oversight

NASA Project Status Reports: Congressional Requirements Can Be Met, but Reliability Must Be Ensured

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-01-23.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                    United S t a t e s General Accounting Office

CjAC)               Report to Congressional Requesters



.January 1990
                    NASA PROJECT
                    STATUS REPORTS
                    Congressional
                    Requirements Can
                    Met, but BelialDility
                    Must Be Ensured




CiAO .\SIAD-90-40
      United Stetes
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      National Security and
      Intemational Affairs Division

      B-237602

      January 23,1990

      Congressional Requesters

      This report responds to your requests conceming how NASA can routinely produce Project
      Status Reports that meet your needs for reliable cost, schedule, and performance information
      on major NASA projects.

      We are also distributing copies of this report to the NASA Administrator; the Director, Office
      of Management and Budget; and other interested parties.

      Please contact me at (202) 275-5140 if you or your staff have any questions conceming the
      report. Other GAG staff members who made major contributions to this report are listed in
      appendix IV.


      ^ji<f:
      Mark E. Gebicke
      Director, NASA Issues
B-237602
List of Requesters
The Honorable Albert Gore, Jr., Cltairman
Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
United States Senate

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski, Chair
Subconunittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies
Conunittee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Robert A. Roe, Chairman
Committee on Science, Space and Technology
House of Representatives

The Honorable Bob Traxler, Chairman
Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




                     Page 2
BLANK PACE



PaRrS
Executive Summary


             Funding requirements for the National Aeronautics and Space
'urpose      Administration (NASA) are expected to rise dramatically in the 1990s and
             could triple by the year 2000 if some recently proposed initiatives such
             as a lunar outpost or a staffed Mars expedition are adopted. Contribut-
             ing substantially to theso prospective increases are major existing and
             planned research and development projects. The current federal budget
             deficit environment adds to the challenge facing congressional deci-
             sionmakers in making increasingly difficult choices about what civil
             space projects will be undertaken and the pace at which they will be
             funded. Reliable information on the cost and progress of NA.SA'S major
             projects can be a valuable resource for legislators when making budget
             allocation decisions.

             NA.SA'S four principal oversight Committees requested GAO to a.ssess
             .NASA's ability to produce status reports that meet their requirements for
             reliable cost, schedule, and performance information on rnajor NASA
             projects. As part of this request, GAO helped the Committees and NASA
             agree upon project status reporting criteria and reviewed NASA'S current
             process for developing these reports in a reliable manner.


             In its report on NASA Issues (GAO/OCG-89-15TR, Nov. 1988), GAO identified
Background   NASA's incomplete project cost reporting as an issue to be considered by
             the incoming administration and the Congress. While developing that
             report, GAO found that NASA had the capabiiity, to report more complete
             project costs and, on occasion, had done so since the mid-1970s at the
             request of one of its oversight Committees. In these Project Status
             Reports, NASA had provided the Committee with cost, schedule, and per-
             formance information on selected major projects.

             The Project Status Report NASA has prepared since the mid-1970s was
             patterned after the Department of Defense's Selected Acquisition
             Reports. The Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban
             Development and Independent Agencies, Senate Committee on
             Appropriations, specified the NASA projects to be reported. From 1976
             through 1989, NASA prepared 146 reports on 17 different projects. Pro-
             ject Status Reports were initially submitted on January 30 and July 31
             ofeach year, Hovyever, since 1987—following a 1-year hiatus during
             which none were prepared—the reports have been submitted annually
             in March,




             Page 4                              GAO/NSIAD-90-40 NASA Project Status Reports
                         Executive niiinmary




                         New Project Status Keport criteria for the selection of projects for
Results in Brief         reporting, the timing and duration of the reports, and the report format
                         and :structure have been established jointly by NASA'S Comptroller's
                         Office and the four requesting Committees, These criteria integrate
                         NASA's reporting capabilities with the Committees' requirements for cost,
                         .schedule, and performance information on NASA'S major projects.

                         NASA is able to produce the reports using the new criteria. However,
                         additional internal controls over the process employed to develop
                         Project Status Reports are needed to ensure their reliability. Unreliable
                         project status information could mislead the reports' users, who rely on
                         them to help nuike resource allocation decisions.



Principal Findings

New Criteria Have Been   New criteria for NASA'S Project Status Reports have been established
Established for NASA's   jointly by NASA Comptroller officials and the requesting Committees.
                         NASA is able to develop the reports meeting the new criteria, and the
Project Status Reports   resulting information satisfies the Committees' requirements for cost,
                         schedule, and performance information on NASA'S m^or projects.

                         Project Status Reports will now be developed on all NASA projects that
                         meet the NASA Budget Administration Manual's definition of a project
                         and are estimated to cost $200 million or more to research and develop.
                         Starting on March 15,1990, the reports will be prepared biannually—as
                         of March 15 and July 30. Following a project's new-start approval, the
                         reports will begin the first March after the project's estimate reaches the
                         cost threshold and end with the report following project completion.

                         The revised Project Status Report has six parts. Part I is a narrative
                         status report highlighting the project's current progress and problems.
                         Parts 11 through V track the cost, funding, schedule, and performance of
                         the project, as measured against NASA's estimates. Fart VI presents key
                         project background information. Apjiendix II illustrates the revised
                         Project Status Report form.




                         Pages                                GAO/NSIAI>-9fr40 NASA Project Stotus Reports
                           Executive Sununary




Project Status Report      NASA has never formalized its process to develop Project Status Reports
Process Needs Additional   by developing written guidehnes or specifying responsibilities for devel-
                           oping the reports. Guidance is informal and vague, as GAO found when it
Intemal Controls           examined the 1988 report on the Magellan mission to Venus—one of
                           seven 1988 Project Status Reports that year. Some of the Magellan data
                           was inaccurate, out-of-date, and unverifiable. For example, some cost
                           estimates were wrong; some milestones were not the most current; the
                           latest acquisition cost estimate lacked documentation; the source of the
                           upper stage development estimate was unknown; and NASA officials
                           could not tell GAG who had developed the "Progress, Problems and
                           Pending Decisions" narrative or upon what data it was based, NASA offi-
                           cials disagreed with GAG'S findings but provided no documentation to
                           support their position.


                           GAG recommends that the NASA Adnunistrator examine NASA's pro-
Recommendation             cess to develop Project Status Reports and establish the intemal controls
                           necessary to ensure that the Project Status Reports using the new crite-
                           ria are reliable.


                           As requested, GAG did not ask NASA to comment officially on a draft of
Agency Comments            this report. However, the views of responsible officials were sought
                           throu^out the course of GAO'S work, and their comments were incorpo-
                           rated where appropriate.

                           NASA officials have agreed to the new criteria and are committed to
                           reviewing and, if necessary, revising the report development process to
                           ensure that the Project Status Reports delivered to the Congress are reli-
                           able. They have al»> agreed to prepare written guidelines to assist in the
                           development of the reports.




