NASA Web 2.0 effort to pay dividends for private sector

Partnership Software for NASA site

NASA is looking for Web 2.0 software that will help it extend the types of collaborations it conducts with industry and academic partners to online venues.

Much of the collaboration between NASA and its partners will be done through face-to-face meetings at conferences, NASA said in a recent solicitation, but it also sees the need for a significant amount of online participation.

The agency expects that level of interaction --- which will happen before, during and after conferences -– will require Web 2.0 tools such as wikis that allow users to collaboratively create and edit content on Web sites.

The new Partnership Software will foster the kinds of unique joint ventures with the entrepreneurial community that is a goal of NASA’s Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP), the agency said. The program started several years ago as a way of transferring to the private sector NASA technology that could be useful to business.

The software will first be used later this year at NASA's Ames Research Center’s Participatory Exploration Summit, scheduled for June 22.

Ames expects the software will also be used in subsequent conferences and for projects that support programs such as NASA CoLab, a San Francisco Bay-area facility that is developing ways for Ames and the area’s thriving entrepreneurial community to work together on information technology that fit with NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.

At the beginning of the year, IPP gave funding to four such Ames projects, ranging from lunar exploration to new space-borne telescopes.

The Partnership Software will be developed as a module for a content management system, and will be released to the open source community for further development after the June conference, NASA said.

Responses to the NASA request for quotations, which was posted April 10, should be made by April 24. The conference Web site that includes the new software is scheduled to go live by June 1.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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