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"Could Have Been Better Documented"

The NASA OIG says that NASA hasn't provided a good basis of estimate for its costs for its Constellation budget requests.

I'm sure that this is nothing new, given what a perennial mess the agency's books are always in, with incompatible accounting systems, different and arcane ways of bookkeeping at different centers/directorates, etc.

But here's what's interesting to me. This story is about justifying the costs of building Ares/Orion et al so that they can get their requested budget from OMB and Congress. But that's not the only reason that we need to have a good basis of estimate.

Ever since Mike Griffin came in, he, Steve Cook and others have told us that they (meaning Doug Stanley) did a trade study, comparing EELVs and other options to developing Ares in order to accomplish the Vision for Space Exploration. A key, in fact crucial element of any such trade would have to include...estimated costs.

We have been told over and over again that they did the trade, but as far as I know, we've never been provided with the actual study--only its "results." We have no information on the basis of estimate, the assumptions that went into it, etc. If NASA can't come up with them now that's it's an ongoing program, why should we trust the results of the earlier study that determined the direction of that program when it was much less mature, with its implications for many billions of dollars in the future, and the effectiveness in carrying out the national goals? Why haven't we been allowed to see the numbers?

I think that the new resident of the White House, regardless of party, should set up an independent assessment of the situation, complete with a demand for the data.


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Karl Hallowell wrote:

No way, Rand! It's clearly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the result of not enough funding. More money can fix any problem. Hence, if there is a problem, more money. Now if only I could get Congress to fund my life at the level it warrants. ;-)

john hare wrote:

Hey, if you pay me for having more problems, I guarantee you my life will be a nonstop disaster too.

anon in tx wrote:


The "results" were the study. I worked on parts of the booster explosion environment. The ground rules guaranteed the results; when the ground rules were challenged I remember hearing two things from ESAS 1) the MSFC guy who said we can never put a human on the Delta because the turbopumps leaked like sieves and 2) someone from CB who said this is a done deal and this (our presentation) better not show up on NASA watch.

Ferris Valyn wrote:

Has anyone considered a FIOA request to NASA over this?

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on September 19, 2008 9:27 AM.

Full-Blown PDS was the previous entry in this blog.

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