                           Page 6                              GAO/NSIAIMMMO NASA Project Statua Beporta
^^wtp




        BLANK PACS

                     OAO/NBUMIMO NASA PRUect
Contents


Executive Summary
Chapter 1                                                                                     10
Introduction           Background                                                             10
                                                                                              10
                       Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

Chapter 2                                                                                     12
New Project Status     PSR Selection, Timing, and Duration                                    12
                       Format for the New PSR                                                 14
Report Criteria        Conclusion                                                             16

Chapter 3                                                                                     17
NASA Must Ensure       PSRs Need to Be Reliable                                               17
                       PSR Process Needs Additional Internal Controls                         18
the Development of a   Conclusions                                                            19
Reliable PSR           Recommendation to the NASA Administrator                               20

Appendixes             Appendix I: Project Status Reports Filed in the NASA                   22
                          Comptroller's Office
                       Appendix II: Project Status Report Form                                23
                       Appendix III: Completing the PSR Form                                  28
                       Appendix IV: Msyor Contributors to This Report                         44

Table                  Table 2.1: NASA Projects Eligible for March 1990 PSRs,                 13
                           Listed by NASA Program Office

Figures                Figure III.I: PSR Heading and Table of Contents                        28
                       Figure III.2: Part I - Project Status                                  29
                       Figure III.3: Project Cost Estimates                                   30
                       Figure III.4: Non-NASA Cost Components                                 32
                       Figure III.5: Part II • Column Headings                                33
                       Figure 111.6: Funding for Project Development                          34
                       Figure III.7: Instructions for Completing Part III                     35
                       Figure II1.8: Principal Milestones                                     36
                       Figure III.9: Headings for Tracking Principal Milestones               38
                       Figure III. 10 Project Goals and Objectives                            39
                       Figure III.I 1: Project Background                                     42




                                                             J?Ark/miSTAI\.OA_4/l M A A A 1
     Contenta




     Abbreviations
     DDT&E      Design, Development, T e s t a n d E v a l u a t i o n
     FACS       Financial and Contractual Status
     GAO        General Accounting Office
     HUD        Housing a n d U r b a n Development
     MO&DA      Mission Operations and Data Analysis
     NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration
     PSR        Project Status Report
     TDRSS      Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System
     VA         Veterans Affairs


     Pages                                      GAO/NSIAIMIMO NASA PnUect SUtna Bepoita

M:
Chapter 1

Introduction


Background               In our report on NASA Issues (GAO/OCG-89-15TR, Nov. 1988), we identified
                         the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) incomplete
                         project cost reporting as an issue to be considered by the incoming
                         administration and the Congress. While developing that report, we
                         found that NASA had the capability to report more complete project
                         costs. NASA has provided, on occasion since the mid-19'70s, Project Status
                         Reports (PSR) on selected NASA projects at the request of the Chairman of
                         the Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies, Senate
                         Committee on Appropriations. The purpose of the reports was to pro-
                         vide timely information on the cost, schedule, and performance of
                         selected major projects to assist the Subconunittee in its review of NASA'S
                         budget requests. The projects were selected in an ad hoc manner,
                         according to the Subcommittee's interests.

                         The NASA Comptroller's Office is currently the NASA focal point responsi-
                         ble for preparing the PSRS. Once NASA receives a Subconunittee request
                         for a PSK, the Comptroller's Office tasks the appropriate NASA program
                         offices to submit PSR information, collects and combines the data pro-
                         vided, and submits the PSR to the Subconunittee.

                         The PSRS, which were patterned after the Department of Defense's
                         Selected Acquisition Reports, include cost, schedule, and technical infor-
                         mation under the foUowing subject headings: mission and description;
                         progress, problems, and pending decisions; nussion/technical character-
                         istics; scheduled milestones; program acquisition cost; funding; support
                         costs; and other agency and foreign participation.

                         The PSRS were initially submitted on January 30 and July 31 of each
                         year. Beginning in 1987, however—following a 1-year hiatus during
                         which none were prepared—NASA began to submit PSRS annually in
                         March. From 1976 through 1989, NASA developed 146 PSRS on 17 differ-
                         ent projects. A coniplete schedule of these PSRS appears in appendix I.


                         NASA's four principal oversight Committees' requested that we review
Objectives, Scope, and   NASA's ability to produce PSRS that meet their requirements for reliable
Methodology              cost, schedule, and performance information on miyor projects. As part
                         of this request, we helped the Conunittees and NASA agree upon criteria

                         'The four requesting Committees are the Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies,
                         Senate Committee or Appropriations; the House Cominittee on Sdence, Space and Technology; the
                         Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations; and the
                         Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and ^
                         Transportation,



                         Page 10                                       OAO/N8IAD«(MO NASA Project Sutna Bepocta
      ChapterI
      Introduction




      for project selection and report timing, duration, format, and contents.
      We also reviewed NASA'S current process for developing these reports.

      To ensure NASA'S ability to develop the new PSR, we worked with person-
      nel from NASA's Comptroller's Office and used their conunents in the
      deveiopment of the Project Status Report criteria. We also integrated
      NASA's comments with the Committees' requirements to establish a new
      set of mutually agreeable PSR criteria. Using the requesters' specifica-
      tions, we interviewed representatives from each NASA program offioe to
      identify projects potentially eligible for reporting.^

     To assess the reliability of the existing Praject Status Report and the
     process used to prepare it, we selected one of the seven 1988 PSBS—the
     space science mission to Venus named Magellan—as a case study.' A
     NASA Comptroller official told us that the process used to prepare PSRs
     for space science projects—such as Magellan—was representative of
     the process used to prepare all NASA PSRS. We chose the space science
     project Magellan because it had a nearly completed and relatively
     uncomplicated development history.

     We focused our work on NASA'S Comptroller's Office and the Offloe of
     Space Science and Applications at NASA Headquarters in Washington,
     D.C. We also performed work at the Jet Propidsk>n Laboratory in
     Pasadena, Califomia.

     As requested, we did not obtain written comments on a draft of thiis
     report. However, we obtained the views of agenc:,' officials and consid-
     ered them throughout the preparation of this report. Our work was per-
     formed from November 1988 to November 1989 in accordance with
     generally accepted govemment auditing standards.




     •'NASA has five program omces—the Office of Space Science and Applications, the Office of SJnce
     Flight, the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, the Office of Space Statiim, and the Office of
     Space Operations.

     ••'In 1988 NASA prepared PSRs for the Ulysses, Mars Observer, GaUleo, Hubble Space Telescope
     National Aerospace Plane, Upper Atmospheric Research SateUite, and Magellan prttfeds.



     P«««"                                             OAO/NSIAIMNMO NASA Pndect S t a t u Beporta
m-
Chapter 2

New Project Status Report Criteria


                                     New criteria for NASA's Project Status Reports have been jointly estab-
                                     lished and agreed to by NASA Comptroller officials and representatives
                                     from NASA's four oversight Committees. These criteria address the selec-
                                     tion of projects for reporting, specify the timing and duration of reports,
                                     and set out their format and stmcture. By adhering to the criteria, NASA
                                     will provide the Committees with timely cost, schedule, and perform-
                                     ance information on its m^or projects.


P*m? ^ p l p r t i n n Ti m i n ^   '^'^^ ^*'' ^ prepared on all NASA projects that (1) meet the NASA Budget
 ^ ^            •      iiiiuiift,   Administration Manual's definition of a project and (2) are estinmted to
and Duration                        cost $200 mllUon or more to research and develop. The NASA manual
                                    defines a project as
                                    " , , . an undertaking with a scheduled beginning and ending, which nonnally
                                    involves one of the foUowing primary purposes: (1) the design, development and
                                    demonstration of mayor advanced hardware items; (2) the design, construction and
                                    operations of a new launch vehicle (and associated ground support) during the
                                    research and development phase; and (3) the construction and operation of one or
                                    more aeronautical or space vehicles and necessary ground support in order to
                                    accomplish a scientific or technical objective."

                                    The Committees' representatives set a minimum cost criterion to limit
                                    PSRS to NASA's higher cost projects. The cost criterion was set at a mini-
                                    mum research and development cost estimate of 200 million real-year
                                    dollars.' This cost criterion can be re-examined in future years and
                                    adjusted upward to account for infiation.

                                    Using these criteria, we asked officials in each of NASA'S program offices
                                    to supply lists of their currently eligible projects. On the basis of these
                                    lists and in consultation with the Committees' representatives, we pre-
                                    pared a list of 19 projects eligible for the next PSR process beginning in
                                    March 1990, as shown in table 2.1.




                                    ' Real-year dollars include estimates of inflation in future years.



