Media Advisory: Hearing on Young Report That Looked Into NASA's Recent Mars Mission Failures

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Committee on Science
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman
Ralph M. Hall, Texas, Ranking Democrat
April 11, 2000

Press Contacts:
Jeff Lungren (
Meredith Wisor (
(202) 225-4275


Hearing on Young Report That Looked Into NASA's Recent Mars Mission Failures

WHAT: Full Science Committee hearing entitled, "NASA's Mars Program after the Young Report, Part I"

WITNESSES: Mr. Tom Young, Executive Vice President (Ret.), Lockheed Martin, Inc.
Mr. John Casani, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Ret.), California Institute of Technology

WHEN: 10:00 AM

WHERE: 2318 Rayburn Building, Washington


Last September, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter mission failed due to one project group using English units and one using metric units. Three months later, NASA's Mars Polar Lander was lost as well. A blue-ribbon panel established by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin intensively reviewed these losses, estimated at $328 million, and issued a report released two weeks ago. The panel, led by Mr. Tom Young who will testify at tomorrow's hearing, found numerous management lapses and poor decisionmaking throughout the Mars program, including a failure to test as the missions would fly. Notably, the panel endorsed NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" concept, but found significant problems in the philosophy's execution. The panel said despite the setbacks, "all identified flaws are correctable." Mr. John Casani was a consultant to the Young panel and also led a separate team that took a more technical look into the Mars Polar Lander failure. Tomorrow's hearing will cover the Young report's findings and recommendations and provide the first opportunity for Members of Congress to question the panel.

Please contact the Science Committee's press office at 202-225-4275 for more information.

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