Earth Observing System:

Cost and Research Issues

T-NSIAD-96-116: Published: Mar 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the National Air and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth Observing System (EOS). GAO found that: (1) the projected total life-cycle cost of EOS from fiscal year 1991 to 2022 is $33 billion; (2) these costs include costs for satellites, launch services, data systems, science research, facility construction, and civil service personnel; (3) in order for NASA to build an EOS research community, it will have to establish an open data access policy, recruit more investigators, and conduct more investigations; (4) NASA intends to fund 25 solicited proposals to address specific interdisciplinary science issues that are not well covered by existing NASA-funded investigations; and (5) achieving returns on EOS investments is uncertain because NASA will have to fund EOS space systems, information systems, and researchers on a reduced budget.

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