Space Station:

NASA Efforts To Establish a Design-To-Life-Cycle Cost Process

NSIAD-88-147: Published: May 5, 1988. Publicly Released: May 5, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) implementation of cost control measures for space station operations.

GAO found that NASA: (1) reviewed its efforts to establish a programwide design-to-life-cycle policy after an inconclusive attempt in 1986; (2) was considering a draft directive to help establish a management system to assess design proposals' life-cycle cost impacts under current budget constraints; and (3) did not establish operations cost benchmarks and objectives during the program's definition phase or a reporting system to track progress against those objectives. GAO also found that NASA: (1) expected to use contract award fees as incentives to control life-cycle costs, but needed to develop criteria on which to base the awards; (2) did not establish a dedicated reserve fund because it believed that would encourage contractors to initially withhold life-cycle cost-reduction concepts and request reserve funds to support such ideas; (3) developed an operations concept and operations cost-estimating model to improve its cost-estimating capability; and (4) expected to complete its new policy and procedures after mid-1988 and to begin the bulk of the station's design and development after 1989.

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