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NPR 7120.5F
Effective Date: August 03, 2021
Expiration Date: August 03, 2026
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements w/Change 3

Responsible Office: Associate Administrator

| TOC | ChangeHistory | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | AppendixJ | ALL |

Appendix D. Program Commitment Agreement Template

D.1 PCA Title Page

Figure D-1 shows the Program Commitment Agreement Title Page
Figure D-1 Program Commitment Agreement Title Page

D.2 PCA Template



Identify the broad program objectives. Describe the program's relationship to Mission Directorate goals and objectives as documented in the Directorate's plan. Convey the public good of the program to the taxpayer, stated in a way that can be understood by the average citizen.


Describe the strategy to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. Relationships with external organizations, other agencies, or international partners should be addressed if achievement of the program objectives is dependent on their performance. Identify the associated projects to be included in the program as of the writing date. Specify the type of program (i.e., single-project, uncoupled, loosely coupled, or tightly coupled) and the basis for that classification.

Specify if there are plans for continuing operations and production, including integration of capability upgrades, with an unspecified Phase E end point, for:

• Each project

• Single-project programs

For such programs and projects, define the scope of the initial capability.


Describe the NASA organizational structure for managing the program and projects from the MDAA to the NASA Center project managers. Include lines of authority and reporting, and Center(s) responsibilities. Specifically identify the Decision Authority and governing Program Management Council (PMC) for oversight of the program, and any delegated Decision Authority and delegated governing PMC, per Section 2.3 of this NPR.

Document each project's Decision Authority and governing PMC or identify where this information is documented.

Identify the approving official for new projects.


Summarize the technical performance requirements, identifying baselines and thresholds needed to achieve the program objectives, as applicable. If the objectives include a technical performance target (goal) in addition to a threshold requirement, the commitment could be stated as a range. Demonstrate traceability to Agency strategic goals, outcomes, and requirements.


Identify the following key target milestones for each project in the program, such as:

1. Start of Formulation.

2. Target date or timeframe for the SDR or MDR.

3. Target date or timeframe for the PDR or the start of implementation.

4. Start of initial capability operations (for single-project programs and projects that plan continuing operations and production, including integration of capability upgrades, with an unspecified Phase E end point).

5. Start of operations.

6. End of prime operations and/or disposal, if applicable, or end of initial capability operations.

7. Other milestones or time periods, as appropriate, for a specific program/project.


Provide the estimated cost range for the program for the ten-year period beginning in the current fiscal year at a level of detail that identifies the approved individual projects. Identify the constraints and assumptions used to develop this estimated cost range and specifically identify those assumptions that drive the range. This cost range should contain all costs necessary to perform the program, including, but not limited to, customary project activities, required technology developments, facilities costs, launch vehicles, tracking, operations and sustainment, data analysis, and disposal. Either reference the most recent Agency budget to provide the first five years of the estimated program cost or provide the budget required for the next five years. The cost range should be updated when program content changes, such as the addition of new projects entering Implementation or when the estimated cost changes. Reference the annual budget contained in the Integrated Budget and Performance Document (IBPD) for cost phasing.


Provide a high-level summary of the Acquisition Strategy (described in Appendix G, Section 3.4) to reflect the results of the process for acquisition and the Acquisition Strategy Meeting (ASM).


Identify the areas of highest risk for the program (covering safety, technical, institutional, cost, and schedule issues) in which failure may result in changes to the program/project baseline cost, schedule, safety, or technical performance requirements. This section should identify, where possible, the specific risk drivers, such as high-risk technologies upon which the program is dependent, and mitigation options.


If the program is dependent on other NASA activities outside of the MDAA's control to meet program objectives, identify the required support and list any formal agreements required.


Explain the involvement of external organizations, other agencies, or international support necessary to meet the program objectives. Include a brief overview of the program/project relationships with such external organizations. Include an identification of the commitments being made by the external organizations, other agencies, or international partners and a listing of the specific agreements to be concluded. Any unique considerations affecting implementation of required NASA policies and processes necessitated by the external involvement should be clearly identified, such as commercial or other partners that will develop end products that are not owned by NASA but are provided as services to NASA.


Specify the program and project life-cycle reviews (per figures 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, and 2-5 in Chapter 2) that are required to be conducted during the Implementation Phase. Include any other requirements (e.g., the ASM) and any known unique considerations (e.g., acquisition strategies such as commercial partnerships, international participation). Identify any planned tailoring to accommodate aspects of the acquisition strategies (See Section and when the tailoring approach will be defined. Specify the considerations that will be used to trigger a discussion on the need for a PIR with the NASA AA (See Section and the NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Handbook, Section 5.11.3.)


Identify the discrete set of expected deliverables (outcomes) that flow from the Agency goals and objectives, as defined in the Agency Strategic Plan.


Identify known waivers or deviations that will be sought for the program. Provide a rationale consistent with program characteristics such as scope, complexity, visibility, cost, safety, and acceptable risk.


Provide and maintain a log of all PCA activities, including revisions that reflect all waivers to the original PCA. This log includes the information shown in Table D-1 and may be supplemented with an attached addendum for each change, describing the change. The PCA should be updated to add approved projects or whenever substantial change makes it necessary. The PCA should be revalidated or updated at each KDP.

Table D-1 Sample Program Commitment Agreement Activities Log

Termination MDAA Associate Administrator
Date Event Change Addendum Review Req'd Signature Signature
dd/mm/yy Revalidation None N/A No
dd/mm/yy Revalidation None N/A No
dd/mm/yy Approval of new project Addition of Project N Ref. #1 No

| TOC | ChangeHistory | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | AppendixA | AppendixB | | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | AppendixJ | ALL |
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