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NASA OIG: Final Memorandum, COVID-19 Impacts on NASA's Major Programs and Projects

Status Report From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Final Memorandum, COVID-19 Impacts on NASA's Major Programs and Projects (IG-21-016; A-20-010-00) Full report

Since March 2020, the Agency faced unprecedented challenges due to Center and facility closures and a shift to a mandatory telework posture for much of its civil servant and contractor workforces. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in disruptions to staff availability, materials and supply chain, and program and project timetables that have delayed launch readiness dates and other operational activities. Although NASA managers include schedule margin in program and project plans to address unforeseen circumstances, in many instances the margins were not sufficient to absorb the impact of the pandemic—a public health emergency that continues to rage across the world. A top-line estimate of the cost for these delays and challenges across NASA is estimated to be nearly $3 billion. However, NASA will not be able to quantify the complete impact of the pandemic on its programs and projects until after the COVID-19 emergency has subsided.

This memorandum presents a snapshot of the reported estimated impacts to 30 of the Agency's major programs and projects (defined as those with life-cycle costs of at least $250 million) at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020.

These major programs and projects accounted for approximately $1.6 billion of the estimated $3 billion total COVID impact reported by NASA. To quantify the impacts to these programs and projects, we reviewed (1) estimated COVID-19 related costs; (2) estimated COVID-19 related project life-cycle delays; and (3) COVID-19's impact on NASA's domestic and international program and project partners. We did not evaluate the Agency's compliance with congressional reporting requirements regarding cost growth and schedule delays.2 See Enclosure I for details on the scope and methodology.

Full report

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