NASA IG Praises NASA on NPP — Delays and Overruns Outside NASA's Control

NASA IG Praises NASA on NPP — Delays and Overruns Outside NASA's Control

The NASA Inspector General (IG) issued a report praising NASA’s management of the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) mission, while assigning blame to the two other NPOESS agencies for the cost growth and schedule delays associated with the satellite’s launch.

NPP was designed as a technical risk reduction mission for the DOD-NOAA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). With the dissolution of the NPOESS program by the Obama Administration last year, NPP has become the bridge between today’s civil weather satellites and the new Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) NOAA is pursuing in lieu of NPOESS. DOD will build its own system, the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS), returning to the separate systems the civil and military sectors have utilized historically.

The NASA IG report concluded that NASA did a good job of managing the NPP program, but that NOAA and DOD did not deliver their instruments on time, leading to schedule delays and cost overruns. Since the agreement among the three agencies had a no-exchange-of-funds basis, NASA had to absorb the related cost increases to NPP.

The IG’s recommendation was that NASA “carefully consider” the ramifications of no-exchange-of-funds agreements. According to the report, NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate concurred, and thus the recommendation is resolved.

NPP is scheduled for launch later this year, but the IG report hints that additionaly delays may occur. The original launch date for NPP was 2006.

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