Press Release

NASA OIG Review of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2010
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NASA OIG Review of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System

NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin released a report today that examines NASA’s efforts to develop two new satellites to replace aging satellites that provide tracking, data, voice, and video services to the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, NASA’s space and Earth science missions, other Federal agencies, and commercial users.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the development of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites K and L is proceeding within planned cost, schedule, and performance requirements and that NASA project managers have implemented risk and earned value management processes to monitor and mitigate programmatic risks.

However, the OIG found that NASA has not revised the reimbursable rates it charges government and non-government users of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System or TDRSS since 2006 and that current program officials did not know what factors were used to formulate these rates. Therefore, NASA does not know, and the OIG could not determine, whether the rates NASA was charging its customers at the time of our audit were appropriate or reasonable.

We also found that NASA’s process for collecting user fees needed improvement. Specifically, when an analyst responsible for handling reimbursable payments was absent from the office for an extended period, customers were not billed in a timely manner, resulting in a loss of funds to NASA. For example, in 2009 NASA wrote off $385,000 that had not been timely billed to a customer who later became insolvent.

The report can be found on the OIG’s website at under “Reading Room” or at the following link:

Please contact Renee Juhans at (202) 358-1712 if you have questions.

SpaceRef staff editor.