Arches       Are Mlaslng Valuable     Data
 Ppe

6% Missions With No Data Archived by
the NSSDC

Table V.l: Missions Without Any Data
                                                                                                          Possible location of any
                                       Mission                                                Launch date dataa
                                       Apollo   9                                                    313169    Unknown
                                       Application Technology Satellite 4 (ATS 4)                   8/10/68    Unknown
                                       Biosatellite 1                                              12/l 4166   Unrversrty of New Mexrco
                                       Biosatellite 2                                                g/7/67    Unknown
                                       Biosatellrte 3                                               6129169    Unknown
                                       Gemini 4                                                      6/3/85    EROS Data Center
                                       Gemini 11                                                    9/l 2166   EROS Data Center
                                       Gemrnr 12                                                   11/l l/66   EROS Data Center
                                       Hawkeye                                                       613174    Unrversity of Iowa
                                       Orbrting Frog Otolith 1 (OF0 1)                              11/9/70    Unknown
                                       Plasma Diagnostic Package (PDP)                              7/29/85    University of Iowa
                                       Pioneer 4                                                      313159   Unknown
                                       Pioneer 3                                                    1216158    Unknown
                                       Skylab Command and Service Module 1                          5125173    Unknown
                                          (CSM 1)
                                       Skylab Command and Service Module 2                          7/28/73    Unknown
                                          (CSM 2)
                                       Skylab Command and Service Module 3                         1l/16/73    Unknown
                                          (CSM 3)
                                       Space Transportation Systems S/Spacelab 1                   1l/28/83    Unknown
                                       Space Transportation System 61 A/Spacelab                   10/30/85    Unknown
                                          D-l
                                       “According to an NSSDC official, for locations showing “unknown”, it is likely that these data are betng
                                       held by the principal investigator or co-investigator. However, NSSDC IS unaware of the exact location
                                       of these data.




                                       Page 39                              GAO,TtlTK%lS        NASA’s Archives    Are Midng     Valuable   Data
                                             NASA Mladonr   With No Data Archived   by
                                             the NSSDC




Table V.2: Mirsions Without Digital Data
                                                                                             Storage media      Posrible location of
Mission                                                                   Launch date       Paper          Film digital data
Air Densrty Explorer A (AD-A)                                                  12/19/63         0              7   Unknown
Air Densitv Explorer B (AD-B)                                                  1l/21/64         0             28   Unknown
Air Density Explorer C (AD-C)                                                    a/0/68         0             18   Unknown
Atmosphere Explorer A (AE-A)                                                     413163         0              7   Unknown
Application Technology Satellite 3 (ATS 3)                                      1l/5/67         5             86   Unknown
Explorer 9                                                                      2/l 6161        0              4   Unknown
Explorer 8                                                                      11/3/60         0              6   Unknown
Gemini 10                                                                       7/l 8166        0              1   EROS Data Center
Gemini 7                                                                        1214165         0              1   EROS Data Center
Gemini 5                                                                        8/21 I65        0              1   EROS Data Center
ITOS 1                                                                          l/23/70         0              4   NOAA
Orbrting Solar Observatory 2 (OS0 2)                                              213~65        0             10   Unknown
Explorer 10                                                                     3125161         0              3   Unknown
Pioneer 1                                                                      10/11/58         0,             6   Unknown
Pioneer 5                                                                       3/11/60     2,000             39   Unknown
Radio Astronomy Explorer A (RAE-A)                                               7/4/m          0          2,499   Unknown
Small Astronomy Satellite C (SAX)                                                5l7l75        24          3,019   Unknown
Space Transportation System 3/0ffice of Space Science 1 (STS-S/OSS-1)           3122102         0          2,582   Unknown
Survevor 1                                                                      5130166         0         11,540   Unknown




                                             Page 40                         GAO/IMTEGBl%     NASA’s Archbee   Are Missing   Valuable Data
Ppe

Gzon and Status of Data for Cumently
Important Missions

              Atmospheric Explorers (AE)-higher        resolution data held by principal
              investigators.

              Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers (AMPI’E)-some
              AMPT,E/Charge Composition Explorer (CCE) higher resolution data held
              by AMPLE Science Data Center at John Hopkins University. 05s~ and
              NSSDC officials told us that although CODMAC has identified AMPTE/Ion
              Release Module (IRM) and AMPTE United Kingdom Subsatellite (UKS)
              as “currently important scientific missions,” NASA and NSSDC are not
              responsible for archiving data from these missions. However, NSSDCis
              archiving many AMPTE/IRM data.

              Dynamic Explorers (DE)-most data held by principal investigators,
              being processed before submission to NSSDC.

              Interplanetary Monitoring Platform (IMP)-limited      unique IMP data
              held by principal investigators, key data in processing for submission to
              NSSDC.


              International Sun Earth Explorers (ISEE)-most data held by principal
              investigators, being processed for submission to NSSDC.

              Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO)-all     data held by principal
              investigators.

              Solar Maximum Mission (SMM)-most data at Goddard’s SMM Data
              Analysis Center (DAC) for public access; other data readied for submis-
              sion to DAC; copies of SMM/DAC data will be archived by the NSSDC.

              Mariner-data    held by principal investigators, some data at              JPL.


              Pioneer-data held by principal investigators; NASA’S Ames Research
              Center is working with investigators on data archival plans.

              Pioneer Venus-data held by principal investigators; NASA'S Ames Space
              Center is working with investigators on data archival plans.

              Viking-data   held by principal investigators, some data at JPL. Infrared
              data copied on CD-ROM optical disks (Compact Disk Read Only
              Memory).

              Voyager-data   held by principal investigators,      JPL’S   Planetary Data
              System. Most imaging data on CD-ROMs.


              Page 41                   GAO/lMTEG913    NASA’8 Archlvea    Are Missing     Valuable   Data
LocatIon and Stat-am of Data for Currently
important  Mhions




High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)-most         data from HEAO 1
and 3 held by principal investigators. Most data from HEAO B held by
the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory.

Infrared Astronomical Satellite (II&S)-most       data at NSSDC.According
to the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) officials, the full
set of IRAS data-including     original and archival data, is also stored at
IPAC at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in
the Netherlands at University of Groningen and Sterrewach Huygens
Laboratorium at the University of Leiden, and in the United Kingdom by
the IRAS Post Mission Analysis Facility at Rutherford Appleton
Laboratory.

International      Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE)-most            data at NSSDC.

Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS)-most data at Langley
Research Center; data are routinely submitted to NSSLKJ archive.
                                            *
Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM)-all      digitized data at NSSDC.
Many raw data still unprocessed.

Nimbus-7-most      data at NSDC, selected data held by Goddard for distri-
bution to investigators in coordination with NSSDC.

Seasat-all       data at JPL.

Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME)-most                 data at    NSSDC,   balance held by
the University of Colorado.

Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B)--in compliance with NASA instructions,
NSSDC is not distributing SIR-B data to users. In a form letter to scientists
requesting SIR-B data, NSSDC notes that in compliance with the congres-
sional decision after a reassessment of the Land Remote Sensing Com-
mercialization Act of 1984, “SIR-B data will be distributed by a private
firm yet to be identified.”




Page 42                             GAO/lMTECXlS   NASA’s Archivea   Are bfh~ing   vahable   Data
Appendix VII

