NASA has "overpaid" Boeing for hundreds of millions of dollars on a fixed-space development contract for astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), the audit report said, calling the fee "unnecessary".
US relies on Russia to transfer ISS teams from end of Space Shuttle program in 2011, but has engaged Boeing and Space under multi-billion dollar contracts, with the two companies already two years from deadline.
"We found that NASA agreed to pay an additional $ 287.2m over Boeing fixed rates to mitigate the perceived 18-month gap in ISS flights scheduled for 2019," the inspector general's report said on Thursday.
"We are at stake $ 187m from these price increases as unnecessary costs," he added.
The auditors determined that no additional consumption was needed, as the risk of such a gap was minimal, and SpaceX was not given the opportunity to propose a solution "even though the company had earlier offered a shorter production time advantage than Boeing".
Moreover, NASA failed to consider in its analysis that it could overcome any visible gap by procuring more directly from Russia or Boeing.
In fact, five days after NASA pledged to pay $ 287.2 million, Boeing offered to sell Nasa five Russian spacecraft Soyuz for the same mission period, with sales totaling an additional $ 373.5 million, the report said. .
But the report's authors added: "We recognize the benefits of hindsight and appreciate the pressures Nasa's leaders face during this time to keep the program on schedule as much as possible."
The Commercial Teams program is plagued with delays as both companies face technical and security challenges.
As of May 2019, Boeing's and Spacex's contracts were worth $ 4.3 billion and $ 2.5 billion, with each company assigning six ISS travel missions.
Assuming four astronauts per flight, the inspector general estimated an average seat price of $ 90 million for Boeing and $ 55 million for SpaceX.
NASA disputed the findings, saying in a written response that "we do not agree that the stated dollar amounts are suspicious, unnecessary or unreasonable."
The report was also a blow to Boeing, which has been in one of the most serious crises in its history after the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft following two recent crashes that killed 346 people.
The aviation giant has come under fire from critics who claim they have rushed to produce the aircraft to coincide with its Airbus competitor, endangering safety.
In response to the report, Boeing defended its additional NASA refund, saying it offers "extra flexibility and flexibility on the schedule".
It also disputes that the average seat price is $ 90m, saying the fair value is "significantly lower", but declined to give a price.