Friday, June 21, 2019

NASA IG has Concerns About the Europa Missions

Despite early-stage robust funding, NASA is facing serious management and schedule challenges in its ambitious Europa Clipper program that will send an orbiter and lander to Jupiter’s ice covered moon beginning in 2023.

“Specifically, NASA’s aggressive development schedule, a stringent conflict of interest process during instrument selection, and an insufficient evaluation of cost and schedule estimates has increased project integration challenges and led the Agency to accept instrument cost proposals subsequently found to be far too optimistic,” the audit found.

“Moreover, Clipper has had to compete with at least four other major JPL-managed projects for critical personnel resources, causing concern that the project may not have a sufficient workforce with the required skills at critical periods in its development cycle,” the report said.

The audit also noted that the Europa program’s biggest backer, John Culberson, no longer chairs the House appropriations subcommittee. The Republican Congressman from Texas was defeated in his reelection bid last year.

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