Relocation of Space Shuttle Major Modification Work

GAO-03-294R: Published: Dec 2, 2002. Publicly Released: Jan 2, 2003.

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Allen Li
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Office of Public Affairs
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We assessed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) rationale and documentation to support its decision to relocate Space Shuttle Orbiter Major Modification (OMM) work from Palmdale, California, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. OMM work entails alterations to improve the Space Shuttle's Safety, operational quality, and long-term support and to extend its life.

NASA had a sound basis for its decision to relocate OMM work to Florida based on our assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of NASA's cost analysis and potential savings. However, NASA needs to do a better job in preparing and documenting the cost analysis and methodologies used in its decision-making process so that it can further strengthen its basis for making future decisions. The documentation provided by NASA was not of sufficient detail to enable us to (1) verify the precise cost savings resulting from relocating OMM from Palmdale, California, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and (2) completely understand NASA's rationale until we had extensive discussions with agency officials. We also found that the written responses to the questions Senator Boxer submitted to NASA related to the relocation of OMM work need clarification.

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