NASA: Significant Challenges Remain for Access, Use, and Sustainment of the International Space Station

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "NASA plans to use international partner and new domestic commercial launch vehicles to access, utilize, and sustain the International Space Station from 2012 through 2020. However, the agency faces challenges in transporting cargo and crew to the ISS as well as ensuring the station is fully utilized. NASA’s decision to rely on the new commercial vehicles to transport cargo starting in 2012 and to transport crew starting in 2017 is inherently risky because the vehicles are not yet proven and are experiencing delays in development. Further, NASA does ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 28, 2012.

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Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "NASA plans to use international partner and new domestic commercial launch vehicles to access, utilize, and sustain the International Space Station from 2012 through 2020. However, the agency faces challenges in transporting cargo and crew to the ISS as well as ensuring the station is fully utilized. NASA’s decision to rely on the new commercial vehicles to transport cargo starting in 2012 and to transport crew starting in 2017 is inherently risky because the vehicles are not yet proven and are experiencing delays in development. Further, NASA does not have agreements in place for international partners to provide cargo services to the ISS beyond 2016. The agency will also face a decision regarding the need to purchase additional seats on the Russian Soyuz vehicle beyond 2016, likely before commercial vehicles have made significant progress in development, given the three-year lead time necessary for acquiring a seat. This decision is further complicated because restrictions prohibit NASA from making certain payments to Russia in connection with the ISS unless the President makes a determination. Further, NASA currently expects to transport all cargo needed by the ISS in 51 flights through 2020, but if international partner agreements and commercial service contracts do not materialize as the agency plans for the years beyond 2016, the situation could lead to a potential cargo shortfall."

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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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  • March 28, 2012

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. NASA: Significant Challenges Remain for Access, Use, and Sustainment of the International Space Station, text, March 28, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299629/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.