The possible privatization of NSSDC has been "on the table" for nearly a year now. Over the past several months NSSDC has been one of 11 groups NASA-wide studied as candidates for creation of primarily university-affiliated science institutes. The study was done by a NASA-wide group headed by Dr. Al Diaz of the Office of Space Science (OSS).
OSS has now made a draft version of its NASA Science Institute Plan available for public comment prior to implementing its recommendations. The draft is available from the OSS World Wide Web (WWW) Home Page at URL http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oss/.
The report asserts that the institute model developed to date is not directly applicable to NSSDC. Accordingly, an NSSDC-specific study is recommended to address the best mode for NSSDC privatization. Such a study is expected to require several months. It will be convened by OSS and will assemble actual and potential users of NSSDC's present and future services.
For the interim NSSDC will continue to function at Goddard in its present mode of being civil servant-led and largely on-site contractor-supported. Interested parties are encouraged to provide input to NASA (and to this author) as to concerns and recommendations relative to NSSDC privatization.