oversight

Status of the Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 Project

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-20.

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

                         DOCUMENT RESUME
02130 -   A1452460]

Statas of the Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 Project. PSAD-77-103;
B-183134. ay 20, 1977. 27 pp.
Report to the Congress; by Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller General.
Issue Area: Science and Technology: Management and Oversight of
    Programs   2001).
Contact: Procurement and Systems Acquisition Div.
Budget Function: General Science, Space, and Technology: Space
    Science, Applications, and Technology (254).
Organization Concerned: National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration.
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Science and
    Technology; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and
    Transportation; Congress.

          The Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 project is part of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) program
with objectives of advancing knowledge of these planets and
relating their properties to those of Earth.
Pindings/Conclusions: NASA's cost estimate of $450.9 million for
the project did not include 35.7 million of project-related
costs. The project was on schedule and delays were not
anticipated. Plans were being considered to extend the project
to include interplanetarl/interstellar research which would add
about $61 million to costs, exclusive of tracking and data
acquisition costs.    ecommendations: The NASA Administrator
should identify and bring together in the project status report
all identifiable costs and pertinent schedule and performance
data, and should submit them to responsible congressional
committees. (HTW)
      REPORT TO TIlE CONGRESS
r'J


      BY THE COMPTROLLER GEVNFRAL
      OF THE UNITED STATES




      Status Of The Mariner
      Jupiter/Saturn 1977 Project
      National ,eronautics and Space Administration

      This report advises the Congress that
           --the mission performance and schedule
             objectives for the two Mariner Jupiter/
             Saturn spacecraft to be launched in
             1977 probably will be met,
           -- $35.7 million of project-related costs
             were excluded from NASA's $450.9
             project cost estimnate, and
           --if NASA extends the project's scope,
             about $61 million could be added
             costs, exclusive of tracking and data
             acquisition costs.




       PSAD-n-103                                      MAY 20, 1977
               COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
                          WASHINGTON, D.C.   20S1C



B-183134




"o the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

     This report discusses the cost, schedule, and perfor-
mance status of the National Aeronautics nd Space Admin-
istration's Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 project.

     Our review was made as part of our continuing
to inform the Congress of the status of major systemeffort
acquisitions and to assist it in exercising its legislative
and review functions. A preliminary copy of this report
was reviewed by agency officials responsible for managing
the project. and their comments are incorporated as appro-
priate.

     We made our review pursuant to the Budget and Account-
ing Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Audit-
ing Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67).

     We are sending copies of this report to the Director,
Office of Management and Budget; and the Administrator,
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.




                                  Comptroller General
                                  of the United States
COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S               STATUS OF THE MARINER
REPORT TO THE CONGRESS              JUPITER/SATURN 1977 PROJECT
                                    National Aeronautics and
                                      Space Administration
         DIGEST
         The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
         (NASA) tentatively plans to extend the Mariner
         Jupiter/Saturn 1977 project to include inter:lan-
         etary/interstellar research and possibly to
         explore the planet Uranus. Since the pro-
         ject would cost about $61 million more, exclu-
         sive of tracking and data acquisition costs,
         the Congress should request NASA to

         -- keep it advised of NASA's plans to extend the
            mission and
         -- periodically provide it with updated cost esti-
            mates of the extended mission, including those
            for tracking and data acquisition.
         PROJECT STATUS
         The Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 project is part
         of NASA's lunar and planetary exploration pro-
         gram. Two spacecraft will be launched in 1977
         to explore Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980
         and 1981. The mission provides the opportunity
         to advance man's knowledge of these planets,
         to compare them to each other, and to better
         relate their properties to those of the Earth
         and other planets.
         In a March 1977 revision to its December 1976
         project status report, NASA reported the cost
         of the project at $450.9 million. This does
         not include $35.7 million as identifiable
         project-related costs of which $23.6 million
         were unreimbursed costs incurred by the Energy
         Research and Development Administration. (See
         pp. 10 to 14.)

         The project is on schedule, and NASA does not
         anticipate any delays in completing the planned
         events. (See pp. 4 to 8.) In addition to its
         primary mission of exploring Jupiter and Saturn,
         NASA may send the two spacecraft beyond Saturn
         to do interplanetary/interstellar research
         and possibly to encounter the planet Uranus.
       md
        Uonnreoval, the report            PSAD-77-103
  CO   rshoUld nod herm.
Two spacecraft will e used for the interstellar
research while only one spacecraft will encounter
Uranus.  If the extended mission is undertaken,
NASA would incur additional project costs of about
$61 million, exclusive of tracking and data acqui-
sition costs. A decision on the extended mission
is not needed until 1981. NASA estimates the cost
of maintaining the option on Uranus through 1981
at $11 million.  (See p. 16.)
RECOMMENDATIONS

The ASA Administrator should identify and bring
together in the Mariner Jupiter/Saturn project
status report all identifiable costs and important
schedule and performance data which may affect
the project and submit it to each of the congres-
sional committees having oversight and approp-i-
ations responsibility over NASA. These reports
would permit the Congress to monitor more ef-
fectively the project's cost, schedule, and per-
formance progress.

AGENCY COMMENTS

NASA does not agree with GAO that civil service
and other support costs should be classed as
related to the Mariner Jupiter/Saturn project.
NASA believes such costs are

-- relatively fixed,

--not sensitive to changes in project activity,
  and

-- reported in their proper place in he author-
   ization and appropriation structure and that
   the benefiting relationship is fully explained
   in material submitted to the Congress.

