NASA privatizes management of space flight centers

NASA plans to transform itself into a commercial-like operation. To that end, the
agency will spend $3.44 billion to hand over management of its flight center operations to
a corporate team.


The space agency late last month awarded a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. the
10-year Consolidated Space Operations Contract to manage space operations.


A NASA official called CSOC the largest privatization effort ever undertaken by a
government agency.


CSOC will shift management responsibility for five space flight centers to the Lockheed
Martin team. NASA estimates the contract will save the agency $1.4 billion over its
10-year life, NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin said.


“Since becoming NASA administrator, I have committed myself to reviewing the way
NASA does business and challenging the NASA team to look at ways to streamline operations
and make them more efficient,” Goldin said.


Under CSOC, NASA will adopt commercial practices, products, services and technology, he
said. NASA officials said they want to reduce duplicative work and increase efficiency by
streamlining service delivery processes.


Lockheed Martin will manage NASA’s data collection, telemetry and communications
operations, which support the agency’s Earth-orbiting satellites, planetary
exploration and space flight activities.


NASA’s operations structure for the 21st century will consist of an integrated, IP
infrastructure that increases performance and functionality while decreasing operating
costs, said Jay Honeycutt, president and program manager of Lockheed Martin’s Space
Operations Co.


“By reducing the cost of space operations, the team will save NASA funding that
can be used for space and Earth science programs and new research initiatives,”
Honeycutt said.


NASA expects Lockheed Martin to commercialize and privatize government systems where
such efforts will lower the lifecycle cost of space flight missions, said Joseph
Rothenberg, NASA’s associate administrator for space flight.


The contract, which began Oct. 1, has a base five-year period worth $1.9 billion. NASA
can extend the contract for a second five-year period.


The Lockheed Martin team includes Allied-Signal Inc. of Morristown, N.J., Booz, Allen
& Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va., Computer Sciences Corp., GTE Corp. and 36
subcontractors.


The team will manage operations at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
Johnson Space Center in Houston, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif.


Lockheed Martin competed against Boeing North American Inc.’s Space Systems
Division for the contract.   

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