NASA Missions Without Project Data
Management Plans, 1978-85

                                                                                                            Date of
               Mission name                                                                                 launch
               Pioneer Venus Orbiter                                                                        5/20/78
               Ocean Dynamrcs Satellite A (SEASAT 1)                                                        6126178
               Pioneer Venus 78                                                                               8/a/78
               International Sun Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE 3)                                                  af 12178
               Chemically Active Materials Ejected in Orbit (CAMEO)                                       1O/24/78
               Nimbus 7                                                                                   I o/24/78
               High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO 2)                                                 1 l/13/78
               Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE)                                              2/l 8179
               High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO 3)                                                   g/20/79
               Global Magnetic Survey Mission (MAGSAT)                                                    10/30/79
               Solar Maximum Mission (SMM)                                                                  2/l 4180
               Dynamics Explorer 1 (DE 1)                                                                     8/3/81
               Dynamics Explorer 2 (DE 2)                                                                     8/3/81
               Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME)                                                              1O/6/81
               Office of Space and Terrestrial Application    (STS 2)                                     1l/12/81
                                                                                *
               Shuttle OFT 3 (STS3/OSS-1)                                                                   3/22/82
               Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)’                                                      l/25/83
               Spacelab 1                                                                                 1l/28/83
               Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer (AMPTE/CCE)                                   a/l 6184
               Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS)                                                      1o/5/84
               Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B)                                                              1o/5/84
               Spacelab 3                                                                                   4m85
               Plasma Diagnostic Package (POP)                                                              7129185
               Spacelab 2                                                                                   7129185
               Soacelab D-l                                                                                1O/30/85
               ?-~e IRAS mission prepared, in lieu of an POMP, an agreement for archiving its data at the NSSDC




               Page 48                            GAO/IMTEG@lS       NASA’8 Ambivea     Are Mhing    Valuable     Data
Appendix VIII

Status of Project Data Management Plans for -
Active and Planned Missions, 198&9L


                                                                                                                             Actual
                                                                                                                           P:a,“u”n;f    Date PDMP
Missions                                                                                                                                  approved

Operational
San Marco-D                                                                                                                  3/l 988           211988
Magellan                                                                                                                      4/l 989          511989
Galileo                                                                                                                     lo/l989            311990
Shu!tle Solar Backscatter Ultravfolet Instrument 1 (SBUV-1)                                                                 IO/l989            ---
Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)                                                                                           1l/l989            6/ 1988
Hubble Space Telescope (HST)                                                                                                 411990            7/l 982
Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT)                                                                                                    611990           --L:
Combmed Release and Radiation Effect Satellite (CRRES)                                                                        711990           ---e

Planned
Astronomv Laboratory l/Broad Band X-Rav Telescope (Astro-l/BBXRT)                                                               1990           2/1990
Space Lrfe Sciences-l (SLS-1)                                                                                                   1990           ---
Ulysses                                                                                                      l                  1990           ---
Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO)                                                                                                     1990           ---
Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument 2 (SBUV-2)                                                                     1996           ---
International Microgravity Laboratory 1 (IML-1)                                                                                 1990           ---
Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science 1 (ATLAS-l)                                                                 1991           ---
Spacelab-J                                                                                                                      1991           ---
Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE)                                                                                             1991           ---
Uoper Atmosphere Research satellite WARS)                                                                                       1991           ---
Laser Geodynamics   Satellite II (LAGEOS II)                                                                                    1991           ---
                                                Yncludes )ornt missrons with forergn governments.
                                                bGoddard News, Mixed Fleet Manifest, Vol. 36, No.3 March 1990
                                                COSSAhas no plans to prepare an PDMP for the SSBUV.
                                                dROSAT’s PDMP IS in the signature cycle. ThusGerman mission, with NASA instruments, WIIInot be
                                                generating data for NASA unhl March 1991.
                                                Qata from thusmission will largely consist of photographs.




                                                Page 44                             GAO/IbiTEC913       NASA’r Archives   Are Missing   Valuable     Data
Appendix IX

Comments From the National Aeronautics and
SpaceA dministration

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those In the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.        NASA
                             Natlonal Aeronautics and
                             Space Adrnlnlstratlon
                             Washlngton. D C
                             20546                                                              SEP 17 1990
                             Office of the Administrator



                               Mr. Ralph V. Carlone
                               Assistant      Comptroller   General
                               Information       Management and
                                  Technology      Division
                               United     States   General  Accounting       Office
                               Washington,       DC 20548