GAO believes that to show fully the total eco-
nomic impact of a project, costs directly iden-
tified with the project must be summarized.   By
consolidating all project-related costs in a
single document, the Congress will have all the
necessary information in one place to fulfill its
oversight and appropriation responsibilities.

NASA's comments, included as appendix II, are
discussed in the report as appropriate.


                       ii
                   C o n t e n t s
                                                    Pape

DIGEST                                                i

CHAPTER
  1        INTRODUCTION
               Objectives and system description      2
               Project management                     3
               Scope                                  3

  2        PROJECT STATUS                             4
               Cost                                   4
               Schedule                               7
               Performance                            8

  3        COSTS NOT INCLUDED IN NASA'S PROJECT
             COST ESTIMATE                           10
               Project-related cost estimate         10
               Project-related costs reported
                 to the Congress                     12
               Project-related costs not
                 reported                            12
               Agency comments and our
                 evaluation                          14
               Conclusions and recommendation        15

  4        EXTENDED MISSION OPTIONS                  16
               Uranus option                         16
               Interstellar space research           17
               Recommendations to the Congress       17


APPENDIX

  I        Science investigations and the
             primary experiment objectives for
             the MJS project                          18

 II        Letter dated March 3, 1977, from
             the Acting Administrator for DOD
             and Interagency Affairs                  20

III        Principal officials of the National
             Aeronautics and Space Administration
             responsible for activities discussed
             in this report                           27
                     ABBREVIATIONS


ERDA    Energy Research and Development Administration

GAO     General Accounting Office

JPL     Jet Propulsion Laboratory

MIRIS   modified infrared   radiometer   and   interferometer
          spectrometer

MJS     Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977

NASA    Nationa2 Aeronautics and Space Administration

PSR     project status report
                          CHAPTER 1
                        INTRODUCTION

     The Mariner Jupiter/Saturn (MJS) project is an out-
growth of a pogram known as the Outer Planets Grand Tour.
Using a technique perfected by the Jet Propulsion Labora-
tory (JPL), a flyby of the planet Jupiter will accelerate
a spacecraft and enable it to reach all of the outer
planets, which would not be possible with normal launch
vehicle capabilities.
     Early in 1971 the National Aeronautics and Space Ad-
ministration (NASA) requested fiscal year 1972 budqet
authority to start the Grand Tour program. Plans for the
Grand Tour mission consisted of two different three-
planet flybys: the first to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto
with two spacecraft launched in 1977; and the second to
Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune with two spacecraft launched
in 1979.
     The program also proposed the development of a highly
scphisticated, long-life spacecraft known as the Thermo-
electric Outer Planets Spacecraft. The Congress aroved
the program for fiscal year 1972 but requested NASA to con-
sider missions of reduced scope to the outer planets.
     In January 1972 NASA canceled the Grand Tour missions
because of (1) reduction by the Congress in fiscal year
1972 authorizations requested for the missions, (2) in-
structions from the Congress to reduce the scope of the
missions, and (3) the tiqht restraints of the fiscal
year 1973 budget.
     As a low-cost alternative to the Grand Tour Program,
NASA redirected planning for exploration of the outer
planets to two Jupiter/Saturn missions using Mariner
spacecraft technology. Subseauently, the Jupiter/Saturn
mission was advocated for outer solar system missions
by the NASA Science Avisory Group of consulting scien-
tists and endorsed by the Space Science Board of the
National Academy of Sciences. On the basis of these
scientific - ommendations, late in February 1972 the MJS
mission w     3posed to the Conqress as part of the
fiscal yeF    73 budget.

     The MJS mission was justified to the Conqress during
the 1973 NASA authorization hearings on the basis oL its
contributions to the three basic purposes for the U.S.


                             1
space program= exploration, science, and applications.
The mission would be accomplished through efforts to
understand ti

     --origin, evolution, and current state of the solar
       system;

     -- past and present processes that affect the Earth's
        and man's environment by comparative study of solar
        system bodies; and

     -- relation of the solar system's chemical history to
        the origin and evolution of life.

OBJECTIVES AND SYSTEA DESCRIPTION

     The overall objectives of the MJS project are:

     1.   To conduct comparative studies of the Jupiter and
          Saturn systems. Primary emphasis will be placed
          on studies of

            a.   the environment, atmosphere, surface, and
                 body characteristics of the planets;

            b.   one or more of the satellites of each planet;
                 and
            c.   the nature of the rings of Saturn.

     2.   To study the variations with time and distance
          from the Sun of the solr wind plasma and magnetic
          field, solar energetic particles, and cosmic rays.

     Although not a committed objective, a retargeting   op-
tion is being considered for the second spacecraft not   only
to fly by Saturn but possibly to continue on to Uranu    to
study its system. This option is discussed in chapter    4.
      Specific objectives of the MJS project includ~ obtain-
 ing measurements for the planets and their atellites which
 will yield information on their physical pperties, dynam-
 ics, composition of atmospheres, surface fatures, thermal
,regimes and energy balances, charged part les and electro-
 magnetic environments, periodE of rotation, physical dimen-
 sions, and gravitational fields.  Items of special interest
 included in these objectives are Jupiter's great red spot,
 the question of Io's (one of Jupiter's satellites) anoma-
 lous brightening and phenomena associated with its electro-


                               2
magnetic behavior,   Saturn's rings,   and Titan's   (SPturn's
satellite) atmosphere.

