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Delays, cost overruns by Boeing and SpaceX could pull NASA out of ISS, officials warn

A report released Thursday by NASA's Inspector General also said the space agency unnecessarily spent $ 187 million on Boeing. As a result, OIG estimates that NASA will pay approximately $ 90 million on site to fly its astronauts to the Boeing Starliner spacecraft.

This is more than the space agency that paid Russia for the use of the Soyuz cap, which the US relies on to transport people to and from the International Space Station since 2011. Soyuz seats cost NASA up to $ 86 million OIG and an average of $ 55.4 million.

OIG estimates SpaceX's Crew Dragon will cost NASA about $ 55 million on site for the first six missions.

NASA and Boeing reiterated their claim that Boeing received extra money unnecessarily. NASA has said it is currently working to buy more space from Russia to ensure that its astronauts will not be left unmanned in space next year if the crew's commercial program encounters more delays.

  SpaceX tests the fires of the Crew Dragon spacecraft before the first astronaut mission

NASA overhears SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to create vehicles capable of transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The two companies received fixed contracts worth $ 2.6 billion and $ 4.2 billion, respectively, with both spacecraft scheduled for completion by 2017.

SpaceX and Boeing ( BA ) told CNN Business Friday that they now expect to be ready for their first missions in early 2020.

In a statement, Boeing disputes OIG's assertion that Starliner locations will cost $ 90 million. That calculation was based only on what NASA agreed to pay for the first six flights and for NASA to pay a premium for those missions when Boeing agreed to accelerate Starliner production in 2016 to meet the needs of the space agency .

"The end prices negotiated by NASA and Boeing were reviewed and approved by numerous NASA staff at the Kennedy Space Center and Kennedy Headquarters, which ended with a memorandum justifying the 29-page cost of the record," the letter said. NASA in response to the OIG report.

But the OIG report states that NASA allocated additional funds based on "false assumptions". In essence, supervisors say Boeing was paid to help fill a gap in the schedule, which was partly due to the company.

Shortly thereafter, according to an OIG report, the space agency purchased more space aboard a Russian spacecraft to close the same difference in schedule – and bought those places from Boeing. (The company was allowed to sell Soyuz seats as part of a Boeing settlement previously reached with a Russian manufacturer.)

OIG stated that poor communication was reached: NASA and Boeing employees negotiating these contracts did not. were in direct contact with each other.

The report warns that the merchant crew program continues to grapple with many of the same problems that have devastated the program for years, which is more negative than the optimistic press releases from the development of SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft. efforts lately. Both companies completed key tests of their vehicles this month and told CNN Business on Friday that they would be ready to fly their first outfits in early 2020.

However, major milestones are still ahead Starliner and Crew Dragon can host astronauts, SpaceX needs to perform a full test of the Crew Dragon disruption system. And Boeing must have an unfinished test mission that will send an empty Starliner capsule to the space station, a flight currently scheduled for December 17th.

The OIG report states that both companies face "significant safety and technical challenges with parachutes, propulsion and launch abortion systems that need to be addressed. "

I also warned that as NASA works to get on-schedule sales teams, it" continues to accept deferrals or changes "from SpaceX and Boeing. And in the end it can" increase the risk of significant damage to the system or lead to additional delays in commencing crew operations, "the report said.

NASA responded by letter, saying it was a" well-known "concern and the agency was" alert " to "avoid undue pressure schedules."

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