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Open Recommendations

Commercial Space Transportation: FAA Should Examine a Range of Options to Support U.S. Launch Infrastructure

GAO-21-154
Dec 22, 2020
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Commercial Space Transportation We recommend that the Associate Administrator for AST provide Congress the results of an examination of a range of options—including funding and financing tools, as well as alternatives to making funding available—to support space transportation infrastructure. This examination should include a discussion of trade-offs and whether and how, if at all, each approach would contribute to national policy goals. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

NASA Human Space Exploration: Significant Investments in Future Capabilities Require Strengthened Management Oversight

GAO-21-105
Dec 15, 2020
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Aeronautics and Space Administration We recommend that the NASA Administrator ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate establish cost and schedule baselines for SLS Block 1B, SLS Block 2, Mobile Launcher 2, and Orion Docking System at their preliminary design reviews or as soon as practicable in advance of critical design reviews. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration We recommend that the NASA Administrator ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate directs the Exploration Systems Development organization to include cost, schedule, and technical performance updates for SLS Block 1B, SLS Block 2, Mobile Launcher 2, and the Orion Docking System in its quarterly program status reviews in order to maintain oversight of these development projects. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

NASA Lunar Programs: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Analyses and Plans for Moon Landing

GAO-20-68
Dec 19, 2019
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6 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The NASA Administrator should ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations directs the Advanced Exploration Systems division to define and determine a schedule for synchronization reviews, including the role of the proposed Lunar Exploration Control Board, to help ensure that requirements between mission and program levels are reconciled. (Recommendation 1)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation and stated that the Advanced Exploration Systems division will review program life-cycle review plans to ensure enterprise and program requirements are reconciled across the mission. NASA is in the process of determining the organizational structure of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Following this completion, NASA officials stated that the appropriate control board and division structures for review and program direction will become active.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The NASA Administrator should ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations directs the Gateway program to conduct a joint cost and schedule confidence level at the program level for the Artemis III mission. (Recommendation 2)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation and stated it would conduct a joint cost and schedule confidence level analysis or equivalent. The Gateway program is planning to conduct a series of project- and program-level reviews and assessments aligned with key decision point reviews. This includes conducting a joint cost and schedule confidence level analysis or equivalent of the Gateway initial configuration to support a program key decision point planned for fall 2021. NASA has not yet taken action on this recommendation.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The NASA Administrator should ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations directs the Gateway program to update its overall schedule for 2024 to add a KDP II to occur before system integration. (Recommendation 3)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet taken action on it. NASA stated that it would provide a schedule for future reviews, including whether there will be a Key Decision Point (KDP) II, at the KDP-I review currently scheduled for fall 2021.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The NASA Administrator should ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations creates a life-cycle cost estimate for the Artemis III mission. (Recommendation 4)
Open
NASA agreed with the recommendation and stated that the agency will provide a preliminary cost estimate for the Artemis III mission by the end of 2020. Further, NASA stated that it will provide an updated cost estimate for the Artemis III mission after it establishes cost and schedule commitments for some of the projects that compose the lunar mission, currently planned for the Spring of 2021. To fully implement this recommendation, NASA will need to provide a cost estimate.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The NASA Administrator should ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations directs the Advanced Exploration Systems division to commit to a completion date and finalize a cohesive document outlining the rationale for selecting its current lunar architecture and lunar programs. (Recommendation 5)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation and stated that it is developing a document that will summarize the trades and architectural studies, but the document is not yet complete.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration The NASA Administrator should ensure that the Office of the Chief Engineer determines under what conditions it is appropriate to complete an analysis of alternatives, particularly when there are multiple pathways—including architectures or programs—that NASA could pursue in the future, and document the justification for not completing an analysis. (Recommendation 6)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation, but has not yet taken any action on it. NASA stated that it will provide additional clarifying guidance for conducting analyses of alternatives for new programs in the next update to NASA Procedural Requirements 7120.5E, "NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements." NASA plans to complete the update of the procedural requirement in September 2021.

NASA Human Space Exploration: Persistent Delays and Cost Growth Reinforce Concerns over Management of Programs

GAO-19-377
Jun 19, 2019
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3 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
We recommend the NASA Administrator ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations direct the Orion program to update its cost estimate to reflect its committed EM-2 baseline date of April 2023. (Recommendation 2)
Open
NASA partially agreed with this recommendation, stating that providing the estimate to the forecasted launch date rather than to the committed baseline date of April 2023 is the most appropriate approach. In November 2019, program officials told us that they will consider this recommendation as part of updating the joint confidence level analysis for the program's Key Decision Point D review. This review occurs before the program enters the system assembly, integration and test, and launch phase, and is not scheduled to occur until December 2020. To fully implement this recommendation, NASA needs to provide an updated cost estimate through April 2023.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration We recommend the NASA Administrator ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations direct the EGS program to demonstrate design maturity by completing 3D product modeling of the basic and functional design of the second Mobile Launcher prior to construction start. (Recommendation 3)
Open
NASA agreed with this recommendation and stated that the acquisition strategy for the second mobile launcher requires the use of 3D product modeling and that it will be the source for all engineering activities including integrated design reviews to demonstrate design maturity. It is too soon to assess the design maturity prior to construction start and we will provide updated information on actions NASA has taken at that time.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration We recommend the NASA Administrator ensure that the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations direct the SLS and Orion programs to reevaluate their strategies for incentivizing contractors and determine whether they could more effectively incentivize contractors to achieve the outcomes intended as part of ongoing and planned contract negotiations. (Recommendation 4)
Open
NASA agreed with the intent of this recommendation and stated that the SLS and Orion program offices reevaluate their strategies for incentivizing contract performance as part of normal contracting activities including contract restructures, contract baseline adjustments, and new contract actions. The Orion program has awarded a long term contract for production of the Orion spacecraft that incorporates new strategies intended to reduce contract costs. The SLS program is in the process of negotiating long term production contracts for required hardware.
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