     The MJS mission will be accomplished by two Mariner-
class spacecraft to be launched in 1977 (the first in
August and the second in September) on a trajectory to
Jupiter.  From Jupiter the spacecraft will continue on to
Saturn on a flight made possible by a special alinement
of Jupiter and Saturn. This alinement permits a spacecraft
launched toward Jupiter to reach Saturn in less than 4
years and eventually to escape from the solar system through
the acceleration provided by Jupiter's gravity.  The oppor-
tunity to carry out such a fast gravity-assisted "swingby"
mission occurs approximately every 20 years.  The two
spacecraft are to fly by Jupiter in March and July 1979 and
to fly by Saturn in November 1980 and August 1981.

     The MJS mission objectives are expected to be achieved
using instruments designed to investigate 11 science areas.
The instruments will collect information about the atmos-
phere, surface, and environment of the planets, and the
interplanetary medium.  The science investigations and the
primary experiment objectives for the MJS mission are listed
in appendix I.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

     NASA's Office of Space Science is responsible for over-
all management of the MJS program.  JPL, Pasadena, Califor-
nia, is responsible for the day-to-day project management.
The Lewis Research Cei  r, Cleveland, Ohio, is re.oonsible
for the launch vehicle system.  NASA is also obtaining as-
sistance from the Energy Research and Development Adminis-
tration (ERDA), which is responsible for the development of
radioisotope thermoelectric generatc s used to provide the
electrical po.er for the MJS spacecralt.

SCOPE

     Our review was performed primarily at NASA Headquar-
ters, Washington, D.C., and at JPL during the period June
through December 1976.  Information presented herein was
obtained by reviewing project plans, reports, correspondence,
and other documents, and by discussions with NASA and JPL
personnel.




                               3
                          CHAPTER 2

                       PROJECT STATUS
     As of December 31, 1976, the project was on schedule
and NASA does not anticipate any delays in completing the
remaining planned events. NASA considers the project cost
estimate range it furnished to the Congress in March 1972
still to be valid. Within that project cost estimate
range there have been several adjustments, as discussed in
the following.
COST

      In requesting budget authority to start the MJS pro-
ject, NASA informed the Congress in March 1972 that the pro-
ject cost estimate ranged from $260 million to $320 million
-- excluding the cost of the launch vehicle. The $260 mil-
lion and $320 million estimates were for MJS program cost
options endorsed by the Space Science Board of the National
Academy of Sciences.

     In January 1972 JPL developed three cost options in
terms of science payload and spacecraft characteristics.
The cost estimates for the three options were $210 million,
$260 million, and $320 million, respectively. The low
option represented the minimum that was practical, while
the second and third options represented higher levels of
spacecraft capability and science return.

Originalproject cost
     Based on the recommendations the NASA Science Advisory
Group and the Space Science Board made in their review of
the MJS program options, the established project development
guidelines assumed the spacecraft in option 2 ($260 million)
but with the science data analysis funded at the option 3
(S320 million) level. Following these guidelines, NASA es-
timated total project cost of $272 million, excluding launch
vehicle and flight support costs.

     However, in the project approval process, NASA head-
quarters in April 1972 reduced the project cost estimate
from $272 million to $250 million. In July 1972 NASA for-
mally approved the project at an estimated cost of $250
million. The $22 million reduction resulted from having
JPL, rather than a contractor, integrate the various system
components.




                             4
Increased project cost
     After conditionally selecting 11 science investigation
proposals in December 1972, NASA began a detailed science
definition phase to determine whether the selected investi-
gations and associated instruments could be accommodated
within the overall weight, ower requirements, and fiscal
constraints of the project. Following the science confirma-
tion review in September 1973, NASA estimated the cost of
the MJS project to be $309 million--$59 million more than
the original estimate of $250 million. NASA attributed
the $59 million increase to
     -- updating the estimate for inflation ($52.5 million)
        and

     -- adding a propulsion module to the spacecraft ($6.5
        million).

     The original estimate of $250 million was stated in
fiscal year 1972 dollars and included no provision for
future inflation. The total was increased by 4 percent
in converting the estimate to fiscal year 1973 dollars.
A 5-percent inflation rate per year was used for the
project's runout years (fiscal years 1974 through 1981).

      In March 1973 NASA approved the inclusion of a pro-
pulsion module on the spacecraft to replace the final
stage of the Titan IIIE/Centaur D-IT/Burner II launch
v,ehicle combination. Studies performed by JPL indicated
that using a propulsion module to provide the final injec-
tion velocity required by the MJS mission in place of the
Burner II stage would increase reliability and provide
additional payload capability. This resulted in a project
cost increase of $6.5 million. This amount was shifted
from the launch vehicle budget line item to the MJS program
for the propulsion module.
Current lanned cost

     As of October 1976 NASA's project cost estimate was
$320 million--an increase of $11 million over the April 1974
estimate of $309 million. NASA attributed the increase to
keeping open the option for a Uranus flyby, involving

     -- development of a modified version of an infrared
       radiometer and interferometer spectrometer ($6.3




                             5
      million). Without the proposed modification, the
      instrument would be inadequate for use on Uranus
      because of the planet's low temperature due to its
      distance from the Sun.

    -- trajectory selection to allow a Uranus targeting
       option, which requires an increase in flight time
       to Saturn. This selection will also increase the
       period of time between the original encounter dates
       at Saturn for the two spacecraft, thereby increasing
       operational activity required for this portion of
       the mission ($4.7 million).

