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Spectrum Management

Scope of Work

NASA Spectrum Management is a Level 1 NASA function. The NASA Radio Frequency Spectrum Management Program develops policy and provides planning, coordination and, representation to secure necessary frequency spectrum in support of NASA’s present and future programmatic goals. Spectrum Management carries out its responsibilities both within the United States (National) and Internationally.


SMO is a participant in the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) and provides the NASA representative through the National Spectrum Program Executive, to the IRAC:

  1. Spectrum Planning Subcommittee (planning for the use of the electromagnetic spectrum in the National interest),
  2. Frequency Assignment Subcommittee (assignment and coordination of radio frequencies at the National level), and
  3. Technical Subcommittee (determines technical aspects of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and such other matters as the IRAC may direct).

The NASA National Spectrum Program Executive acts as the interface between the NASA center spectrum managers and the IRAC for the purpose of obtaining Frequency Authorizations for NASA operations and projects. In turn, the NASA center spectrum managers act as the interface between the NASA program/projects resident at their respective centers and the National Spectrum Program Executive and the International Spectrum Program Executive.

In order to obtain the Frequency Authorizations, it may be necessary for SMO to provide Analysis as further input to the IRAC supporting the desired Frequency Authorization.


SMO participates in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to:

  1. Ensure agency compliance with international rules and regulations pertaining to the use of radio frequencies.
  2. Ensure timely dissemination of technical and regulatory changes, which have a bearing on Field Installation activities, to the Field Installation Spectrum Manager for evaluation and implementation.
  3. Provide planning and implementation of actions (Spectrum Advocacy) required to obtain new allocations or enhanced radio regulations. Analysis functions are necessary in this area to support these actions.
  4. Input documentation and Analyses necessary to obtain System Registration for those systems that operate internationally.

In order to perform these functions within the ITU, it is often necessary to conduct negotiation/coordination with Administrations other than the United States.

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