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Home / Science / Boeing only received a "limited" security clearance from NASA while SpaceX received a full audit

Boeing only received a "limited" security clearance from NASA while SpaceX received a full audit

Such an in-depth study of corporate cultures would be time-consuming and costly, requiring changes to orders placed with companies. Ultimately, NASA agreed to pay $ 5 million to SpaceX for its review, and continued.

However, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, Boeing would require an additional payment of approximately $ 25 million. NASA fought back and decided that a much more limited paper audit would be enough, along with a few interviews with key people, according to four authorities and industry officials familiar with the matter.

Organizational safety assessments, as they are officially known, were triggered after Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of SpaceX, took a sip of marijuana and a mouthful of whiskey during an interview on the internet late last year. NASA officials were more concerned about SpaceX, a relative newcomer founded by Musk in 2002 than about Boeing, who had worked with NASA since the beginning of the space age and was an important federal government partner for some time. 1

9659002] "Boeing has done nothing to trigger a deeper dive," said an official who had no authority to speak publicly about internal considerations.

However, there remains an open question as to whether this story will continue to protect Boeing's security vulnerabilities in recent years, particularly the two crashes of Boeing's 737 Max Boeing aircraft, in which 346 people were killed. Members of Congress have blamed Boeing for gaining profits, and multiple reviews of the crashes have raised concerns that federal regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration have demonstrated that Boeing has led to careless oversight that has allowed Boeing to take security measures ,

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, blew up the company for "lack of openness to regulators and customers."

He said the 737 Max issue is "not about a co-worker, it's about the failure of a safety culture at Boeing, where employees are put under unreasonable pressure to meet deadlines and profitability at the expense of safety

Boeing has shown that they can capitalize on their relationship with NASA, and in 2014 a $ 4.2 billion contract was awarded to build a spacecraft to allow astronauts to fly to and from the space station. ( SpaceX received a $ 2.6 billion award.) Although the award was part of a "fixed fixed-price contract," Boeing was able to earn another $ 287.2 million from the space agency.

According to a NASA report General Inspector, NASA Boeing has paid substantially higher prices to fix a schedule error caused by Boeing's 13-month delay. "Tue e IG said, however, that "additional compensation is unnecessary" because the risk of a flight gap is "minimal".

The IG found that Boeing's cost per seat to launch the space station would be $ 90 million or more, 60 percent higher than SpaceX's $ 55 million price.

NASA and Boeing strongly opposed the IG's conclusion, saying the additional costs were justified and Boeing was forced to pay more in advance.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Boeing's problems with the 737 Max were not related to problems that had occurred while working for NASA. Boeing, he said, "is a big company. They do many different things. … I do not want to claim that the 737 Max challenges have an impact on his space program work.

But Boeing's space department is not immune to deficiencies that could affect flight safety. For example, last year propellant leaked during a test of the Boeing emergency crash system. Boeing noted why the leak had occurred and the leak did not reappear in a subsequent test.

Earlier this month, however, another test of the emergency stop system encountered a problem other than deploying only two of the capsule's three parachutes. The unscrewed capsule gently returned to earth with just two slides, and NASA and Boeing declared the test to be successful. But the reason why the third parachute was not deployed was a human one: Someone had not noticed that a smaller parachute was not attached to the larger main parachute it was supposed to take off.

Boeing said the failure had not occurred was discovered because the point where the two manholes should be locked together was not seen in a housing.

At the time of the security clearance announcement last year, Musk's behavior had high-ranking NASA officials worried about the news that Musk's public alcohol and marijuana use would cover how the company would ensure safety at work and a drug-free environment.

Bridenstine said back then that he had "a lot of confidence in the SpaceX team." But he added that "culture" and leadership start at the top. Anything that would cause the safety culture to be called into question must be rectified immediately. "

" When I see something inappropriate, the main concern for me is what culture has led to and what NASA is involved in. Darin? "he said." As an agency, we not only lead ourselves, but also our contractors. We have to show the American public that they are safe when we put an astronaut in a rocket.

Musk responded to NASA's concerns by sending an email to SpaceX staff, in which he admitted smoking pot. obviously "and said that" it was not smart. "He reiterated that while marijuana is legal in California, it is controlled by federal law. "SpaceX maintains a drug-free workplace," he wrote in the e-mail, whose copy The Post received.

"SpaceX employees are not allowed to use or possess controlled substances in the workplace and are not at work under the influence of legal or illegal drugs," Musk wrote. "Anyone who seems drunk at work or seems to be under the influence of drugs is subject to drug testing and possibly other employment measures."

NASA and SpaceX agreed in a statement to The Security Review, which NASA spokesman Josh Finch had made, called "a comprehensive security clearance through individual employee interviews."

Finch said NASA officials walked up and down the company and interviewed all sorts of staff on training, drug policies and safety procedures at mid-level managers, executives and supervisors, as well as engineers and technicians in multiple locations, "Finch said.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer, recently told reporters that the review was completed very positively back. "

" I can tell you, it went very well, "she said. Not that we did not learn anything, but it went very well.

Sh He added that the company has an anonymous line called "safety net" for employees to report safety concerns.

"I think it makes sense to actually have these reviews, we've never had one Review, but we focus unbelievably on security. "When a staff member gets hurt at work, the morale on the team goes down," Shotwell said. "Poor security is a dreadful affair." Documents that ensure a drug-free workplace is enforced and a limited number of interviews with company employees.

There was no further details on the differences between SpaceX and Boeing safety reviews. NASA refused to provide the Post with copies of the "Call for Proposals" prepared for Boeing or SpaceX that set out the scope of the originally proposed security review, and called the RFPs "proprietary".

Boeing sought the additional $ 25 million for the review and NASA declined the payment.

In a statement, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said: "We deeply appreciate NASA's confidence in us."

"NASA has decades of insight into Boeing's commitment to safety," the statement said. NASA was therefore confident that Boeing's assessment could be completed with fewer personal interviews and more detailed document inquiries than would appear to be the case for our competitor. "

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