     NASA's $11 million cost estimate for maintaining the
Uranus option is $3.6 million less than the original JPL
estimated cost of $14.6 million.
     An initial feasibility effort, costing $3.3 million, to
develop a modified infrared instrument of general space ap.-
plicability was funded by the NASA advanced technical devel-
opment program (as discussed on p. 13 ). Funding of hard-
ware development was assumed by the MJS program only after
it appeared feasible and reasonable for use on the MJS
spacecraft.
     The JPL estimate for maintaining the Uranus option in-
cluded $1.6 million for project reserves. NASA headquarters
allocated $1.3 million, or $300,000 less, for these reserves
and directed that the $300,000 be absorbed within the avail-
able project reserves.
Project reserves

     The $309 million development estimate established in
April 1974 included $54.2 million in contingency reserves,
of which $25.4 million were identified as project reserves
and $28.8 million were identified as an allowance for pro-
gram adjustments.
     NASA's current $320 million project cost estimate in-
cludes additional reserves of $1.3 million for maintaining
the Uranus option, increasing total allotted project re-
serves to $26.7 million and combined contingency reserves
to $55.5 million. The project reserves are controlled
by the JPL MJS project manager and are intended to cover
inflation in excess of 5 percent and other project con-
tingencies. The allowance for program adjustments is con-
trolled by NASA's MJS program manager and is intended


                             6
to pro.      .ads for unanticipated changes which might be
required to achieve the project objectives. As of November
28, ?976, the MJS project had used $37.3 million out of
$55.5 million. The balance of $18.2 million, including a
$1.3 million increase in project reserves for uncertainties
associated with the Uranus option, remained unallocated as
follows:

                                      Allowance
                          Project    for program
                          reserves    adjustment      Total
                          ------------ (millions)-----------

Baseline amount            $25.4        $28.8          $54.2
Uranus option increase       1.3                         1.3
    Subtotal               $26.7        $28.8          $55.5
Amount used               -18.6         -18.7         -37.3
    Unallocated balance    $ 8.1        $10.1          $18.2

     The project reserves have been used primarily for
solving a variety of technical problems, increased procure-
ment costs, and inflation in excess of 5 percent provided
for in the baseline estimate. The allowance for program
adjustment has been used mainly to (1) fund design and en-
gineering changes to the spacecraft and instruments re-
quired when the NASA Pioneer 10 spacecraft encounter with
Jupiter in December 1973 revealed higher radiation levels
than had been predicted and (2) meet increased costs in
subsystem contracts due to spacecraft complexity and un-
anticipated instrument requirements.

     According to a NASA official, the remaining reserves
and allowance for program adjustment are considered ade-
quate to cover future program requirements.
SCHEDULE

     JPL's December 1972 project plan called for two space-
craft to be launched during August and September 1977.
These dates remain unchanged. At the tile of our review,
construction of the spacecraft and launch vehicle was on
schedule. Key spacecraft events remaining to be accomplished
were assembling and testing of the two flight units at



                               7
JPL--scheduled for completion in April 1977 and June 1977,
respectively. According to JPL officials, no delays were
anticipated in completing the remaining scheduled events.
PERFORMANCE

     The current MJS performance characteristics are con-
sistent with the science objectives established for MJS.

     The science payload for MJS was selected according to
NASA's normal science experiment selection process. Sci-
entific investigation proposals for the MJS mission were
solicited through an announcement of flight opportunity
issued in April 972. The experimenters NASA selected were
to provide scientific instruments in support of their pro-
posals except for imaging and radio science experiment
equipment considered part of the spacecraft. In December
1972 NASA conditionally selected 11 science investigation
proposals and associated instruments from 77 proposals
received from the scientific community. Following the con-
ditional selection, each selected experimenter participated
with JPL in a detailed science definition phase to insure
that the selected investigation could be accommodated with-
in the overall weight, power requirements, and fiscal con-
straints. This phase, completed in September 1973, showed
it was necessary to adjust the scientific investigations'
complement to bring estimated cost figures within the
funding constraints.
     NASA deleted an investigation of the particulate matter
in October 19;3 because the proposed instrument could not
accomplish the scientific objectives of the investigation
without design improvements. At the same time, another in-
vestigation (hydrogen Lyman alpha) was conditionally added
because studies in July 1973 indicated that this investiga-
tion could contribute in an important way to understanding
the hydrogen dynamics of the Saturn satellite Titan which
appeared to have a substantial atmosphere containing both
molecular and atomic hydrogen.
     The NASA Pioneer 10 spacecraft encounter with Jupiter
in December 1973 had revealed intense fluxes of high-energy
electrons within Jupiter's magnetosphere several orders of
magnitude greater than had been predicted. This generated
increased scientific interest in the electromagnetic pro-
cesses occurring in Jupiter's magnetosphere and led NASA
in July 1974 to substitute a plasma wave investigeion in




                             8
lieu of a hydrogen Lyman alpha investigation. Although
the plasma wave investigation will cost $570,000 more than
the hydrogen Lyman alpha investigation, it did not increase
the total project cost because program adjustment funds
were used to cover the cost increase.




                             9
                         CHAPTER 3
     COSTS NOT INCLUDED IN NASA'S PROJECT COST ESTIMATE

      We identified a number of cost elements which are
directly identifiable with the project but which are not
included in the project cost estimate. As a result all
project-related costs were not summarized and reported to
the Congress so as to show the project's total budget im-
pact.
PROJECT-RELATED COST ESTIMATE

     As discussed in chapter 2, NASA:s December 31, 1976,
project cost estimate for MJS was $320 million. This esti-
mate included $170 million for the basic spacecraft, $75
million for science instruments and experiments, $44
million for mission operations, $21 million for project
management and mission design; and a $10 million allowance
for program adjustment. However, we estimate that NASA will
incur additional project related costs of $143 million,
which are directly associated with and in support of the
project but which NASA did not include in its $320 million
estimate. These additional costs are funded under various
NASA budget line items. In addition ERDA is incurring un-
reimbursed costs of $23.6 million in support of the MJS pro-
ject. With these additional costs, the total project cost
estimate would increase by at least $166.6 million, as
shown in the following table.




