MAVEN Managers Win Kudos from NASA Inspector General

MAVEN Managers Win Kudos from NASA Inspector General

NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) praised the team managing the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) project today for successfully avoiding pitfalls that plagued other programs.

The last of NASA’s Mars Scout missions, MAVEN is scheduled for launch next year to orbit Mars and study its atmosphere.  Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado-Boulder is MAVEN’s principal investigator and David Mitchell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is the Project Manager

The OIG decided to look at MAVEN to see if the agency is managing it to meet cost, schedule and performance goals after a 2012 OIG report identified shortcomings in other NASA projects.  Today’s findings are refreshingly positive.  

The report praises MAVEN’s project manager for “strong leadership and project management skills” and the project management team overall for closely following NASA acquisition policies and using other effective and innovative management tools.  “Collectively, these efforts controlled Project costs, proactively managed risk, and established adequate reserve levels” that put the project on a good path to meet its November 2013 launch date. 

The report also notes that MAVEN was not subject to funding instability, which can wreak havoc on an otherwise well-planned program: “In fact, MAVEN consistently received funding at or above requested amounts throughout its life cycle, unlike many other NASA projects.”

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