In damning report, watchdog paints troubling picture of relationship between NASA and Boeing
NASA Inspector General: NASA "overpaid" Boeing by hundreds of millions of dollars in "unnecessary" payments.
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November 15, 2019 - by Christian Davenport for washingtonpost.com
A report released Thursday by NASA's inspector general paints a damning picture of the space agency's relationship with Boeing, one of its top contractors, saying NASA "overpaid" Boeing by hundreds of millions of dollars in what the report deemed "unnecessary" payments for a "firm-fixed-price" contract.
NASA agreed to pay the company an additional $287.2 million as part of Boeing's multibillion-dollar contract to develop a spacecraft capable of flying astronauts to the International Space Station to help it speed up the company's launch schedule. But the payment could have been easily avoided "through simple changes to the flight manifest," NASA's inspector general wrote in the report.
In making the payments, NASA officials also didn't take into account that Boeing had acquired several seats on a Russian spacecraft that it was planning to sell to NASA, something that would have helped fill the perceived gap in flights. Five days after NASA awarded Boeing the additional $287 million, Boeing proposed selling NASA up to five seats on the Russian Soyuz for $373.5 million, according to the IG's report.
NASA also didn't ask SpaceX, the other company under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the space station, whether it could speed up the development of its spacecraft and help fill the gap.
Both Boeing and SpaceX have suffered serious technical problems in what's known as NASA's "commercial crew program" that have delayed the first flights with human crews by two years.
Boeing, the IG said, found a way to capitalize on that delay...
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