Gov’t Report: NOAA’s Mismanaged Satellite Programs To Cost Taxpayers $22 Billion

weather satGovernment auditors slammed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday for spending billions of dollars on critical satellite systems that have suffered huge delays and technical challenges.

The Government Accountability Office says NOAA environmental satellite systems are “critical to the United States’ ability to maintain the continuity of data required for weather forecasting.” NOAA was supposed to have launched $10.9 billion Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R back March 2016, but now the satellite system will launch months later than was planned.

GAO found the “the decision to delay the launch was due to poor schedule performance over the last few years (losing more than 10 days a month on average), recent technical issues with key components, and little schedule margin as the program entered integration testing.”

Auditors noted the “October 2016 launch date may also be delayed if additional technical challenges arise or if schedule performance remains poor.”

But that’s not all. NOAA’s also having problems with its $11.3 billion Joint Polar Satellite System program that’s scheduled to launch in March 2017. GAO found that while NOAA is making progress on the project it “has experienced technical issues that have affected internal schedule deadlines.”

These technical issues include “an issue with debris in an instrument’s subsystem that delayed its delivery by approximately 8 months, and faces key risks in the remainder of development.”

NOAA signed contracts to build the GOES-R system in 2012 based on a $1.4 billion design from Lockheed Martin, but the project’s price tag has grown dramatically — now closing in on $11 billion over the lifetime of the project.

A Commerce Department inspector general report from June found that NOAA’s GOES-R satellite system was supposed to launch in October 2014, but delays could leave “GOES on-orbit constellation without a backup satellite for 29 months out of a 33-month period from April 2015 to January 2018.”

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  • Avatar

    Amber

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    So who at NOAA is held accountable for Billions of dollars in overruns ? Well er.. a.. no one actually . Readjust the weather data and hey what is a few billion anyway .
    On a positive note, unlike the EPA , they don’t appear to have a senior management employee pretending to work for the CIA and disappearing for months at a time .

    They can’t budget but work the temperature numbers… no problem .

  • Avatar

    Me

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    It sounds all lot like most government deals lately, with delays and over runs on cost, the bigger the project the bigger the cost over runs. But ya know the tax payers will flip the bill no matter what. Government will just find a new way to make up for it with some other new tax err to big to fail thinggy err something?

  • Avatar

    Russel Seitz

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    Fortunately this is not the first such screw-up and taxpayers can recup the preset loss by forwarding separate bills for seven billion dollars to the first three scientists to screw up satellite radiometry so badly as to mistake warming for cooling :

    S. Fred Singer, John Christy and Roy Spencer.

  • Avatar

    Me

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    [quote name=”Me”]It sounds all lot like most government deals lately, with delays and over runs on cost, the bigger the project the bigger the cost over runs. But ya know the tax payers will flip the bill no matter what. Government will just find a new way to make up for it with some other new tax err to big to fail thinggy err something?[/quote]

    But you know what????? There is a software program called project that was supposed to make running these things more efficient. How is that working out?

  • Avatar

    Me

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    [quote name=”Me”][quote name=”Me”]It sounds all lot like most government deals lately, with delays and over runs on cost, the bigger the project the bigger the cost over runs. But ya know the tax payers will flip the bill no matter what. Government will just find a new way to make up for it with some other new tax err to big to fail thinggy err something?[/quote]

    But you know what????? There is a software program called project that was supposed to make running these things more efficient. How is that working out?[/quote]

    Back in the day we called it a scope of work and followed it to a T! Because one person was responsible for it…..

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