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GAO: NASA Faces Human Spaceflight Program Oversight Challenges

The Government Accountability Office has recommended that Congress consider instructing  NASA to implement strategies to address challenges related to oversight of three human spaceflight programs.

GAO said in a report published Thursday that although NASA’s current approach to integrate its Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and supporting ground systems offer some advantages, the integration approach poses management challenges.

The government audit agency found that the process involves dual-hatted positions and makes it hard for the space agency to evaluate progress in accordance with cost and schedule objectives.

GAO urged NASA’s Exploration Systems Development group to defer from assigning both programmatic responsibilities and technical authority to individual officials involved in the missions’ engineering and safety areas.

NASA should also develop baseline objectives the beyond the first test flight of SLS and EGS missions, GAO added.

The space agency partially concurred with the watchdog agency’s recommendation but did not address concerns over the dual-hat responsibilities.

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