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MSFC Partnerships Office Function, Organization, and Operation. Stacy Counts/Manager, MSFC Partnerships Office February 21, 2012. Why do we have a Partnerships Office?. Created to provide beginning-to-end institutional capability for Partnerships.

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MSFC Partnerships Office

Function, Organization, and Operation

Stacy Counts/Manager, MSFC Partnerships Office

February 21, 2012

why do we have a partnerships office
Why do we have a Partnerships Office?

Created to provide beginning-to-end institutional capability for Partnerships.

Serves organizations across the Center as a central hub for Partnerships assistance.

The Office works closely with Center Strategic Development, Sciences, Engineering, Chief Technologist and the external community to form agreements that leverage Marshall’s capabilities, facilities, and expertise.

The Office focuses on business practices and collaborative forums that facilitate Partnerships.

Emphasis is on External Partner Needs


Flight Programs and Partnerships Office

Robert Lightfoot/MSFC Center Director

FP01 /

Flight Programs and



Safety & Mission Assurance

FP02 / Planning & Control Office

Teresa Vanhooser, Manager

Alan Clark


Gordon, Manager

Paul Gilbert,

Deputy Manager



Doug Riser,

Shelia Woods (DC), ESA

Lisa Messer, Administrative




Lisa Watson


Morgan, Manager



, Deputy Manager


Mark Stiles

FP40 / Partnerships


FP10 / ISS Office

FP30 / Human

Exploration Development


FP20 / Robotic Mission Programs Office


Sledd, Manager


Clardy, Manager


Cianciola, Manager

Stacy Counts, Manager


McDaniel, Deputy Manager

Vacant, Deputy


Nixon, MSA

Whitney Young,


./Data Mgr.

Sheri Bedwell (DC)


Angie Williams, MSA

Vacant, MSA

Rickey Cissom, Staff

Thomas Erdman, Staff



Commercial Space

Commercial Industry

Federal Government

Academia/International Partners

  • For more information, contact:
  • Stacy Counts, Manager, Partnerships Office, (256) 544-6004
  • Chip Jones,Partnership Manager for Commercial Space, (256) 544-2701
  • Charles Nola, Partnership Manager for Federal Government, (256) 544-6367

MSFC Partnerships Office

FP40/Partnerships Office

Partnerships Office (FP40)

Stacy Counts, Manager

Whitney Young, Technical Coordinator

MSA, Vacant

Commercial Industry

International & Academic

Commercial Space

Partnership Mgr

Chip Jones

Federal Government

Partnership Manager

Charlie Nola

one stop shop
“One Stop Shop”
  • Operations
  • Requirements Definition

Systems Engineering Skills

NASA Standards


Space Environments

  • Transportation/ Logistics
  • Design

DDT&E Skills

Payload Design

Launch Vehicle Systems

Thermal Protection



Stennis Space Center

Engine Test

KSC Launch


Advanced Manufacturing (MSFC and MAF)

  • Manufacture
  • Verification and Validation


  • Test



msfc capabilities of interest to commercial partners
MSFC Capabilities of Interest to Commercial Partners
  • Propulsion Systems Research, Technology, & Development
  • Unique Facilities(MAF & MSFC)
  • Large-Scale Manufacturing (MAF & MSFC)
  • Space Environments & Testing
  • Structural Testing
  • Propulsion Testing
  • Avionics/Electrical Systems and Software
  • Payload Systems Technology, Development, & Integration
  • Vehicle Development and Integration
  • Damage Tolerance & Fracture Mechanics
  • Guidance, Navigation, and Control
  • Thermal Systems Design
  • Program/Project Management
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Systems Engineering, Analysis, and Integration
  • Mechanical, Propellants, Pressurants, and Calibration
  • Safety and Mission Assurance
  • Mission Operations  
  • ECLSS Design and Development

