Space

NASA’s inspector general warns against the risky implementation to the CLPS program 

The agency’s inspector advised against taking risky implementation measures to actualize the commercial lunar payload services program. The Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program involves purchasing rideshare space for payloads in space vehicles heading to the moon.

The Office of Inspector General admitted that this program’s implementation should go through dimensional analysis to prevent failures and a subsequent loss of NASA’s payloads. The OIG pointed out several aspects of the CLPS program, which need perfect analysis. Some of the factors noted include NASA’s failure to ascertain its suitability to implement the CLPS program. The report from this office details that this discrepancy must achieve a resolution according to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). This move will ensure that the implementation of the program proceeds without any anomalies.

The impromptu selection of companies by NASA to work on this program has raised concerns about the agency’s capacity to stick to the regulations. NASA selected Orbit Beyond as part of the project implementors, which later on quitted in two months. This move proved that NASA was not objective in its choice of companies to work on the program. Orbit Beyond submitted internal woes as the cause of dropping out of the program pinning the challenge of competence in NASA.

The OIG report also disagrees with NASA’s incompetence in analyzing the companies’ safety and mission reliability, which take part in the CLPS program. NASA agents replied to OIG that the CLPS contracts do not require advanced procedures to deliver the payload as detailed in the plan successfully. The agents argued that the mission involves urgency, and this move would accelerate the achievement of the program’s goals to actualize the operations.

OIG urged NASA to start giving the program the required attention and stop putting the project at risk. The inspector added that this program’s timid approach would make it fail and result in the loss of payloads.

OIG also complained of the indifference in the interfaces of the companies selected for the program. The indifference in interfaces would hinder payload interlinking and communications once they dock on the moon. 

Nevertheless, NASA agreed to resolve the raised issues without delay. NASA assured the inspector that it would review the selected companies and develop an integration framework for the payloads to ensure they work flawlessly once they land on the moon. In conclusion, the OIG advised NASA also to evaluate its cost for sending payloads to space to avoid scaring away the small satellite operators with less capital.

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