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The Program Office


The Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office was formed in August 2004, when the NASA Science Mission Directorate combined two existing solar system exploration program offices into one. The office is part of the Flight Programs & Partnerships Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The main goal of the Program Office is to enhance the probability of mission success through technical expertise and independent oversight during all phases of the mission life cycle.  A high-powered, effective team examines risks and mitigation plans and conducts technical assessments and reviews when necessary.  The program manager is Allen Bacskay


The small-class Discovery missions and the medium-class New Frontiers missions complement NASA’s flagship missions to meet the many scientific and technical challenges of deep space exploration. The Discovery and New Frontiers missions include flybys, orbiters, landers, impactors, and sample returns to assure optimum scientific value. The discoveries produced by these groundbreaking missions not only dramatically advance our understanding of the solar system, but also help NASA to further refine its exploration strategy.


The Program Office is responsible for ensuring that the missions adhere to committed cost, schedule, performance, reliability, safety, and education and public outreach requirements. This is done consistent with top-level policies, strategies, requirements, and funding established by NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate.


Two documents define the management of the Discovery Program for NASA.  The baseline Discovery Program Plan and the Discovery Program Commitment Agreement  can be found in the Program Library on the Discovery Program Acquisitions web site.