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Highlights

NASA projects drive critical innovation in and understanding of space, but our work has shown that most cost more and take longer to develop than planned. Today's fiscal environment highlights why that pattern is unsustainable, now more than ever. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 challenged NASA to develop new technologies for space exploration. GAO issued two legal opinions this summer based on a request from several members of the House of Representatives about whether NASA's actions related to the Constellation program complied with restrictions in the 2010 Appropriations Act. Building on that request and prior GAO work, this testimony discusses (1) how the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 continues the restrictions in the fiscal year 2010 Appropriations Act, and how they relate to the recently enacted NASA Authorization Act of 2010 and (2) steps NASA should take to increase the likelihood of success as it implements its new direction. This statement is based on prior and ongoing GAO work. The audit work was done in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

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