Press Release

Review of NASA’s Controls over Public Sales of Space Shuttle Property

By SpaceRef Editor
March 15, 2011
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Review of NASA’s Controls over Public Sales of Space Shuttle Property

NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin today released an audit examining NASA’s controls over public sales of Space Shuttle property. NASA has been planning for the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program since 2004, and the scope of work involved is one of the largest such efforts ever undertaken by the Agency. Much of the Shuttle Program’s more than 1.2 million line items of personal property will be donated to museums, schools, and other parties; transferred to other Federal agencies; or sold to the public through the General Services Administration (GSA).

While the audit did not identify examples of unauthorized release of export-controlled Space Shuttle property, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that NASA had not fully integrated its export control and property disposition processes to reduce the risk that public sales of Space Shuttle property could result in the release of export-controlled items and technology.

We recommended that NASA revise its policy to clarify how property disposition activities, including NASA’s domestic property sales coordinated through GSA, can result in a violation of export control laws. In addition, we recommended that the revision require coordination between property disposal and export control personnel to ensure that export determinations are made, buyer citizenship is verified, and buyer identities are compared with lists of individuals who have been denied export privileges by the Departments of State and Commerce.

In addition, we found that NASA collected over $185,000 in proceeds from public sale of Shuttle property through GSA in fiscal years (FYs) 2008 and 2009, but had to forfeit that money because it had not obligated the funds within the necessary timeframe or obtained a waiver to extend the timeframe. NASA received $273,095 from Space Shuttle property sold in FY 2010, and proceeds from such sales will only increase in the coming years. The OIG audit recommended that NASA improve its management of these proceeds.

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

Please contact Renee Juhans at (202) 358-1220 if you have questions.

SpaceRef staff editor.