Multiple Metrics for Advanced Life Support 1999-01-2079
The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) requires NASA and other federal agencies to use goals and metrics. Many Advanced Life Support (ALS) goals and metrics are described in the ALS Program Plan and others have been used in designing life support for the International Space Station (ISS) and earlier missions. These well-established goals can be monitored using familiar metrics. The most important goal of ALS is to have missions successfully fly new life support technology. A new ALS technology will be flown if it provides better safety, availability, performance, or cost. Improvements in these four criteria are the major supporting goals of ALS. An ideal candidate technology would also provide increased self-sufficiency, be useful on different types of missions, and have high potential for technology transfer, but these are incidental benefits that are not required for successful flight. Measuring progress toward all these independent and even conflicting goals requires that ALS use multiple metrics. The ALS goals and metrics are organized in a table and discussed in detail. Reporting multiple metrics will facilitate communications and improve decisions. ALS should report more than one metric to management, to avoid overemphasizing any one particular goal.