                            10
         Total Estimated Cost of MJS Project

Cost category                                   Amount
                                               (millions)

Project cost                                     $320.0

Project related costs reported
  by NASA (note a):

    Launch vehicle                      $71.8
    Tracking and data acquisition        32.7
    Flight support                       21.7
    Construction of facilities            4.7

        Total                                     130.9

Project related costs not
  reported by NASA:

    Civil service support                 5.0
    Low Cost System Office (note b)       3.8
    Advanced technical development
       (note c)                           3.3
    Launch vehicle support cost (note d)   -
    Energy Research and Development
      Administration (note e)            23.6

       Total                                       35.7

Total identifiable project cost                  $486.6

a/Included in NASA's December 1976 Project Status Report
  as revised. (See p. 12.)

b/Organization within NASA that will standardize hydrazine
  thrusters and inertial reference units.

c/Initial development of modified infrared radiometer and
  interferometer spectrometer (MIRIS).

d/NASA did not have the estimate available.

e/Multihundred-watt radioisotope thermoelectric generators.




                             11
PROJECT-RELATED COSTS
REPORTED TO THE CONGRESS

     In October 1975 at the request of the Senate Committee
on Appropriations, Subcommittee on HUD-.lndependent Agencies,
NASA submitted pilot project status reports (PSRs) on six
of its projects, including MJS. Updated PSRs were submitted
in January and July 1976 and January 1977. The PSRs pro-
vide information on cost, schedule, and technical aspects
of the project. The PSRs also provide estimates of "program
acquisition costs" which include costs for the project and
launch vehicles; and estimates of "support costs" which
include tracking and data acquisition, flight support, and
construction of facilities.

     In the January 1977 PSR, as revised, the total cost
estimate of the MJS project was shown as $450.9 million, as
follows:

                                           Amount

                                         (millions)
     Project cost                          $320.0
     Launch vehicle                          71.8
     Tracking and data acquisition           32.7
     ?light support                          21.7
     Construction of facilities               4.7
         Total                             $450.9

This PSR included $130.9 million of project-related costs
that we belieied should be added to NASA's estimate for
MJS of $320 million. (See p. 11.)  However, NASA gave
this information to only one of the committees--the
Senate Subcommittee on HUD-Independent Agencies. The other
tnree committees responsible for NASA's authorization and
appropriation legislation do not receive the report and
would be unaware of this latest treatment of costs by NASA.

PROJECT-RELATED COSTS NOT REPORTED

     The PSR cost estimates for MJS excluded certain
project-related costs incurred by NASA or costs incurred
by another agency in support of the project. The follow-
ing table shows additional costs, totaling $35.7 million
exclusive of launch vehicle support, that were incurred




                             12
for the support of the MJS project but not included in
the PSR. These latter items are discussed in the para-
graphs following the table.
                                          Amount

                                          (millions)

    Civil service support                    $    .0
    Low Cost System Office                       3.8
    Advanced technical development               3.3
    Energy Research and Development
      Administration                          23.6
    Launch vehicle support cost              a/ -

         Total                               $35.7

     a/Cost estimate not obtained.    (See p. 14.)

Civil service support
     Goddard Space Flight Center personnel are working
on MJS experiment , but their costs are not being in-
cluded in the project cost estimate. NASA estimated
that these personnel and their support costs could total
$5 million during fiscal years 1976-81.

Low Cost System Office
     The MJS project office and NASA's Low Cost System
Office shared the cost of developing a standardized
hydrazine thruster and a standardized inertial reference
unit for use on the MJS spacecraft. According to NASA,
these units have general applicability to all NASA space
missions. The Low Cost System Office contributed $2.9
million for development of the hydrazine thruster and
$948,000 for the development of the inertial guidance unit.
Advanced technical development
      Advanced technical development funds of $3.3 million
were used to (1) determine the feasibility of modifying the
MJS infrared radiometer and interferometer spectrometer
for use in a Uranus flyby and (2) study trajectories
required for a flyby option. The MJS design of the
infrared radiometer and interferometer spectrometer was
acdequate for Jupiter and Saturn but not for Uranus.




                             13
Launch vehicle support costs

     A prior GAO review ("Need for Improved Reporting and
Cost Estimating on Major Unmanned Satellite Projects,"
PSAD-75-90, July 25, 1975) showed that NASA does not allocate
funds to specific projects for costs not directly associated
with the acquisition of hardware.  These costs, which in-
clude launch vehicle improvement costs and supporting act-
ivities, usually rrece.nt about 50 percent of the total
cost of a launch vehie,".

