United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to Congressional Requesters September 1997 SPACE STATION Cost Control Problems Are Worsening GAO/NSIAD-97-213 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 National Security and International Affairs Division B-276834 September 16, 1997 The Honorable Dale Bumpers United States Senate The Honorable John Dingell House of Representatives As you requested, we have updated certain aspects of our July 1996 report on the International Space Station (ISS), which is being developed by the United States and others.1 Specifically, this report addresses the Russians’ performance problems and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) reaction to them, including the additional cost and cost risk assumed by NASA; cost and schedule experience under the prime contract; and the status of and outlook for the program’s financial reserves. You also asked us to identify actions taken by NASA to keep the space station program’s funding within certain limits through the completion of the station’s assembly. NASA and its international partners—Japan, Canada, the European Space Background Agency (ESA), and Russia—are building the ISS as a permanently orbiting laboratory to conduct materials and life sciences research under nearly weightless conditions. Each partner is providing station hardware and crew members and is expected to share operating costs and use of the station. The NASA Space Station Program Manager is responsible for the cost, schedule, and technical performance of the total program. The Boeing Corporation, the station’s prime contractor, is responsible for ISS integration and assembly. As of June 30, 1997, the prime contractor reported that over 200,000 pounds of its station hardware was being built or had been completed. According to NASA, by the end of fiscal year 1998, hardware for the first six flights will be at Kennedy Space Center for launch processing. In our July 1996 report and subsequent testimony,2 we noted that the cost and schedule performance of the space station’s prime contractor had deteriorated and that the station’s near-term funding included only limited financial reserves.3 We also identified an emerging risk to the program: the 1 Space Station: Cost Control Difficulties Continue (GAO/NSIAD-96-135, July 17, 1996). 2 Space Station: Cost Control Difficulties Continue (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-210, July 24, 1996). 3 Financial reserves are used to fund unexpected contingencies, such as cost growth, schedule delays, or changes in project objectives or scope. Page 1 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 indications of problems in the Russian government’s ability to meet its commitment to furnish a Service Module providing ISS power, control, and habitation capability. For several years, the space station program has been subject to a $2.1 billion annual funding limitation and a $17.4 billion overall funding limitation through the completion of assembly, which until recently had been scheduled for June 2002. According to NASA, these funding limitations, or caps, came out of the 1993 station redesign. Previous redesigns had been largely financially driven and the caps were intended to stabilize the design and ensure that it could be pursued. However, the caps are not legislatively mandated, although references to them in congressional proceedings and reports indicate that NASA was expected to build the space station within these limits.4 When the caps were first imposed, the program had about $3 billion in financial reserves. In our July 1996 report, we concluded that, if program costs continued to increase, threats to financial reserves worsened, and the Russian government failed to meet its commitment in a timely manner, NASA would either have to exceed its funding limitation or defer or rephase activities, which could delay the space station’s schedule and would likely increase its overall cost. In June 1997 testimony, we said that, if further cost and schedule problems materialized, a congressional review of the program would be needed to determine the future scope and cost level for a station program that merits continued U.S. government support.5 Over the past several months, NASA has acknowledged that the potential for cost growth in the program has increased. In May 1997, NASA revised the space station assembly sequence and Results in Brief schedule to accommodate delays in the production and delivery of the Service Module. This revision occurred after more than a year of speculation regarding Russia’s ability to fund its space station manufacturing commitments. To help mitigate the adverse effects of the Russian’s performance problems and address the possibility that such problems would continue, NASA developed and began implementing step 1 of a 3-step contingency plan. NASA has budgeted an additional 4 These limitations apply only to the station budget line providing funds to support development, utilization, and operation activities. This budget line does not cover all station and station-related requirements, including NASA personnel and personnel-related activities, space shuttle launch support, and shuttle performance improvements needed to meet station requirements. 