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Bill Livingstone Headquarters, Washington, D.C. September 17, 1992 (Phone: 202/453-1898)

RELEASE: 92-154


WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today announced a series of broad initiatives and activities to improve the way the agency conducts business and works with its contractors.

"We are committed to strengthening America's belief in NASA as the 'can do' government agency," Goldin said at a speech to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). "And to remaining an institution that provides inspiration, economic and education benefits to all Americans."

The initiatives represent the work over the past several months of the Red and Blue review teams, which have been looking at every NASA program on ways to operate faster, better, and cheaper without compromising safety.

As each of the teams scrubbed through their respective programs, they were tasked to pay particular attention to operational costs that have been growing at an alarming rate.

"We are pleased to report that each team has taken steps to reduce those costs," Goldin said. "We will use those savings to begin planning for new missions, using small spacecraft."

Following are the major initiatives and activities:

NASA'S Program Priorities

** Shuttle Safety Top Priority -- NASA is working to make the shuttle system safer and more reliable. This includes making investments in new display systems to optimize the flight controllers tasks, investing in hardware improvements, improving engine safety, and developing state of the art avionics.


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"Our top priority is Shuttle safety -- the continuation of a safe, robust shuttle program into the early part of the next century, with a maximum of eight flights per year," Goldin said.

** Space Station Freedom Second Priority -- "Our second priority is Space Station Freedom," Goldin said.

NASA is taking steps to ensure its top talent is working on this program, and Goldin said NASA expects contractors to put their best people on the program as well.

** Pooling Award Fees -- To ensure that there is complete cooperation among the contractors working various contracts, NASA is examining the idea of setting aside a portion of the Space Station contractors' award fee and establishing a combined pool.

"The fee paid from this pool would be awarded based on how well the contractors are working as an integrated team in meeting milestones and cost estimates," Goldin said.

** Aeronautics is High Priority -- Goldin said NASA must forge a joint vision with its partners in industry of where we should be heading in commercial aeronautics. The Red and Blue teams recommended that NASA better balance its programs between advanced subsonics, NASP hypersonics and high speed civil transport, including, as an example, shifting more funds to advanced subsonics and noise reduction.

"We need to concentrate on programs that will lay the ground work for future generations of commercial aircraft," Goldin said. "We cannot get there from here if we spread our resources too thin."

"We must also shift more resources to supersonic transport propulsion concepts, aimed at greater fuel efficiencies and lower

noise and exhaust emissions," Goldin said.

Goldin announced that in October he will meet with the CEOs of the largest airframe and engine manufacturers to brainstorm and discuss whether they agree with NASA's assessment of priorities in aeronautics.

** EOS, AXAF, and Cassini High Priority -- Delivery on these science missions is a very high priority.

Based on reviews of the Red and Blue teams, it has become clear that the development of suitable instruments is impacting NASA's ability to accomplish these programs on time and within cost estimates.

"We intend to call upon our contractors, scientists from universities, and our field centers to develop a new process to

ensure we can provide for early availability of these instruments so crucial to our ability to extend our knowledge of Earth and our solar system," Goldin said.


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** Earth Observing Systems (EOS) -- EOS has been rescoped, resulting in several improvements. Tasks have been more clearly defined and therefore can be more readily accomplished.

"The program is more evolutionary now; new capabilities will be phased in," Goldin said. "Some of the potential international collaborations can result in certain EOS measurements being made earlier than was originally envisioned."

The rescoping exercise, and incorporating "common designs" will result in savings of $3 billion, "while still preserving the essential science objectives, as well as launch schedule of the main EOS spacecraft."

An estimated $1 billion will be saved by rescoping and deferrals, including the deletion of the High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (HIRIS) instrument from the second EOS-AM spacecraft launched in 2003.

Goldin said the deletion of the instrument can potentially be compensated for by a vigorous Landsat program and/or advances in technology that result in lighter weight and lower cost imaging


** Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) -- AXAF has been restructured into two smaller platforms. The changes will not cause a negative impact on the expected science. The Imaging AXAF mission will be launched into a high Earth orbit, allowing simpler and less expensive support systems for power, communications and pointing control. The small, or spectroscopic, mission will be flown on a Delta class rocket to low Earth orbit.

** Cassini Redesigned -- Fundamental changes will be made in the management approach. Technical managers will be empowered to act as project managers for their subsystems. All elements of a section will report directly to the technical manager. Projected staffing levels will be reduced by over 700 workyears.

Key features of the re-designed mission include:

Cassini-unique spacecraft with body-fixed instruments, and a lighter spacecraft permitting the launch by a standard Titan IV vehicle.

** Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) a Priority -- Goldin said NASA will perform the precursor work to ensure the SEI goals are achievable. NASA will also focus on small probes.

"Our goal is to build a credible program in the short term, and with that foundation, work towards more substantial funding in future years," Goldin said.



Other Initiatives

** National Launch System -- The Blue Team recommended changes to the program baseline, which are being coordinated with the Department of Defense, that include the reassessment of the facilities needed, the engine-out requirement for multi-engine configurations, and acceleration of vehicle development.

** Award Fee -- NASA will discuss its final proposed policy on Award Fee Contracting with the NASA-Industry Process Action Team on September 21 and expects to issue a policy for public comment in early October.

** Independent Cost Assessment Group -- NASA will establish a new independent group -- as recommended by the Augustine Committee -- staffed with sufficient resources and modern cost estimating tools, to help ensure its cost estimates are as accurate as possible.

** Cost Overruns -- Goldin said NASA "can no longer afford broken promises." According to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report, in a sample of 29 NASA programs, the average cost growth was 75 percent.

"We can not tolerate contracts so fluid, that the product we bargained for in no way resembles what we end up with," Goldin said.

"We are partners with industry, but we will hold you [contractors] accountable for what you sign up to deliver and ourselves accountable for establishing firm requirements," Goldin said.

"I am confident that if we work as a team we will not only deliver great science, but we will do it on time and within budget. As a team, we will deliver on our promises," Goldin said.

** Town Meetings -- NASA will share its vision, mission and values with the American people during a series of town meetings, scheduled to begin in November, as well as allow prime contractors, small and disadvantaged businesses and the university community to express their views. Planned locations include Hartford, Raleigh-Durham, Tampa, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

** Headquarters -- NASA is examining the roles and responsibilities of headquarters and the centers. The review is focused on eliminating conflicts caused by a lack of clear lines of authority and responsibility, as well as identifying the tasks that are headquarters' functions that should be transferred to field centers.

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