Shuttle Rocket Motor Program:

NASA Should Delay Awarding Some Construction Contracts

NSIAD-92-201: Published: Apr 27, 1992. Publicly Released: May 6, 1992.

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Pursuant to congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Advanced Solid Rocket Motor (ASRM) Program, focusing on which construction activities NASA could delay pending a congressional decision on the program's future without adversely affecting the scheduled ASRM launch date.

GAO found that: (1) although the President has proposed terminating the ASRM program, NASA is proceeding with all construction activity planned for fiscal year (FY) 1992 to avoid schedule slippage if Congress reinstates the program; (2) NASA estimates that it will cost between $200 million and $325 million in new obligational authority to terminate the ASRM Program, depending on when the contractor efforts cease; (3) in FY 1992, NASA plans to obligate $200 million for ASRM construction, but NASA must complete much of the construction on time to meet its current launch date; (4) some construction activities that will have to be completed earlier than necessary to fully meet ASRM completion schedules include construction on three docks a motor storage facility, and a space center rotation processing and surge facility; and (5) starting all construction activities as originally planned could result in NASA unneccessarily incurring additional costs and termination liability if Congress does not provide FY 1993 ASRM funding. GAO believes that NASA can complete the construction in time to avoid schedule slippage if Congress decides to continue the program.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should undertake a thorough review of all ASRM construction contracts scheduled to be awarded in the remainder of FY 1992 to determine the extent to which some efforts can be delayed pending a decision on the future of the program.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA has evaluated ASRM construction contracts that have flexible schedules. The agency will delay the anticipated award dates when such delays would not jeopardize the planned February 1997 launch date.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should delay awarding any construction contracts currently planned through FY 1992 when such delays would not jeopardize the February 1997 launch date.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA delayed awarding some contracts for the construction of ASRM facilities until Congress decides whether or not to continue the program.

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