oversight

Status and Issues Pertaining to the Proposed Development of the Space Telescope Project

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-04.

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

                         £CCUMENT BESUMP

02118 - [A1252250G

Status and Issues Pertaining to the Proposed Deveiopment of the
Space Telescope Project. PSAD-77-98. May 4, 1977. 45 pp.

Peport to the Congress; by Flmer B. Staats, Comptroller General.

Issue Area: Science and Technology: Management and Oversight of
    Programs (2004); Federal Procurement of Gocds and Services:
    Notifying the Ccrgress of Statts of Important Procurement
    Programs   (105).
Contact: Pocurement and Systems Acquisition Div.
Budget uncticn: General Science, Space, and Technology: Space
    Science, Aplications, and Technology (254$); General
    Science, Space, and Technology: Manned Space Flight (253);
    International Affairs: Foreign Information and Exchange
    Activities (153).
Organizaticn Concerned: National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration.
Congres.sonarl elevance: House Committee on Science and
    Tec'ology; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and
    Tra sportaticn; Ccngres.

         The Space elescope Project will develop a complex
space oservatory with the objectives of serving the scientific
community and extending knowledge of the universe. National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) estimates for
Project costs have increased because of inflation factors and
inclusion cf changes in scope and administrative costs.
Findings/Conclusicns: NASA has not prepared a lfecycle cost
estimate for the telescope. In addition to excluded development
costs of $227.2 million, operation costs of $709.4 million
should be included in estimates, which would bring the lifecycle
cost to about $1.4 billion. Technical uncertainties still
remaining ceal with component development, stabilization
control, co'taminaticn effects, thermal control, and testing
limitations. International cooperation has not been formally
achieved, but negotiations are in the final stcges. NASA is
planning an institute to manage observation programs during the
operational phase.   Recommendations: The NASA Administrator
should provide to Congress a lifecycle cost estimate, and submit
periodic project status reports if telescope development is
approved. (lTW)
co
r-4



             REPORT TO THE CONGRESS

      2 ~'   BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
             OF THE UNITED STATES




             Status And Issues Pertaining
             To The Proposed Development
             Of The Space Telescope Project
             National Aeronautics and Space Administration


             The Space Telescope will be the largest, most
             complex space observatory ever developed.
             GAO estimates that the development and
             operational costs could total about $1.4 bil-
             lion. H1owever, a lifecyce cost estimate has
             not been prepared by NASA.

             A number of technical problems must be
             overcome if the Space Telescope is to achieve
             its scientific objectives. Other issues include
             the scope of international participation and
             the establishment of an institute to manage
             the scientific observation programs during the
             Telescope's operational phase.
             NASA has requested that the Congress ap-
             prov? the Space Telescope for development in
             fiscal year 1978.




             PSAD-77-98                                        MAY 4, 1977
                COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED   TAT
                          WASHINGTON. D.C. M"




B-183134




To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

     This is our second report on the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration's proposed development of the Space
Telescope Project.  It discusses the Telescope's cost and
status and issues pertaining to its development and opera-
tional phases.

     This review ws made as a part of our colvtinuing effort
to apprise the Congress of the status of major system acqui-
sitions and to assist it in exercising its legislative and
review functions. A copy of this report was reviewed by
agency officials responsible for the management of the Proj-
ect, and their comments are incorporated as appropriate.

     We made our review pursuant to the Budget and Accounting
Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Auditing
Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 6).
     We are sending copies of this report to the Director,
Office of Management and Budget, and to the Administrator,
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.




                                   omptroller General
                                  of the United States
COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S            STATUS AND ISSUES PERTAINING
REPORT TO THE CONGRESS           TO THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
                                 OF THE SPACE TELESCOPE PROJECT
                                 National Aeronautics and
                                 Space Administration

           D I G E S T

           NASA plans to seek authority to begin Space
           Telescope Project development during fiscal
           year 1976. Development and operational costs
           could total about $1.4 billion. The Congress
           should obtain from NASA

           --a lifecycle cost estimate to include all
             costs associated with the Poject,

           -- periodic reports on the status of known
              technical uncertainties and their effect on
              fulfilling the Telescope's scientific objec-
              tives,

           -- its plan for providing adequate funds in the
              operational phase for data management and
              development of advanced scientific instru-
              ments, and

           -- its plan for obtaining substantial interna-
              tional participation in the Project.

           PROJECT COST AND STATUS
           The Telescope will be the largest, most complex
           space observatory ever developed by NASA.
           NASA's primary objective is to operate a large,
           high resolution system which will (1) be useful
           to the international scientific community and
           (2) extend and expand man's knowledge of the
           universe.

            Through September 30, 1976, $14 million had
            been appropriated for the Telescope; however,
            the Congress did not provide any funding for
            fiscal year 1977.

            Marshall Space Flight Center's estimated Proj-
            ect cost for development of the Telescope has
            increased $138 million, from $297 million in
            July 1975 to $435 million in July 1976, be-
            cause the Center


  P5L
TuSm      Upon oaPSAl, ta repW                          FSA3D-77-98
er   &te should be notw hron.
-- used different assumptions regarding
   inflation factors,
-- made additions and scope changes,
-- increased Project reserves,

-- included headquarters' contract administra-
   tion costs, and
-- deleted the cost of early study effort.
   (See p. 8.)
NASA stated that the official estimate for the
T=¢escope's development is between $435 mil-
lion and $470 million in fiscal year 1978
dollars. Accordinc to NASA, except for an
allowance for inflation, this estimate is
essentially the same as the estimate provided
to the Office of Management and Budget when
the Telescope was being considered for a new
start in fiscal year 1977. Additional develop-
ment costs of $227.2 million are not included
in NASA's estimate for

-- early study effort,
-- tracking and data acquisition capability,

-- inflation after fiscal year 1978,

-- civil service personnel assigned to the
   Project, and
-- shuttle transportation to launch the Tele-
   scope.
NASA has not prepared a lifecycle cost esti-
mate for the Telescope. Since it has an ex-
pected operational life of 10 to 15 years,
NASA's development estimate of $435 million
does not indicate the total cost of the Proj-
ect. In addition to the excluded development
cost of $227.2 million, GAO identified opera-
tions costs of $709.4 million, which should
be included in a lifecycle estimate. These
costs, together with NASA's development esti-
mate of $435 million, could increase the total
lifecycle cost to about $1.4 billion. NASA
stated that the GAO approach to lifecycle cost
estimating for the Telescope is inappropriate;


                         ii
        however, in GAO's view the costs it identified
        are in fact indicative of the Telescope's po-
        tential lifecycle costs. (See pp. 9 to 12.)

        The planned launch date for the Teloscope has
        slipped about 1-1/2 years, from June 1982 to
        late 1983. Marshall officials attribute the
        slippage to
        -- a 6-month delay to realine milestones for
           starting the development of a 2.4-meter
           Telescope in fiscal year 1977 and

        -- a -year delay in obtaining administration
           approval to initiate development. (See
           pp. 4 and 13.)

        NASA has established broad performance re-
        quirements to meet the Telescope's scientific
        objectives. The overall goa'. is to achieve
        near perfect optical performance over a wide
        spectral range with emphasis on observing
        faint objects. However, a major change in the
        performance requirements was a reduction of
        the Telescope's aperture from 3.0 to 2.4
        meters, which will cause some loss of effec-
        tiveness in observing faint objects. NASA
        estimates the loss of scientific data from
        relatively bright objects will be insignifi-
        cant. (See pp. 13 and 14.)

        While no formal commitments have been made
        by international participants, NASA believes
        that the European Space Agency will provide
        a faint object camera, parts of the solar
        power system, and contribute to the costs of
        the Project's operation. NASA stated that
        an agreement with the European Space Agency
        is in the final stages of negotiation. The
        European Space Agency's Science Planning
        Council has approved a contribution to the
        Project of about $88 million based on the
        current rate of exchange if development
        is approved. (See pp. 15 and 16.)
        NASA has recently initiated an external re-
        porting system designed to present the cost,
        schedule, and performance status of six of
        its major projects. If the Congress approves
        the Telescope for development, GAO believes


Tsar
 MLht                        iii
it should be included in this reporting system.
(See p. 16.)
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT
UNCERTAINTIES
During the Telescope's definition phase, NASA
identified several technical uncertainties
that could degrade performance. These uncer-
tainties include
-- development of critical components,

-- fine pointing and stabilization control,

-- control of contamination effects,
-- development of adequate thermal control, and
-- testing limitations.

NASA believes that there are no major techni-
cal problems remaining in the development path
of the Telescope. (See pp. 18 to 22.)

OPERATION PHASE
NASA plans to establish a separate operation
control center and a science institute to
manage he Telescope after it becomes opera-
tional. The center will be responsible for
the Telescope's day-to-day operations while
the science institute will plan and implement
the scientific observation programs. The
estimated operations costs in GAO's life-
cycle cost estimate include the costs of
establishing an operation control ceniter and
a science institute. (See pp. 12, 23, and 24.)

