The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is running into an unexpected problem, as a recent investigation found a number of the agency's facilities have been so neglected they may not be salvageable.
According to Fox News, the review of NASA's land holdings showed the agency is struggling to maintain its aging facilities, some of which have become essentially defunct years after they were used for research and development or space vehicle construction.
Every year, NASA spends about $1.1 billion on maintenance programs and other upkeep measures to ensure its more than 5,400 buildings, landing strips and other facilities remain in top shape. However, the recent report indicated about 9 percent of these buildings have assets that are not being used. To fix the problem of wasteful asset downtime, the Office of the Inspector General has developed a plan to lease the assets, according to the media outlet.
The Kennedy Space Center, for example, has leased out one of its clean rooms to Lockheed Martin that for years was used to prepare Apollo capsules. Boeing is also taking advantage of the leased out assets by building space taxis in one of the facility's processing hangars where NASA's famed shuttles were prepared for launch.
Even though these big name acts have taken up residence in the facilities – as well as companies like Rolls-Royce and Google – there are still too many down assets, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin said.
"Few incentives exist for NASA to identify underutilized property as unnecessary to its mission needs," he said in the August report.
Olga Dominguez, NASA's assistant administrator for the office of strategic infrastructure, admitted the agency was not completely clear on how many facilities were currently unused.
"Because our mission has gone through such extensive changes, all of these new programs — commercial crew, commercial space – all of these have different requirements," she told the news source. "So the space needs have changes every year."
According to Yahoo News, NASA has spent $1.1 billion to form partnerships with private spaceflight companies since the termination of the shuttle program.
Facilities maintenance is crucial for keeping assets running and productivity high.
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