                                    Page 12                                             GAO/NSIAI>«0-M NASA PnUect Statu Beporta
                                          Chapter 2
                                          New Project SUtus Report Criteria




Table 2.1: NASA Prelects Eligible (or
March 1990 PSRs, Listed by NASA          Program office                      Project
Program Office                           Space, Science                      Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility
                                         and Applications                    Advanced Communications Technology Satellite
                                                                             Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby/Cassini'
                                                                             Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer
                                                                             Galileo
                                                                             Gamma Ray Observatory
                                                                             Global Geospace Science
                                                                             Hubble Space Telescope
                                                                             Magellan
                                                                             Mars Observer
                                                                             Ocean Topography Experiment
                                                                             Ulysses
                                                                             Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite
                                         Space Flight                        Advanced Solid Rocket Motor
                                                                             Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle
                                                                             Replacement Orbiter
                                         Space Station"                      Flight Telerobotic Servicer
                                         Aeronautics and Space              National Aerospace Plane
                                         Technology
                                         Space Operations                    Tracking and Oata Relay Satellite System
                                         ^Although the Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby and Cassini are two separate missions, NASA is
                                         requesting funding as if they were one project. As they progress in development, the cost estiinates
                                         and milestones may begin to diverge, and it will become necessary to develop separate PSRs for each
                                         project.
                                        "The Committees' representatives and NASA officials agreed that the Space Station Capital
                                        Development Plan would be used in lieu of a PSR for the space station. This plan—as directed by the
                                        1988 NASA Authorization Act—includes a statement outlining the projected total cosl, schedule, and
                                        configuration of the space station, tt is to be prepared each of the fiscal years 1989 through 1996 and to
                                        be submitted along with the President's annual NASA budget request.

                                        The Committees' representatives and NASA officials agreed that the PSRS
                                        for projects meeting the eligibility criteria would be prepared biannu-
                                        ally—as of March 15 and July 30—so they are available for use both at
                                        the beginning of the budget review process and at the end during the
                                        final framing of the spending bills. These due dates, which closely coin-
                                        cide with NASA's biannual cost estimating process (on March 1 and
                                        July 1), will enable the PSRS to reflect current infonnation.
                                        PSRS on eligible projectswill be submitted during the first March follow-
                                        ing congressional new-start approval or later when they reach the
                                        $200 million cost threshold^ and end with a final PSR after project com-
                                        pletion. For the purpose of the PSR, project completion is defined as the


                                        -A PSR is prepared for a project when it reaches the $200 million cost threshold for its total esti-
                                        mated research and development. Sometimes a project may not meet this threshold until mmths or
                                        years after the initial congressional new-start approval.



                                        Page 13                                           GAO/NSIAJM040 NASA Plaject Sutna Bepoita
                             Chapters
                             New Project Sutns Report Criteria




                            time when NASA can assess how well the project has achieved its objec-
                            tives. See appendix III for a more detailed discussion of project
                            completion.


Fnrmat fnr t h p NPAV       '^^^ Committees' representatives approved the following six-part PSR
PSR
                        •    Part I - Project Status,
                        •    Part II - Project Cost Estimates,
                        •    Part III - Funding for Project Development,
                        •    Part IV - Principal Milestones,
                        •    Part V - Project Goals and Objectives, and
                        •    Part VI - Project Background.
                            Each part is briefiy described below. Appendix II provides an illustra-
                            tion of the revised PSR, and in appendix III we describe its data elements
                            and suggest source documents for its development.

                            "Part I - Project Status" calls for a brief narrative summary highlighting
                            the project's most recent progress and any problems identifled in other
                            parts of the PSR. This section also requires a description of corrective
                            actions taken or planned by NASA to mitigate the negative impacts of any
                            problem identified.

                            "Part II - Project Cost Estimates" requires that the amount and reason
                            for project cost growth be tracked over time. It requests two project cost
                            estimate baselines—the initial project cost estimate that is developed
                            when NASA first requests new-start approval and the development cost
                            estimate that NASA managers prepare after they have a fuller picture of
                            project costs (usually at the time of a project's Preliminary Design
                            Review).^

                            Part II requires that NASA cost estimates be tracked over time for the
                            NASA cost components—costs for the primary program office and the
                            supporting program offices. Estimates of project costs incurred outside
                            of NASA (by other U.S agencies and other participants) will also be listed
                            in Part II. Because these estimates are developed by NASA's partners,
                            NASA officials will only be responsible for reporting the latest estimates
                            provided to them by these partners.

                            ^The Preliminary Design Review is NASA's technical review of the proiject's basic design to ensure Its
                            producibiiity and compatibility with the project's requirements.



                            P«S«14                                            GAO/N8IAIMNM0 NASA PratlectSUtaa Beporta

                                                                                                                                     m
 Chapter 2
 New Project Statua Report Criteria




 "Part III - Funding for Project Development" requires that the project's
 research and development funding be displayed in three ways—citing
 what has been funded, what is currently available, and what is needed
 for the future.

 "Part IV - Principal Milestones" requires that the progress towards and
 the completion of key milestones be charted. Key milestones include

the date of the announcement of science opportunity to the community
of scientists outside of NASA (if applicable),
the date that development contracts are awarded,
the date when all Preliminary Design Reviews are completed,
the date that all Critical Design Reviews are completed,*
the launch date, and
the date of project completion.
Part IV also requires two baselines—the "initial project estimate" and
an updated "development estimate."

 "Part V - Project (joals and Objectives" requires a siunmary of the pro-
ject's goals and objectives (technological and/or scientific), as defined by
NASA

in its initial project presentation to the Congress,
in its project development estimate, and
in its assessment of final project performance.

"Part VI - Project Backgroimd" requires project information regarding
the project's relationship to NASA'S strategic plan and its contribution to
other NASA missions;
the general background of the project, including when it was approved
as a new-start and the time and amount spent on it during "advanced
studies";*
the NASA components primarily involved and the extent of their
involvement;
the prime contractors and what they are to deliver to NASA; and
the roles, responsibilities, and contributions of other involved partici-
pants, such as domestic and foreign commercial and academic entities.
^The Critical Design Review is NASA's review of the detailed design when it is approximately
90-percent complete to ensure that the project design is in compliance with NASA requirements.
'^''Advanced studies" is NASA's term for all pre-prqject reseaich activities.



I'MelS                                            GAO/N8IAIMKM0 NASA Pnjeet Statu BepnM
              Chapter 2
              New Project Statoa Repoit Criteria




Conclusion    ^^^ criteria for the selection of projects for PSR reporting, the timing
              and duration of the PSR reports, and the PSR report format and structure
              have been agreed to by NASA and the requesting Commitcees. The criteria
              integrate NASA'S reporting capabilities with the Committees' require-
              ments for timely cost, schedule, and performance information on NASA'S
              msOoi' projects.




             '*** **                               GAO/NSIAIMtMO NASA Pnject Statu Bepwta
Chapters

NASA Must Ensure the Development of a
Reliable PSR

                  Although NASA has agreed to follow the new PSR criteria, NASA needs
                  additional internal controls to ensure the preparation of reliable PSRS.
                  NASA has had an informal process for developing PSRS. In attempting to
                  trace and verify the information in one representative PSR—the March
                  1988 Magellan PSR—we found that NASA needs to improve that process.
                  NASA must ensure that there are adequate intemal controls in place to
                  guide the preparation and processing of PSRS that are current, accurate,
                  complete, and satisfy the basic criteria outlined in chapter 2.


                  Funding requirements for NASA are expected to rise dramatically in the
PSRs Need to Be   1990s and could triple by the year 2000 if some recently proposed
Reliable          research and development initiatives such as a lunar outpost or a
                  staffed Mars expedition are adopted. In the current budget deficit envi-
                  ronment, budget decisionmakers face increasingly difficult decisions on
                  NASA budget allocations. They must decide what civil space projects will
                  be undertaken and the pace at which they will be funded. Reliable cost,
                  schedule, and performance information on NASA'S major projects can
                  help in making these decisions.

                  NASA provides the Congress with information on its research and devel-
                  opment activities through testimony, budget estimates, and various
                  reports; however, none of these methods provides the comprehensive
                  and focused information the revised PSR will provide. The PSR will pro-
                  vide congressional decisionmakers with a concise picture of the cost,
                  schedule, and performance status of NASA'S m^uor projects.