5 Space Station: Cost Control Problems Continue to Worsen (GAO/T-NSIAD-97-177, June 18, 1997). Page 2 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 $300 million from other NASA activities for the space station program to cover the hardware costs under step 1. NASA will also incur other costs under step 1 that have not yet been estimated. Significant additional cost growth could occur in the station program if NASA has to implement steps 2 and 3 of its contingency plan. The cost and schedule performance of the station’s prime contractor has continued to steadily worsen. From April 1996 to July 1997, the contract’s cost overrun quadrupled to $355 million, and the estimated cost to get the contract back on schedule increased by more than 50 percent to $135 million. So far, NASA and prime contractor efforts have not stopped or significantly reversed the continuing deterioration. The station program’s financial reserves have also significantly deteriorated, principally because of program uncertainties and cost overruns. The near-term reserve posture is in particular jeopardy, and the program may require additional funding over and above the remaining reserves before the completion of station assembly. To date, NASA has taken a series of actions to keep the program from exceeding its funding limitations and financial reserves. NASA is accounting for these actions in ways that enable it to report its continuing compliance with the funding limitations. However, to show continuing compliance in some cases, NASA has had to redefine the portion of the program subject to the funding limitations. Thus, the value of the current limitations as a funding control mechanism is questionable. Since our June 1997 testimony, further cost and schedule problems have materialized and NASA has acknowledged that the potential for cost growth in the program has increased. More complete estimates of the cost and schedule impacts of ongoing and planned changes to the program are scheduled to be available later this year. This information is expected to provide a more complete and current picture of the cost and schedule status of the program and clarify some of the major future cost risk it faces. We believe the program has reached the point where the Congress may wish to review the entire program. Such a review should focus on obtaining congressional and administration agreement on the future scope and cost level for a station program that merits continued U.S. government support. In view of the expected availability of revised cost estimates, the first opportunity for such a review would be in conjunction with NASA’s fiscal year 1999 budget request. Page 3 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 As a partner, Russia committed to making a variety of contributions to the Russian Performance ISS. These contributions include (1) the Service Module to provide crew Problems Cause habitation during assembly; (2) the Science Power Platform to help Additional NASA maintain the station’s orientation; (3) launch services to reboost and resupply the station, including the provision of propellant; and (4) Soyuz Activity spacecraft to provide crew return capability during station assembly.6 In late 1995, NASA became concerned about Russia’s ability to provide steady and adequate funding for its commitments. According to the NASA Administrator and station program officials, the Russian government said repeatedly that the problem would be resolved, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Finally, in the fall of 1996, Russia formally notified NASA that funding difficulties would delay the completion of the Service Module, which is a critical component for early assembly. Subsequently, NASA designed a three-step recovery plan. Step 1 focuses on adjusting the station schedule for an 8-month delay in the availability of the Service Module and developing temporary essential capabilities for the station in case the Service Module is further delayed by up to 1 year. Major activities in this phase include delaying the launch of station components that are to precede the Service Module into orbit and building an Interim Control Module to temporarily replace the Service Module’s propulsion capability. Step 1 is underway; the new or modified hardware being developed will be completed even if Russia maintains the Service Module’s revised schedule and delivers it on time. NASA officials told us that Russia has resumed its financial commitment, the Service Module assembly has restarted, and significant progress is being made. Step 2 is NASA’s contingency plan for dealing with any additional delays or the Russian government’s failure to eventually deliver the Service Module. This phase could result in permanently replacing the Service Module’s power, control, and habitation capabilities. NASA will decide later this fall on whether to begin step 2. Under step 3 of NASA’s plan, the United States and other international partners would have to pick up the remaining responsibilities the Russian government would have had, such as station resupply and reboost missions and crew rescue during assembly. A decision on step 3 is planned for sometime next year, at the earliest. In addition to their effects on space station development activities, these recovery plan steps place additional requirements on the space shuttle program. Under the plan, the space shuttle may be needed to launch and 6 Russia is also receiving funds under contract to build the U.S.