Government Operations:

Evaluation of NASA Comments on Consolidated Space Operations Center

MASAD-82-43: Published: Aug 12, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 1982.

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GAO was requested to evaluate the unsolicited comments of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on a prior report. The review dealt specifically with Department of Defense activities and its interrelationship with the NASA-managed Space Transportation System.

GAO believes that the NASA comments concerning: (1) the Johnson Space Center are welcomed; and (2) its plans and capabilities are appropriate. However, the comments provided no new information to change the findings regarding the Air Force's planned development of a consolidated space operations center. GAO found that the NASA views support the contention that Air Force planning is not adequate to begin construction of a shuttle operation and planning complex (SOPC) at this time. GAO still recommends that only the Satellite Operations Complex be replicated on an interim basis to provide appropriate backup for the Satellite Control Facility in Sunnyvale, California. In the opinion of GAO, the SOPC is not time critical. The NASA comments also raise questions as to the planning interface it has with the Air Force; namely, NASA appears to support the contention that the Air Force is not bound to any particular computer for SOPC. However, the Air Force will essentially be locked into the sole-source procurement if only NASA software is used. NASA projects cost savings by the sole-source procurement of equipment similar to theirs. Historically, GAO has found that the preselection of computers invariably leads to less than satisfactory system developments.

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