Military Space Operations:

Operational Problems Continue With the Satellite Control Computer System

IMTEC-89-56: Published: Aug 8, 1989. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Air Force's progress in making its new satellite control system, Data System Modernization (DSM), fully operational, focusing on: (1) whether DSM was meeting operational and performance requirements; (2) DSM hardware and software changes; and (3) current schedule and cost estimates.

GAO found that the Air Force: (1) was primarily using DSM to support 55 percent of its satellite control work load, although it had not resolved about 900 critical operational and performance deficiencies; (2) was also relying on its outdated Current Data System to handle other satellite control activities, since it had not resolved deficiencies which prevented DSM from processing the entire satellite control work load, achieving the required satellite contact success rate, and simultaneously contacting the required number of satellites in some mission control complexes; (3) modified DSM computer hardware and software to increase data processing capacity and on-line storage, resolve some deficiencies, and tailor software to individual satellite programs and mission control complexes; (4) revised its estimated date for full DSM operation from 1987 to the end of 1993, attributing schedule delays to system deficiencies, additional requirements, and funding limitations; (5) as of December 1988, had spent about $458 million developing DSM, and planned to spend an additional $99 million through September 1989 to improve DSM computer hardware and software; and (6) lacked information to estimate costs for resolving at least 70 critical deficiencies, and continued to identify other deficiencies.

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