Commercial Launch Vehicles: NASA Taking Measures to Manage Delays and Risks

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created the strategy for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project in 2005, the space landscape has changed significantly--the Space Shuttle program is retiring and the Ares I will not be available--increasing the importance of the timely development of COTS vehicles. The lack of alternatives for supplying the International Space Station and launching science missions have all contributed to an increased need for the COTS vehicles. The two COTS project partners, Orbital and SpaceX, have made progress in the development ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 26, 2011.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created the strategy for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project in 2005, the space landscape has changed significantly--the Space Shuttle program is retiring and the Ares I will not be available--increasing the importance of the timely development of COTS vehicles. The lack of alternatives for supplying the International Space Station and launching science missions have all contributed to an increased need for the COTS vehicles. The two COTS project partners, Orbital and SpaceX, have made progress in the development of their respective vehicles; however, both providers are behind schedule. As a result, the project recently received an additional $300 million to augment development efforts with risk reduction milestones. This testimony focuses on: (1) COTS development activities, including the recent funding increase; (2) the extent to which any COTS demonstration delays have affected commercial resupply services (CRS) missions and NASA's plans for meeting the space station's cargo resupply needs; and (3) lessons learned from NASA's acquisition approach for COTS. To prepare this statement, GAO used its prior relevant work and conducted additional audit work, such as analyzing each partner's agreement with NASA and interviewing NASA officials. New data in this statement was discussed with agency and company officials who provided technical comments, which we included as appropriate."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 26, 2011

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Commercial Launch Vehicles: NASA Taking Measures to Manage Delays and Risks, text, May 26, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294409/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.