OTHER ISSUES
Data management has been a problem on past
space srience projects. Since the Telescope
is expected to operate for as long as 15
years, it will generate vast amounts of sci-
entific data. GAO believes that NASA should
carefully consider the problems associated
with managing the data when planning Tele-
scope operations.  (See p. 25.)



                     iv
NASA has supported the construction and
operation of a number of grouind-based tele-
scopes. However, the benefits of such in-
vestments have not been fully realized be-
cause funds to provide these telescopes with
advanced instruments have not been available.
The Telescope probably will require updated
scientific instrumentation during its ex-
pected life. NASA should plan its budgets
to make sure that funds are available for
this purpose.  (See p. 25.)
RECOMMENDATIONS

The NASA Administrator should

-- provide to the Congress, as soon as possible,
   a lifecycle cost estimate to include all
   costs associated with the Project; this would
   provide the Congress more complete information
   on which to base its authorizatin and appro-
   priation decisions and

 -- submit pe-:iodic project status reports to
    the Congress if the Telescope 's approved
    for development; these reports would permit
    the Congress to monitor more effectively the
    Project's cost, schedule, and performance
    prcgress.
AGENCY COMMENTS

NASA reviewed this report and did not agree
with GAO's recommendations. NASA's comments
have been added where appropriate and included
.n entirety as appendix I.
 Also ttached, as appendix II, is a letter
 from the Office of Management and Budget in
 which it concurred with the statements in the
 report about that office.




i.alh~mu                 v
                        Contents
                                                      Page

DIGEST                                                  i

CHAPTER

   1       INTRODUCTION                                 1
               Objectives                               1
               Description                              1
               Justification                            2
               History                                  2
               Management                               4
               Scope of review                          5

   2       PROJECT STATUS                               6
               Estimated cost                           6
               NASA comments and our evaluation        11
               Schedule                                13
               Performance                             13
               International participation             15
               Project status reporting                16
               Conclusions                             16
               Recommendations                         17
               Matter for the attention of the
                 Congress                              17

   3       TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT UNCERTA!N'£IES        1~
               Development of critical components      18
               Fine pointing and stabilization
                 control                               19
               Cortrol of contamination effects        20
               Dexelopnent of adequate thermal
                 controls                              21
               Testing limitations                     21
               Matter for the attention of the
                 Congress                              22

   4       OPERATIONAL PHASE                           23
               Operation control center                23
               Science institute                       24
               Other matters                           25
               NASA comments and our evaluation        25
               Matter for the attention of the
                 Congress                              26

APPENDIX

   I       Letter dated February 18, 1977, from the
             Acting Assistant Adminie'rator for DOD
             and Interagency Affairs                    27
APPENDIX                                             Page

   II      Letter dated March 10, 1977, from the
             Office of Management and Budget           43

  III      Principal officials of the National
             Aeronautics and Space Administration
             responsible for activities discussed
             in this report                            45

                     ABBREVIATIONS

ESA        European Space Agency
GAO        General Accounting Office
MSFC       Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration
                         CHAPTER 1

                        INTRODUCTION

     This report contains the results of our second review 1/
of the Space Telescope Project which will be the largest,
most complex space observatory ever developed by the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

     The report contains information on the Project's (1)
current cost, schedule, and performance status; (2) technical
development uncertainties; and (3) operation phase.
OBJECTIVES

     The primary objective of the Project is to develop and
operate a large optical space telescope system which will be
useful to the international scientific community and signif-
icantly extend man's knowledge of the universe. Specific
scientific objectives are to develop a better understanding
of the (1) universe's origin and evolution; (2) stars, gal-
axies, and the nature and behavior of materials and fields
between them; and (3) physical aspects of the universe.

DESCRIPTION

     The Project includes the design, development, produc-
tion, integration, launch, orbital verification, and prepara-
tion for mission operation of an unmanned astronomical oo-
servatory. The elements of the system are: an optical tele-
scope assembly; scientific instruments; a support systems
module; and all unique equipment and procedures needed to
test, handle, launch, and support on-orbit operational veri--
fication.

     The Space Telescope will be launched from the Kennedy
Space Center on a manned Space Shuttle and put in a circular
orbit about 270 nautical miles above the Earth. An operation
control center will send operational commands to the space-
craft, monitor the status of its systems, determine failures,
and identify degraded systems.

     The Space Shuttle is to rendezvous with the Telescope
when necessary for limited maintenance and servicing and/or




l/Staff Study "Space Telescope Project" (PSAD-76-66,
  January 1976)
return it to Earth for major maintenance or refurbishment to
extend its life and upgrade its scientific capability. The
illustration on page 3 shows the various stages of a Space
Telescope mission.

JUSTIFICATION

     As early as 1923, a scientist recognized that an as-
tronomical telescope in orbit above the atmosphere would
have tremendous advantages over ground-based instruments
which are affected by fluctuation, distortion, and absorp-
tion effects of the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere
blocks out most of the shortwave radiation emitted by the
sun and stars and limits observations made by ground-based
telescopes to a small friction of the electromagnetic spec-
trum. Space telescopes, however, have important advantages
over ground-based telescopes; including the ability to in-
tercept radiation that cannot penetrate the atmosphere.
     Astronomers believe that the Space Telescope will
assist in resolving major questions in astronomy which can-
not be answered with data obtained from ground-based tele-
scopes. Scientists expect to be able to systematically
study weather conditions on other planets which should lead
to a better understanding of the Earth's weather and the
origin of climate changes and to study the physical process
of explosions in the universe in search of new sources of
energy for use on Earth. By using the Telescope, scientists
may be able to discover phenomena contributing to man's basic
needs, see the edge of the observable universe, and even
answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe?

     Since the Space Telescope concept was first proposed,
it has been studied and endorsed by a number of scientific
groups. The scientific community considers the Telescope
vitally important to space research and the next logical
step in the field of astronomy. A recent study by the Space
Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, stated that the
Telescope is the highest priority program in astronomy and
concluded that "it is clear that the time is ripe for this
important project; nothing is to be gained by delay."

HISTORY
     In late 1971 NASA authorized Space Telescope feasibil-
ity studies, which were completed in December 1972. Based
on the potential benefits of such a project, NASA started
in April 1973 t better define the design requirements for
a 3.0-meter apeLt:.e Telescope. Then, in August 1973, NASA
awarded contracts to two competing contractors for parallel
definition of the optical Telescope assembly and scientific


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     STAGES OF A SPACE TELESCOPE MISSON
instruments. In December 1974 NASA awarded contracts to
three competing contractors to complete definition of the
support systems module.

     During fiscal year 1975, the Congress directed NASA to
investigate means to reduce costs and tc obtain international
participation in the Project. To determine the most cost-
effective approach, NASA directed its definition contractors
to evaluate telescopes with 1.8-, 2.4-, and 3.0-meter aper-
tures. In May 1975 the NASA Administrator selected the
2.4-meter system for final definition because (1) its pro-
jected weight vas well within Space Shuttle payload require-
ments, (2) required technology was considered to be within
current capabilities, (3) estimated costs were substantially
less than for the 3.0-meter system, and (4) the 2.4-meter
system was considered to be capable of achieving the estab-
lished scientific objectives. Also, NASA representatives
pursued whether the United Kingdom and the European Space
Agency (ESA) would participate in the Project. Although
both showed interest in the Project, they made no formal
commitments to participate.  (See pp. 15 to 16.)
     NASA included the Space Telescope in its fiscal year
1977 budget as a candidate new start project for develop-
ment, but the Office of Management and Budget deleted the
request because of funding limitations. Through September
30, D176, $14 million had been appropriated for defini-
tion and advancea technology development of the Telescope;
however, the Congress did not provide any fiscal year 1977
funds for the Telescope.
MANAGEMENT

     NASA's Office of Space Science is responsible for
overall management of the Project, such as establishing pol-
icy and technical requirements, approving plans, determining
goals and objectives, and allocating funds. Marshall Space
Flight Center (MSFC), NASA's lead center for the Project, is
responsible for Project implementation and meeting cost,
schedule, and performance goals.

     The Goddard Space Flight Center is responsible for
developing scientific instruments and performing mission
and data operations. The Johnson Space Center is respon-
sible for Space Shuttle and Telescope interface, and the
Kennedy Space Center, for launch operations. NASA's
Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition will be respon uble
for providing tracking and data acquisition support.




                             4
                                                  to a wide
     To provide scientific operations services
                                        including Government
spectrum of the scientific community,establishment of a Space
scientists, NASA is considering the science operations element
Telascope science institute as the
                                       include a staff of
of the Project. The institute would
                                  by  a consortium of uni-
scientists and might be operated
                                     (See p. 24.)
versities under contract to NASA.
SCOPE OF REVIEW
                                           was obtained by
     Information contained in this report          and other
reviewing Pro.ject plans, reports, correspondence,
                                              and other orga-
documents prepared by NASA, its contractors,
                                       aspects of the Project
nizations. We also discussed variousand Space Prograin Ad-
with NASA, the Space Science Board,    is comprised of a
visory Council Officials. The latter          experts who ad-
number of well-known industry and Government
vise NASA on space matters.




                                5
                          CHAPTER 2

                        PROJECT STATUS
     The Space Telescope Project has completed the definition
phase of the acquisition cycle. Work in this phase included
detailed studies, comparatve analyses, and preliminary de-
sign for the purpose of selecting a single project approach
from several approaches or concepts for accomplishing the
proposed mission.

ESTIMATED COST
     Cost estimates for development of the Space Telescope
have varied from MSFC's initial estimate in July 1974 of
$463.8 million (real year dollars) 1/ for a 3.0-meter Tele-
scope to its latest estimate ranging from $406 million to
$435 million (fiscal year 1975 dollars inflated to fiscal
year 1978 dollars) for a 2.4-meter Telescope.

        Space Telescope Development Cost Estimates

                                          Amount

                                         (millions)
        July 1974 (3.0-meter)             a/$463.8
        Mar. 1975 (2.4-meter)              a/373.0
        July 1975 (2.4-meter)              S/297.0
        Mar. and July 1976
          (2.4-meter)                     c/406-435
a/Real year dollars.
b/Fiscal year 1977 dollars.

c/Fiscal year 1978 dollars.
We expect additional costs, estimated at $937 million, to
be incurred over the life of the Project.  A table depict-
ing the elements comprising the almost $1.4 billion cost
expected for acquiring and operating the Telescope is shown
on page 10.




l/Real year dollars means that projected inflation through
  Project completion is included in the estimate.




                                6
     In July 1974 MSFC estimated that the 30-meter Space
Telescope would cost $463.8 million in real year dollars.
After reducing the Telescope's aperture from 3.0 meters to
2.4 meters, MSFC esuim.Led in March 1975 that the Project
would cost $373 million in real year dollars which repre-
sents a $91 million net decrease in estimated cost. The
net decrease resulted primarily from
     -- reducing the aperture size,

     -- refining the cost estimate,
     -- revising inflation rates, and

     -- slipping the projected launch date from June to De-
        cember 1982.

