GAO Finds NASA Delays Pose Risk to Space Station Access

Delays on the NASA Crew Contract, from both Boeing and SpaceX, are risking U.S. access to the International Space Station, according to a GAO report.

Both contractors have made progress on the project, but have also experienced delays, which could lead to neither option meeting NASA standards for human spaceflight before the NASA contracted seats run out on the Soyuz spacecraft in 2019.

According to the Government Accountability Office, there are three key risks that could further delay certification on the contract. The first is the contractor’s aggressive schedule plans, which have been noted by NASA, Boeing, SpaceX and independent review bodies. Safety risks were also identified by GAO, although it was noted that SpaceX and Boeing are working to address technical issues.

Finally, GAO said program office workload could present a risk, as program officials have stated that one of their biggest challenges will be completing two upcoming oversight activities.

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