                               Dear      Mr.     Carlone:
                                      This is the National     Aeronautics      and Space
                               Administration's       (NASA) response     to the General         Accounting
                               Office     (GAO) Draft   Report GAO/IMTEC-90-73,         entitled      "Space
                               Operations:      NASA Is Not Archiving       All Potentially        Valuable
                               Data,”     dated August 28, 1990.
                                     Overall,      the draft      report   presents   a useful   assessment
                               of some key issues         in science      data management.      NASA shares
                               many of the concerns           identified     by GAO, has programs
                               underway       to address    the majority      of them, and plans to
                               address      the remainder.         GAO acknowledges     these plans and
                               recognizes       them in the body of the report.             NASA finds   the
                               recommendations        in the report       to be reasonable     and
                               appropriate.
                                      The enclosure       provides     more specific       comments and
                               suggestions      that   we believe       will  strengthen        the report  and
                               reduce possible       misinterpretations.            We have also provided
                               additional     information        and corrections       directly     to
                               the members of your staff.               We appreciate       the efforts    of
                               your staff     to solicit       and consider      NASA's views through         the
                               process     of the review.
                                                                        Sincerely,


                                                                        &&?L.&
                                                                       3ohn E. O'Brien
                                                                       Assistant  Deputy           Administrator
                               Enclosure




                                       Page 45                     GAO-913            NASA’8 Archivea   Are Missing   Valuable   Data
     Commenta From the National     Aeronantks
     and Space AdUddStlUtlOll




                    NASA Response         To     GAO Dtaft     Report

                                  GAO/IlmEC-90-73


I.         Executive       Summary
NASA agrees in general       with the conclusions       and
recommendations,    but does, however,        have some concern      with
respect   to the perspective      or emphasis     that  is presented.
For instance,    the emphasis     on having    no data archived      for
18 of the 263 major science        missions    launched     between 1958-
1987 neglects    the fact    that data    -is archived    for 245 or 93%
of the missions.
Another     concern    is the potentially          misleading      title     chosen
to highlight       the principal      finding      concerning      scientist
involvement      in data archiving.            "Lack of Scientists'
Involvement      in a Key Data Management Area" is not a
completely      accurate    assessment.         As stated,      it is not
consistent      with the narrative         supporting       the assertion,        nor
with the facts        and conclusions        presented      in the body of the
report.
Significant         parts    of the science           user community          are, in
fact,     vitally       concerned      with,     and playing         key roles     in
archiving         and data management systems.                     In addition     to the
investigator         working      groups that play a key role in flight
mission       planning,      steering        groups have been established                by
the various         science     discipline        offices        to oversee      and
provide       advice     and guidance          in all aspects         of data
management across            the respective           discipline        programs     and
projects.          Examples     include       the Planetary          Science     Data
Steering        Committee,      the Science         Operations        Working Group
for Astrophysics,            the Space Physics             Data Systems Steering
Committee,         and the Life        Sciences       Data Systems Steering
Committee.          All groups       include      participants          from the
outside       research      community.
While there     is no standing    committee     for Microgravity
Science   and Applications,      a data management workshop
involving    members of the research        community   was conducted
in July,    1990 and follow-on     plans    are being developed     for
an appropriate     data   management approach.
Furthermore,       the Science      Advisory    Panel for the Earth
Observing      System Data and Information           System (EOSDIS)
includes     representatives        from the broad spectrum      of Earth
science     users;    they have been very active          in EOSDIS
planning     to date,      and will    continue   their   active role
during    the course       of the program.




     Page 46
                            Appendix IX
                            Commenta Fhm the Natiod      Aeronautica
                            and Space Adminimtration




                 r

                     NASA recognizes        user involvement       as a vital   element   for
                     success;    we will      continue    to build    on past experience      to
                     strengthen      that   involvement     in all elements     of data
                     management.        With the context      altered    above, we certainly
                     agree with the recommendation            to continue     to do so.     We
                     also accept the other           recommendations     which we consider       to
See comment 1        be constructive        and appropriate.
                     II.         Chapter    2 "NASA IS Not Preserving          All   Valuable     Space
                                 Science    Data”