The March 1975 estimate included costs for design, develop-
ment, production, launch, and 1 year of operations.
     In July 1975 MSFC revised its estimate for the 2.4-
meter Space Telescope to $297 million in fiscal year 1977
dollars. This represented a $76 million net decrease in
estimated cost over the March 1975 estimate. The net de-
crease resulted primarily from
     -- stating the estimate in fiscal year 1977 dollars
        rather than real year dollars,

     -- reducing the contingency and operational costs,
     -- reducing the estimate for costs to be borne by inter-
        national participants, and
     -- refining the estimate.

Details of changes between the March and July estimates were
discussed in our previous report on the Telescope.

     MSFC updated the Project cost estimate in March and
July 1976 to a cost range of $40L miilion to $435 million in
fiscal year 1978 dollars. A cost range was recommended as a
means of reflecting the dgree of uncertainty in inflation
between fiscal years 1975 and 1978.
     MSFC's July 1976 estimate was prepared using 1975 dol-
lars as a starting point and inflating them through fiscal
1_ar 1978. Inflation factors used to arrive at the $406
million estimate were based on information from definition
phase contractors for fiscal years 1975 to 1977, and on a



                                 7
June 1975 Air Force Space and Mizsile System Organization
inflation model for fiscal years 1977 to 1978. The $435
million estimate was based on inflation factors contained
in an updated Space and Missile System Organization model
dated'April 1976. The $435 million estimate includes

     -- $284.4 million for design, development, and integra-
        tion of hardware;

     --$9.2 million for institutional management support; 1/

     -- $29.3 million to prepare for operations and launch as
        well as 1 month of flight operations;

     ---$106.1 million for Headquarters' and Center Project
        reserves; and
     -- $6 million for Headquarters' contract administration
        cost.

     The July 1976 estimate represents a $138 million net
increase over MSFC's July 1975 estimate of $297 million.
The net increase resulted primarily from (1) a $74.6 million
increase in projected inflation resulting from changing fac-
tors used for projecting inflation and stating the estimate
in fiscal year 1978 rather than fiscal year 1977 dollars,
(2) a $38.8 million increase because of Project additions
and scope changes, (3) a $30.2 million increase in Project
reserves, (4) a $6 million increase to cover Headquarters'
contract administration cost, and (5) a $11.6 million de-
crease because NASA excluded costs of early study efforts
that had been included in the July 1975 estimate.

     MSFC officials told us that the $435 millio.i estimate
includes the total hardware development cost but added that
the Project cost could be reduced if international agencies
pay part of it.

     MSFC's July 1976 estimate does not include all costs
required for the development and operation of the Space
Telescope. NASA regulations require that all direct and
ancillary costs be identified and included in project cost
estimates even though they may not be under the direct con-
trol of the project manager. Examples of such costs omitted



1/Institutional management support consists of tasks per-
  formed by in-house and support contractor personnel that
  benefit the Project.



                              8
from the estimate are (1) tracking and data acquisition sup-
port, (2) operations cost beyond the first month, (3) cost
of civil service personnel assigned to the Project, and (4)
cost of shuttle transportation to launch, maintain, and re-
trieve the Telescope.  (See p. 10.)

      In commenting on our report, NASA stated that the offi-
cial estimate for the Space Telescope's development is be-
tween $435 million and $470 million in fiscal year 1978 dol-
lars.   It told us that this estimate is essentially the same
as the estimate provided to the Office of Management and
Budget when the Telescope was being considered for a new
start in fiscal year 1977. According to NASA, the primary
difference between the two estimates is an allowance for in-
flation between fiscal years 1977 and 1978.

     In April 1976 the Office of Management and Budget issued
a policy on major systems acquisitions by all executive
branch agencies (Circular A-109 dated April 5, 1976).   The
circular states that acquisition strategy for a project
should provide a method for projecting lifecycle costs during
all phases of the acquisition process to (1) provide a means
of assessing cost, schedJle, and performance experience
against predictions and £) provide information to agency
officials for consideration at key decision points. The
circular defines a lifecycle cost as:

     "the sum total of all direct, indirect, recurring,
     nonrecurring, and other related costs incurred,
     or estimated to be incurred, in the design, de-
     velopment, production, operation, maintenance, and
     support of a major system over its anticipated
     useful life span."

     The Office of Management and Budget commented that our
reference to its circular is correct. It added that NASA
attempted to be responsive to the spirit of the circular and
that it has the capability of providing additional cost in-
formation to the Congress, if desired.   It added that their
office will continue to review  and assess  the progress and
cost of this major scientific  undertaking.

     In the absence of a NASA lifecycle cost estimate, we
summarized the cost elements that we identified and believe
should be included in such an estimate. While these cost
elements, which total about $1.4 billion, are not necessar-
ily the total Space Telescope costs that would accrue during
development and operation, they provide an indication of
potential lifecycle costs.



                               9
           Identified Space Telescope Cost Elements

                 Element                                  Amount

                                                    (millions)
Cost included by NASA:
    Design, development, and integration
      oi the Space Telescope system
      (fiscal year 1978 dollars)                      $     435.0
Costs not icl'uded by NASA:
    Early study er£frt (teal year
      dollars)                           $ 14.0
    Tracking and data      i'sition
      (fiscal year  9?    ilars)
      (note a)                             64.6
    Inflation for development phase
      (after fiscal year 1978)             96.4
    Operations cost (fiscal year
      1978 dollars) (no-e b)              469.7
    Civil service personnel:
        Development phase (real year
          dollars)                         81.3
        Operations phase                   (c)
    Shuttle transportation (fiscal
      year 1978 dollars)                  210.6             936.6
            Total                                     $1,371.6


a/Includes $12.1 million to establish a tracking and data
  acquisition capability.

b/Computation based on a 15-year life.

c/Estimate not available.

      Estimates of costs not included by NASA, except for
those for shuttle transportation, were furnished by MSFC.     We
estimate that shuttle transportation for the Space Telescope
could cost as much as $210.6 million in fiscal year 1978 dol-
lars.   Although MSFC has not determined the cost for a
shuttle flight or how many flights will be required, MSFC
believes   :'at nine flights may be required if the Telescope
operates for the expected 15 years.

     An MSFC official told us that it is difficult to accu-
rately predict the required number of shuttle flights because
the frequency of on-orbit maintenance and ground refurbish-
ment is not known.  However, current plans provide for on-
orbit maintenance every 2-1/2 years and ground refurbishment


                               10
every 5 years. Ground refurbishment reauires two fliqhts--
retrieval and relaunch.

     We estimated shuttle transportation costs using NASA's
tentative estimate of charges to a Government user (16.1 mil-
lion to $18.0 million for each flight in 1975 dollars) esca-
lated to 1978 dollars or $23.4 million a flight. The escala-
tion rate applied was the same rate used by MSFC to escalate
hardware development cost. The costs for a Space Telescope
launch probably will be even greater because it will be de-
livered to a 270-nautical-mile-high orbit at a 28.8-degree
inclination rather than a 160-nautical-mile-high orbit at
a 28.5-degree inclination, on which the previously cited rate
is based. The shuttle will require additional fuel to attain
the higher orbit; NASA has not estimated the cost of the
additional fuel.
NASA COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     In commenting on our report, NASA stated that our ao-
proach to lifecycle cost-estimating for the Space Telescope
is inappropriate. NASA commented:
     "The GAO estimate that the development and opera-
     tional costs of the Space Telescope Project could
     total $1.4 billion is based on incomplete program
     definition and erroneous costing and could result
     in providing misinformnation to the Congress about
     the budget implications of the new project start
     presented in the FY 1978 budget. The GAO esti-
     mate confuses official NASA estimates with pre-
     liminary field center estimates and GAO estimates
     that are clearly in error.   Presenting this eclec-
     tic array of cost data as a life-cycle cost es-
     timate for the Space Telescope Project is mislead-
     ing because the development of the Space Telescope
     does not require a commitment to the program scope
     postulated by the life-cycle values cited in the
     GAG report."

     We realize that all plans for the Space Telescope's
operations phase have not been finalized; therefore, cost
estimates fr that phase of the Project are not as firm as
the development cost estimate. However, NASA is asking the
Congress to approve a project whose potential operations
cost over its estimated 15-year life could be twice its de-
velopment cost. We believe that a lifecycle cost estimate
for the Telescope is essential if the Congress is to have an
adequate basis for deciding whether to approve the Telescope
for development.


                             11
     NASA also stated that its preliminary assessments
indicate that approximately $10 million to $15 million will
be required annually for mission and science operations.
The agency said:

     "* * *This estimate excludes costs for those
     elements which are variable and subject to future
     decisions, such as the role of a science insti-
     tute, the type and scheduling of instrument re-
     furbishment, and the degree of on-orbit mainte-
     nance, or retrieval and refurbishment."
     Our estimate of lifecycle costs is based on informa-
tion furnished by MSFC and provides an indication of total
investment that could accrue during development and opera-
tion. For example, the estimated operations costs of
$469.7 million shown in our computation of lifecycle costs
included costs for (1) daily operations, (2) the science
institute, (3) development of advanced instrumentation,
(4) on-orbit maintenance, and (5) retrieval and refu.oish-
ment. While we recognize that field center estimates do not
represent NASA's official position, we believe that they are
more conplete than headquarters' estimates because they are
made by personnel charged with the Project's day-to-day man-
agement and, therefore, should be more representative of
the expected cost of a program. Furthermore, we believe that
development of the Space Telescope requires a commitment to
the development and operations program if it is to achieve
its maximum benefit.

     NASA further commented that our estimate of lifecycle
costs is flawed because we included the full cost of nine
shuttle flights in the cost charged to the Space Telescope.
It stated:
     "* * *This approach is clearly unrealistic since
    each Shuttle flight for launch or return of the
    Space Telescope would utilize the cargo bay in one
    direction only, and on-orbit maintenance flights
    would require only small payload volume in either
    direction."
     We believe that launch, on-orbit maintenance and re-
trieval of the Space Telescope may be difficult to achieve
without a dedicated shuttle flight because of the multitude
of potential orbits and the shuttle's limited maneuverabil-
ity.  Rendezvo   missions will require the shuttle and the
satellite to be in precisely the same orbit. For these rea-
sons, we feel that dedicated shuttle flights may be required.