                  Congressional use of the PSR should reduce the frequency and volume of
                  ad hoc information requests to NASA's project managers. For example,
                  before the annual budget hearings, one of NASA'S oversight
                  Subconunittees typically requests projected total cost estimates for all
                  msuor projects, information that another Subconunittee also requests in
                  reviewing project status. These types of requests can be satisfied by the
                  revised PSR. However, for the PSR to be a viable altemative to many ad
                  hoc requests for information, as well as to serve as a reliable source of
                  cost, schedule, and performance information, it must contain accurate,
                  complete, and current information.




                  Page 17                            GAO/NSIAD«a40 NASA Project Statu Beporta
                       CliapterS
                       NASA Mut Ensure the Development of a
                       BeliablePSB




                       In order to understand NASA'S reporting capabilities, we selected the
PSR Process Needs      March 1988 Magellan I'SK as a case study and attempted to trace its data
Additional Internal    and to identify its supporting documentation. We found the PSR process
Controls               to be vague and confusing.

                       NASA does not have formal instructions specifying the method for PSR
                       development, the responsibilities of the individual NASA program offices
                       involved, or procedures for PSR verification and review. Furthermore,
                       none of the Comptroller and program office officials we interviewed
                       could completely explain the informal PSR procedures being used or iden-
                       tify all the individuals responsible for the preparation of specific PSR
                       information or the sources of such information.

                      The procedures employed by NASA to produce a PSR did not allow us to
                      verify the accuracy of project information, NASA Comptroller officials
                      told us that PSR information was generally prepared by updating a copy
                      of the last PSR with handwritten corrections, NASA project and resource
                      management officials told us that several program offices may coinment
                      on a particular PSR in this manner, and NASA Comptroller officials
                      responsible for reviewing the PSRS have no record of where certain PSR
                      information originated.

                      In tracing the sources of information used in the March 1988 Magellan
                      I'SR, we found data that was wrong, out-of-date, and unverifiable:

                       The upper stage "prior years" and "FY 1988" funding figures were
                       wrong. The figure reported in the March 1988 Magellan PSR for upper
                       stage "prior year" funding was $15.2 million. According to NASA offi-
                       cials, it should have been $20.0 million. The funding for "FY 1988" was
                       shown as $32.5 million, when it actually was $27.7 million, according to
                      NASA Comptroller officials. The NASA Comptroller official responsible for
                      these figures told us that the person who prepared them must have
                      made a mathematical error.
                      The milestones reported in the PSR for "Delivery of Spacecraft to KSC
                      [Kennedy Space Center]" and "Launch" had not been updated with the
                      latest information available at the time of the PSR'S development. The
                      PSR, which stated that its data was current as of January 31,1988, indi-
                      cated "Delivery of Spacecraft to KSC" during the first quarter of cialen-
                      dar year 1988. Yet the December 1987 Project Management Report—
                      which was accurate according to NASA Comptroller officials—listed this
                      date as the fourth quarter of 1988. Similarly, the PSR listed "Launch" for
                      the second quarter of calendar year 1988, yet the Project Management
                      Keport listed it for the first quarter of 1989. A NASA Comptroller official

                      Pa«el8                                  GAO/NS1AI>80-W NASA Pi^Ject Statu Beporta
                 Chapters
                 NASA Mut Ensure the Development of a
                 Bellable PSB




                 explained that these discrepancies had resulted from typographical
                 errors.
                 Finally, unverifiable information was pervasive in the Magellan PSR. For
                 example, the NASA officials responsible for the material in the "Progress,
                 Problems and Pending Decisions" section of the PSR could not tell us who
                 had prepared it or upon what data it was based. Similarly, NASA
                 Comptroller officials did not know the origin of the development esti-
                 mate for the Centaur upper stage, NASA officials also told us that the
                 "Current Estimate" for Magellan acquisition cost had not been
                 documented.

                 NASA officials disagreed with our finding that some data in the 1988
                 Magellan PSR was wrong, out-of-date, and unverifiable. Although they
                 promised to provide us with documentation that would support this
                 position, the evidence was not forthcoming.


ConHnsion*?      During our review of the March 1988 Magellan PSR, we found data that
                 was inaccurate, out-of-date, and unverifiable. We also foimd that the
                 current process used to develop PSRS needs additional intemal controls
                 to ensure reliable PSR data. If the PSR data is unreliable, the report can-
                 not be used as a basis for sound resource allocation decisions. In order to
                 ensure the reliability and usefulness of the PSRS, NASA needs to establish
                 adequate intemal controls for preparing, processing, and reviewing PSRS.
                 These controls are especially important as PSRS change from ad hoc
                 reports on relatively few projects to routine, biannual reports on many
                 more projects.
                Specific intemal controls to strengthen NASA'S development of PSRS that
                meet the new criteria described in chapter 2 should begin with NASA's
                developing and institutionalizing PSR guidelines. These guidelines should

              • identify an accountable NASA focal point who will ensure that PSRS are
                reliable and meet the prescribed criteria for project eligibility, repprt
                timing and duration, format, and contents;
              • identify the NASA offices responsible for each specific part of the PSR;
              • specify the sources of data to be used when preparing the PSR;
              • establish verification and review procedures; and
              • establish and maintain a complete historical file of PSRS.
                NASA officials have agreed to review and, if necessary, revise the current
                process used to develop the PSRS to ensure that the PSRS delivered to the


                '•«« »                                  OAO/NSLUMIMO NASA PNUect Statu Bepofla
                                       Chapters
                                       NASA Mut Enenre the Development of a
                                       BeliaMePSB




                                       Congress are reliable. In doing so, NASA has also agreed to develop writ-
                                       ten guidelines for preparing PSRS and to base the guidelines on the infor-
                                       mation provided in this report.


H a n r a n m n n t i a t i n n fr%    ^ ^ recommend that the NASA Administrator examine NASA'S process to
necommenaation to                      develop Project status Reports and establish the intemal controls neces-
the NASA                               sary to ensure that the Project Status Reports using the new criteria are
Administrator                  ^^^'""^^^




                                      f»«^»0                                  OAO/NSIADMMO NASA PRdeet statu Bcpofta
BMNK PAGE

 Facetl     CMO/MBMMMtNiaAPtadMtf


              iHH-niimr-iUfri i U f ' i
                                          ...,M
Awtendixl