ERDA costs

     ERDA is developing the electrical power source for
the two MJS spacecraft. Each spacecraft uses a set of three
multihundred-watt radi isotope thermoelectric generators.
In accordance with a long-standing interagency agreement,
ERDA is funding the generator development costs and the
cost of fabricating and testing the generators for the first
spacecraft, including one spare generator.  In return, NASA
is to provide ERDA with performance data and to reimburse
ERDA for the cost of fabricating and testing the generators
for the second spacecraft.  The funds for these latter
generators are included in the MJS project estimate of $320
million.  According to ERDA officials, unreimbursed costs
to be incurred by ERDA in support of developing the genera-
tors total about $23.6 million.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     NASA does not agree that civil service and other sup-
port costs should be classed as MJS project related.   NASA
believes such costs are (1) relatively fixed, (2) not sen-
sitive to changes in project activity, and (3) reported
in their proper place in the authorization and appropriation
structure and the benefiting relationship is fully explained
in material submitted to the Congress.  It is our view that
to show tully the total economic impact of a project, it is
necessary o summarize all costs which are directly identi-
fiable w h the project.   By consolidating all project-
related csts on a single document, the Congress will have
all the necessary information in one place for fulfilling
its oversight and appropriation responsibilities.  As
shown on page 12, NASA has accomplished this objective
somewhat in its revised January 1977 PSR.




                               14
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION

     The total costs directly identifiable with the MJS
project are not summarized and reported to the Congress as
a single estimate to show the total budget impact of the
project. Such an estimate would give the Congress a better
means of assessing overall progress and aid it in making
decisions on the future direction of the project.
     Therefore, we recommend that the NASA Administrator
identify and bring together on the MJS project status re-
port all costs identifiable with the project, together
with significant schedule and performance data which may
have an impact on the project, and submit the report to
each of the congressional committees having oversight and
appropriations responsibility over NASA.




                             15
                         CHAPTER 4

                 EXTENDED MISSION OPTIONS

     In addition to its primary mission of exploring J   iter
and Saturn, NASA foresees a possible extended mission option
for the two spacecraft beyond their Saturn encounter.  The
extended mission provides for interplanetary/interstellar
research and a possible option for an encounter with Uranus.
Two spacecraft will be used for the interstellar research
while only one spacecraft will encounter Uranus.  If this
option is exercised, NASA could incur additional project
costs of about $61 million, exclusive of tracking and data
acquisition cost.  JPL has not estimated what these costs
will be.

URANUS OPTION

     In October 1975 NASA decided to implement an option
whereby an encounter with Uranus could be added to the MJS
miss.on.  This option would reauire retargeting the second
spacecraft before it reaches Saturn to continue on to
Uranus. If this option is exercised, the spacecraft would
encounter Uranus on January 30, 1986. NASA indicates that
the option would be exercised only if the first spacecraft
achieved the desired Saturn-related science objectives and
the second spacecraft proved capable of undertaking the
additional 4 1/2 years of flight ime from Saturn to Uranus.
If the conditions for exercising the Uranus option are not
satisfied, the second spacecraft would be targeted to focus
on Saturn-related science objectives. A final decision on
this matter will not be recuired until 6 months bfore the
Saturn encounter in August 1981 and, according to NASA,
will be preceded by the normal authorization and appropria-
tion requests from the Congress.
    NASA estimates the cost of maintaining the Uranus option
through 1981 at $11 million, The Uranus encounter would,
according to JPL estimates, require $10.8 million out of
the $61 million for the extended mission. NASA informed
us that the decision to incorporate the Uranus option in
the existing mission was made in lieu of proposing a sepa-
rate Uranus mission which NASA estimated would cost in ex-
cess of $200 million.




                             16
INTERSTELLAR SPACE RESEARCH
     During the project mission definition phase, the
Science Steering Group, in developing the science rationale
for the mission, stressed the importance of the ost-Saturn
phase of the mission. There was a strona desire on the
part of the Science Steering Grout to continue communication
with both spacecraft as long as possible past the Saturn
encounter in anticipation of penetrating the boundary be-
tween the solar wind and interstellar medium, allowing
measurments to be made of intersellar fields and of particles
unmodulated by solar plasma. The project, as formally
approved by NASA in July 1972, provides that should the two
spacecraft continue to operate past the Saturn encounters,
an extended mission would be proposed to measure interstel-
lar fields and particles.
     According to JPL officials, even if the Uranus option
is dropped, the MJS mission would be extended for inter-
stellar research. JPL estimates that the cost for extendinq
the mission through fiscal year 1986 would be about $50
million, excluding tracking and data acquisition costs.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE CONGRESS

     In view of the potential for increased costs, the Con-
aress should reauest NASA to (1) keen it advised of NASA's
position concerning the extended m ssions and (2) con-
tinually provide it with updated estimated costs of the ex-
tended mission, icluding those for tracking and data ac-
auisition.




                              17
APPENDIX I                                      APPENDIX I
              SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS AND THE
   PRIMARY EXPERIMENT INVESTIGATIONS FOR THE MJS PROJECT
Science investigation         Primary experiment _ojectives
Cosmic ray particles         Energy spectra and isotopic
                             composition of cosmic ray par-
                             ticles and trapped planetary
                             energetic particles.
Imaging science              Imaging of planets and
                             satellites at resolutions
                             and phase angles not
                             possible from Earth.
                             Atmospheric dynamics and
                             surface structure.
Infrared radiation           Energy balance of planets.
                             Atmospheric composition
                             and temperature fields.
                             Composition and physical
                             characteristics of satellite
                             surface and Saturn rings.
Low-energy-charged
  particles                  Energy spectra and isotopic
                             composition of low-energy-
                             charged particles in
                             planetary magnetospheres
                             and interplanetary space.
Magnetic fields              Planetary and interplanetary
                             magnetic fields.
Photopolarimetry             Methane, ammonia, molecular
                             hydrogen, and aerosols in
                             atmospheres. Composition
                             and physical characteristics
                             of satellite surfaces and
                             Saturn rings.
Planetary radio astromony    Planetary radio emissions and
                             plasma resonances in planetary
                             magnetospheres.




