In making the payments, NASA officials also disregarded that Boeing had acquired several spaceships on a Russian spacecraft that it planned to sell to NASA, something that would help fill the perceived void in flights. Five days after NASA awarded Boeing an additional $ 287 million, Boeing offered to sell NASA up to five places in the Russian Union for $ 373.5 million, according to the IG report.
NASA also did not request SpaceX, another NASA contract company will fly its astronauts to the space station, whether it can accelerate the development of its spacecraft and help fill the void.
Both Boeing and SpaceX have suffered serious technical problems in what is known as NASA's "crew commercial program", which has delayed the first two-man flight operations.
Boeing, said IG, found a way to take advantage of this delay. NASA "essentially paid higher Boeing prices to tackle the time gap caused by a 1
3-month Boeing delay" at the completion of a key design phase. But the IG said "additional compensation is unnecessary", given that the risk of a gap between flights is "minimal".
In addition, NASA officials believe they must respond to Boeing's claims for additional compensation because "they believe that for financial reasons, Boeing cannot continue as a commercial crew supplier unless the contractor receives higher prices.
In a letter to the IG, the agency stated that it "strongly disagreed with the OIG's characteristic that NASA" paid "for Boeing [flights] or that the final agreed prices were" unnecessary "," unjustified "," unreasonable " or "higher" than some hypothetical lower amount. "
The agency stated that" there is no evidence to support the conclusion that Boeing would agree to lower prices. "And he said the prices were reviewed and approved by many NASA officials and led to a 29-page designation. A NASA spokesman declined to release the letter, saying it was patented. He also noted that the IG "does not recommend reimbursement for any of the costs in question."
In a statement, Boeing defended the additional payments, saying that it "was taking significantly more up-front financial risk and was already helping NASA with critical key decisions to optimize future operations [space station]. Doing so under the original contract would increase cost uncertainty and timetable and limit NASA's flexibility in mission planning. "
In 2014, NASA awarded contracts – $ 4.2 billion to Boeing; $ 2.6 billion for SpaceX – as part of efforts to rebuild NASA's human space flight program and return launches back to the US for the first time since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.
No Way to fly their astronauts to space, NASA had to pay Russia about $ 84 million in space for rides to the space station. But the IG report questioned the rationale for the Boeing deal, finding that the first flights of the Boeing Starliner capsule would cost $ 90 million, slightly more than what Russia charges. Trips on SpaceX's Dragon capsule would cost about $ 55 million on the spot, the IG found.
The report was worse news for Boeing, which was swallowed up by scandal after the crash of two of its 737 highs Max killed 346 people. Dennis Mullenburg, its chief executive officer, forfeits his title as chairman, and the monthly grounding of passenger planes costs the company $ 5.6 billion in revenue in the second quarter. Criticism dries up on the Capitol Hill.
The IG report Thursday came a day after another report highlighted the struggles of another of Boeing's major NASA projects – the development of a space rocket that is yet to fly, but NASA hopes. to use astronauts to fly to the moon. According to this report, the SLS rocket, the Orion crew capsule that will fly over it, and connected ground systems so far cost the agency $ 34 billion, a figure that is expected to grow to $ 50 billion by 2024.
The report is coming just days after Boeing conducted a test of the Starliner abortion system, which would take the safety crew away in case of emergency. Boeing and NASA consider the test successful, despite the fact that one of the three major parachutes failed to move.
Boeing officials said that two were enough to land the spacecraft softly and safely, and he quickly identified the cause of the failure: a pin attached to a smaller parachute that had to pull out the larger main chute, not is properly fixed, human error.
In the future, Boeing employees promised to check that the connection was secure by pulling on it.
SpaceX also has problems with its spacecraft. In April, the vehicle was destroyed during an abortion test of its engines. But this week, the company completed the same test and appears to be doing well.
SpaceX also has serious problems with its parachutes. The same month that the Dragon capsule exploded on the test bench, the company conducted a fall test in which three parachutes failed to deploy, "as a result of the loss of the test carriage," the IG discovered.
Since then, the company says it has completed 14 tests of a new parachute design.
During a speech at NASA's Ames Research Center on Thursday afternoon, Vice President Pence sounded arrogant, saying the agency would launch "American Astronauts on American Missiles from American Land" from spring.