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Commercialization

NASA OIG is Not Pleased With ZeroG

By Keith Cowing
June 18, 2010
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NASA OIG Review of NASA’s Microgravity Flight Services
“NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin released a report today that examines the performance of Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero G), a private company hired by NASA to provide reduced gravity flights for NASA research, engineering, and astronaut training. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that Zero G has provided inconsistent levels of microgravity flight services since it began providing NASA with reduced gravity flights in August 2008. Consequently, the OIG concluded that NASA should revise the contract’s performance-based payment structure to motivate Zero G to provide more consistent, high-quality microgravity flights.”
Keith’s note: This review seems to be focused exclusively on contractor (ZeroG) performance – not the realism of requirements imposed by the customer (NASA) – or how well NASA’s own self-provided services have – or would – fare in comparison to its own requirements and/or the costs of owning and maintaining its own aircraft .
However, perhaps it is time for recompetition of this contract as well as a restructuring (including performance fees, etc.) and a sanity check on requirements. It seems that despite the potential benefits such a contract could (and should) offer, everyone has some sort of problem with it – NASA, researchers – and ZeroG.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.