                            18
APPENDIX I                                   APPENDIX I

Science investigation      Primary_experiment objectives

Plasma particles           Energy spectra of solar wind
                           electrons and ions, low-
                           energy-charged particles
                           in planetary environments,
                           and ionized interstellar
                           hydrogen.

Plasma waves               Electron densities and local
                           plasma waves, charged parti-
                           cles' interactions in plane-
                           tary magnetospheres.

Radio science              Physical properties of atmos-
                           pheres and ionospheres,
                           planet and satellite masses,
                           densities, and gravity fields.
                           Structure of Saturn rings.

Ultraviolet spectroscopy   Atmospheric composition,
                           including the hydrogen-to-
                           helium ratio. Thermal
                           structure of upper atmos-
                           pheres. Hydrogen and helium
                           in interplanetary and inter-
                           stellar space.




                           19
      APPENDIX II                                          APPENDIX II

   N/ASA
   National Aeronautics and
   Space Administration
   Washington. D C
   20546


 Rtpplyto An   W                                      MAR 3. 1977

Mr. R. W. (Gutmann
Director
Procurement and Systems
  Acquisition Division
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548


Dear Mr. Gutmann:

Thank you for affording NASA an opportunity to review and
comment on the GAO draft report entitled, "Status Of The
Mariner Jupiter/Saturn 1977 Project" which was transmitted
with your letter, dated January 27, 1977.

NASA representatives worked with members of your staff in
resolving some relatively minor differences with regard
to the draft report. The remaining NASA comments, keyed to
the segments of the report to which they pertain, are
enclosed. If you or your staff wish to discuss these comments,
please let me know.

Sincerely,



~ohn M. Coulter
Acting Assistant Administrator for
DOD and Interagency Affairs

Enclosure


GAO note:          Page references in this appendix refer to the
                   draft report and do not necessarily agree with
                   the page numbers in the final report.



                                      20
 APPENDIX II                                    APPENDIX II
        NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

                         COMMENTS ON

                        THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
  GAO DRAFT OF REPORrTO TO

                        STATUS OF THE
             MARINER JUPITER/SATURN 1977 PROJECT
                        (CODE 952146)

NASA has concluded its review of the GAO draft report on
the status of the MJS77 project and agrees with most of the
findings. Members of my staff have worked with the GAO staff
to resolve a number of minor changes and corrections t the
report. However, there remains an issue which reflects a
continued misunderstanding between NASA and GAO concerning
the proper definition of project-related costs.

In July 1975, GAO and NASA agreed on the concept that
project-related estimates should include costs that show
the economic impact of projects on the NASA budget.l
However, since then, GAO has frequently recommended the
inclusion of costs which NASA does not consider project
related.

In this report, GAO has recommended inclusion of civil
service and other support costs which are of a relatively
fixed nature. The costs of these support activities are
justified as sustained institutional capability and are not
sensitive to inclusion in the budget of the projects to which
GAO proposes they be prorated. GAO has also proposed inclusion
of the cost of technology development of wide4spread applic-
ability. General support costs are reported n their proper
place in the authorization and appropriation tructure and
the benefiting relationship to projects is fully explained
in material submitted to the Congress.

Therefore in the status report on MJS77, we propose certain
cost estimates, classed as project-related by GAO, not be
shown as dependent on the N5S77 mission. NASA-recommended

1 "Need
      for Improved Reporting and Cost Estimating on Major
Unmanned Satellite Project," GAO report dated July 25, 1975.

                              21
    APPENDIX II                                           APPENDIX II

  changes to the GAO treatment of project-related costs and
  certain other minor corrections in the MJS77 status report
  are described below:

  Page i, Digest, 3rd paragraph

  REPLACE:        $38.4 million with $35.7 million.

 Page ii, Digest, 1st paragraph, last sentence

 REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: The NASA estimated cost
 of maintaining the Uranus option through 1981 is
 estimated at $11.0 million.

 Page 6, 1st paragraph

 INSERT THE FOLLOWING AFTER THE LAST SENTENCE: Within
 that project cost estimate range there have been several
 adjustments, as discussed below.

 Page 9, 2nd paragraph, 12th line

 DELETE:     --    reserves for implementing the option ($2.7 million).

 COMMEN"T:    NASA's MJS77 project cost estimate of $320 million
              includes an $11.0 million estimate for maintaining
              the Uranus option: $6.3 million for development of
              MIRIS and $4.7 million for increased mission
              operation and science support costs. Project
              reserves of $1.3 million are included in the $11.0
              million total.
 Page 9, 2nd paragraph, lines 13-19

 REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:
             -- trajectory selection to allow a Uranus targeting
             option, which requires an increase in flight time
             to Saturn. This selection will also increase the
             period of time between the original encounter dates
             at Saturn for the two spacecraft, thereby increasing
             operational activity required for this portion of
             the mission ($4.7 million).

COM4ENT:     The NASA estimated cost for increased mission
             operations and science support associated with
             the Uranus option trajectory is $4.7 million.

                                     22
APPENDIX II                                    APPENDIX II

Page 10, 1st and 2nd paragraph

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

           NASA's $11 million dollar cost estimate
           for maintaining the Uranus option is $3.6
           million less than the original JPL
           estimated cost of $14.6 million.

          An initial feasibility effort of $3.3 million
          for development of a modified infrared instrument
          of general space applicability was funded by
          the NASA advanced technical development program
           (as discussed on page 18). Funding of hardware
          development was assumed by the MJS program only
          after it appeared feasible and reasonable for use
          on the MJS spacecraft.

