Posted by

NASA Productivity Study

Management Track

Downloadable Files:



This study was performed at the request of the NASA Administrator and examined NASA productivity in terms of economic efficiency. The analysis examined historical trends of NASA “bang for the buck” metrics over time, and compared NASA productivity to other organizations including the Air Force, the NRO, ESA and commercial space taking into the account the relative complexity of the missions. Past studies with a similar focus were reviewed and their results summarized. Finally, recommendations for improving NASA productivity were solicited from industry, government and academia and are documented in the study. The results of the study were briefed to the Administrator in late December 2008 and a journal quality paper is being prepared for submission to the Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics.


Tom Coonce
Mr. Coonce is NASA’s Director of the Cost Analysis Division within the office of Program Analysis and Evaluation. He is responsible for establishing cost estimating policies, training NASA personnel to develop credible cost and schedule estimates, and collecting and disseminating NASA historical project cost, technical and schedule data. He and his staff also develop cost estimates and analyses for other NASA organizations to support strategic decisions and to ensure programs and projects are realistically resourced. Prior to joining NASA, Mr. Coonce served as a Supervisory Operations Research Analyst with DoD’s Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG) within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While there, he developed and assisted in the development of life cycle cost estimates of several Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). He also led an effort to re-engineer the operation the Contractor Cost Data Report System – the Department’s main mechanism to collect historical cost data. Prior to joining the CAIG, Mr. Coonce served as a cost analyst and software development manager with three consulting firms and the U.S. General Accounting Office. He has over 34 years experience developing cost estimates and cost and technical databases.

Bob Bitten
Aerospace Corp
Mr. Bob Bitten works at The Aerospace Corporation and has conducted independent cost estimates for NASA proposal evaluations and independent assessments for a variety of different NASA missions and organizations. Bob is a winner of the President’s Award, The Aerospace Corporation’s highest honor, for his effort in assessing the cost effectiveness of different alternatives in the in the Hubble Space Telescope Remote Servicing Module (HST RSM) Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). Bob also recently won the NASA Cost Estimating Support Contractor of the Year Award for 2007 that is awarded to recognize an individual who has provided “outstanding contractor support to the NASA cost estimating community and significantly contributed to the field of cost estimating.” Bob has a Bachelors degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Joe Hamaker
Dr. Joseph W. Hamaker retired as Director of the Cost Analysis Division of NASA Headquarters in September 2006. In his NASA HQ position, Dr. Hamaker led the development of independent cost estimates for NASA programs, as well as the establishment of strategic management and policy for the overall NASA cost estimating process. Prior to assuming the lead cost position at NASA HQ in September 2002, he spent 29 years at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville AL, the last 16 as Manager of the Engineering Cost Office there. He now works for SAIC as a Senior Cost Analyst and performs program and project independent reviews, cost and schedule estimating, risk/uncertainty analysis and related economic assessments, cost estimating tool development and related work for new and ongoing space projects. Dr. Hamaker earned his BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and three degrees from the University of Alabama in Huntsville: a BA in economics, an MS in Engineering Management, and a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He is a SCEA Certified Cost Analyst and an ISPA Certified Parametric Practitioner.

Henry Hertzfeld
Dr. Henry R. Hertzfeld is a Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Space Policy Institute, Center for International Science and Technology Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. He is an expert in the economic, legal, and policy issues of space and advanced technological development. Dr. Hertzfeld has served as a Senior Economist and Policy Analyst at both NASA and the National Science Foundation, and is a consultant to both U.S. and international agencies and organizations. He is the co-editor of Space Economics (AIAA 1992), as well as many articles on the economic and legal issues concerning space and technology. Dr. Hertzfeld has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a M.A. from Washington University, and a Ph.D. in economics from Temple University. He also holds a J.D. degree from the George Washington University and is a member of the Bar in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.