_ _ ... _; Status Reports Filed in the NASA
Comptroller's Office

                 Project
                 1 Space Shuttle                             1/30/76,1/31/77. 7/31/77.1/31/79, 3/05/80.
                                                             7/31/80,1/31/81,7/31/81.1/31/82,7/31/82.
                                                             1/31/83
                2 H E A O A-C                                1/30/76, 7/31/76, 1/31/77. 7/31/77.1/31/78.
                                                             7/31/78, 1/31/79, 7/31/79.3/05/80. 7/31/80
                3. Mariner Jupiter/Saturn Voyager            1/30/76, 7/31/76, 1/31/77. 7/31/77.1/31/78.
                                                             7/31/78, 1/31/79, 7/31/79.3/05/80. 7/31/80.
                                                             1/31/81,7/31/81,1/31/82
                4 Pioneer Venus                             1/30/76, 7/31/76, 1/31/77, 7/31/77, 1/31/78.
                                                            7/31/78,1/31/79. 7/31/79
                5 SEASAT-A or 1                             1/30/76, 7/31/76,1/31/77. 7/31/77.1/31/78.
                                                            7/31/78, 1/31/79, 7/31/79
                6. LANDSAT-C                                1/30/76, 7/31/76.1/31/77. 7/31/77.1/31/78.
                                                            7/31/78,1/31/79. 7/31/79
                7. LANDSAT-D                                1/31/78, 7/31/78, 1/31/79. 7/31/79.3/05/80.
                                                            7/31/80,1/31/81. 7/31/81.1/31/82. 7/31/82,
                                                            1/31/83, 7/31/83
                8. Hubble Space Telescope                   1/31/78,   7/31/78, 1/31/79. 7/31/79.3/05/80.
                                                            7/31/80,   1/31/81, 7/31/81.1/31/82. 7/31/82.
                                                            1/31/83,   7/31/83, 7/31/84.1/31/85.3/25/87.
                                                            3/23/88,   3/30/89
                9. Galileo                                  1/31/78, 7/31/78.1/31/79.3/05/80. 7/31/80.
                                                            1/31/81, 7/31/81,1/31/82. 7/31/82.1/31/83.
                                                            7/31/83,1/31/84. //31/84,1/31/85.3/25/87.
                                                            3/23/88,3/30/89
                10. Ulysses                                 1/31/79.7/31/79.3/05/80. 7/31/80.1/31/81.
                                                            7/31/81,1/31/82, 7/31/82.1/31/83. 7/31/83,
                                                            1/31/84, 7/31/84,1/31/85.3/25/87.3/23/88.
                                                            3/30/89
                11. Gamma Ray Observatory                   1/31/81, 7/31/81.1/31/82, 7/31/82,1/31/83.
                                                            7/31/83.1/31/84.7/31/84.1/31/85
                12. Magellan                                1/31/84. 7/31/84,1/31/85.3/25/87.3/23/88.
                                                            3/30/89
                13. Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite    3/25/87, 3/23/88.3/30/89
                14, Mars Observer                           3/25/87,3/23/88.3/30/89
                15. National Aerospace Plane                3/25/87,3/23/88.3/30/89
                16. Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby/        3/30/89
                    Cassini
                17. Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility   3/30/89




                Page 22                                    OAO/NBIAIMfMO NASA PNject S t a t u Beporta
        Appendix II

        Project Status Report Form



                                         Project Name.

                                              PROJECT STATUS REPORT

                                         Submission Date:




                                                      Table ol Contents

                                                                                  Page

                               Parti     Project Status                             1

                               Pan II    Projeci Cosl Estimates                     2

                               Pan III   Funding lor Project Development            3

                               Pari IV   Principal Milestones                       3

                               PartV     Proiect Goals and Obiectives               4

                               Part VI   Proiecl Background                         5




                                                   Part 1 — Project Status




                       Page!                                      GAO/NSIAIMNMO NASA PnUeet S t a t u Beporta
r'.-.
                Appendix U
                Project Statu Beport Form




                             PART II — PROJECT COST ESTIMATES
                               (Real-Year Dollars in Thousands)



          COST           INITIAL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT I LAST PSR   |   THIS PSR     AMOUNT O f ANO
       COMPONENTS            ESTIMATE   I  ESTIMATE    ESTIMATE   j   ESTIMATE   REASON FOR CMANOE


PRIMARY NASA
  PROGRAM OPFICE
  OFFICE NAME




SUPPORTING NASA
  PROGRAM OFFICES




NASA SUBTOTAL


OTHER U S AGENCIES




OTHER U S PARTICIPANTS




NON-NASA SUBTOTAL


      TOTAL




              Page 24                                       QAO/NSIAIMMMO NASA PnUect S t a t u Beporta


                                                                                         ,a:,.,.iJj#;Sf'*'^l''
                   Appendix n
                   Project Statu Beport Fom




                            PART III — FUNDING FOR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
                                      (Real-Year Dollars in Thousands)


                                                                                                          CUMENT
                                                                                                           PdOJCCT
                                                                                             BALANCC    OEVCIOMKNT
                            PRIOR                            CURRENT    FY                     TO           COST
                            VEARS     FY          FY         FY    _    REQUEST     FY      COMPUTE       (STWATE


    PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
      FUNDING




                                    PART IV — PRINCIPAL MILESTONES
                                        (Calendar Year and Month)



                             INITIAL PROJECT   DEVELOPMENT               TMS PSR/
         MILESTONES              ESTIMATE        ESTIMATE    LAST PSR     ACTUAL*        REASON K M C M A N U


    ANNOUNCEMENT OF
      OPPORTUNITV

    DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTS
     AWARDED


    ALL PRELIMINARY
      DESIGN REVIEWS
      COMPLETED


    ALL CRITICAL DESIGN
      REVIEWS COMPLETED



    LAUNCH DATE



    PROJECT COMPLETION




f                 Page 2S                                          GAO/NSIADWMO NASA Project S t a t u Beporta
sly''


                         Appendix n
                         Project Statua Report Form




                                    PART V — PROJECT GOALS ANO OBJECTIVES


                                     PROJECT GOALS             BCIENCE/TECMMCAL OBJECTIVES



        INITIAL
          PROJECT
          PRESENTATION
          TO CONGRESS




        DEVELOPMENT
         ESTIMATE




        LAST PSR




        THIS PSR




        REASON FOR
          CHANGE




        FINAL
                                                      r
          PERFORMANCE
           STATEMENT




                      Page 26                              GAO/NSIADeMO NASA Project S t a t u Beporta
                    Appendix O
                    Project Statu Beport Form




                                              PART VI - PROJECT BACKGROUND



 PROJECT S H E L A T I O N S H I P TO NASA S STRATEGIC PLAN                                                I




 GENERAL BACKGROUND




                                                                                                      -4
. PRIMARY NASA COMPONENTS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES                                                       i
                                                                                                           I
                                                                                                           I




PRIME CONTRACTORS ANO THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES




OTHER PARTICIPANTS AND THEIH RESPONSIBILITIES




                 •""K^^T                                        GAO/NSIAI>9M0 NASA Project Statu Beporta
ir
     Appendix III

     Completing the PSR Form


                                           This appendix describes the contents of the revised PSR form and, where
                                           appropriate, identifies source documents that could be used to complete
                                           it. Whenever possible, information reported in the PSR should correspond
                                           to information contained in NASA's intemal automated cost reporting
                                           system.'

                                           As depicted in figure III.I, the heading information includes the project
                                           name and the date the PSR is submitted to the Committees. The table of
                                           contents for the PSR is self-explanatory. Each individual PSR part is dis-
                                           cussed below, including an explanation of what information should be
                                           included in each of the parts.
 Rgure III.I: PSR Heading and Table of Contents

                                           Project Name:

                                                  PROJECT STATUS REPORT

                                           Submission Date:



                                                         Table of Contents
                                                                                                                                    •
                                                                                           Page
                              Parti         Project Status                                   1

                              Part II       Project Cost Estimates                           2

                              Pan III       Funding for Project Development                  3

                              Part IV       Principal Milestones                             3

                              PartV         Project Goals and Objectives                     4

                              Part VI       Project Background                               5




                                           NASA's Division of Financial Management maintains the Financial and Contractual Status (FACS)
                                          database, which reports all NASA fmancial activity. This database employs an automated
                                          Agencywide Coding Structure system, which identifies NASA's fmancial activities by project.



                                          Page 28                                        GAO/NSIAI>«0.40 NASA Project S t a t u Beporta
                                         Appendix m
                                         Completing the PSB Form




                                        "Part I - Project Status" summarizes the progress and/or problems with
Part I - Project Status                 a project's cost, schedule, and performance. Part I explains NASA's cor-
                                        rective actions planned to mitigate the negative effects of any problem
                                        on the project's progress, such as requesting additional or reprogram-
                                        ming existing funding or de-scoping project objectives. The narrative
                                        should be tailored to fit in the space provided on the first page of the
                                        PSR. (See figure III.2.)

Figure III.2: Part I - Project Status




Part II - Project Cost                  "Part II - Project Cost Estimates" tracks the amount of and reason for a
                                        project's cost growth over time. Project cost components are listed verti-
Estiinates                              cally down the left-hand column and then tracked horizontally by the
                                        estimate/change columns. (See figure III.3.)




