Need for Full Cost Reporting and Participating Agreement on SEASAT-A Project

PSAD-78-76: Published: Jun 19, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1978.

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Two issues discussed in previous reports on the SEASAT-A Project continue to be of concern: (1) the need to report full project costs to the Congress; and (2) the need to develop a top-level agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regarding project participation. Semiannaul SEASAT-A reports show that NASA cost estimates have increased from the $58.2 million planning estimate to a current estimate of $90.8 million. These estimates, however, do not include all project-related costs. The increases are attributed to Air Force revisions to launch-vehicle costs, higher-than-planned use of manpower by the prime contractor, cost growth of sensor development, and a strike by contractor personnel. NOAA is expected to be a primary user of SEASAT-A data, and there has been considerable coordination between NASA and NOAA. However, a formal agreement has not been signed even though it has been worked on for more than 2 years, and the satellite is to be launched in late June. The Administrator of NASA should include all NASA project-related costs in SEASAT-A project status reports, including costs for launch support, civil service salaries, and follow-on data analysis and operations. Costs incurred by federal agencies to exploit the utilization of SEASAT-A data should be clearly identified and reported.

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    2016 Update
    GAO-17-213SP: Published: Dec 8, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 2016.

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