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The Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Competitive Procurement
GAO-14-377R: Published: Mar 4, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 2014.
While the previous two-contract structure of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program met Department of Defense (DOD) needs for unprecedented mission success and an at-the-ready launch capability, the scope of its capability contract limited DOD’s ability to identify the cost of an individual launch, as direct launch costs were not separated from other costs. Minimal insight into c...
Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Aviation Engineering and Maintenance Professionals
GAO-14-237: Published: Feb 28, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2014.
GAO analysis found mixed evidence about a current or possible future shortage of aviation professionals. Aerospace engineers have experienced a low unemployment rate—the most direct measure of a labor shortage—and increases in employment suggesting a shortage may exist; however, earnings for the occupation have stayed about the same. Data provide less support for a shortage of aircraft mechani...
Commercial Space Launches: FAA's Risk Assessment Process Is Not Yet Updated
GAO-14-328T: Published: Feb 4, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 2014.
According to studies, the United States in 2012 provided less commercial space launch indemnification for third party losses than China, France, and Russia. These countries put no limit on the amount of government indemnification coverage which in the U.S. is limited by the Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA). Governments' commitments to pay have never been tested because there has not been a third...
Space Acquisitions: Assessment of Overhead Persistent Infrared Technology Report
GAO-14-287R: Published: Jan 13, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2014.
On October 11, 2013, DOD submitted to the congressional defense committees the OPIR Technology report. Upon reviewing the report, we determined that the OPIR report was comprehensive and appropriately identified its limitations. In particular, DOD, in consultation with the IC, provided a description of (1) the plan and budget for current and next generation OPIR systems and (2) OPIR technology req...
James Webb Space Telescope: Project Meeting Commitments but Current Technical, Cost, and Schedule Challenges Could Affect Continued Progress
GAO-14-72: Published: Jan 8, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 8, 2014.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project is generally executing to its September 2011 revised cost and schedule baseline; however, several challenges remain that could affect continued progress. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has requested funding that is in line with the rebaseline and the project is maintaining 14 months of schedule reserve prior to its launch date...
Environmental Satellites: Focused Attention Needed to Improve Mitigation Strategies for Satellite Coverage Gaps
GAO-13-865T: Published: Sep 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2013.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made progress on both the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite-R series (GOES-R) programs, but key challenges remain to ensure that potential gaps in satellite data are minimized or mitigated. On the JPSS program, NOAA has made noteworthy progress in using Suomi National Polar-orbiting Par...
Geostationary Weather Satellites: Progress Made, but Weaknesses in Scheduling, Contingency Planning, and Communicating with Users Need to Be Addressed
GAO-13-597: Published: Sep 9, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2013.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has completed the design of its Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) series and made progress in building flight and ground components. While the program reports that it is on track to stay within its $10.9 billion life cycle cost estimate, it has not reported key information on reserve funds to senior management. A...
Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Identified Ways to Mitigate Data Gaps, but Contingency Plans and Schedules Require Further Attention
GAO-13-676: Published: Sep 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2013.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made noteworthy progress on the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program by delivering data from its first satellite--the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP)--to weather forecasters, completing significant instrument development for the next satellite (called JPSS-1), and reducing the program's life cycle cost estimate...
Global Positioning System: A Comprehensive Assessment of Potential Options and Related Costs is Needed
GAO-13-729: Published: Sep 9, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2013.
GAO found the Air Force, the military branch responsible for Global Positioning System (GPS) acquisition, in its report on Lower Cost Solutions for Providing Global Positioning System Capability, broadly addressed all four congressional requirements--system capability, implementation approaches, technical and programmatic risks, and estimated costs--for each option presented for the space segment...
Space: Defense and Civilian Agencies Request Significant Funding for Launch-Related Activities
GAO-13-802R: Published: Sep 9, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2013.
Defense and civilian government agencies together expect to require significant funding--nearly $44 billion in "then-year" dollars that factor in anticipated future inflation--for launch-related activities from fiscal years 2014 through 2018. Procurement funding represents about $28 billion--some 65 percent--of this total, while Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) constitutes appro...