Saturday , September 19 2020

Boeing gets 'unnecessary' boost to space capsule deal: Report



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This NASA release photo, released November 4, 2019, shows the Boeings CST-100 Starliners launching four abortions and several orbital maneuvers and attitude-control drives while on fire at the Pad Abort Test, pushing the aircraft away from the test- the combined 160,000kg booth has since been launched from Complex 32 on the White Sands missile range in New Mexico.

JO / NASA / AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Boeing's multimillion-dollar contract to build US astronaut capsules received a "unnecessary" extension from NASA, the watchdog report said Thursday, citing the latest management flaws in the agency's program to restart domestic human space flights.

NASA has agreed to pay Boeing Co a $ 287m premium for "additional flexibility" to accelerate the production of the company's Starliner crew and avoid an 18-month flight gap to the International Space Station. NASA's inspector general called it "unreasonable" to trigger a $ 4.2 billion Boeing fixed-price deal.

Instead, the inspector general said the space agency could save $ 144m by making "simple changes" to Starliner's planned startup schedule, including buying additional space from Russia's space agency, which the US has been relying on since its withdrawal. the space of 2011. shuttle program.

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Boeing and Elon Musk's 2014 SpaceX received nearly $ 7 billion from NASA in combination to develop separate capsule systems designed to put an end to US support for Russian astronaut rocket flights to the International Space Station. The program has been back for years with testing irregularities at both service providers.

NASA justified the additional funds to avoid the space station operation gap. But the other provider of SpaceXX, "was not given the opportunity to propose a solution, although the company had previously offered shorter production time than Boeing," the report said.

NASA also justified the additional cost to ensure Boeing continues to be the second provider of business teams, "the report said.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment.

In response to the inspector general's report, NASA "strongly" disagreed with the report's findings that it had overpaid "Boeing", although it agreed "complex and extensive" negotiations with the airline could result in lower prices.

"However, this is an opinion, three years after this fact and there is no evidence to support the conclusion that Boeing would agree to lower prices," the agency said in a letter to the inspector general.

The report says Boeing faces a rethink over the management of NASA's Space Launch System – a huge rocket whose development has been plagued by delays and billions of dollars in overhead costs. It also faced sharp criticism from US lawmakers over its best-selling MAKS 737, which was launched after two deadly accidents in five months, killing 346 people.

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