                               12
SCHEDULE

     The scheduled launch date for the Space Telescope
slipped about 1-1/2 years from June 1982 to late 1983. In
July 1974 MSFC's planning schedule showed a launch date of
June 1982 for the 3.0-meter Telescope. MSFC initially pro-
jected a December 1982 launch date for the 2.4-meter Tele-
scope which represents a 6-month delay from the earlier pro-
jected launch date. MSFC officials attributed the slippage
to a delay in starting the development phase until fiscal
year 1977. Under MSFC's latest schedule, the development
phase will begin during fiscal year 1978, and the launch
will be in late 1983, an additional year's slippage.

     MSFC's preliminary schedules, prepared to support the
late 1983 projected launch date, include (1) selection of
scientific instruments (October 1977 to November 1978).
(2) issuance of announcement of opportunity 1/ (February
1977), (3) selection of science teams and participants at
large (October 1977), and (4) award of development contracts
(October 1977). NASA released requests for proposal for
hardware development on January 28, 1977.
PERFORMANCE

     MSFC has established broad performance requirements
which must be satisfied for the Space Telescope to meet its
scientific objectives. The major change 'in the broad per-
formance requirements was the reduction o the Telescope's
aperture from 3.0-meters to 2.4-meters. Tis change re-
duces the Telescope's effectiveness, but NASA estimates the
loss of scientific data from relatively bright objects will
be insignificant. For very faint objects, NASA estimates
"*   *   *only about half as many observations can be obtained
but the amount of science obtained will not be reduced by
as large a factor." The Space Science Board concluded that
the 2.4-meter Telescope could obtain most of the scientific
data needed by increasing the viewing time. Some changes
in performance requirements are:




l/An announcement by NASA soliciting proposals or investi-
  gative ideas from the scientific community interested in
  participating in a project.


                                 13
                                          Initial    Present
Telescope aperture (in meters)               3.0         2.4
Number of scientific instruments               7            5
Approximate weight (in pounds)            21,000      23,000
Electrical power (in watts)                2,500       2,100
Approximate visual magnitude (note a)         28          27
a/An astronomy term used for describing the brightness or
  faintness of celestial objects. The relative brightness
  of celestial objects is measured by an inverse logarithmic
  scale of magnitudes with the numbers increasing with the
  faintness of the object. A 3.0-meter telescope would have
  been able to detect a star of the 28th magnitude which is
  approximately 2.5 times fainter than a star of the 27th
  magnitude.

     The overall performance goal established for the Space
Telescope is to achieve near perfect optical performance over
a wide spectral range with emphasis on faint object observa-
tions. As presently defined, the Telescope will be capable
of operating for a period of 10 to 15 years. It will be
about 43.6 feet long, 14 feet in diameter, and weigh about
23,000 pounds. Electric power for the spacecraft will be
provided by solar arrays and batteries.

     One of several critical performance goals being studied
concerns the pointing and stability requirement of .007
arcseconds. This angle is comparable to steadily viewing a
dime 325 miles away. NASA officials told us that this is
not an absolute requirement but a goal that can be relaxed,
if necessary, provided some other parameter or specification
is changed to compensate for the performance degradation.
The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory has already achieved
.007 pointing accuracy, but for a shorter period of time
than will be required for the Space Telescope.

     Another major requirement to be incorporated into the
system design concerns the ability to replace scientific
instruments when warranted by technological advances, changes
in observational interests of the astronomical community, or
performance degradations.  This is a key design requirement
because the Space Telescope is to serve as a long-term astro-
nomical space observatory.

     Some of the planning requirements for the Space Tele-
scope have changed since our previous review. For example,
our January 1976 report stated that the Telescope would be
about 41 feet long, 15 feet in diameter, and weigh about
15,200 pounds. MSFC officials said that changes occurred
because the Project's completed definition studies provided
a;better understanding of Project requirements.

                             14
INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION
     NASA has responded to congressional direction to seek
international participation in the Project by working closely
with ESA. Although no formal commitments have been made,
NASA anticipates that international participants will provide
a faint object camera (as a scientific instrument), the
camera's associated photon counting detector, part of the
solar power system, and participate in the Pcoject's oper-
ations phase. NASA also expects the United Kingdom to par-
ticipate through ESA.

      NASA told us that under the current draft memorandum
of  understanding,  ESA will be allocated observing time on
the  basis of the  value of the contribution compared to the
total cost of the Project. The contributor would have first
rights to science data obtained through its observations for
1 year. After that time the data will be deposited in the
U.S. National Space Science Data Center and the Data Library
of the European Space Operation Center and will be available
to the international scientific community.
     In May 1976 the NASA Associate Administrator for Space
Science established a team to assess European capability to
produce a faint object camera and a compatible detector to
meet the Space Telescope's specifications and schedule. The
team concluded that the Europeans have the technology, fa-
cilities, and technical expertise required to produce the
instrument. However, the design being pursued did not appear
to be capable of carrying out the prime scientific objectives
of the faint object camera. The team's assessment showed
that the European design had been compromised because too
much had been included in a single instrument. The team rec-
ommended that the European instrument not be considered for
the Telescope unless it is simplified to accomplish the in-
strument's primary scientific mission only.
     ESA subsequently offered several alternatives to its
preliminary faint object camera design. The Project's scien-
tist told us that NASA and ESA have agreed on a design which
would meet the requirements established for the faint object
camera.

      In commenting on our report, NASA stated that while
no formal agreement covering ESA's participation has been
signed, the agreement is in the final stages of negotia-
tion.   It also stated that the ESA Science Planning Ccuncil
approved, on October 5, 1976, an ESA contribution to he
Project equivalent to 80 million accounting units (about
$88 million based on the rate of exchange as of February 23,
1977), contingent upon approval of the Project's developrment.


                              15
     The Office of Mal.agenent and Budget commented that it
specifically requested NASA to seek maximum cost-sharing in
the Project and to keep the Office informed of the progress
in encouraging international participation.

PROJECT STATUS REPORTING

     At the request of the Chairman of the Subcommittee on
HUD-Independent Agencies, Ctmmittee on Appropriations, U.S.
Senate, NASA recently initiated an external biannual report-
ing system designed to present the cost, schedule, and per-
formance status of six of its major projects. The reporting
system is still in the formative stages but should evolve
into a meaningful tool to assist the Congress in meeting its
legislative and oversight responsibilities. If the Space
Telescope is approved for development, we believe it should
be included in this project status reporting system.

C3NCLUSIONS

     We believe NASA should prepare a lifecycle cost esti-
mate for the Project and provide it to the Congress as soon
as possible. Realistic cost estimates are indispensable to
both the Congress and NASA management throughout the entire
planning, approval, and development process because the esti-
mates provide a basis for deciding which projects should be
developed, continued, modified, or stopped. Although costs
not included in the Project estimate are included in various
line items of NASA's budget and consequently reported to the
Congress, NASA should prepare a single total Project estimate
to show the overall impact of the Project on NASA's budget.
This would provide better information for use by the Congress
in making decisions on specific projects during authorization
and appropriations hearings.

     NASA nas an opportunity to reduce its cost of the
Space Telescope by obtaining international participation in
the Project. NASA should continue pursuing this opportunity
and make sure that any international contribution of equip-
ment will meet Project specifications.

     If the Space Telescope is approved for development, it
should be included in NASA's project status reporting system.
Periodic status reports on the Telescope would provide the
Congress with current information on the Project's cost,
schedule, and performance status and would permit the Con-
gress to monitor more effectively the Project's progress.




                             16
RECOMMENDATIONS

     The NASA Administrator should
     -- provide to the Congress, ab soon as possible, a life-
        cycle cost estimate to include all costs associated
        with the Project and

     -- suLmit project status reports to the Congress if the
        Project is approved for development.

MATTER FOR THE ATTENTION
OF THE CONGRESg

     The Congress should obtain NASA's plan for obtaining
substantial international participation in the Project.




                             17
                          CHAPTER 3

             TECHNICAL DEVELOPKENT UNCERTAINTIES

     During a project's definition phase, NASA assesses all
technical issues, and plans are mde to resolve any identi-
fied risks during the design and development phase. NASA
has identified several technical uncertainties that could
degrade the Space Telescope's performance unless satisfac-
torily resolved. Some of the areas identified during the
definition work are (1) development of critical components,
(2) fine pointing and stabilization control, (3) control
of contamination effects, (4) development of adequate ther-
mal control, and (5) testing limitations. The nature of
these uncertainties, their possible impact on the Tele-
scope's performance, and NASA's actions to resolve them are
discussed below.

DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL COMPONENTS

     Several critical components and subsystems have been
defined for the Space Telescope. One of the most critical
optical components is the primary mirror which collects light
from observed objects and forms their images. The mirror
must be polished to very stringent tolerances, and it must
be sufficiently stiff to maintain its shape during the anu-
facturing process and in its operational environment. Any
deformation of the mirror's surface during polishing would
result in image errors. One definition contractor said the
correction of primary image errors after the mirror is fab-
ricated would be a difficult and costly process.

     During the definition phase, Space Telescope contrac-
tors proved the feasibility of fabricating and polishing
mirrors comparable to the size of the mirror defined for
the Telescope. One of the contractors manufactured and
polished a 1.8-meter ultralow-expansion mirror to toler-
ances which exceeded those required for the Telescope.

     Another critical technical -rea concerns the detec-
tors required for the scientific instruments. A detector
functions much like a camera and takes the place of film
in the space environment. Considerable concern has been
expressed by the scientific community over the development
of adequate detectors, and some reports have shown that
detectors and their related technology comprise the most
critical area involved in the development of scientific
instruments.  In addition, one definition contractor said
it was apparent that existing detectors could not satisfy
the Space Telescope's operational requirements and desired
scientific data output.


