NASA's Space Launch System. Credit: NASA

NASA’s Space Launch System.
Credit: NASA

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the following report and testimony today, all worth a read:


NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects. GAO-15-320SP, March 24.

In 2015, five of NASA’s largest, most complex projects, several of which are at critical points in their development, are expected to consume 78 percent of the funds for NASA’s major projects.

Therefore, existing and new projects will be competing for remaining funds.

Credit: GAO/2015

Credit: GAO/2015





For the full report, go to:

Highlights are available here:

A special Podcast from GAO is here at:


Testimony: James Webb Space Telescope: Project Facing Increased Schedule Risk with Significant Work Remaining, by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Space, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Credit: GAO/2015

Credit: GAO/2015

This rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope is current to 2015.  Credit: Northrop Grumman

This rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope is current to 2015.
Credit: Northrop Grumman

GAO reports that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project is now in the early stages of its extensive integration and testing period. Maintaining as much schedule reserve as possible during this phase is critical to resolve challenges that will likely surface and negatively impact the schedule.

JWST has begun integration and testing for only two of five elements and major subsystems.

While the project has been able to reorganize work when necessary to mitigate schedule slips thus far, the GAO reports that this flexibility “will diminish as work during integration and testing tends to be more serial, as initiating work is often dependent on the successful and timely completion of the prior work.”

GAO-15-483T, March 24 is available at:

Highlights of the document can be read at:


One Response to “Appraising NASA Large-scale Projects, Worries Regarding James Webb Space Telescope”

  • bill walker says:

    Thanks Leonard. Wish I could ‘come back’ after a million or 2 years to check out our progress in the cosmos.

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