                     1. In spite   of the clarifications           provided   through       footnotes
                     to Table 2.1 on page 18 the table              is still   potentially
                     misleading.     The rightmost       column is especially          confusing
                     with respect    to terminology,        perspective,     and intended
                     message.    For example,     Viking,      which is presented          as having
                     no archival   effort,    has an active         project  to restore         data
                     under the auspices     of the Planetary           Data System.
                     2. The      statement       on page 22, paragraph      2, "Between       1986 to
                     1989,      Goddard released         532,000 tapes,    a large    portion      of
                     which      contained       original   data",   needs to be,clarified          to
                     avoid      misinterpretation.           The statement    is partially
                     correct,        but care should       be taken to not surmise         that
                     almost      half    of the 1.2 million       data tapes containing          all of
                     NASA's       science     data from 260 missions       (described      on page 1
                     of the      document)       were "released."
                     In fact,      532,000 tapes were sent to the Information
                     Processing       Division's       (IPD) Magnetic       Tape Certification
                     Facility      for degaussing,         cleaning,    and recertification       for
                     reuse.      However,       these were comprised         of a variety      of
                     production-oriented            tapes,     many of which would never be
                     considered       for either       short-term    retention     or long-term
                     archiving.
                     Another  100,000 of these tapes were from missions      such as
                     Nimbus-7  and the Dynamics Explorers,   which converted     their
                     Level 0 (raw) data to optical    disks before releasing     their
                     data tapes for recertification.
                     Many of the other         tapes released         are from various
                     processing       steps in the IPD data processing              cycle,
                     including      data capture      tapes,      pre-edit   tapes,    edit   tapes,
                     etc.,     all  of which contain        raw data.       However,     the science
                     community      associated     with these missions          received    the
                     required      Level   0 products      (e.g.,     decommutated     data tapes).
                     The point   is that    of the 532,000 tapes that were released,
                     only a small portion      were for user data tapes    and no tape
See comment 2.       was degaussed    without    the user's written permission.




                           Page 47                         GAO/IMTECBlS    NASA% Amblvea   Are Mintdng Vahable   Data
                                                                                                                     -
                        Appendix IX
                        Comments From the National   Aeronautica
                        and Space Adminbtratlon




                 III.       Appendix V - "NASA Missions                 With     No Data     Archived
                            by the NSSDC"
                 It is important     to note that the University            of Iowa is
                 preparing   the Master      Science  files    of the entire       4 year
                 HAWKEYE mission     to be archived       under special      arrangements
                 made with the NSSDC. These arrangements                were initiated     in
                 1989 with the agreement         that the University        of Iowa would
                 send the complete       data set for archiving         all   at one time.
                 The NSSDC expects       to receive   this    important     data   set by the
                 end of this    calendar     year.
                 In addition,     Plasma Diagnostic                 Package (PDP) data         is at    the
                 University     of Iowa and not at                 an UNKNOWN location         as
See comment 3.   specified    in this   appendix.
                 IV.         Appendix  VII - "NASA Missions               Without       Project     Data
                             Management Plans"
                 Although     these missions       did not have formal             PDMPs, there
                 are extensive        documented     arrangements        fon data archiving
                 and data access for many of these missions.                        For example,
                 DE, IMP, and ISEE do have formal                archiving       plans   and multi-
                 year funding       to carry    out the completion            of the data
                 archiving.        The NSSDC has nearly          all levels        (over 25,000
                 data tapes and several          hundred     optical       disks)     of NIMBUS-7
                 data.      The Smithsonian      Astrophysical         Observatory       is
                 currently      creating    an extensive       library      of HEAO data on CD-
See comment 4.   ROMS.




                         Page 43                          GA0/xMTEc@1~         NASA’@ &&ha    An lbilmlng Valuable       Data
               Commenta F’rom the National   Aeronantics
               and Space AdmMstration




               The following are GAO'S comments on the National Aeronautics and
               Space Administration letter dated September 17, 1990.

