The Government Accountability Office has assessed the scheduling of NASA’s efforts to manage major human space exploration systems. GAO said Wednesday that it's looking into the space agency’s development activities of the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System rocket and Exploration Ground Systems.
Orion and SLS will serve as vehicles for lunar and Martian exploration missions, and EGS will facilitate the processing and launching of spacecraft and rockets. The federal watchdog found that NASA has made progress since GAO’s last report in June. The earlier audit identified significant occurrences of schedule delays, with setbacks that may push the systems’ launch date to June 2021 despite the schedule’s revision to June 2020.
GAO also discovered an understatement of over $750M in the SLS program’s cost growth calculations. NASA has so far addressed seven of 18 recommendations that GAO has issued over eight previous reports. The accountability office urges NASA to take up more action and comply with the remaining recommendations.