-owned Functional Cargo Block to provide the ISS’ initial guidance and navigational control capability. Page 4 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 deliver the Interim Control Module and perform station resupply missions now expected to be done by Russia. Although the full impact of the recovery plan on the space shuttle program is not yet known, the plan has already resulted in the addition of two shuttle flights during the station’s assembly. The prime contractor’s cost and schedule performance on the space Prime Contractor’s station, which showed signs of deterioration last year, has continued to Cost and Schedule decline virtually unabated. Since April 1996, the cost overrun has Performance quadrupled, and the schedule slippage has increased by more than 50 percent. Figure 1 shows the cost and schedule variances from Continues to January 1995 to July 1997. Cost variances are the differences between Deteriorate actual costs to complete specific work and the amounts budgeted for that work. Schedule variances are the dollar values of the differences between the budgeted cost of work planned and work completed. Cost and schedule variances are not additive, but negative schedule variances can become cost variances, since additional work, in the form of overtime, is often required to get back on schedule. Page 5 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 Figure 1: Cost and Schedule Variances on the Space Station Prime Contract Dollars in millions (Jan. 1995 to July 1997) 100 0 -100 -200 -300 -400 1/95 4/95 7/95 10/95 1/96 4/96 7/96 10/96 1/97 4/97 7/97 Cost 27 -16 -19 -48 -62 -89 -123 -163 -223 -291 -355 Schedule -43 -45 -46 -55 -77 -88 -105 -107 -118 -129 -135 Note: The zero line represents meeting planned cost and schedule. Negative schedule variances are the estimated cost of work to get back on schedule. Between January 1995 and July 1997, the prime contract moved from a cost underrun of $27 million to a cost overrun of $355 million. During that same period, the schedule slippage increased from a value of $43 million to $135 million. So far, the prime contractor has not been able to stop or significantly reverse the continuing decline. In July 1996, independent estimates of the space station’s prime contract cost overrun at completion ranged from $240 million to $372 million. Since then, these estimates have steadily increased, and by July 1997 they ranged Page 6 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 from $514 million to $610 million.7 According to program officials, some financial reserves will be used to help cover the currently projected overrun. Delays in releasing engineering drawings, late delivery of parts, rework, subcontractor problems, and mistakes have contributed to cost overruns. NASA’s concern about performance problems under the prime contract is evidenced by its recent incentive and award fee actions. In March 1997, NASA directed Boeing to begin adjusting its biweekly incentive fee accruals and billings based on a higher cost estimate at completion than Boeing was officially reporting. On the basis of an internal review, Boeing subsequently increased its estimate of cost overrun at completion from $278 million to $600 million. The increase in Boeing’s estimate potentially reduces its incentive award by about $48 million over the remainder of the contract period. Boeing was also eligible for an award fee of nearly $34 million for the 6-month period ending in March 1997. However, citing significant problems in program planning, cost estimating, and hardware manufacturing, NASA concluded that Boeing’s performance did not warrant an award fee. NASA also directed Boeing to deduct almost $10 million from its next bill to refund the provisional award fee already paid during the period.8 Boeing is implementing a corrective action plan for each identified weakness and has outlined a number of actions to improve the performance of the entire contractor team, including changing personnel, recruiting additional software engineers and managers, and committing funds to construct a software integration test facility. Boeing also presented a cost control strategy to NASA in July 1997. According to NASA officials, the strategy includes organizational streamlining and transferring some roles to NASA. Station officials assessed Boeing’s efforts to improve its performance as part of the midpoint review for the current evaluation period. They 7 Cost reports include internal and independent assessments of total program cost variance at completion. Methodologies include statistical calculations and analyses using a software program developed by the Department of Defense for analyzing contractor-reported cost data. Independent estimates are developed by NASA and the Department of Defense’s Defense Contract Management Command (DCMC). 8 Under the terms of the contract, Boeing could receive a previously denied award fee after NASA’s final assessment at the end of the contract. Page 7 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 concluded that, while there was some improvement, it was insufficient to permit resumption of provisional award fee payments. When NASA redesigned the space station in 1993 and brought Russia into Financial Reserves the program as a partner, the program had approximately $3 billion in Are Dwindling financial reserves to cover development contingencies. Since then, the program reserves have been significantly depleted. In June 1997, the financial reserves available to the program were down to about $2.2 billion. NASA estimated that, by the end of fiscal year 1997, the remaining uncommitted reserves could be less than $1 billion. Financial reserves have been used to fund additional requirements, overruns, and other authorized changes. By June 1997, a station program analysis indicated that fiscal year 1997 reserves might not be sufficient to cover all known threats. More recently, station officials have estimated that a small reserve surplus is possible in fiscal year 1997, but concerns are growing regarding the adequacy of fiscal year 1998 reserves. NASA has already identified threats to financial reserves in future years that, if realized, would outstrip the remaining reserves. For example, program reserves have been identified to cover additional cost overruns; crew rescue