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A recent report by NASA's Space and Earth Science Advisory Committee cautions against assigning the space agency's research and analysis efforts a lower priority than flight operations. If pre- and post-mission science continue to take a back seat to the actual building and launching of spacecraft, the report warns, it may eventually compromise NASA's ability to ensure U.S. leadership in space science.

The report was written by a working group consisting of both NASA personnel and earth and space scientists from the academic community. The group was asked in May 1983 to examine the health of the research and analysis (R&A) program conducted by NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) in the earth and space sciences. While the group found that the quality of research management by scientists at NASA Headquarters was “impressive,” it also identified a critical shortage of cash for R&A programs. According to the report, “the immediate requirements involve an increase of about $10 million in each of the Astrophysics, Earth Science and Applications, and Solar System Exploration divisions, thereby establishing a new base funding level for these activities.”