NASA’s Inspector General’s office has released its semiannual report to Congress on the state of the space agency as of March 31, 2013. The 68-page report is available online today.

Inspector General Paul Martin said in his cover letter that the agency had high points during the six months covered in the report, including the Mars Curiosity rover landing and commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station. But it also had big challenges, including cost overruns on the James Webb Space Telescope. Those overruns and the need to pay for them led to delays in some other projects and cancellation of others.

“From our perspective,” Martin wrote, “declining budgets and fiscal uncertainties present the most significant external challenges to NASA’s ability to successfully move forward on its diverse portfolio of science, exploration, and aeronautics projects.”

NASA operates a major field center – the Marshall Space Flight Center – in Huntsville, Alabama. The center, which employs 6,000 government and contract aerospace workers and has an annual budget above $2 billion, is leading development of NASA’s new rocket called the Space Launch System.

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