                             18
     MSFC officials responsible for detector development
believe that detectors are a major area of technical concern
because of their low reliability. They believe, however,
that technology is available for the development of detectors
with the desired capabilities. As a result, NASA has funded
several contracts totaling about $3 million for advanced
technological studies of various types of detectors. MSFC
officials told us that if adequate detectors cannot be
developed in the required timeframe, they could use avail-
able detectors having lesser capabilities. They said, how-
ever, that use of these detectors would not provide the de-
sired performance of the Space Telescope.
     In commenting on our report, NASA stated:
     "Breadboards of several types of detectors which
     will satisfy Space Telescope requirements are being
     developed and tested on ground-based telescopes
     as part of this effort. This testing is planned
     to be completed prior to selection of the instru-
     ments by NASA. A number of the concepts are now
     reaching a sufficient stage of development to
     give reasonable confidence that they will be
     ava..lable."

FINE POINTING AND STABILIZATION CONTROL

     Pointing and stability requirements for the Space Tele-
scope are more stringent than for any previous satellite
developed and are considered to be one of the most critical
technological areas in the Project. NASA and its contrac-
tors have determined that uncertainties and design diffi-
culties associated with gravity release, vibrations during
launch, and thermal conditions may result in primary and
secondary mirror misalinement between launch and on-orbit
operations. Such changes could cause image blur and have a
significantly adverse impact on fine pointing.  The result
would be a degradation of scientific data.

     The pointing and stability requirements received spe-
cial emphasis during the definition effort. NASA informed
us that:

     "* * *full-scale structural dynamic models and
     bread-boards were built and tested. This activity
     verified engineering definition of the pointing
     control system which is capable of meeting the
     Space Telescope requirements. * * *"

     The Space Telescope presents a unique challenge to
the structural desiraer, however, because of the extreme


                              19
thermal and dynamic stability required in a large, lightweight
space structure. Some of the earliest studies of the Tele-
scope system recognized that the temperature extremes of
space orbit posed difficult thermal stability problems for
the main Telescope metering structure and the focal plane in-
strument support structure.

     Because of the critical requirement for dimensional
stability of the Space Telescope's metering structure, one
of the definition contractors investigated graphite-epoxy
to determine its lung-term dimensional stability, outgas-
sing properties, 1/ and manufacturability.  Graphite-epoxy
has a greater stiffness and a lower coefficient of expan-
sion than conventional materials. Tests of a 3-meter truss
and a 1-1/2 meter shell proved that graphite-epoxy was a
feasible structural material for the Telescope's optical
structures and, according to NASA, will satisfy the strin-
gent stability requirements.
CONTROL OF CONTAMINATION EFFECTS
     NASA and its definition contractors have determined
that the Space Telescope will be very susceptible to con-
tamination because of its physical size, expected long
life, and sensitivity requirements. Evaluations of this
problem during the definition phase have shown that contam-
inants such as dust, soil, lint, gases, and vapors could de-
grade optical and thermal ,./stem performance and thereby
reduce the quality of scientific data obtained.
     Because of the potential degradation that could result
from contamination, NASA requested the definition contrac-
tors to prepare plans to control the problem of contamina-
tion. These plans would require that all materials used in
the Space Telescope be manufactured so as to minimize the
generation of particulate and gaseous contaminants. All
support system module mechanisms, potential producers of
particulate contaminants, must be designed to prevent con-
taminant dispersion into other areas of the Telescope.   In
addition, NASA plans to inspect for contamination prior to
integration of the Telescope's components. The inspection
will use techniques established by the optical telescope
assembly/scientific instruments contractor and will deter-
mine whether the optical telescope assembly/scientific
instruments are within an acceptable cleanliness level.
MSFC officials believe that the proposed measures being


i/The ability of a material to evaporate minute portions of
  its substance in the form of gas molecules.

                             20
taken will satisfactorily resolve the potential contamination
problem. However, they said the effectiveness of the con-
tamination control system and processing plans would not be
fully known until the Telescope becomes operational. Ac-
cording to NASA, those procedures and practices have been
effective on past astronomy missions.

DEVELOPMENT OF ADEQUATE THERMAL CONTROLS
     In addiLicn to the temperature extremes found in a
space environment, the Space Telescope's scientific instru-
ments will generate heat. These temperature variations,
unless controlled, could result in a reduction in the qual-
ity of scientific data obtained.

     The definition contractors evaluated means of dealing
with the heat generated by the scientific instruments. One
contractor estimated that 700 to 800 watts of heat must be
rejected from the scientific instrument assembly to prevent
instrument degradation. Although MSFC and its definition
contractors believe that the thermal control sub-system de-
fined or the Space Telescope will reject the required
amount of heat, there is some concern about the amount of
heat the scientific instruments will actually generate.
NaSA said, "Extensive tLaermal model analyses conducted dur-
ing te past year, however, have uncovered no critical prob-
lems in this area."

TESTING LIMITATIONS
     In past spacecraft programs, a significant portion of
program cost has been spent on assuring that the initial
flight unit would work as planned because there was no way
to recover the unit for repairs or modifications. Assur-
ances, therefore, had to be obtained by extensive ground
testing involving such costly items as facilities, large
numbers of people, extensive development of test procedures,
and considerable test analyses and evaluations.  In addi-
tion, prior spacecraft programs generally have provided for
testing a system at each successive step of its assembly
to insure the attainment of full performance.

     NASA and its contractors have determined, however, that
a conventional test program for the Space Telescope would be
extremely difficult and costly and may not yield the desired
data because of (1) the Telescope's unique, high precision
requirements and (2) the effects of the earth's environment
such as vibration, atmosphere, and gravity. Furthermore, it
may be impossible to test the Telescope to its full image
quality, and very expensive test facilities would be required
to even approach this goal.


                             21
     NASA presently plans, therefore, to test and calibrate
the Space Telescope at the highest practical assembly level.
The total system, therefore, will not be ground tested to
make sure that it will perform as expected. Mathematical
models and simulations will be used in lieu of much of the
normal developmental testing. MSFC officials consider the
performance risk associated with reduced testing to be
acceptable.

     The Space Telescope would be thoroughly checked out
after launch under space environment conditions which can
never be perfectly simulated on the ground. From an analy-
sis of both engineering and scientific data, a determination
will be made as to whether the Telescope requires modifica-
tions.  If so, these modifications would be accomplished by
a space shuttle visit.
MATTER FOR THE ATTENTION
OF THE CONGRESS

     The Congress, in reviewing the Space Telescope's prog-
r ss, should obtain from NASA periodic reports on the sta-
tus of known technical uncertainties and their effect on
Fulfilling the Telescope's scientific objectives.




                             22
                           CHAPTER 4

                     OPERATIONAL PHASE

     The Space Telescope is beiag developed and produced to
provide a long-term national and international space-based
scientific astronomical facility. NASA presently plans to
operate the Telescope for 10 to 15 years. After a brief
period of on-orbit checkout of the scientific instruments
and supporting systems, the Telescope will be fully  ommit-
ted to the task of gathering scientific data.

     NASA has conducted several studies to determine the
required ground-based activities associated with using the
Space Telescope's data-gathering capabilities to satisfy the
needs of the astronomy community.  On the basis of these
studies, NASA plans to manage and utilize the Telescope by
establishing an operation control center and a separate
science institute. The duties and responsibilities of each
are discussed below.

OPERATION CONTROL CENTER

     A center will be established to support the Space Tele-
scope's total mission activities from launch to retrieval
for refurbishment.  It will be responsible for monitoring
and controlling the Telescope's orbital operations to insure
its readiness throughout its mission.  The center also will
implement science pointing and command requirements.   Its
functions will include mission planning, scheduling  and con-
ducting sub-system tests, monitoring status and engineering
data, spacecraft command and control, routine and emergency
analysis of the Telescope's operations, specification and
updating of all spacecraft operational constraints, and
initiation and control of spacecraft emergency procedures.

     The operation control center is to be located at and
supported by Goddard.  Except for certain computer hardware
and software, NASA plans to use existing facilities for the
operation control center.

     NASA's Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition (see
p. 4) will provide mission and data operations support to
the Project.  The Space Telescope will utilize the Tracking
and Data Relay Satellite System as its primary communica-
tion link with the ground.

     Science institute personnel are o be located at the
operation control center to assist in evaluating the engi-
neering status of the scientific instruments.    Institute
support will include science planning inputs  to  the mission


                               23
planning effort, consultation required to interpret Lcience
viewing requirements, support of scientific instrument com-
mand gereration, and support of the Space Telescope's per-
formance evaluations.
SCIENCE INSTITUTE

     NASA plans to establish a science institute to exercise
responsibility for the Space Telescope's scientific opera-
tions. This responsibility primarily concerns planning and
implementing scientific observation programs for principal
and guest investigators, who will be the primary users of
the Telescope. Scientific operations will include long-range
planning, scheduling, and development and maintenance of
the Telescope's software; principal and guest investigator
support; daily planning, real time science operations, and
quick look data evaluations; and science data management.
     In commenting on the subject of a science institute,
NASA stated:
     "In order to provide the long-term guidance and
     support for the scientific effort, to provide a
     mechanism for engaging the participation of astron-
     omers throughout the world, and to provide a means
     for the dissemination and utilization of the data
     derived from the Space Telescope, NASA is consid-
     ering the establishment of a science institute as
     the science operations element. Such an institute
     would include   staff of scientists and might be
     operated by a consortium of universities under
     contract to NASA. A final decision has not been
     made on whether or not an institute (versus an
     in-house NASA science operation) will be estab-
     lished or on what the specific character, extent
     of responsibilities, or location of an institute
     would be, if established."
     In May 1976 NASA contracted with the Space Science
Board to study the alternative methods of managing the Space
Telescope's science operations. The study was completed in
December 1976. NASA stated:

     "* * *NASA is now considering the results of this
     study along with the results of earlier in-house
     studies and the inputs of various advisory groups
     in developing specific plans for the establishment
     of the science operations element for the Project."




                             24
OTHER MATTERS

     A Space Science Board official told us that data
management is one of the largest problems in space science
projects. Therefore, the December 1976 study performed by
the Space Science Board addressed the subject of data stor-
age, organization, and dissemination.  It recommended the
establishment of a science institute to provide a means for
the dissemination and utilization of the data derived from
the Space Telescope.