                                        Page 29                             GAO/NSIADeO-M NASA Project Statu Beporta
                                               Appendix m
                                               Completing the PSB Form




Figure III.3: Proiect Cost Estimates
                                           PART II — PROJECT COST ESTIMATES
                                             (Real-Year Dollars In Thousands)



                     COST              INITUL PROJECT   DEVELOPMENT   LAST PSR   THIS PSR        AMOUNT OF ANO
                  COHPONENT8               ESTMIATE       ESTIMATE    ESTIMATE   ESTIMATE      REASON FOR CHANOE


          PRIMARY NASA
            PROGRAM! OFFICE
            OFFICE NAME:




           SUPPORTING NASA
             PROGRA... L "=FICES




          OTHER U. S. AGENCIES




          OTHER U. S. PARTICIPANTS




           NOtMMSASUSTOTAL


                 TOTAL




                                             Page 30                                   GAO/NOAIMNMO NASA Project Statu Beporta
                                 Appendix in
                                 Completing the PSB Form




NASA Cost C o m p o n e n t s   '^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ components include the "Primary NASA Program Offloe"
                                and the "Supporting NASA Program Offices." (See figure III.3.) The "Pri-
                                mary NASA Program Office" is the program office at NASA Headquarters
                                responsible for the oversight of research and development costs that are
                                unique to the project. The presentation of these costs should be consis-
                                tent with NASA's cost reporting terminology and therefore will vary by
                                project. For example, NASA usually displays the primary program costs
                                for a science project, such as Magellan, as "Project Development" and
                                "Mission Operations and Data Analysis" (MO&DA). On the other hand, for
                                an operational project, such as the Tracking and Data Relay SatelUte
                                System (TDRSS), NASA may display the primary program costs as "Design,
                                Development, Test and Evaluation" (DDT&E) and "Operational Capability
                                Development."

                                On the basis of these examples, "Project Development" costs for a sci-
                                ence project are costs incurred to develop the spacecraft, the costs of
                                experiments/instruments, and the costs of ground operations, "MO&DA"
                                costs are the costs to operate the spacecraft and to analyze the data
                                transmitted to Earth. For the purposes of the PSR, the MO&DA estimate
                                ends when the mission has completed its original objectives. (We define
                                "Project Completion" in our section on "Milestones," p, 36.)

                                For a project with an operational objective, "DDT&E" is used to refer to
                                costs incurred to design, develop, test, and evaluate the project.
                                "Operational Capability Development" is the term NASA uses to refer to
                                costs incurred by the primary program office to prepare the system for
                                its full operational capability. For example, "Operational Capability
                                Development" costs for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System
                                could include the NASA Budget Estimate line items "Space network oper-
                                ations," "System engineering and support," and "Second TDRSS grbuhd
                                terminal."

                                The "Supporting NASA Program Offices" estimates include costs incurred
                                by other offices primarily or exclusively in support of the project.
                                Examples include

                                the costs incurred by the Office of Space Operations in providing any
                                project-related tracking and data acquisition services;
                                the marginal cost of a launch when the space shuttle is required to
                                launch a specific project, such as Magellan (currently estimated by NASA
                                officials to be $50 million);




                                '*S«3*                             OAO/NSIAD4NM0 NASA PivJect Statu Beporta
                                         Appendix n i
                                         Completing the PSB Form




                                         the costs incurred by the Office of Space Flight to procure required
                                         expendable launch vehicle services and upper stage propulsion systems;
                                         and
                                         any costs incurred in the Construction of Facilities appropriation that
                                         are unique to the project and not already covered by the "Primary
                                         Program Office" cost estimates.


Non-NASA Cost                            The non-NASA cost components are separated into costs for "Other U.S,
Components                               Agencies" and for "Other Participants." (See figure III.4.) Because these
                                         estimates are developed by NASA'S partners, NASA is only responsible for
                                         recording the latest cost estimates made available to it; NASA is not
                                         responsible for the completeness or accuracy of such estimates.

Figure III.4: Non-NASA Cost Components

                                                                      OTHER U.S. AGENCIES




                                                                      OTHER PARTICIPANTS




                                                                      NC3N-NASA SUBTOTAL

                                                                                                                                     •




                                         "Other U.S. Agencies" estimates include costs to other federal agencies
                                         to supply NASA with goods and services in support of a project. For
                                         example, the cost incurred by the Department of Energy might inclUde
                                         the cost to develop and deliver nuclear power supply equipment

                                         "Other Participants" estimates include planned expenditures (in equiva-
                                         lent U.S. dollars for foreign participants) by any foreign government
                                         and/or international and domestic commercial or academic entities that
                                         contribute directly to the project: for example, the estimated cost to the
                                         Federal Republic of Germany to provide the propulsion system for the
                                         Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby project.




                                         Page 32                              GAO/NSIAIMNMO NASA Project S t i « p Bi^porta


 IP,.
                                                                                                                             •mm
                                                                                            :.ij:\ii:i±!:i;i,jikfciii:t'p^^?H^;'''
                                           AppendUm
                                           Completing the FSB Form




Estimate/Change Columns                   The column headings "Initial Project Estimate," "Development
                                          Estimate," "I.^t PSR Estimate," and "This PSR Estimate" help track pro-
                                          ject estimates over time. The "Amoimt of and Reason for Change" col-
                                          umn explains any change between the last and current PSRS. (See figure
                                          III.5.) Similar headings are used again in "Part IV - Principal Milestones"
                                          to track the project's schedule and in "Part V - Project Goals and
                                          Objectives" to track the project's performance. Therefore, the following
                                          discussion on estimate/change coliunns should also be used when com-
                                          pleting those parts of the PSR.

Figure lil.5: Part II - Column Headings


                 mmAL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT           LAST PSR   THIS PSR         AMOUNT OF ANO
                   ESTIMATE     ESTIMATE            ESTIMATE   ESTIMATE       REASON FOR CHANOE




                                          The first column, "Initial Project Estimate," displays the original cost
                                          estimates NASA presented to the Congress when it obtained approval to
                                          begin the project, NASA'S "Project Initiation Agreement" is a good source
                                          for this information, since it is the result of NASA'S non-advocate cost
                                          reviews preceding the congressional new-start presentation. Although
                                          the "Primary NASA Program Office" cost estimate will be included/the
                                          "Supporting NASA Program Offices" and non-NASA cost estimates inay not
                                          be fully available until NASA has a more complete picture of the project's
                                          costs.

                                          The "Development Estimate" completes and updates the "Initial Project
                                          Estimate" by identifying the remaining cost components and by refining
                                          the original cost estimates. The "Development Estimate" is usually
                                          available around the time of the project's Preliminary Design Review.
                                          The Preliminary Design Review usually occurs about 2 years after new-
                                          start approval.

                                          The "Development Estimate" for the "Primary NASA Program pffice"
                                          cost estimate, project milestones, and performance and goals statements
                                          can be documented from the project's approved "Project PlanV and
                                          "Project Approval Document." The "Project Approval Document" can
                                          also be used to document the "Supporting NASA Program Offices" cost
                                          estimates.



                                          Page 33                            OAO/NSIADW40 NASA Project Stator >porta

                                                                                                  ;:;;;i.i!:E!iS;tef;»^:-
                                            Appendix m
                                            Compteting the PSR Form




                                            Once established, the "Initial Project Estimate" and the "Development
                                            Estimate" will be repeated on all subsequent PSRS.

                                            The "Last PSR Estimate" lists the estimated amounts shown on the PSR
                                            preceding the current one. The column labeled "This PSR Estimate" dis-
                                            plays the most current estimate. The "Amount of and Reason for
                                            Change" column displays the difference between the columns "This PSR
                                            Estimate" and "Last PSR Estimate" and provides a brief but specific
                                            explanation for this difference. For example, any msyor design changes
                                            should be highlighted. Source documents for any changes and their
                                            explanations include the FACS database. Program Operating Plans, and/
                                            or the program office's most recent monthly Project Management Report
                                            or status reviews.


