Filling in the Knowledge Gaps for Space Launch

The Pentagon has made progress towards addressing the knowledge gaps and data deficiencies in its new space launch acquisition strategy, but more clarity is needed, according to Government Accountability Office auditors. Last year, GAO made seven recommendations to address this issue. Since then, the Defense Department has gathered independent cost estimates for two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle engines and completed a study of the liquid rocket engine industrial base, states GAO’s new report, dated July 26. DOD has also been working closely with NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office to establish entrant requirements for new providers of national security space launches. However, “more action is needed to ensure that launch mission assurance activities are not excessive, to identify opportunities to leverage the government’s buying power through increased efficiencies in launch acquisitions, and to strategically address longer term technology investments,” states the report.