     The subject of data management was also addressed in
a :ecent study by the Space Program Advisory Council's Physi-
c   Sciences Committee. The study concluded that a more
farsighted approach to the management of data analysis is
needed.  The committee urged that adequate provisions for
data analysis be made in connection with planning for a
mission.

     Since the Space Telescope is to operate for 10 to 15
years, it no doubt will generate vast amounts of scientific
data. NASA should give special consideration to the prob-
lems associated with managing this data as it formulates
plans for the operational phase of the Project.

     The Physical Sciences Committee's study also pointed
out that NASA has supported the construction and operation
of ground-based telescopes used extensively for planetary
observations. However. the study notes that NASA did not
provide funds to purchase advanced instruments for these
telescopes, thus diminishing their research capability. The
lack of funds for specialized instrumentation means that
the investments already made are not being effectively used.
The study pointed out that rapidly escalating costs are pre-
venting the development and application of the modern spe-
cialized instrumentation needed for planetary observations.

     If the Space Telescope is to serve as a useful research
tool, it will likely require updated scientific instrumen-
tation from time to time.  Since the Telescope is to be a
long-life project, NASA should plan to provide the funding
necessary to assure maximum benefits from the Project.

NASA COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     In commenting on our report, NASA stated:

     "The report comments on the need to carefully plan
     and manage data from the Space Telescope Project
     and instrumentation to be used with the Space Tele-
     scope.  It is clear that the amount of data

                             25
     possible with the Space Shuttle will require
     careful planning and innovative management. The
     report prepared by the Space Science Board at
     NASA'S request is expected to be of major assist-
     ance in data planning for the Project. The Physi-
     cal Sciences Committee report referred to by GAO
     was based on experience with past free-flying
     spacecraft with finite mission life designs.
     Funding for data analysis for missions exceeding
     their expected lifetimes has often been a problem,
     although funding data analysis from extended mis-
     sions is most cost-effective. The Physical
     Sciences Committee report did not -address the
     issue of handling data from such major facil-
     ities as the Space Telescope. NASA intends to
     review all pertinent experience and obtain as-
     sistance from all relevant sources in preparing
     to handle space Telescope data. Similarly, NASA
     is developing plans for the continued updating
     of detectors and other instrumentation for se
     with an operational Space Telescope.   Supporting
     Research and Technology funds are being spent in
     several areas of developing instrumentation which
     will benefit the Space Telescope and other proj-
     ects.

     The results of NASA's planning for data analysis
     and future instrumentation for the Space Telescope
     Project will be discussed with the Congress and
     will be presented in future NASA budgets."

     We agree with NASA's position on planning for data
analysis and future instrumentation for the Space Telescope.
If properly considered and implemented, these matters should
contribute heavily to the success of the Project.

MATTER FOR THE ATTENTION
OF THE CONGRESS
     The Congress should obtain NASA's plans for providing
adequate funds in the operational phase for data management
and development of advanced scientific instruments.




                             26
    APPENDIX I                                                              APPENDIX I




                NoSA
                National Aeronautics and
                Space Administration
                Washington. D C
                20546

                                                                       18 FEB 1977
Reply t Altn ol W




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

              Dear Mr. Gutmann:

              Thank you for the opportunity to comment on GAO's draft
              report entitled, "Status And Issues Pertaining To The
              Proposed Development Of The Space Telescope," Code 952141,
              which was prepared at the request of the Chairman, Subcommittee
              on HUD-independent Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations.

              The enclosed comments are keyed to the respective parts of
              the draft report to which they pertain.
              Sincerely,

                          .
               ohn M. Coulter
                              c26-
              Acting Assistant Administrator for
              DoD and Interagency Affairs

              Enclosure




               GAO note:          Page numbers in enclosure refer to a preliminary
                                  draft of this report.




                                                    27
APPENDIX I                                       APPENDIX I



       NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

                        COMMENTS ON

    DRAFT OF REPORT TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

                 STATUS AND ISSUES PERTAINING
                  TO THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
                    OF THE SPACE TELESCOPE
                        (CODE 952141)


NASA has completed its review of the GAO report and has
concluded that, although the report is generally supportive
of the Space Telescope Project, several aspects require
major revision to insure accurate representation of the
current status of the Space Telescope Project. It is
unfortunate that NSA was unable to meet with the GAO, as
planned, to work with them on clarification of the issues
raised by the report. In-the absence of such a meeting,
these comments serve to document NASA's position with
respect to those items which are improperly represented.
Our major objections are as follows:

     1) It is NASA's position that the GAO approach to
life-cycle cost-estimating for the Space Telescope is.
inappropriate.

         The GAO initiates its report with a statement on
the front cover that the Space Telescope could cost as
much as $1.4 billion on a life-cycle basis covering 23
years. This statement, based upon GAO's interpretation
of life-cycle elements and assumptions with regard to
those elements, is learly inaccurate. The cost elements
selected do not logically or clearly follow from the
decision to develop the Space Telescope. Further, the
GAO appears to rationalize its position o.n life-cycle
costing by citing the requirements of OMB Circular A-109.
In fact, the Space Telescope Project has been submitted
for initiation in the President's FY 1978 budget, and it
is our understanding that the NASA resources analyses in
support of the Space Telescope Project are consistent
with the provisions of A-109, as applied by the OMB in
the budget review process.

                             28
APPENDIX I                                        APPENDIX I


 The GAO estimate that the development and operational costs
 of the Space Telescope Project could total $1.4 billion is
 based on incomplete program definition and erroneous costing
 and could result in providing misinformation to the Congress
 about the budget implications of the new project start
 presented in the FY 1978 budget. The GAO estimate confuses
 official. NASA estimates with preliminary field center
 estimates and GAO estimates that are clearly in error.
 Presenting his eclectic array of cost data as a life-cycle
 cost estimate for the Space Telescope Project is misleading
 because the development of the Space Telescope does not
 require a conmmitment to the program scope postulated by the
 life-cycie values cited in the GAO report.

 NASA has provided firm Agency planning estimates for the
 development of the Space Telescope of $435 - $470 million,
 in dollars of the FY 1978 budget. In addition,    SA has
 estimated the base cost of recurring mission and science
 operations at a level of $10 - $15million dollars per year.
 This funding will provide for the six-year development and,
 together with a single shuttle launch, would support three
 to five years of orbital operations through 1986-1988.
 Following that period, there are additional potential costs
 that could be incurred for new instruments, on-orbit
 maintenance, retrieval,and refurbishment. The NASA approach
 would be to pide    estimates for these costs when tho
 technical characteristics and performance requirements of
 the new hardware and operating mode have attained adequate
 definition to provide realistic option estimates.

 The kNASA position is that official Agency project estimates
 should be based on a consistent costing base which reflects
 the economic impact of the project oh the NASA budget. In
 addition, the NASA position is that meaningful, long-ter
 costing requires a realistic definition of technical
 configuration and operating plans. The GAO estimate for
 the life-cycle cost of the Space Telescope represents a
 very preliminary effort in this direction nd is based on
 only one set of assumptions on the possible modes of
 operation for the Space Telescope. In addition, the
 estimate is flawed because the GAO has included the full
 cost of nine Shuttle flights in the cost charged to the




                             29
APPENDIX I                                        APPENDIX I


Space Telescope. This approach is clearly unrealistic
since each Shuttle flight for launch or return of the Space
Telescope would utilize the cargo bay in one direction only,
and the on-orbit maintenance flights would require only
small payload volume in either direction.

     2) It is NASA's position that, if this report is
intended to inform the Congress of the current status of
the Space Telescope Project, the sections addressing
International Participation and Technical Development
Uncertainties must be updated.

With regard to international participation in the Space
Telescope, the GAO report stresses in several places that
"no formal commitments have been made." While this
statement is technically true, negotiations in this area
have reached a much more advanced stage than implied in
the GAO document. On October 5, 1976, hi.e ESA Science
Planning Council approved ESA contributions to the Space
Telescope Program equivalent to 80 million accounting units.
The NASA/ESA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering this
participation is currently in an advanced state of negotiation.

On the subject of technical development uncertainties, the
GAO report correctly points out that during the definition
phase, several technical uncertainties were identified that
could degrade performance unless satisfactorily resolved.
What the report fails to make clear is that the lengthy
definition period allowed meaningful technology efforts to
be carried out which have virtually eliminated these areas
from significant concern. Our detailed comments, which
follow, provide the current status of technical development.

     3) It is NASA's position that the GAO discussion of a
Space Telescope science institute is misleading and is
inappropriate.

The GAO report implies that a decision has been made by
NASA to implement a Space Telescope science institute and
describes the institute by paraphrasing an early report put
together by an internal NASA science institute study team.
This report is just one of a number of inputs obtained by




                              30
APPENDIX I                                       APPENDIX I


NASA in this area. NASA has not yet determined the imple-
mentation mode for Space Telescope science operations.
In-house studies are being initiated which will lead to a
final decision on the nature of the science operational
element, its location, mode of operation, etc.

     4) It is NASA's position that GAO comments on NASA's
performance with respect to provision of advanced ins4 ru-
mentation for existing telescopes are ill-advised.

         On page v and again on page 34, the GAO report
comments to the effect that NASA did not provide funds for
purchase of advanced instruments for certain ground-based
telescopes. The GAC should be aware that the primary sources
of funding for the operation of the telescopes, which are the
subject of the cited PSC report, are the universities
managing the particular observatories. NASA and NSF
contribute funds only in conjunction with research
activities in support of specific investigations. In
advocating that NASA provide additional funding for these
instruments, the GAO has involved itself in an advocacy
role in the budget decision process. An initiated reader
would have perceived that the issue is not the provision of
funding, but the funding levels, i.e., the report marshals
arguments to justify higher levels of federal support to
this important research. The point is that, under constrained
budget conditions, the activity is obtaining less funding
than the managers of these telescopes feel is merited. This
is not a unique position among those who conduct federally-
sponsored research.

