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Enabling the Capture and Sharing of NASA Technical Expertise Through Communities of PracticeHistorically, engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had few opportunities or incentives to share their technical expertise across the Agency. Its center- and project- focused culture often meant that knowledge never left organizational and geographic boundaries. With increasingly complex missions, the closeout of the Shuttle Program, and a new generation entering the workforce, developing a knowledge sharing culture became critical. To address this need, the Office of the Chief Engineer established communities of practice on the NASA Engineering Network. These communities were strategically aligned with NASA's core competencies in such disciplines as avionics, flight mechanics, life support, propulsion, structures, loads and dynamics, human factors, and guidance, navigation, and control. This paper describes the process used to identify and develop communities, from establishing simple websites that compiled discipline-specific resources to fostering a knowledge-sharing environment through collaborative and interactive technologies. It includes qualitative evidence of improved availability and transfer of knowledge. It focuses on pivotal capabilities that increased knowledge exchange such as a custom-made Ask An Expert system, community contact lists, publication of key resources, and submission forms that allowed any user to propose content for the sites. It discusses the peer relationships that developed through the communities and the leadership and infrastructure that made them possible.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
External Source(s)
Topousis, Daria E. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Dennehy, Cornelius J. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Lebsock, Kenneth L. (Orbital Sciences Corp. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
April 22, 2015
Publication Date
October 3, 2011
Subject Category
Documentation and Information Science
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
International Astronautical Congress(Cape Town)
Distribution Limits