After completing detailed, independent cost and risk
assessments, the agency has decided to perform Space Shuttle
Orbiter Major Modifications (OMM) at NASA’s Kennedy Space
Center (KSC) in Florida.

Since the inception of the Space Shuttle program, the
Palmdale Manufacturing Facility in California has served as
the manufacturing site for all orbiters, in addition to the
primary location for performing periodic maintenance and
safety upgrades.

However, beginning immediately with the Space Shuttle
Discovery, which is scheduled for its periodic structural
inspection and maintenance period in early spring, the work
will be moved to KSC.

NASA Headquarters’ Office of Space Flight made the decision
following an extensive review. While it was determined that
either KSC or Palmdale could support the current Space
Shuttle launch schedule, keeping two modification facilities
active to support four orbiters is no longer feasible in
today’s fiscal environment. Program managers believe
significant infrastructure savings would be realized
performing the major modifications in Florida. Shifting work
to KSC would also minimize risk.

“This decision reflects NASA’s primary goal of maintaining
safety as its primary objective and then evaluating cost
savings and risks associated with that decision,” NASA
Administrator SeaTB27Keefe said. “It is obvious that in the
current fiscal environment, it makes more sense to perform
this work at the launch site for the foreseeable future.”

The decision was reached after evaluating site selection
criteria established by the Office of Space Flight, which
included cost and risk, manifest impacts, shuttle flight
schedule, management and workforce skills and experience,
major modification performance in the past and present,
facility utilization and centralization of operations.

While both KSC and Palmdale could support the OMM, managers
determined keeping both active to support four orbiters is no
longer practical or feasible given the current shuttle
manifest and budget environment.