The Government Accountability Office has urged NASA to perform an updated joint cost and schedule confidence level analysis on its Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle program to determine risks and inform programmatic decisions.
GAO said in a report published Wednesday NASA’s earlier JCL analysis on Orion involved cost and schedule estimates that met 7 of 20 best practices and 1 of 8 best practices, respectively.
Program officials told GAO that available program budget is primarily used to fund current work while cost reserves are held at the end of the internal schedule.
The government watchdog said some program work have been deferred due to the lack of budget reserves but program officials have not formally evaluated the impact of delayed work on the available reserves.
Auditors noted the Orion program faces challenges that could affect costs and schedules such as the development of service module and crew capsule heatshield as well as software development risks that could have a cost impact of more than $90 million.
GAO recommended NASA provide new cost and schedule estimates that are in line with best practices and analyze the effects of deferred work on program reserves.
The Orion program aims to transport humans beyond the moon with an April 2023 launch readiness date.