Accession Number : ADA538724


Title :   NASA: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale Projects


Descriptive Note : Congressional rept.


Corporate Author : GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC


Personal Author(s) : Chaplain, Cristina ; Oakley, Shelby S ; Berkholtz, Jessica M ; Cederholm, Richard A ; Dunleavy, Justin D ; Geifner, Laura ; Hassinger, Kristine R ; Kuebler, Caryn E ; Lamarre-Vincent, Jesse ; Patton, Kenneth E


Full Text : http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a538724.pdf


Report Date : Mar 2011


Pagination or Media Count : 105


Abstract : GAO assessed 21 NASA projects with a combined life-cycle cost that exceeds $68 billion. Of those 21 projects, 16 had entered the implementation phase where cost and schedule baselines were established. Development costs for the 16 projects had an average growth of $94 million--or 14.6 percent--and schedules grew by an average of 8 months. The total increase in development costs for these projects was $1.5 billion. GAO found that 5 of the 16 projects were responsible for the overwhelming majority of this increase. The issue of cost growth is more significant than the 14.6 percent average would indicate because it does not capture the cost growth that occurred before several projects reported baselines in response to a statutory requirement in 2005. Specifically, the 13 projects that GAO has reviewed over the past 3 years that established baselines prior to 2009 experienced an average development cost growth of almost 55 percent, with a total increase in development costs of almost $2.5 billion from their original confirmation baselines. This does not reflect considerable cost and schedule growth that will likely be experienced by NASA's largest science program--the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Based on the findings of the independent panel that recently reviewed the JWST project and information that we obtained from project officials, it is likely that JWST will report significant cost and schedule growth, estimated to be $1.4 billion or more and up to 15 months, respectively. Many of the projects GAO reviewed for this report experienced challenges in the areas of technology, design, funding, launch vehicles, development partner performance, parts, and contractor management. Reducing the kinds of challenges this assessment identifies in acquisition programs hinges on developing a sound business case for a project.


Descriptors :   *SPACE MISSIONS , *SPACE SYSTEMS , *LIFE CYCLE COSTS , GRAPHS , OBSERVATION , CONTRACTORS , CARBON , DUST , PRECIPITATION , SOILS , ARTIFICIAL SATELLITES , TABLES(DATA) , GRAVITY , LABORATORIES , PARTS , BUDGETS , ELEVATION , INFRARED RADIATION , MOISTURE , SPACE STATIONS , ATMOSPHERES , LAUNCH VEHICLES , MOON , MAGNETOSPHERE , STRATOSPHERE , SUN , ACCOUNTABILITY , RADIATION BELTS , SPACE PROBES , ACQUISITION , MARS(PLANET) , MEASUREMENT , RISK


Subject Categories : Economics and Cost Analysis
      Astronautics
      Unmanned Spacecraft
      Ground Support Sys & Facil For Space Vehicles
      Manned Spacecraft


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE