I published this week an op-ed in Space News entitled “The NACA Model for Technology Transfer.” In this piece I laid out the manner in which the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) approached the issue of deciding, developing, and disseminating the results of research and development (R&D) projects. If you are interested in this subject I would refer you to the piece on the Space News website, which I have linked to above.
At various times politicians and others have suggested that the NACA model of R&D should become the new standard for NASA in the twenty-first century. In 1995 then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (Republican-Georgia) famously declared that although he favored science and technology investment he believed that NASA should have been dismantled after Apollo and returned to its NACA roots. Mr. Gingrich was not alone in this observation, and I asked two central questions about this possible course at the end of my op-ed: “Is this the model NASA should pursue going forward when it comes to research and development of space technologies? Assuming some changes in NASA’s approach are appropriate, how might the NACA model of technology transfer be altered for a new age in the 21st century?”
I immediately heard from friends about meeting them to consider answers to those questions over a drink. That would be a worthwhile exercise, no doubt, but I’m curious if others have thoughts about those questions and how NASA might most effectively accomplish its mission moving forward at this critical juncture in its history. Is the NACA model the way to go, or are other approaches more effective?