vehicle acquisition; hardware costs, in the event that ongoing negotiations with partners are unsuccessful; and additional authorized technical changes. Thus, with up to 6 years remaining until on-orbit assembly of the station is completed, NASA has already identified actual and potential resource demands that exceed the station’s remaining financial reserves. Unless these demands lessen and are not replaced by other demands of equal or greater value, or NASA is able to find offsets and efficiencies of sufficient value to replenish the program’s reserves, the space station will require additional funding. NASA has been able to consistently report compliance with funding NASA Acts to Stay limitations and avoid exceeding its financial reserves, despite significant Within Funding programmatic changes and impacts that have increased station costs. To Limitations and enable it to do so, NASA has implemented or initiated a variety of actions, including those summarized below: Replenish Its Financial Reserves • The space station program is negotiating with ESA, Canada, and Brazil to provide station hardware. Under proposed offset arrangements, the ISS partners—ESA and Canada—would build hardware associated with the Page 8 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 U.S. commitment in return for launch services or other considerations. Under a cooperative arrangement, Brazil would receive a small allocation of the station’s research capacity in return for any U.S. equipment it would agree to build. NASA estimates that $116 million in U.S. station development costs could be saved through these arrangements. Space station officials have scheduled a threat of $100 million against the program’s financial reserves in case the negotiations are unsuccessful. However, according to program officials, most of the negotiations are nearly completed. • NASA dropped the centrifuge from the station budget and opened negotiations with the Japanese government to provide it.9 Also, the space station’s content at the assembly completion milestone was revised to exclude the centrifuge. This change enabled NASA to maintain the then-current June 2002 assembly completion milestone, even though the centrifuge and related equipment would not be put on the station until after that date. • NASA transferred $462 million from its science funding to the space station development funding in fiscal years 1996 through 1998. NASA has scheduled the payback of $350 million—$112 million less than the amount borrowed—through fiscal year 2002. NASA is also planning to transfer another $70 million in fiscal year 1999.10 All of these funding transfers are within the $17.4 billion funding limitation through assembly completion. • NASA transferred $200 million in fiscal year 1997 funding to the station program from other NASA programs to cover costs incurred due to Russian manufacturing delays.11 Congressional action is pending on the transfer of another $100 million in fiscal year 1998. These funds will be accounted for outside the portion of the program subject to the funding limitations. • NASA uses actual and planned reductions in its fiscal year funding requirements to help restore and preserve its actual and prospective financial reserves. Typically, these actions involve rephasing or deferring activities to future fiscal years. For example, the agency’s current reserve posture includes actions such as moving $20 million in spares procurement from fiscal years 1997 to 1999 and $26 million in nonprime efforts from fiscal year 1997 to various future fiscal years.12 9 The centrifuge is a crucial piece of research equipment for the space station. NASA recently listed a threat against future years’ reserves in the event that the negotiation is unsuccessful. However, NASA told us that an “agreement in principle” is expected soon. 10 NASA expects to make these funds available by employing a new approach to doing materials research that will not initially require a facility-class level Furnace Facility. 11 The House and Senate Appropriations Committees concurred in the transfer of almost all of this amount from the space shuttle program. 12 The nonprime part of the space station program involves a large number of relatively small contracts for developing the ground-based and on-orbit capabilities to use and operate the space station. Page 9 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 The cost impact of the schedule delay associated with step 1 of the Additional Costs and Russian recovery plan is not yet fully understood. During congressional Cost Threats Are Not testimony in June 1997, the NASA Administrator stated that NASA was Yet Estimated assessing the cost effects of a later assembly completion date. Any delay in completing the space station assembly would increase the program’s costs through the completion of assembly because some costs would continue to accumulate over a longer period. When NASA redesigned the station in 1993, it estimated that Russia’s inclusion as a partner would reduce program costs by $1.6 billion because the station’s assembly would be completed by June 2002—15 months earlier than previously scheduled.13 NASA has recently acknowledged that the completion of the station’s assembly will slip into 2003, but it has not yet scheduled the revised assembly completion milestone. If the scope and capability of the program under the June 2002 assembly completion milestone remain the same, the new milestone date will be set for the latter part of 2003. Consequently, most, if not all, of the reduced costs claimed by accelerating the schedule would be lost. NASA estimated the additional hardware costs associated with step 1 of the Russian recovery