Credit: GAO

Credit: GAO

The U.S. government’s General Accountability Office (GAO) has released an informative and detailed look at 18 major NASA projects.

This report is a GAO annual snapshot of how well NASA is planning and executing its major acquisition projects. In March 2015, GAO found that projects continued a general positive trend of limiting cost and schedule growth, maturing technologies, and stabilizing designs, “but that NASA faced several challenges that could affect its ability to effectively manage its portfolio.”

Orion spacecraft in development. Credit: NASA

Orion spacecraft in development.
Credit: NASAFour projects were assessed for the first time this year: The Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM), Europa, Exploration Ground Systems (EGS), and Ionospheric Connection (ICON).

Commercial crew

Four projects were assessed for the first time this year: The Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM), Europa, Exploration Ground Systems (EGS), and Ionospheric Connection (ICON).

The just-released GAO report also assessed NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program reviewed by GAO. Credits: ULA (Left)/SpaceX (Right)

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program reviewed by GAO.
Credits: ULA (Left)/SpaceX (Right)

You’ll find some interesting perspectives on other programs as well, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, Mars 2020, the Space Launch System, and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

 

 

 

 

Regarding the outcome of the report, Cristina Chaplain, a director in GAO’s Acquisition and Sourcing Management team explains:

“The bottom line is that this is good news for NASA. They’ve been taking very good steps to lower acquisition risks.
But they really need to sustain this in the largest projects. They’re going to be very tested in the next few years. There’s going to be a new administration. And all these projects are going to be hitting their most difficult phases of development. So these practices need to be there when NASA is tested the most.”

 

For your own accountability scoring regarding NASA and its on-going set of programs, go to:

NASA: Assessments of Major Projects (GAO-16-309SP, March 30).

Report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-309SP

Highlights: http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/676178.pdf

Podcast: http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/676129

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