Sunday , September 20 2020

NASA overpaid Boeing for hundreds of millions of dollars


NASA has "overpaid" Boeing for hundreds of millions of dollars on a fixed-man development contract for a space ship carrying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), the audit report said, calling the indemnification "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 in its analysis to believe that they could overcome any perceived 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 at the 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 SpaceBox's contracts were worth $ 4.3 billion and $ 2.5 billion, respectively, with each company allocating 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 it has rushed to produce the aircraft to match its competitor Airbus, endangering safety.

In response to the report, Boeing defended its additional NASA refund, saying it offers "extra flexibility and resilience.

It also disputes that the average seat price is $ 90m, saying the fair value is "significantly lower" but has refused to give a price.

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