GAO: NASA Will Have Problems Explaining Its Moon Plans

GAO: NASA Lunar Programs: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Analyses and Plans for Moon Landing

"NASA conducted studies to inform its lunar plans, but did not fully assess a range of alternatives to these plans. GAO best practices state that analyzing alternatives provides a framework to help ensure that entities consistently and reliably select the alternative that best meets the mission need and justify agency decisions. Given NASA's schedule, conducting this analysis is no longer viable. Instead, NASA intends to create a summary of the studies that informed its lunar plans. However, it has not committed to a completion date. Without a documented rationale, NASA is ill-positioned to effectively communicate its decisions to stakeholders and facilitate a better understanding of its plans."

- NASA Really Really Needs An Artemis Plan - Soon, earlier post
- Artemis Update From Bridenstine and Loverro, earlier post
- Where Is NASA's Plan For Sustainable Moon/Mars Exploration? (Update), earlier post

Keith's note: If you read the management response at the end of this report you will see that NASA will "provide a preliminary cost estimate fo the Artemis III mission by the end of calendar year 2020, once the agency makes baseline cost and schedule committments for the Human Landing System currently planned for September 2020)" ... " NASA is developing a document that will summarize the trades and architectural studies which constituted an analysis of architectural alternatives and resulted in the agency's decision to baseline the current lunar architecture and associated programs ... NASA currently pans to complete this document by July 2020". NASA also says that it will develop a "Moon to Mars campaign strategy".

In other words NASA is not going to be in a position to provide much detail in the National Space Council's requested report report (already 60 days overdue) until next summer - a year after it was requested. Nor are they apparently going to be able to tell Congress what it needs to tell them in order to get all of their funds released. Moreover NASA will not have its Artemis cost estimates figured out until late next year - barely three calendar years before they expect to put humans back on the Moon. And NASA still does not have a plan for the whole Mars thing - and can't say when they will.

Exactly two years ago the White House stated "Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations". In March 2019 a frustrated Vice President Pence said "In Space Policy Directive-1, the President directed NASA to create a lunar exploration plan. But as of today, more than 15 months later, we still don't have a plan in place. But Administrator Bridenstine told me, five minutes ago, we now have a plan to return to the moon." Moments later he said "it is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon within the next five years."

In their response to this GAO report NASA says that they won't even have a plan until late next summer - a year after Pence expressed his frustration about the lack of a plan. in March 2019 Pence gave NASA 5 years to put footprints on the Moon which is now seen as being no later than 31 December 2024. The agency is now telling us (and Pence) that it will have taken them yet another year to come up with a plan. And if the agency stays true to its bad habits the plan will still have major holes in it and no one will be able to stand there with a straight face and say how much it will cost. And then, just as they deliver this plan the election happens and ...

  • submit to reddit


Loading



.
Battelle Research and Infrastructure.
Support SpaceRef, NASA Watch and the Astrobiology Web on Patreon.






Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 19, 2019 4:20 PM.

Boeing's 737/Starliner/SLS Problem Strategy: Blame The Media was the previous entry in this blog.

More Fake SLS News From Boeing is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.