                                           "Part III - Funding for Project Development" charts the "Project
Part in - Fimding for                      Development Funding" both historically and prospectively. This funding
Project Development                        corresponds to the amoimt listed by project line item in NASA'S Budget
                                           Estimates. (See figure III.6.)

Figure III.6: Funding for Project Development

                                  PART III — FUNDING FOR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
                                            (Real-Year Dollars In Thousands)


                                            „    ...                     1
                                                                                                           CURRENT
                                                                                                           PROiECr
                                                                                               BALANCE   OEVELOPMENT
                                 PRIOR                         CURRENT   FY                      TO          COOT
                                 VEARS      FV         FV      FV        REOUEST   FV         COMPLETE     ESTIMATE

          PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
            FUNDING




                                           The tracking begins with the "Prior Years" amount, which is the total of
                                           all project spending beginning in the fiscal year the project first reoeived
                                           congressional approval up to 2 fiscal years prior to the cijrrent fiscial
                                           year. For example, if the current fiscal year is 1990, the "Prior Years"
                                           amount would cover all spending up through and including fiscal year
                                           1987. Information from NASA'S FACS database can document this entry.



                                           Page 84                                 OAO/NSIAMfMO NASA Prefect $itatb|u:it^porta
                                                            Appendix ED
                                                            Completing the PSB Form




                                                           "Project Development Funding" for the current and the previous 2 flscal
                                                           years—which are identified as "Current FY 1990," "FY 1989," and
                                                           "FY 1988" in our example—should correspond to amounts recorded in
                                                           NASA's most current Operating Plans (Op Plan) for those years. The fig-
                                                           ure entered as "Fiscal Year Request" should correspond to the current
                                                           NASA budget request—which would be FY 1991 in our example. The
                                                           next "FY " column—"FY 1992" in our example—presents one esti-
                                                           mated outyear. The "Balance to Complete" column records the differ-
                                                           ence between the total "Current Project Development Cost Estimate"
                                                           and the sum of all preceding entries in Part III. The "Current Project
                                                           Development Cost Estimate" total should correspond to the most cur-
                                                           rent "Primary NASA Program Office" development estimate recorded in
                                                           Part II of the PSR. Figure III.7 presents Part III annotated with the
                                                           sources of information.
Figure III.7: Instructions for Completing Part III
                                             PART III — FUNDING FOR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
                                                       (Real-Year Doiiars In Thousands)


                                                                                                                                             CURRENT
                                                                                                                                             PRdJeCT
                                                                                                                                 BALANCE   OEVELOPMENT
                                             PRIOR                                       CURRENT       FV                          TO          COiBt
                                             VEARS         FV              FY            FV            REQUEST       FV         COMPLETE     ESTMATE

           PROJECT DEVELOPMENT                FACS         Op             Op             Op           Budget         Budget        a        PSR
             FUNDING                                       Plan           Plan           Plan         EsUmaie        Estimaie               Part II



          ' The 'Currant Pra|ecl Devetopment Cost Estimate' minus the total ol 'Prior Ye«s' and all ' F T columns.




Part rv - Principal                                       "Part IV - Principal Milestones" tracks the project's progress towards
                                                          completion of its principal milestones. The principal milestones IEU^; dis-
Milestones                                                played vertically down the left-hand column, and progress is tracked
                                                          horizontally. (See figure III.8.)




                                                          Page 35                                                    GAO/NSIAIMIMO NASA Project Statu I
v:':'


                                                    Appendix i n
                                                    Completing the PSB Form




     Figure III.S: Principal Milestones
                                                PART IV — PRINCIPAL MILESTONES
                                                    (Calendar Year and Month)



                                          INITIAL PROJECT   DEVELOPMENT                   THIS PSR/
                    MILESTONES                ESTIMATE        ESTIMATE      LAS7PSH        ACTUAL*             REASON FOR CHANOE


               ANNOUNCEMENT OF
                 OPPORTUNITY

               DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTS
                AVI/ARDEO


               ALL PRELIMINARY
                 DESIGN REVIEWS
                 COMPLETED


               ALL CRITICAL DESIGN
                 REVIEWS COMPLETED



               LAUNCH DATE



               PROJECT COMPLETION




        Milestones                                 The milestones considered to be principal will vary slightly, depending
                                                   on the nature of the project. The milestones in Part IV are deflned aS
                                                   follows:

                                                   The date of the "Announcement of Opportunity" (if applicable) is the
                                                   day that the scientific community is invited to participate in a NASA pro-
                                                   gram or project.
                                                   The date of "Development Contracts Awarded" is the date when all
                                                   prime contracts have been awarded.
                                                   The date of "All Preliminary Design Reviews Completed" is thedatci
                                                   that the last project element is reviewed for technical compatibility with
                                                   the project requirements.^                                       i

                                                   -NASA will usually conduct separate ivviews for each prqiect element at eachteyelof niamigeinenL
                                                   For exainple, a deep space science nussion will have preliminary and diticai desi^i revievys forthe
                                                   spacecraft and for each on-board experiment at the contractor, field center, and NASA iieadqiii^rters
                                                   levels.                                                                                        '



m^                                                 Page 36                                            GAO/NSIAD4IM0 NASA PlnUectSiatu Beporta
SR                                                                                                       r:u,-        ,-,:::..,..,;jiiw;j              ••.:,
           Appendix m
           Completing the PSR Form




           The date recorded as "All Critical Design Reviews Completed" is the
           date when the last project element is reviewed to ascertain whether the
           design complies with NASA requirements. The critical design review typi-
           cally occurs when the detailed design is 90-percent complete.
           The "Launch Date" is the date the space shuttle or expendable launch
           vehicle is scheduled to launch the project. For a project requiring more
           than one launch, such as TDRSS, "Final Satellite Launch" may be an
           appropriate milestone.
           The "Project Completion" date is the date that NASA managers can make
           a reasonable assessment of the project's flnal performance in relation to
           its stated goals and objectives. The "Project Completion" will vary,
           depending on the nature of these goals and objectives.

          For example, the "Project Completion" date for a project with a science
          goal would be the date that NASA managers are able to make preliminary
          analyses of how well the data obtained contributes to the project's goals.
          In the case of Magellan, a NASA scientist told us that they will l^ able to
          assess how well the project has fulfilled its stated science goal ("to
          address fundamental questions regarding the origin and evolution of
          Venus") when it has completed its objectives (one of which is "to map
          the planet over a 243 day period—one Venus year"), NASA sometimes
          refers to the completion of objectives as the "nominal miissioh icomplete"
          date. Therefore, although making a definitive statement on how well
          Magellan achieved its science goals will require many more yeiirs of data
          analysis, a reasonable "Project Completion" date would be the diate that
          the project has completed its nominal mission.^

          A different determination for "Project Completion" is made for a project
          the goal of which is to be put into routine use or to become operational.
          For example, NASA could identify the project completion date for a space
          transportation system such as the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor as the
          "First Operational Flight" or the date when testing is complete and the
          motor is put into routine use. For a system such as TDRSS, operational
          status would be achieved when testing of the full constellation of TDRSS
          satellites is completed. Therefore, "First Operational Use" of the fiill
          system could be an appropriate milestone to mark project completibn.