               1. “Executive Summary”
GAO Comments
               NASA  agrees in general with the report’s conclusions and recommenda-
               tions, but mentions concern about our emphasis on its having no
               archival data for 18 of the 263 missions launched between 1958-87,
               believing it neglects the fact that data for 245, or 93 percent of these
               missions are archived. We acknowledge that some data are archived for
               most of NASA'S missions and worded the executive summary accordingly.
               However, we consider the total absence of data for 18 missions as a
               major loss.

               NASA  also believes that the title we chose to highlight the scientists’
               involvement in a key data management area is potentially misleading.
               We modified the title to more accurately reflect our finding.

               2. "NASA Is Not Preserving All Valuable Space Science Data”

               NASA   comments that table 2.1, which shows the status of archival data
               for currently important missions, is potentially misleading, and in the
               case of the Viking mission, inaccurate. The information presented in the
               far right column (which shows the current level of archival effort) was
               verified by NSSDC, and we believe it to be accurate. NSSDC has also pro-
               vided more information clarifying the status of archival activities
               presented in appendix VI.

               NASAsays that our statement on the release (destruction or reuse) of
               632,000 tape should be clarified to show that these tapes are not
               included in the 1.2 million data tapes kept in data storage facilities. We
               have clarified our statement in a footnote explaining that the 532,000
               tapes are not part of the 1.2 million tapes in NASA'S storage facilities.

               According to NASA, (1) only a small portion of the 632,000 tapes released
               by TSSF contained original space science data, and (2) no tapes were
               released without the user’s written permission. We disagree. Even if we
               exclude the 100,000 tapes from the Nimbus-7 and the Dynamics
               Explorer missions and an additional 180,000 tapes containing interme-
               diate data not identified with a specific mission, between 1986-89 God-
               dard released over 200,000 tapes containing original data.




                Page 49                           GAO/IMTEC@l4   NASA’r Archivea   Are Mluing   Valuable   Data
Appendix IX
Commentu From the National Aeronautits
and Space Admtnhtmtlon




Further, the TSSF tape inventory data base does not provide enough
information on the type of data. Second, there is a discrepancy in God-
dard’s tape release statistics. According to Goddard’s initial estimates,
between 1986-89 NASA released over 590,000 tapes. However, in June
1990, in response to our request to identify these tapes by spacecraft
and type of data, Goddard’s estimate of tapes released during this
period was 67,000 less than the initial count. Regardless of the exact
number of tapes involved, we believe Goddard released at least 200,000
tapes containing original data, and these tapes were released without
ensuring that NSSDC had archived the analyzed data.

NASA  states that no tape was released without the user’s written permis-
sion. While we agree that TSSF obtained the signatures of Goddard offi-
cials responsible for these tapes, this does not ensure that these data
were analyzed and archived at NSDC.

3.   “NASA   Missions With No Data Archived by the         NSSDC”
                                            *
NASApointed out that the University of Iowa is archiving data from the
Hawkeye mission and from the Plasma Diagnostic package instruments.
We modified appendix V to reflect these efforts.

4.   “NASA   Missions Without Project Data Management Plans”

NASA  comments that while many pre-1985 missions did not prepare
formal PDMPS, several had extensive documented arrangements for data
archiving and access. We are aware that each NASA mission prepares
voluminous reports and plans for the acquisition, processing, analysis,
and distribution of mission data. However, we reaffirm our conviction
that the lack of formal PDMPS is one reason why data from many mis-
sions were not archived. Without the PDMP, there is no single mission
document that outlines plans for data analysis, dissemination, archiving,
and the destruction of original data.




 Page 50                         GAO/IMTEGB~~   NASA% Archives Are Missing Valuable Dar.?
Appendix X

Major Contributors to This Report


                       Ronald W. Beers, Assistant Director
Information            Mirko J. Dolak, Evaluator-in-Charge
Management and         David T. Schwartz, Evaluator
                       Kurt A. Burgeson, Evaluator
Tech&logy Division,    Dennis L. O’Connor, Reports Analyst
Washington, D.C.
                       Allan Roberts, Regional Assignment Manager
Los Angeles Regional   Jeffrey N. Webster, Evaluator
Office




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    .
          ib

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