Today (Sept 28, 2006) at 2pm the House Committee on Science will hold a hearing to review the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) efforts to develop the Crew Exploration Vehicle, now dubbed “Orion.”
As laid out in the President’s Vision for Space Exploration, Orion will carry humans to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon, and beyond following the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010. On August 31st, 2006, NASA selected Lockheed Martin as its industry partner for the development and production of Orion, signing a development and production contract worth, including all options, approximately $8.1 billion through 2019.
On Wednesday the 26th of July, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of NASA’s contracting approach for the acquisition of Orion. The report, entitled “NASA: Long-Term Commitment to and Investment in Space Exploration Program Requires More Knowledge,” faults the agency for committing to a long-term contract for Orion before reaching an appropriate level of understanding of the design and risks of the program. Following discussions with GAO and the Science Committee, NASA revised its then pending contract with Lockheed Martin to partially address these concerns.
Specifically, the hearing will explore the following overarching questions:
1. What is NASA’s strategy for developing Orion?
2. Does NASA have the knowledge required to enter into a long-term development contract?
3. What steps can NASA take to ensure timely and cost-effective development of Orion?
Thursday September 28, 2006
Full Committee – Hearing
Implementing the Vision for Space Exploration: Development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle
2:00pm – 4:00pm
2318 Rayburn House Office Building
Dr. Scott J. Horowitz, Associate Administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA
Mr. Allen Li, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management, Government Accountability Office
The hearing charter, which provides detailed background information on the hearing, will be available soon on the Science Committee website. Member opening statements and witness testimony will be posted to the website at the start of the hearing.