plan at $250 million. When the estimate was made, the specific costs of many of the components of the plan were not known. For example, NASA’s initial estimate includes $100 million for the Interim Control Module, but NASA now estimates that the module will cost $113 million.14 The total of $300 million in additional funding for the space station program in fiscal years 1997 and 1998 includes financial reserves. The most recent cost estimate for the Interim Control Module already indicates threats to those reserves. NASA plans to use the extra time created by the schedule slip to perform integration testing of early assembly flight hardware at the Kennedy Space Center. As of June 1997, the cost of this testing had not been fully estimated. However, NASA is currently budgeting $15 million in reserves for the effort. If NASA initiates further steps in the recovery plan, new or refined cost estimates would be required. Step 2 provides for the development of a permanent propulsion/reboost capability and modifications to the U.S. 13 For a discussion of the costs related to Russia’s inclusion in the ISS program as a partner, see Space Station: Impact of the Expanded Russian Role on Funding and Research (GAO/NSIAD-94-220, June 21, 1994) and Space Station: Update on the Impact of the Expanded Russian Role (GAO/NSIAD-94-248, July 29, 1994). 14 A further refinement of the cost estimate for the Interim Control Module is expected shortly. Page 10 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 Laboratory to provide habitation. According to the NASA Administrator, the effort under this step could be funded incrementally, thus limiting the up-front commitment. NASA’s initial cost estimate for step 2 is $750 million. Step 3 of the plan would result in the greatest overall cost impact on NASA because it assumes that Russia would no longer be a partner and that NASA, along with its remaining partners, would have to provide the services now expected from Russia. For its share of the mission resupply role, NASA would have to use the space shuttle or purchase those services from Russia or others. In addition, the United States would have to purchase Soyuz vehicles from Russia or accelerate the development of the six-person permanent crew return vehicle. NASA has not officially estimated the cost of step 3, but it clearly would be very expensive: the potential cost of shuttle launches or purchased launch services alone over the station’s 10-year operational life would be in the billions of dollars. NASA expects to have more refined cost estimates for the contingency plan later this year. Some of NASA’s actions to reinforce its financial reserves and keep the Conclusions and program within its funding limitations have involved redefining the portion Recommendation of the program subject to the limitations. Such actions make the value of the current limitations as a funding control mechanism questionable. Therefore, we recommend that the NASA Administrator, with the concurrence of the Office of Management and Budget, direct the space station program to discontinue the use of the current funding limitations. More complete estimates of the cost and schedule impacts of ongoing and Matters for planned changes to the program will be available later this year. This Congressional information will help provide a more complete and current picture of the Consideration cost and schedule status of the program and clarify some of the major future cost risk it faces. After this information is available, the Congress may wish to consider reviewing the program. This review could focus on reaching agreement with the executive branch on the future scope and cost level for a station program that merits continued U.S. government support. In view of the expected availability of revised cost estimates, the first opportunity for such a review would be in conjunction with NASA’s fiscal year 1999 budget request. At the end of the review, if the Congress decides to continue the space station program, it may wish to consider, after consultation with NASA, Page 11 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 reestablishing funding limitations that include firm criteria for measuring compliance. In commenting on a draft of this report, NASA said that the report was a Agency Comments good representation of the program’s performance and remaining major and Our Evaluation challenges, but NASA was concerned that the report did not provide sufficient detail for the reader to appreciate the progress the space station program has made or understand the factors that have influenced the decisions already made and those that will be made in the future. NASA agreed with our recommendation. NASA said that it had consistently taken the position that the flat funding cap, while a fiscal necessity, was inconsistent with a normal funding curve for a developmental program. NASA added that the flat funding profile resulted in the deferral of substantial reserves to later years, instead of being available in the program’s middle years. NASA said that the station’s financial reserves were not intended to cover the unanticipated costs of the Russian contingency activities, but rather were largely intended to protect against U.S. development uncertainty. In response to NASA’s comments, we added more information to the report, including information on the status of the program and the origin of the funding caps. However, the question of what the station’s financial reserves were largely intended to cover is not relevant to our assessment, which focused on whether the funding cap was an effective cost control mechanism. Moreover, the central theme of our report is that funding