NASA's minimum recommended changes/corrections to the report,
consistent with the positions outlined above, are as follows:

                     LIFE CYCLE COSTS

Page i, Digest,   2nd sentence

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING:  Development, test, integration,
launch, and initial checkout costs are estimated to be
$435 - $470 million. NASA has not prepared firm estimates
for operational costs, but preliminary assessments indicate




                                 31
APPENDIX    I                                       APPENDIX   I


 that approximately $10 - $15 million will be required
 annually for mission and science operations. This stimate
 excludes costs for those elements which are subject o future
 decision, such as the role of a science institute, the type
 and scheduling of telescope refurbishment, the degree of
 on-orbit maintenance, and scheduling of retrieval and
 refurbishment.

 Page i, Digest. 3rd sentence

 DELETE STATEMENT ABOUT "life cycle cost estimate."

 Page ii,       st full paragraph

 BEGIN THE PARAGRAPH WITH THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE:     NASA's
 estimate for the development of the Space Telescope is
 essentially the same as that provided to the OMB last year,
 for consideration of the Space Telescope as a FY 1977 New
 Start.

 Page ii, 2nd full paragraph

DELETE

 Page 8. 2nd paragraph

 BEGIN "ESTIMATED COST" SECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING:     NASA's
estimate of $435 - $470 million for the development of the
Space Telescope is essentially the same as the estimate
provided to the OMB last year, when the Space Telescope was
being considered for a FY 1977 New Start. The primary
difference between the two estimates is allowance for
inflation between FY 1977 and FY 1978. Preliminary planning
estimates leading to the above-mentioned estimates submitted
by NASA have varied from MSFC's initial estimate.

 Page 8, table of estimates

THE HEADING SHOULD BE "MSFC Telescope Development Cost
Estimates."




                                    72
APPENDIX I                                              APPENDIX I


Pages 8-9

DELETE SENTENCES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE (COMPLETED ON
PAGE 9) BEGINNING WITH "GAO expects .. "  THROUGH "'.. is
shown on page 13."        (CONSISTENT WITH COMMENTS ON PAGES 11-14,
WHICH FOLLOW)

Pages 11-14

This section of the report should be substantially rewritten,
because the GAO approach reflected here is inappropriate and
could misinform the Congress. The NASA position on life-cycle
costs for the Space Telescope has been discussed in earlier
coimments. Specific corrections to items in this section are
as follows:

            Page 11, 3rd paragraph,     3rd sentei:ce

         REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: In the case of the
         Space Telescope, these related costs are $12 million
         for tracking and data acquisition and $21.5 million
         for the fourth quarter 1983 Shuttle launch.

            Page 12, 1st full pararaph

         DELETE

            Paqe 12, last paragraph

         REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: NASA has not prepared
         a life-cycle cost estimate, but preliminary assess-
         ments indicate that approximately $10 - $15 million
         will be required annually for mission and science
         operations. This estimate excludes costs for those
         elements which are variable and subject to future
         decisions, such as the role of a science institute,
         the type and scheduling of instrument refurbishment,
         and the degree of on-orbit maintenance, or retrieval
         and refurbishment.

            Pages 13-14

         DELETE TABLE OF "IDENTIFIED SPACE TELESCOPE COST
         ELEMENTS" AND FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS (THROUGH "...cost
            of the additional fuel" ON PAGES 14).

                                   33
APPENDIX I                                          APPENDIX I


 Page 20, 1st paragraph

 DELETE

 Page 21

 DELETE FIRST RECOMMENDATION



                 INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION

 Page iii, 2nd full paragraph

 REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: Interest by the European Space
 Agency (ESA) in the Space Telescope Project has led to a
 proposal from that Agency to participate in the Project.
 While a formal NASA/ESA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
 covering the ESA participation has not been signed, such
 a document is in the final stages of negotiation.
 Accordingly, the ESA Science Planning Council, on October 5,
 1976, unanimously approved the commitment of ESA contributions
 to the Space Telescope Project equivalent to 80 million
 accounting units contingent upon U.S. approval of the Project.
 Under this arrangement, ESA will:   1) provide a Faint Object
 Camera (a scientific instrument),  including the associated
 detector; 2) provide the solar array for the Telescope's
 electrical power subsystem; 3) provide a number of personnel
 for the science operations staff; and, 4) assist in the
 on-orbit maintenance a..d major refurbishment of the Telescope.

 Page 6, 1st paragraph (partial), last sentence

 INSERT AFTER "commitments":     "... at that time ...

 Page 17, last paragraph

 AFTER FIRST SENTENCE, REPLACE REST OF PARAGRAPH WITH THE
 FOLLOWING: Interest by ESA led to a proposal to participate
 in the Project through possible provision of scientific
 instruments and subsystems for the Space Telescope and
 assistance in the operation of the Space Telescope and
 related facilities and in the on-orbit maintenance, major
 refurbishments, and re-flights.

                                34
APPENDIX I                                         APPENDIX I


Page 18. let full paragrah

REPLACE FIRST PORTION OF FIRST SENTEN CE WITH THE FOLLOWING:
"Under the terms of the current draft MOU, ESA will be
allocated observing time..."

MOVE THE ENTIRE PARAGRAPH TO END OF SECTION ON "INTERNATIONAL
PARTICIPATION."

Page 19, 2nd full paragraph
REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: While a formal NASA/ESA MOU
covering the ESA participation has not been signed, such a
document is in the final stages of negotiation, Accordingly,
the ESA Science Planning Council, on October 5, 1976,
unamimously approved the commitment of ESA contributions to
the Space Telescope Project equivalent to 80 million
accounting units, contingent upon U.S. approval of the
Project. Under this arrangement, ESA will: 1) provide a
Faint. Object Camera (a scientific instrument), including
the associated detector; 2) provide the solar array for the
Telescope's electrical power subsystem; 3) provide a number
of personnel for the science operations staff; and, 4) assist
in the on-orbit maintenance and major refurbishments of the
Telescope.

             TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT UNCERTAINTIES

Pane i, Digest, 3rd sentence

DELETE STATEMENT ABOUT "periodic reports on the status of
known technical uncertainties..."

 Page iv. 1st paragraph

 IN THE FOURTH LINE, REPLACE "include" WITH "included."

REPLACE THE LAST SENTENCE WITH THE FOLLOWING: As a result
of technology efforts in these areas, which have been
completed during the definition phase of the Project, NASA
believes that there are no major technical problems
remaining in the development path of the Space Telescope.




                               35
APPENDIX I                                              APPENDIX I


Page 23, 1st full paragraph. last sentence

REPLACE "...   very stringent tolerances."    WITH    "...     A/65
wave front error which exceeds the Space Telescope requirement
of   /50."

Page 23, last paragraph, 1st sentence

SHOULD READ "Some Marshall officials agree with the concern
that the currently available detectors are not capable of
fully utilizing the inherent capability of the Space Telescope.

Page 24, 1st line

BEFORE "MSFC officials told us..." INSERT THE FOLLOWING:
Breadboards of several types of detectors which will satisfy
Space Telescope requirements are being developed and tested
on ground-based telescopes as part of this effort. This
testing is planned to be completed prior to selection of the
instruments by NASA. A number of the concepts are now reaching
a sufficient stage of development to give reasonable confidence
that they will be available.

Page 24, 2nd full paragraph

ADD THE FOLLOWING TO THE END OF PARAGRAPH:  In addition,
full-scale structural dynamic models and breadboards were
built and tested. This activity verified engineering
definition of the pointing control system which is capable
of meeting the Space Telescope requirements. For example,
two versions of the fine guidance breadboard demonstrated
a sensitivity of .002 arc seconds which exceeds the requirement
of .003 arc seconds. Also, an integrated pointing control
breadboard demonstrated the .005 arc-second requirement for
that portion of the system.

Page 25, 1st full paragraph, last satence

REPLACE "...   assist in meeting the ..."    WITH    "...    satisfy
the




                               36
                                                  APPENDIX I
APPENDIX I


Page 25.     st full paragraph

                                             The three-meter
ADD THE FOLLOWING TO THE END OF PARAGRAPH
                                a  secondary mirror movement
metering structure demonstrated
                                                which is better
of + 1.2m under simulated thermal environment,
                                    Telescope.
than the ± 2pm requirement for the

Page 26,   1st full paragraph
                                             These procedures
ADD THE FOLLOWING TO THE END OF PARAGRAPH:
                                           NASA astronomy
and practices have been effective on past
missions.

Page 27, 1st full paragraph, last sentence
                                       thermal model analyses
REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: Extensive
                                         have uncovered nc
conducted during the past year, however,
critical problems in this areas.

Page 28, 1st paragraph, 1st sentence
REPLACE THE FIRST PORTION WITH THE FOLLOWING: NASA and
                                 however,   that a test
its contractors have determined,
                        Space Telescope  would  be extremely
of the total integrated
                                        the  desired data
difficult and costly and may not yield
because ...

 Page 29

DELETE ENTIRE STATEMENT
                        SCIENCE INSTITUTE

 Page iv, 2nd paragraph
                                             NASA plans to
 REPLACE FIRST SENTENCE WITH THE FOLLOWING:
                                              center and a
 establish, separately, an operations control
                                          Telescope after
 science operations element to manage the
 it becomes operational.
                                                 WITH "science
 IN SECOND SENTENCE, REPLACE "science institute"
 operations element."




                                 37
APPENDIX I                                        APPENDIX I


Page iv. 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence

REPLACE "operations" WITH "science operations as they would
impact the characteristics of the science operations element."

Page 2, 1st paragraph, last sentence

REPLACE "operations" WITH "operational verification."

Page 7, 2nd full paragraph

IN FIRST SENTENCE, REPLACE "... NASA plans to establish a Space
Telescope Science Institute." WITH "... NASA is considering
establishment of a Space Telescope science institute as the
science operations element of the Project."

REPLACE SECOND SENTENCE WITH THE FOLLOWING: Such an institute
would include a staff of scientists and might be operated by
a consortium of universities under contract to NASA.

Page 30, 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

REPLACE "institute" WITH "operations element."

