Space Station:

Resolving Conflict Over Integration Contractor's Role

NSIAD-92-291BR: Published: Sep 10, 1992. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) contract to provide program support, engineering, and integration services for the Space Station Freedom program, focusing on: (1) the working relationship relative to the contractor's integration role; and (2) NASA evaluations of the contractor's performance.

GAO found that: (1) although the contractor was first designated a program support contractor and then an engineering and integration contractor, the contract has always included numerous systems engineering and integration tasks; (2) NASA and the contractor appeared to have similar formal expectations about the contractor's verification role prior to the start of the contract; (3) the later differences in expectations were more about the kind of verification role the contractor was to play; (4) NASA viewed the contractor as being inflexible in accommodating its changing needs, and lowered the contractor's award fees; (5) the contractor believed NASA arbitrarily and abruptly changed the definition of the contractor's integration role, and that it was being evaluated by a new set of criteria prematurely; (6) the contractor took until mid-1992 to fulfill its promise to become a fully operations engineering and integration contractor; and (7) NASA and the contractor agree that no significant barriers to fulfillment of the contract remain.

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