NASA inspector general criticizes high-risk approach to CLPS program

WASHINGTON — NASA’s inspector general warned in a recent report that the agency’s planetary science division was taking “undue risk” in its current approach to a commercial lunar transportation program.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), in an audit of the agency’s planetary science division released Sept. 16, highlighted several issues with the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program established in 2018 to buy payload space on commercially developed lunar landers to transport science and technology demonstration payloads to the surface of the moon.

“If not adequately addressed, these risks could result in mission failure and the loss of expensive NASA payloads and significant taxpayer investment,” the report noted.

The OIG report highlighted several issues with the CLPS program. It criticized NASA for failing to perform due diligence on companies selected for CLPS awards as required under Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). “Specifically, NASA contracting personnel did not obtain sufficient information

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