Page 31, 3rd full paragraph

IN FIRST SENTENCE, REPLACE "Science institute personnel..."
WITH "Personnel from the separately established science
operations element..."

IN SECOND SENTENCE, REPLACE "Institute support..." WITH
"Support from the science operations element..."

Page 31, last paragraph, 1st sentence

REPLACE "science institute" WITH "separate science operations
element" AND DELETE "full."

Page 32,   1st full paragraph

DELETE

Page 32, 2nd full paragraph

DELETE

                                38
                                                     APPENDIX I
APPENDIX I


Page 32, last paragraph

DELETE

Page 33, 1st paragraph
                                                    the
REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: In order to provide
                                                     effort,
long-term guidance and support for the scientific
                                                          of
to provide a mechanism for engaging the participation
                                                    a  means
astronomers throughout the world, and to provide
                                                      derived
for the dissemination and utilization of the data
                                                the   establish-
from the Space Telescope, NASA is considering
                            as the  science  operations   element.
ment of a science institute
                                                          and
Such an institute would include a staff of scientists under
might be operated by a consortium  of  universities
                                                          on
contract to NASA. A final decision has not been made
                                      an in-house NASA   science
whether or not an institute (versus             specific
operation) will be established or on what the
                                                       of an
character, extent of responsibilities, or location
institute would be, if established.

Page 33, 2nd paragraph

IN FIRST SENTENCE, REPLACE "operations" WITH "science
operations."
                                                  results of
REPLACE SECOND SENTENCE WITH THE FOLLOWING: The      NASA is
this study were reported to NASA in December 1976.
                                                       the
now considering the results of this study along with
                                        the  inputs of  various
results of earlier in-house studies and
                                                  the establish-
advisory groups in developing specific plans for
ment of the science operations element tor  the Project.


             PROVISION OF ADVANCED INSTRUMENTATION

 Page v, 2nd paragraph

 DELETE

 Page 34, 3rd paragraph

 DELETE


                               39
 APPENDIX I                                            APPENDIX I

                  ADDITIONAL CHANGES AND COMMENTS

  Page ii, 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

 REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: Through September
                                                30, 1976,
 $14 million had been appropriated for early definition
                                                         and
 advanced technology development cf the Space
                                              Telescope.
 Page iii, last paragraph

 COMMENT:

 There has been no indication from Congressional
                                                  sources of
 need for reports on additional projects. Unless
                                                   there is a
 special need, which we have not discerned, we
                                               proposed that
 no additional projects be included in this extra
                                                   compilation
 process.

 Paqe iv, 3rd    aragraph. 1st sentence

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: A Physical. Sciences
                                                  Committee
report on supporting research and technology
                                             and data research
indicates that data management has been a problem
                                                   on past
space science project-,

Page 2, 1st paragraph, last sentence

REPLACE LAST PORTION WITH "... and procedures
                                              needed to test,
handle, and launch the Telescope, and to support
                                                 on-orbit
operations.

Page 6, 1st full paragraph, 2nd sentence

REPLACE WITH THE FOLLOWING: Through September
                                               30, 1976,
$14 million had been appropriated for early definition
                                                        and
advanced technology development of the Space
                                             Telescope.
Page 8, 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

REPLACE "...    is in ..."   WITH    "... has completed ... '




                                40
APPENDIX I                                                          APPENDIX I


 Page 14, last paragraph (Schedule)

COMMENT:

The point of the GAO discussion regarding schedule is not
obvious. The launch dates cited are center schedules
developed with different assumptions of project start dates
and project design. While these schedules were valid at one
point in time with certain assumptions, comparing such
schedules serves no purpose. The launch dates endorsed by
NASA are those dates used in testimony or backup to the OMB
and/or the Congress. In discussion of the FY 1977 budget
with OMB, NASA stated the Space Telescope was planned "to
be launched by the Shuttle in 1983." The Project was not
included in the President's budget in FY 1977. In the
material provided to the Congress in justification of the
FY 1978 budget, launch of the Space Telescope is proposed
for the "last quarter of 1983." This represents a slip of
less than a full year even though the initiation of the
Project was delayed one year.

 Page 15        st full paragraph,

 REPLACE "September 1977" WITH "October 1977" IN BOTH PLACES.

 Page 16 (in the table)

 UNDER "Electrica       power" (Present), REPLACE "1,500" WITH "2,100."

 UNDER "Approximate weight" (Pesent), REPLACE "19,600" WITH
 "23,000."

 Page 16, 1st full paragraph, 3rd sentence

 REPLACE "...      9.8 feet in diameter      ..."     WITH   "...     14 feet
 in diameter      ..."

 REPLACE "...      19,600 pounds."    WITH     "...    23,000 pounds."

 Page 33, 3rd paragraph

 NASA feels that it is inappropriate to include an unqualified
 statement attributed to an unnamed individual. THE FIRST
 SENTENCE SHOULD BE DELETED, AND THE SECOND SENTENCE SHOULD
 BEGIN WITH "The study being ..."

                                     41
APPENiDIX I                                             APPENDIX I


Page 34, 1st paragraph    1set sentence

DELETE "also."

Pages 33-35 (Other Matters)

COMMENT:

The report comments on the need to carefully plan and manage
data from the Space Telescope Project and instrumentation to
be used with the Space Telescope. It is clear that the amount
of data possible with the Space Shuttle will require careful
planning and innovative management. The report prepared by
the Space Science Board at NASA's request is expected to be
of major assistance in data planning for the Project. The
Physical Sciences Committee report referred to by GAO was
based on experience with past free-flying spacecraft with
finite mission life designs. Funding for data analysis for
missions exceeding their expected lifetimes has often been a
problem, although funding data analysis from extended missions
is most cost-effective. The Physical Sciences Committee
report did not address the issue of handling data from such
major facilities as the Space Telescope. NASA intends to
review all pertinent experience and obtain assistance from all
relevant sources in preparing to handle Space Telescope data.
Similarly, NASA is developing plans for the continued
updating of detectors and other instrumentation for use with
an operational Space Telescope. Supporting Research and
Technology funds are being spent in several areas of developing
instrumentation which will benefit the Space Telescope and
other projects.

The .'esults of NASA's planning for data analysis and future
instrumentation for the Space Telescope Project will be
discussed with the Congress and will be presented in future
NASA budgets.



Noel W. Hinners                     Date:   FI &   It      i17
Associate Administrator
for Space Science




                               42
APPENDIX II                                           APPENDIX   II


               EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
                    OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
                           WASHINGTON, DC.   0508




                                                      MAR 10 1977


Mr. Richard W. Gutmann
Director
Procurement and Systems
  Acquisition Division
U. S. General Accounting Office
Washington, D. C. 20548

Dear Mr. Gutmann:

We appreciate the opportunity to review and provide comments
on your staff's draft report on the NASA proposed Space
Telescope project which was forwarded with your letter of
January 18, 1977. In your letter you requested our comments
on those portions of the report that make reference to OMB's
involvement in the formulation of the NASA budget which
resulted in the Space Telescope being deferred in the
FY 1977 budget for future consideration; and on OMB Circular
No. A-109 which provides general guidance to Federal agencies
that engage in the acquisition of major hardware systems.
In this letter we address these specific items; however,
with regard to the many other substantive matters raised in
the report (particularly the discussion of technical
development uncertainties and technical aspects of opera-
tions), we defer comments to NASA.

We are interested in and have reviewed many of the matters
raised by your staff related to the total costs of the Space
Telescope, the technical hurdles which need to be overcome,
the need to begin to define the project's operational phase,
and means for keeping OMB and the Congress informed about
the status of the project. You can be assured that we will
continue to review and assess the progress and costs of
this major scientific undertaking. OMB has specifically
requested NASA to seek maximum international cost-sharing
in the Space Telescope project and to keep us currently
informed of the agency's progress in encouraging international
participation.




                                 43
APPENDIX II                                     APPENDIX II


With regard to deferring the Space Telescope in the 1977
budget, the draft report is correct in stating that the
project was deferred because of budgetary constraints.
However, the Space Telescope is included in the FY 1978
budget o the Congress. We believe that the Space Tele-
scope   ts significant potential for enhancing fundamental
scientific knowledge about the universe and represents
an appropriate investment in the nation's basic scientific
research effort.

With respect to the second point related to OMB Circular
A-109, the reference in the draft report about this
circular is correct. We believe that NASA has attempted
to be responsive to the spirit of this circular in develop-
ing the Space Telescope proposal and that NASA has the
capability to provide additional cost information to the
Congress, if desired. With respect to the early phase of
project planning for the Space Telescope, we would note
that alternative sizes and techni-al designs for the
telescope were developed and evaluated by NASA, and its
contractors and advisory groups. Cost estimates were
developed for each technical alternative evaluated. With
regard to future operating costs, NASA has developed tenta-
tive projections based on assumptions about how the Space
Telescope will be operated; at the present time, however,
there is necessarily some uncertainty about the best
operational arrangements for the Space Telescope, including
the extent of international cost participation which can be
obtained. We expect to work with NASA and the agency's
scientific advisory groups to explore the options available
for future Space Telescope operations.

Again we appreciate very much having this opportunity to
comment on the GAO draft report. When completed, the
report should be useful in helping to bring into focus
significant issues related to the development and future
operation of the Space Telescope.

                                   Sincerely yours,



                                  J mes T. McIntyre, Jr.




                            44
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:
    James C. Fletcher               Apr.  1971        Present
    George M. Low (acting)          Sept. 1970        Apr. 1971

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

ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR
  OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE:
    Noel W. Hinners                 June     1974     Present
    John E. Naugle (acting)         Mar.     1974     June 1974
    John E. Naugle                  Dec.     1971     Mar. 1974

DIRECTOR, GODDARD SPACE
  FLIGHT CENTER:
    Dr. Robert S. Cooper            July     1976     Present
    Dr. John F. Clark               May      1966     June 1976


DIRECTOR, MARSHALL SPACE
  FLIGHT CENTER:
    William R. Lucas                June     1974     Present
    R. A. Petrone                   Jan.     1973     June 1974
    Eberhard F.M. Rees              Mar.     1970     Jan. 1973




                              45