National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of Inspector General
Washington, D.C. 20546

November 15, 2000

RELEASE: 2001*014

The following inspection report has been posted to the NASA Office of
Inspector General web site: Assessment of the Crew Medical Transport
Barter Arrangement, (G-00-015, October 6, 2000)

To access the entire report, please go to:

To access NASA management’s response, please go to:

Synopsis: In response to a request by the Honorable F. James
Sensenbrenner, Jr, Chairman of the House of Representatives Science
Committee, the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed NASA’s
requirements and justification for the utilization of a Boeing 737 for
crew medical transport, the nature of the negotiations with the
National Space Development Agency (NASDA) and the Government of Japan
for the acquisition of the aircraft, and the cost effectiveness of this
arrangement and the planned utilization of the aircraft.

The OIG found that negotiations are underway for NASA to acquire a
Boeing Business Jet for use as a dedicated crew medical transport for
the International Space Station. NASA plans to receive the aircraft in
a barter arrangement involving NASDA, the Government of Japan, and
Mitsubishi, Inc. According to NASA, the medical transport aircraft
would be used to provide a contingency response capability during
launch, landing, and on-orbit operations; enhance post-flight recovery
support for astronauts after long-duration missions; and enhance the
astronauts’ pre-launch health stabilization support.

NASA determined that the acquisition of a dedicated crew medical
transport aircraft was the most effective approach to meeting crew
medical needs. However, the OIG found NASA’s analyses supporting this
determination did not consider all reasonable alternatives. The OIG
recommended that NASA conduct an independent analysis of the most
appropriate approach to providing its astronauts with emergency, pre-
launch, and post-mission medical support and reconsider the Agency’s
current plan to acquire a dedicated crew medical transport through a
barter arrangement.

Management’s Response: NASA management non-concurred with the report’s
recommendation to conduct an independent analysis of the most
appropriate approach to providing astronauts emergency and post-mission
medical support. NASA management concurred with our recommendation to
consider alternatives to the barter arrangement but stated that
alternatives have already been considered and the barter arrangement is
the most expeditious means of obtaining the crew medical transport

After receiving our letter and the Agency’s response, the House Science
Committee urged NASA “. . . not to go forward with this or any other
deals for aircraft unless and until NASA can unequivocally justify the
aircraft on the basis of both genuine need to meet agency requirements
and cost-effectiveness.”

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