Partnerships Office Functions

  • Facilitate the development of new agreements, or update existing agreements
  • Provide clear direction on how the process works
  • Connect appropriate technical personnel inside MSFC with partners
  • Coordinate with the parties to ensure the right information is included in the agreement
  • Coordinate with Chief Financial Office on pricing policies and consistency
  • Coordinate with Legal to ensure MSFC Uniqueness statement is adequate
  • Maintain relationships with external partners to ensure that each is getting the facilities and capabilities requested and to respond to issues as soon as possible
  • Support various Industry events to raise awareness of NASA capabilities
  • Maintain a Website for community access to:
    • news releases
    • collaboration events
    • partnerships material
    • organizational contacts
    • hot links to engineering sites, other NASA Partnership Office sites
space act agreements what you should know
Space Act Agreements – What You Should Know
  • Most of the agreements we use for partnerships are Space Act Agreements.
    • Nonreimbursable SAA; no funding involved but MSFC must have an internal charge code to cover labor
    • Reimbursable SAA; funding flows from partner to MSFC
  • What is the difference between an “umbrella SAA” and an “Annex”
    • Umbrella Agreement
    • Annex
    • Standalone Agreement
  • How long does an SAA take to establish?
  • How quickly can MSFC begin work on an agreement?
  • Legal flexibilities within the SAA
    • Pull Out clause
    • Nonexclusivity
  • What are key areas that cause an SAA to get “hung up”?
    • Potential Competition with Commercial Providers (MSFC Uniqueness)
    • Potential Conflict of Interest with SLS NRAs
  • Who determines which agreements are accepted and which are not?
    • Partnership Working Group
    • Strategic Planning Council (Center Director and Direct Reports)
  • What are considerations factored in the approval decision?
    • Resource availability
  • Can other NASA Centers add an annex to a MSFC umbrella and vice versa?
agreement steps
Agreement Steps

Partnerships Office engages with partner on possible opportunities; requests technical POCs from ED.

Partnerships Working Group

Partnerships Office drafts initial agreement and brings technical POCs in for discussion on tasks.

Partnerships Office maintains communication with partner and helps to work any issues.



NASA is transforming its conventional thinking on partnerships to put more emphasis on long-term relationship management, and on external stakeholder needs.

MSFC’s Center Director demonstrated his support to NASA’s partnerships initiative by instituting a Center re-organization with established offices for Partnerships and Center Strategic Development.

back up
Back Up
  • SAA Checklist for External Partners
  • Examples of Proposed Umbrella Scope, MSFC Uniqueness Statements
saa checklist
SAA Checklist
  • Type of SAA
    • Reimbursable
    • Non-Reimbursable
  • Name of company, and division if desired, with address to send SAA hardcopy
  • Title of proposed work
  • Purpose/summary of proposed work
  • NASA Mission supported by this work (HEOMD, etc) and how the work supports that mission
  • Responsibilities of the partner/Responsibilities of NASA (usually discussed and developed by NASA/Partner together)
  • Milestones/schedule for proposed tasks
    • Milestone for each deliverable or significant event
  • Payment information (incremental or one lump sum)
  • NASA facilities to be used
  • NASA-owned equipment/property to be loaned to the partner
saa checklist continued
SAA Checklist (continued)
  • Proprietary data to be shared
    • “Background data” – existing company proprietary data (i.e. engine performance data) provided by partner and needed for the agreement
    • Proprietary data of partner (to include software)
    • Proprietary data of government (to include software)
    • Proprietary data for third parties
    • The method of disposal of data desired by the partner
  • Patent Rights
    • Patents pending on any task/data involved?
    • Existing patent on NASA or Partner side?
  • Length of agreement (1 – 5 years)
  • Partner Management POC
  • Partner Technical POC (if desired)
  • Partner Signatory (usually partner’s contracts personnel)
saa checklist continued1
SAA Checklist (continued)
  • Statement of NASA/MSFC Uniqueness
    • Any related patented inventions that can be used to support NASA’s uniqueness?
    • Any unique expertise of proposed NASA participating employees?
    • Any unique equipment or facility owned by NASA?
    • Any unique analysis techniques and/or associated tools?
    • Has partner tried to obtain proposed work outside NASA resources and found unavailable?
examples of umbrella purpose
Examples of Umbrella Purpose
  • This Umbrella Agreement shall be for the purpose of providing a mechanism for MSFC and Partner to collaborate on current and future Launch Vehicle Technologies to include shared facilities, hardware, capabilities, and technical expertise at the respective organizations.
  • This Umbrella Agreement shall be for establishing the legal framework within which Partner and MSFC may collaborate for the purpose of exchanging engineering expertise and support in the areas of safety, design, development, and systems integration of space flight hardware to include use of facilities as needed.
  • This Umbrella Agreement shall be for the purpose of providing reimbursable support to Partner in their efforts to design, develop, test, and operate launch vehicles and space systems, including but not limited to: launch vehicle structural design and fabrication; liquid rocket engine design and test; launch abort systems and cargo and payload processing and integration.
examples of msfc uniqueness
Examples of MSFC Uniqueness
  • Partner wants to work with NASA MSFC because there are no commercial entities with this technology development capability that would not be a competitor to Partner for future applications of the technology. MSFC has been involved in every civilian development effort to mature the technology since NASA’s formation and has extensive expertise and capability.
  • Assess:
    • Unique NASA facilities that can’t be found in industry?
    • Unique NASA resources/expertise that can’t be found in industry?
    • Integrated testing that combines several individual test scenarios?
    • Combination of design, manufacture and test needed at one location?
    • Only other providers of the needed resources/facilities/capabilities are competitors?