NASA Finds Down-to-Earth Savings
Electronic publishing and print-on-demand systems have helped NASA bring about a quantum leap in the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its information dissemination.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) looms large in our national consciousness. Here is the agency that has defined for Americans—if not for all humanity—what is humanly possible, with the phrase: "If we can put a man on the moon..."
Yet to think of NASA as simply the space agency is to misunderstand its mission. NASA is all about rocket science; but the word to emphasize is science. The purpose of rockets is to better understand the vast and mysterious universe our world inhabits, and to gain new insights that can benefit the consumer, support industry, advance the practice of medicine, and protect our planet's atmosphere.
NASA's astronauts are the Columbuses and Megellans of today, seeking riches—not of gold, but of knowledge. Indeed, NASA is the ultimate knowledge-driven organization. NASA's basic mission might be summarized very simply: gain new knowledge from space, then get it to people who can use it.
The printed word figures very prominently in NASA's effort to carry out both of these mandates. A family of electronic publishing and print-on-demand systems has helped NASA bring about a quantum leap in the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its information dissemination. The electronic publishing and print-on-demand systems combine document reproduction, revision, storage and transmission into one seamless operation.
Each NASA field center prints documents from a Xerox DocuTech 6135 printer, which can print on many different paper sizes at 135 pages-per-minute. Each center has two Sun Microsystems Ultra-2 processors and 256M of main memory. A 2G hard drive stores documents waiting to be printed. The system can accept files to print from most Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Unix programs. And it can be hooked right into an office's Novell network or to a TCP/IP or EtherTalk connection.