          ••NASA officials told us that a "Final Science Report" is routinely prepared for all sdence pmjects
          after the nominal mission has been completed. This report makes an assessment of the pndect's
          achieved goals.                                                                               i



%'••:!'   Pages?                                            GAO/NStADW40 NASA Pk<iU(ctfittatniiilleporU

                                                               ;.i'iU.   %.nmv*-i>   m:k::^l^%                  r:%
                                             Appendix m
                                             Completing the PSB Form




Column Headings                              The column headings for Part IV, as shown in figure III.9—"Initial Pro-
                                             ject Estimate," "Development Estimate," "Last PSR," "This PSB/Actual*,"
                                             and "Reason for Change"—are similar to those in Part II. (See our dis-
                                             cussion of these baselines in our section "Estimate/Change Columns,"
                                             pp. 33-34.)
Figure III.9: Headings for Traclting Principal Milestones


                INmAL PROJECT OEVELOPMENT                        THIS PSR/
                   ESTIMATE     ESnMATE              LAST PSR     ACTUAL*         REASON FOR CHANOE




                                            There is one slight variation from the coliunn headings in Part II: Part
                                            IVs "This PSR Estimate/Actual*" column includes a provision for indi-
                                            cating a completed event using an asterisk (*) to signify that the event
                                            has occurred.                                                   •.-.'•


Part V - Project Goals                       "Part V - I>roject Gtoals and Objectives" tracks the project's progreim in
                                             meeting its goals and scientific/technical objectives. The points usfid to
and Objectives                              track progress in this part are similar to those used in Parts II snd^ IV—
                                            that is, "Initial Project Presentation to Congress," "Devdopment \
                                            Estimate," "Last PSR," "This PSR," "Reason for Change," and "Fiii^l
                                            Performance Statement." (See our discussion of these baselines ih our
                                            section "Estimate/Change Cokunns," pp. 33-34.) Part V, howeyer,'di^
                                            fers in the form of presentation. While Parts II and IV list the tjpai(|dng
                                            points horizontally. Part V lists the tracking points vertically d i c ^ the
                                            left-hand column, so there is room to present the narrative iiifocn^tion
                                            under the two column headings—"Project CSoals" and "Sciencie/fi^hni-
                                            cal Objectives." (See figure III.IO.) The information should b^pnilented
                                            in concise bullet-style phrases and quantified whenever ppssible. If the
                                            information does not fit within the space provided, Part V can be |
                                            expanded to two pages.




                                           PageJ
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                                                    Completing the PSR Form




      Figure 111.10 Project Qoals and Objectives

                                           PART V — PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES


                                             PROJECT OOALS                                SCIENCE/TECHNICAL OBJECnveS


                 INITIAL
                   PROJECT
                   PRESENTATION
                   TO CONGRESS




                 OEVELOPMENT
                  ESTIMATE




                 LAST PSR




                 THIS PSR




                 REASON FOR                                            .
                   CHANGE




                 FINAL
                   PERFORMANCE
                    STATEMENT




WW
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                                                                                                                                                             m
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 Completing the PSR Form




 "Project Goals" should be stated as the reasons for doing the project.
 For example, Magellan's project goal is to "to address fundamental ques-
 tions regarding the origin and evolution of Venus." An example of an
 operational project goal is provided by the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor
 project, the goal of which is to increase the space shuttle payload capac-
 ity by 12,000 pounds.

 The "Science/Technical Objectives" section should specifically and
 quantifiably describe how the project will achieve its goals. For exam-
 ple, the "Science Objectives" for Magellan, as stated in Magellan's
 Project Plan and Project Approval Document, are to

map 70 to 90 percent of Venus, with no systematic gaps except for one
pole, with a surface resolution of at least 500 meters and an image reso-
lution of 1 kilometer or better;
produce maps that reveal the topographic and radar-scattering charac-
teristics of Venus; and
refine the low-degree and low-order gravity field of Venus and produce
high-resolution gravity maps whenever possible.

The "Technical Objectives" section should identify the engineering
infonnation, hardware, and instrumentation needed to achieve the pro-
ject's goals. For example, the technical objectives for the Advanced Siolid
Rocket Motor could include

the development of materials and casting processes that can produce a
150-inch diameter motor and
the use of new non-asbestos insulation materials in conjunction with
weldable T-250 steel and High Thrust Prolonged Bum propellant.

As with Parts II and IV, the "Initial Project Presentation to Congress"
records the "Project Goals" and "Science/Technical Objectives" state-
ments made by NASA during the new-start approval process ahdldocu-
roented in the "Project Initiation Agreement." The "Development
Estimate" records the more detailed and further deflned statements of
goals and objectives that NASA develops for the "Project Plaii."      i

For the sake of brevity. Part V can describe the "Last PSR" and "This!
PSR" as the "Same as the Development Estimate" or the "Same as the-
initial Project Presentation to Congress," when applicable. If a change is
made, the "Last PSR" block should list the previous goals and objectives,
and the "This PSR" block should list the new ones. Relevant source docu-
ments supporting the continuation of or changes in project goals and


'*S«^                               GAO/NSUMO^ON^MFnUMtStitiiaB^^
                             Appendix m
                             Completing the PSR Form




                            objectives include a project's monthly Project Management Reports and
                            status reviews. The "Reason for Change" column is used to explain any
                            differences between "This PSR" and the "Last PSR."

                            The "Final Performance Statement" should assess how well the project
                            fulfilled its stated goals and objectives. For example, Magellan project
                            managers should make a final statement as to what percentage of Venus
                            was mapped, what types of maps were produced and at what resolution,
                            and whether the maps revealed the desired information about Venus.
                            This information can be documented by NASA'S "Final Science Report."
                            See our section on "Milestones" for an explanation of this report.


       Part VI - Project    "Part VI - Project Background" provides information on the "Project's
                            Relationship to NASA'S Strategic Plan," the "General Background" of the
       Background           project, the project's "Primary NASA Components and Their
                            Responsibilities," "Prime Contractors and Their Responsibilities," and
                            "Other Participants and Their Responsibilities." (SeeflgureIII.ll.)




6::                        Page 41                                    OAO/NSIADeO-M NASA Plqlect Statuifeporta
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                                                   Completing the PSR Form




     Figure 111.11: Project Baclcground


                                                    PART VI - PROJECT BACKGROUND


               PROJECTS HELATIONSHIP TO NASA'S STRATEGIC PLAN




               CENERAL BACKGROUND




               PHIMAHV NASA COMPONENTS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES




               PRIME CONTRACTORS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES




              i-
               OTHER PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES




                                                                                                                                 •il
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                                                  Completing the PSR Form




                                                  The "Project's Relationship to NASA's Strategic Plan" should provide a
                                                  brief analysis of the relationship between the project's goals as stated in
                                                  NASA's Strategic Plan (when available) and the project's goals as stated
                                                  in the primary program office's strategic plan. This section should also
                                                  describe any project's contribution and/or its relationship to other NASA
                                                  missions. For example, many scientists consider the origin and evolution
                                                  of Venus to be similar to the origin and evolution of Earth. Therefore,
                                                  learning more about the origin and evolution of Venus could contribute
                                                  to NASA's mission to better understand the planet Earth.
                                                  "General Background" should, at a minimum, contain
                                                  the Project Approval Date (the month and year that the project first
                                                  received congressional new-start approval) and
                                                  the amount of time and money spent on the project before it received
                                                  new-start approval (during Advanced Studies).

                                                  Examples of other information that could be included in "General
                                                  Background" include

                                                 a description of any plans to extend a science niission, what science
                                                 goals would be obtained, and what the mission extension would cost and
                                                 an estimate of the annual operating cost for operational projects once
                                                 they have reached fully operational status.

                                                 "Primary NASA Components and Their Responsibilities" should list NASA
                                                 components (headquarters program offices and field centers) that are
                                                 extensively involved in the project and their responsibilities. |
                                                 "Prime Contractors and Their Responsibilities" should list all prime con-
                                                 tractors and the goods or services they are obligated to provide.

                                                 "Other Participants and Their Responsibilities" should list the roles,
                                                 responsibilities, and contributions of other involved participants^ such
                                                 as foreign and/or domestic commercial or academic organizations or
                                                 individuals.




                                                 !*•«> ^                                           GAO/NSIADM-M NASA Pivject Statu %porta
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                Appendix IV

                Msyor Contributors to This Report


                                         Frank Degnan, Assistant Director
                National Security and    Karen L. Kemper, Evaluator-in-Charge
                Intemational Affairs     Amy L. Manheim, Evaluator
                Division, Washington,
                D.C.

                                         Allan Roberts, Regional Assignment Manager
                Los Angeles Regional     Jeffrey Webster, Site Senior
                Office                   Dawn Sellers, Evaluator




$   •   •   •

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