requirements have been rising and additional funds may be needed. We do not suggest what the source of those funds should be. To obtain information for this report, we interviewed officials in the ISS Scope and and space shuttle program offices at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Methodology Texas, and NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. We also interviewed contractor and DCMC personnel in Huntsville, Alabama, and Houston. We reviewed pertinent documents, including the prime contract between NASA and Boeing, contractor performance measurement system reports, DCMC surveillance reports, program reviews, international partner agreements, independent assessment reports, and reports by NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. Page 12 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station B-276834 We performed our work from January to July 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We are sending copies of this report to the NASA Administrator; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and appropriate congressional committees. We will also make copies available to other interested parties on request. Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any questions concerning this report. Major contributors to this report are Thomas Schulz, Frank Degnan, John Gilchrist, and Fred Felder. Allen Li Associate Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues Page 13 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration See p. 12. See comment 1. Page 14 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration See p. 12. See comment 1. See p. 12. See p. 12 and comment 2. See comment 3. Page 15 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration See comment 1. Page 16 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Now on p. 5. See comment 4. Now on p. 6. See comment 5. Page 17 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Now on p. 9, para. 1. See comment 1. Now on p. 9, para. 2. Page 18 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration See comment 6. See comment 1. See comment 7. Now on p. 9, para. 3. Page 19 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration See comment 1. Now on p. 9, para. 5. Now on p. 11, para. 5. Page 20 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration The following are GAO’s comments on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) letter dated September 8, 1997. 1. We have modified the report based on NASA’s comments. GAO Comments 2. The purpose and use of financial reserves is not the relevant issue. Our focus was on whether or not funding caps could be effective cost control mechanisms under circumstances where program content subject to the controls can be flexibly defined. In the past, NASA claimed the benefits of Russian participation on the program’s cost and schedule, but now that Russian participation is having negative cost and schedule effects, NASA argues that the additional funding needed should be accounted for outside the portion of the program subject to the funding limitation. Doing so dilutes the cost control ability of a funding limitation. 3. NASA’s claimed cost savings from including Russia as a partner was based mainly on a 15-month acceleration of the station’s assembly completion milestone. Our purpose was to point out that the delay in the assembly completion date means that NASA will incur additional costs during the station’s developmental period. Only the amount remains to be determined. In this report, we do not evaluate any of the claimed benefits, including cost reductions, of Russian participation in the program as a partner. 4. NASA correctly points out that the negative schedule variance under the prime contract is growing at a much slower rate than the negative cost variance, as shown by the slope of the lines in figure 1. 5. Figure 1 in the report accurately reflects cost and schedule variance changes and is directly relevant to supporting our point that NASA could experience additional cost growth if the deteriorating trend was not reversed or at least slowed because the final actual cost growth could exceed expected cost growth. After we completed our fieldwork on this assignment, the prime contractor reported that its estimate of the cost overrun at completion had more than doubled, from $278 million to $600 million. 6. NASA correctly notes that the centrifuge was not included in the development program when it was initially capped at $17.4 billion. However, NASA subsequently budgeted the centrifuge within the program and scheduled it for launch before the June 2002 assembly completion Page 21 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Appendix I Comments From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration milestone. The centrifuge was later removed from the budget and NASA began negotiations with the Japanese to provide it. At that time, it was rescheduled for launch after the June 2002 assembly completion date. The centrifuge example helps to illustrate the leeway NASA has to change the content of the station program within the current cap. Such leeway undermines the cap’s value as a cost control mechanism. 7. We were asked to identify those methods NASA had used to stay within its funding limitations, not to evaluate NASA’s use of “no-exchange-of-funds” or “negotiated offset” arrangements. (707239) Page 22 GAO/NSIAD-97-213 Space Station Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. 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Space Station: Cost Control Problems Are Worsening
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-16.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)