Press Release

Gordon Reacts to GAO Report on Space Shuttle Transition Challenges

By SpaceRef Editor
July 26, 2007
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Gordon Reacts to GAO Report on Space Shuttle Transition Challenges

(Washington, DC)  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released its review of NASA’s plans for managing its supplier base as it transitions from the Space Shuttle program to the follow-on Crew Exploration Vehicle program. 

The Shuttle’s upcoming retirement at the end of the decade will create challenges for NASA in determining what part of the current Shuttle supplier base will be needed in the future.  At present the Shuttle program has over 1,500 suppliers, some of which are unique sources for particular materials or services.

“NASA has a formidable challenge ahead of it in effectively managing the transition from the long-lived Space Shuttle program to its new Exploration vehicles.  GAO has identified some critical challenges to be overcome in that transition, and to its credit, NASA has been developing plans and processes needed to manage the supplier base,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) in response to the GAO’s findings.  Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX) requested the GAO assessment as part of the Committee’s ongoing oversight of NASA’s programs.

Among the GAO’s recommendations is that NASA identify and estimate the costs associated with the Shuttle transition and retirement activities that occur after 2010.  The GAO notes that NASA’s Shuttle program itself concedes that “not having secured funds for transition and retirement activities for fiscal year 2011 and 2012 is a risk to follow-on programs and institutions and to the agency as a whole.”

“When NASA and OMB understated the outyear funding requirements of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs a few years ago, the resulting shortfalls wound up inflicting damage on the entire agency that is still being felt.  I don’t want to see that example repeated, and I hope that NASA will implement the GAO’s recommendation in a timely manner,” concluded Gordon.

Click here for a copy of the full GAO report (GAO-07-940).

SpaceRef staff editor.