Space Station:

Cost Control Difficulties Continue

T-NSIAD-96-210: Published: Jul 24, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1996.

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GAO discussed the risks involved in controlling the cost and maintaining the schedule of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) International Space Station Program. GAO noted that: (1) it will cost $17.4 billion to develop and operate the international space station; (2) $6.3 billion of this estimate covers the prime contractor's costs, $5.5 billion is for development of ground-based and on-orbit capabilities, $2.6 billion is for development of on-orbit research facilities and other research, and $3 billion is for financial reserves; (3) the program has been able to maintain sufficient reserves to fund additional station costs; (5) NASA did not budget the full amount of its contract estimates because it believes that it can negotiate authorized contract changes; (6) as of April 1996, the prime contractor was $89 million over budget and $88 million behind schedule; (7) there are several instances where the prime contractor's total cost estimates neglect to recognize over-budget conditions; (8) there is concern regarding Russia's financial participation in the space program; and (9) NASA has made progress towards ensuring that its contractors have an adequate performance measurement system.

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