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GAO: NASA Should Document Rationale for Lunar Plans

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The Government Accountability Office has recommended that NASA come up a document stating its rationale for how it selected its lunar architecture and lunar programs and develop a cost estimate for the moon landing mission in 2024.

“Without a documented rationale, NASA is ill-positioned to effectively communicate its decisions to stakeholders and facilitate a better understanding of its plans,” GAO said in its report published Thursday.

The congressional watchdog also called on NASA to schedule and define reviews that align requirements across lunar programs.

According to the report, the space agency has identified orbiting Gateway platform, human landing system, Orion crew vehicle and Space Launch System as the three systems for the 2024 moon landing. The Gateway program has three components: habitation, power and propulsion and logistics.

GAO made the recommendations after it found lapses in the agency’s efforts, including the lack of cost estimate for the first mission and failure to define reviews to ensure that requirements are align across initiatives.