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Interagency Agreements

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, also known as the "Space Act," provides our authority to enter into agreements with other U.S. government agencies, commercial entities, academic institutions and other organizations. In particular, the Space Act authorizes and encourages NASA to enter into partnerships that help fulfill our mission. As a result, NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages in a wide variety of strategic partnerships, grouped broadly into cross-NASA, interagency and international collaborations of various types. In some SMD is a customer and in others we are a collaborator.

Some examples include partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) in developing the next-generation of weather and environmental satellites, collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on meteorite collection and curation, and working closely with the Department of Energy (DOE) on the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, to name just a few. A complete list of SMD's interagency partnerships is long, totaling over 60 major agreements. SMD's major interagency partners include DOD, DOE, NSF, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Of course, the effective development and implementation of partnerships requires management discipline. Partnerships involve dependencies and risks that need to be properly managed. Partnerships may also involve significant policy and/or legal issues, such as intellectual property or potential liabilities, that can complicate the development process. SMD remains committed to strategic partnerships that enhance our programs and their scientific or technological return. Our approach is to assess each potential partnership in terms of whether it will reduce NASA cost, enhance the science return of the mission, or make possible discoveries that would otherwise go undetected. Our goal is to partner with organizations that offer unique expertise, services, or materials that we could not acquire internally or otherwise afford. We believe that strategic partnerships will continue to play important roles in making possible the scientific discoveries that lie ahead.

View SMD's current major interagency and external partnerships.