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Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle: DOD Needs to Ensure New Acquisition Strategy is Based on Sufficient Information
GAO-11-641: Published: Sep 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2011.
The Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) plan to spend about $15 billion for launch services from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2017 through DOD's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The program launches satellites for military, intelligence, civil, and commercial customers. In 2009, DOD and the NRO decided the program's business model needed imp...
Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network
GAO-11-800: Published: Aug 31, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2011.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains a network of weather-monitoring stations known as the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), which monitors the nation's climate and analyzes long-term surface temperature trends. Recent reports have shown that some stations in the USHCN are not sited in accordance with NOAA's standards, which state that temperature instrum...
Polar Satellites: Agencies Need to Address Potential Gaps in Weather and Climate Data Coverage
GAO-11-945T: Published: Sep 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2011.
Environmental satellites provide critical data used in weather forecasting and measuring variations in climate over time. In February 2010, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy disbanded the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS)--a tri-agency satellite acquisition that had encountered continuing cost, schedule, and management problems--and...
Space Research: Content and Coordination of Space Science and Technology Strategy Need to Be More Robust
GAO-11-722: Published: Jul 19, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 2011.
Each year, the United States spends billions of dollars on space-based systems to support national security activities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 requires the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to develop and issue a space science and technology (S&T) strategy every 2 years addressing S&T goals and a process for achieving t...
NASA Needs to Better Assess Contract Termination Liability Risks and Ensure Consistency in Its Practices
GAO-11-609R: Published: Jul 12, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2011.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) procures most of its goods and services through contracts, and it terminates very few of them. In fiscal year 2010, for example, NASA's procurements, ranging from small contracts for human resources consulting services to multimillion dollar contracts to build and operate spacecraft, totaled approximately $17.4 billion, representing about 83...
Space Acquisitions: Development and Oversight Challenges in Delivering Improved Space Situational Awareness Capabilities
GAO-11-545: Published: May 27, 2011. Publicly Released: May 27, 2011.
The United States' growing dependence on space systems makes them vulnerable to a range of threats. DOD has undertaken a variety of initiatives to provide space situational awareness (SSA)--the knowledge and characterization of space objects and the environment on which space operations depend. GAO was asked to (1) review key systems being planned and acquired to provide SSA, and their progress me...
Reimbursable Space Act Agreements: NASA Generally Adhering to Fair Reimbursement Controls, but Guidance on Waived Cost Justifications Needs Refinement
GAO-11-553R: Published: May 26, 2011. Publicly Released: May 26, 2011.
Over the last few years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has increasingly relied on its authority under the Space Act of 1958 to enter into agreements, commonly referred to as Space Act agreements (SAA), to stimulate private sector development of systems capable of transporting cargo and crew to the International Space Station and to assist partner firms in developing thei...
Commercial Launch Vehicles: NASA Taking Measures to Manage Delays and Risks
GAO-11-692T: Published: May 26, 2011. Publicly Released: May 26, 2011.
Since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created the strategy for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project in 2005, the space landscape has changed significantly--the Space Shuttle program is retiring and the Ares I will not be available--increasing the importance of the timely development of COTS vehicles. The lack of alternatives for supplying the Inter...
Training Necessary to Address Data Reliability Issues in NASA Agreement Database and to Minimize Potential Competition with Commercial Sector
GAO-11-552R: Published: May 26, 2011. Publicly Released: May 26, 2011.
Today, GAO issued a correspondence identifying the internal controls that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has in place for reimbursable Space Act agreements and assessing to what extent the agency is adhering to those controls. Specifically, our review focused on NASA's internal controls related to (1) fair reimbursement from agreement partners; (2) interference between ag...
Space Acquisitions: DOD Delivering New Generations of Satellites, but Space System Acquisition Challenges Remain
GAO-11-590T: Published: May 11, 2011. Publicly Released: May 11, 2011.
Despite decades of significant investment, most of the Department of Defense's (DOD) large space acquisition programs have collectively experienced billions of dollars in cost increases, stretched schedules, and increased technical risks. Significant schedule delays of as much as 9 years have resulted in potential capability gaps in missile warning, military communications, and weather monitoring...