          The JPL estimate for maintaining the Uranus
          option included $1.6 million for project reserves.
          NASA Headquarters allocated $1.3 million or
          $300,000 less for these reserves and directed
          that he $300,000 be absorbed within the
          available project reserves.

Page 10, 3rd paragraph

INSERT THE FOLLOWING AFTER THE 1st SENTENCE:

          NASA's current $320 million project cost estimate
          includes additional reserves of $1.3 million for
          maintaining the Uranus option, increasing total
          allotted project reserves to $26.7 million and
          combined contingency reserves to $55.5 million.

Page 10, 3rd paragraph, 2nd sentence

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

          The project reserves are controlled by the JPL
          MJS project manager and are intended to cover,
          inflation in excess of 5% and other project
          contirgencies.

                              23
  APPENDIX II                                    APPENDIX II
Page 11, 1st paragrapn (artial)    and table

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

          achieve the project objectives. As of
          Nov-mber 28, 1976, the MJS project had used
          $37.3 million out of $55.5 million. The
          balance of $18.2 million, including a
          $1.3 million increase in project reserves
          for uncertainties associated with the
          Uranus option, remained unallocated as
          follows:

                                      Allowance
                         Project     for program
                         reserves     adjustment     Total
                         ------------ (millions)----------
Baseline amount           $25.4          $28.8          $54.2
Maintain Uranus option      1.3                           1.3
   Subtotal               $26.7          $28.8          $55.5
Amount used               -18.6          -18.7          -37.3
   Unallocated balance    $ 8.1            l             18.2

Page 15, 2nd paragraph

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

          NASA's December 31, 1976, project cost estimate
          for MJS is $320 million. This estimate includes
          $170 million for the basic spacecraft, $75 million
          for science instrumentation and experiments, $44
         million for missions operations, $21 million for
         project management and mission design, and a $10
         million allowance for program adjustment. NASA
         also estimates MJS project related costs    f
         $130.9 million. GAO estimates that NASA will incur
          an additional $12.1 million in project related
         costs which NASA does not include in its $130.9
         million estimate. NASA does not agree with GAO
         that these additional costs, which are shown below,
         should be reported as project related and instead
         reports them to Congress under various and separate
         NASA budget line items. In addition, GAO feels that

                              24
  APPENDIX II                                    APPENDIX II

          ERDA is incurring unreimbursed costs of $23.6
          million in support of the MJS project. NASA
          states that these ERDA unreimbursed costs,
          which are for development of radioisotope
          thermoelectric generators having general
          applicability to DOD and NASA space missions,
          are appropriately reported to Congress by ERDA.

Page 16, Table

CHANGE TABLE TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

                 TOTAL ESTIMATED COST OF MJS PROJECT
                     (as of Dec. 31, 1976)

Cost Categorv                                            Amount
                                                       (millions)


Project cost                                            $320.0

Project-related costs reported by   ASA:

      Launch vehicle                  71.8
      Tracking and data acquisition 32.7
      Flight support                  21.7
      Construction of facilities       4.7
      Subtotal ...    ...............................   130.9
Total project and support estimate ....................
                                                      $450.9

Additional costs defined as project related by GAO:

     Civil service support            5.0
     Low Cost Systems Office /        3.8
     Advanced technical development
               12A~~~/ ~3.3
     Launch vehicle support cost c/    --
     Energy Research and Development
       Administration d/             23.6

     TOTAL                                              $ 35.7



                               25
APPENDIX II                                        APPENDIX II
Page 17, 1st full paragraph, 2nd sentence

DELETE THE ENTIRE SENTENCE

COMMENT:

           The $2.0 million difference between NASA MJS
           project cost estimates of $318 million reflected
           in the July PSR and the current cost estimate
           of $320 million should not be construed as costs
           excluded by NASA in the PSR. The final decision
           as to NASA's estimate for increased costs
           associated with the Uranus option 'rajectory was
           made during the FY 1978 budget reviews in
           August and September 1976. At that time,
           the $2.0 million was added to the estimate.
           Likewise, flight support estimated costs were
           increased by $700,000 with the selection of
           the Uranus option trajectory.

Page 22, 1st partial paragraph, 2nd sentence

ADD THE FOLLOWING TO THE END OF THE SENTrNCE:

           will be preceded by the normal authorization
           and appropriation approvals from the Congress.

Page 22, 1st full paragraph, 1st sentence

           REPLACE "$11.3 million" WITH $11.0 million".

Page 22, 1st full paragraph

ADD THE FOLLOWING 1    T   END OF THE PARAGRAPH:

           The decision t incorpcrnte the Uranus option
           in the existing mission was made in lieu of
           proposing a eparate Uranus mission which NASA
           estimated would cost in excess of $200 million.


     tR, Siam<>~
Noel W. Hn    s
                                   _            Date:     /3/7 2
Associate Administr.tor
for Space Science
                              26
APPENDIX III                                        APPENDIX III


                 PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS OF THE

        NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

                 RESPONSIBLE FOR ACTIVITIES
                  DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT


                                    Tenure of office
                                    From          To

ADMINISTRATOR:
     Alan M. Lovelace (acting)      May      1977   Present
     James C. Fletcher              Apr.     1971   May 1977

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR:
     Alan M. Lovelace               June     1976   Present
     George M. Low                  Dec.     1969   June 1976

COMPTROLLER:
     William E. Lilly (note a)      2eo.     1967    Present




a/Position established in December 1972. 3efore that date
  the comptroller function was part of the Office of the
  Associate Administrator for Organization and Management.




                             27