Each year since its inception in 1968, the Panel conducts a number of multifaceted, fact-finding sessions at NASA, its Centers, and contractor sites to review, evaluate, and advise on a wide range of program activities, systems, procedures, and management policies that contribute to risk. After this extensive data gathering process, the Panel then provides identification and assessment of these elements to top management. Priority is given to programs involving human space flight safety.
- In addition to undertaking specific assignments or investigations as requested by the NASA Administrator, Deputy Administrator, and the Congress, the Panel:
- Continuously examines the technical management capability of NASA programs from a safety/reliability viewpoint to assess their strengths and weaknesses.
- Selects a small number of specific program/project functional hardware/software areas and assess their worthiness with regard to safety/reliability.
- Assesses those judgments rendered by internal and external review groups.
- Acts to cause NASA and its contractors to be introspective regarding critical hardware/software systems and subsystems, and the decisions affecting them.
The work of the Panel culminates each year in the publication of its Annual Report. This comprehensive Report presents findings and recommendations in key areas defined by the Panel during the previous year. The Report is a public document distributed to the NASA Administrator, appropriate House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees, NASA Centers, American and international industries, the media, academia and the public.