From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a series of audit reports during the last 6 months that explore aspects of NASA’s human exploration efforts. For example, in our examination of NASA’s plans for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit we found the Agency’s initial exploration missions face multiple cost and technical challenges that likely will affect their planned launch dates. In addition, NASA’s plans beyond Exploration Mission-2 for achieving a crewed Mars surface mission in the late 2030s or early 2040s remain high level, and the Agency faces significant challenges to develop realistic cost and schedule estimates for future Mars missions.
During this reporting period, we also issued an audit assessing NASA’s management of its existing spacesuits and its plans for developing next-generation suits, and we found the Agency faces an array of risks in sustaining its current fleet of spacesuits for use on the International Space Station (ISS or Station). Moreover, despite spending almost $200 million on three spacesuit development efforts, NASA remains years away from having a flight-ready spacesuit capable of replacing the ISS spacesuits or suitable for use on future exploration missions.
Our Office of Investigations continues to pursue allegations involving misuse of NASA funds; misconduct by NASA employees, contractors, and grant recipients; and cyberattacks on Agency systems. For example, during this reporting period a former lab supervisor at a Portland, Oregon, aluminum extrusion manufacturer pled guilty to mail fraud involving falsification of test results that resulted in over $6.8 million in additional revenue for the company.
In the closing days of this reporting period, we identified the top management and performance challenges facing NASA in 2017:
• Deep Space Exploration
• NASA’s Science Portfolio
• Information Technology Governance and Security
• Aging Infrastructure and Facilities
• Contracting and Grants
Our full report discussing each of these top challenges will be published in mid-November. This Semiannual Report summarizes the OIG’s activities and accomplishments between April 1 and September 30, 2017, and marks our transition to an all-electronic publication that will save printing costs and facilitate access to OIG work products highlighted in the report. We hope you find it informative.
Finally, we note with deep appreciation the significant contributions of Deputy Inspector General Gail Robinson, who retired at the end of this reporting period after more than two decades at NASA and the Department of Justice. Gail improved every work product she touched and every conversation she participated in. We wish her well.
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