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IG Audit: NASA Planetary Program Faces Major Financial, Managerial Challenges

16 Sep 2020, 22:27 UTC
IG Audit: NASA Planetary Program Faces Major Financial, Managerial Challenges
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Dragonfly flying over the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

by Douglas MessierManaging Editor

NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) faces a series of managerial, financial and personnel challenges as it prepares to conduct a series of ever more ambitious missions to the moon and planets, according to a new audit by the space agency’s Office of Inspector General (IG).

The IG report found:

life-cycle costs are increasing due to project management challenges and the increasing complexity of approved missions;rising life-cycle costs will make it more difficult to sustain technical capabilities to support the missions and to fund technology development projects;the Commercial Launch Provider Services (CLPS) program has taken unnecessary risks by not conducting proper due diligence on private companies selected to bid on missions to deliver NASA payloads to the moon;the space agency lacks a common interface for attaching payloads to CLPS spacecraft;it could take the Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) Program another 20 years to categorize objects that might pose a threat to the planet;NASA has insufficient funds to repair, maintain, and modernize the Deep Space Network (DNS) that communications with spacecraft; and NASA faces a wave of retirements that will take away much needed knowledge and skills.

The IG audit ...

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