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GAO: Laser Communications Mission Delayed by Funding, Redesign Issues

16 May 2018, 08:56 UTC
GAO: Laser Communications Mission Delayed by Funding, Redesign Issues
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Laser Communications Relay Demonstration satellite (Credit: NASA)
Funding shortfalls and technical challenges have caused a nearly two-year delay in the launch of NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment.
“LCRD entered the implementation phase in April 2017 and formally established its cost and schedule baselines of $262.7 million to launch by November 2019, which is $23.4 million higher and 23 months later than the preliminary cost estimate,” the report stated.
The project, which will demonstrate advancing optical communication technology for use in deep space and near-Earth systems, delayed its confirmation review from late 2013 to April 2017 due to financial and programmatic challenges.
“For example, funding for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 was less than planned, which led the project to halt development of the ground segment for 2 years. The project has also changed management and undertaken numerous replans and descopes since 2013,” the assessment said.
The GAO’s assessment of the LCRD program is below.
NASA: Assessments of Major Projects
Government Accountability Office
May 1, 2018
Full Report
Laser Communications Relay Demonstration
LCRD is a technology demonstration mission with the goal of advancing optical communication technology for use in deep space ...

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