Space Exploration:

Cost, Schedule, and Performance of NASA's Ulysses Mission to the Sun

NSIAD-88-129FS: Published: May 27, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the cost, schedule, performance, and status of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Ulysses mission to the sun, a joint project with the European Space Agency (ESA).

GAO found that: (1) NASA and ESA initially planned to use two spacecraft, one developed by each agency; (2) the estimated total NASA share of the mission cost was about $215 million; (3) NASA cancelled its spacecraft in 1981 for budgetary reasons; and (4) the NASA share of the total project costs is now estimated at about $207.2 million. GAO also found that: (1) cost increases were due to postponements of launch dates; (2) NASA has postponed the launch date three times since the project's inception, which has doubled mission duration to 17 years; and (3) the NASA cancellation of the spacecraft resulted in the waste of about half of the scientific instruments, elimination of about 80 U.S. and European scientists, and waste of unique climate-imaging instruments.

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