On Thursday, NASA's Inspector General of the NASA Program a space agency that seeks to pay Boeing and SpaceX to develop vehicles to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. [1
The price of a Boeing on site now seemed like it would cost more than SpaceX. The company received a total of $ 4.82 billion from NASA's lifelong merchant program, compared to $ 3.14 billion for SpaceX. However, for the first time, the government has announced a spot price: $ 90 million for Starliner and $ 55 million for Dragon. Each capsule is expected to carry four astronauts to the space station during a nominal mission.
What is remarkable about Boeing's price is that it is also higher than what NASA paid the Russian space corporation Roscosmos for the seats of Soyuz spacecraft to fly US astronauts and partner nations to the space station. Overall, NASA paid Russia an average of $ 55.4 million in field costs for 70 completed and planned missions from 2006 to 2020. As of 2017, NASA paid an average of $ 79.7 million.
Beyond these seat prices, Inspector General Paul Martin's report also notes that Boeing received additional NASA funding, above and beyond its fixed-price award.
"We find that NASA has agreed to pay an additional $ 287.2 million over Boeing Fixed Price to mitigate the perceived 18-month ISS flight differential projected in 2019. "and to ensure that the contractor continues as a second commercial crew provider without offering similar spaceX capabilities," the report states.
According to Martin, who had extensive access to NASA staff in preparing the report, Boeing in 2016 offered prices for its third to six crew crews, use it Ki "the single mission price for 2016," which was significantly higher than NASA and Boeing originally originated. In response, the NASA Public Procurement Office determined that "it was not in compliance with the terms of the contract and not
However, Boeing continued to press NASA for additional funding. After "lengthy negotiations," according to Martin, Boeing offered some benefits to NASA, such as reduced lead time before missions and a variable launch cadence. NASA then agreed to pay an additional $ 287.2 million for those four missions, which are likely to fly into the early 2020s.
Perhaps the most striking rationale for approving additional funds is that Boeing may have considered abandoning the Commercial Crew Program (SSR). Martin writes: "According to several NASA employees, a significant concern in paying such a Boeing premium was to ensure that the contractor continues as a second provider of transportation crews. CCP officials cite NASA's guidance for maintaining two commercial crew suppliers in the United States to guarantee redundancy in carriage as part of the rationale for approving the purchase of the four higher-priced missions. "
Boeing spokesman Josh Barrett denied that Boeing had threatened to terminate commercial crew involvement." Boeing has made significant investments in its commercial crew program and we are fully committed to flying the CST-100 Starliner and maintaining the International Space Station fully equipped and working, "he told Ars.
The report notes that, as NASA agreed to pay Boeing extra for these benefits, no such deal was offered to SpaceX." Unlike SpaceX, it was not notified of this. a change in requirements and you don't care given the opportunity to offer similar opportunities that could lead to less spending or more extensive mission flexibility, "says Martin.