The report, released Thursday by the NASA Inspectorate General, also states that the space agency Boeing unnecessarily allocated $ 187 million. As a result, the OIG estimates that NASA will pay approximately $ 90 million per seat for its astronauts' flight with Boeing's Starliner spacecraft.
That's more than the space agency has paid Russia to use its Soyuz capsule, which the US has relied on. According to OIG, Soyuz seats have up to $ 86 million and an average of 55.4 million US dollars -Dollar cost.
OIG estimates that SpaceX's Crew Dragon will cost NASA approximately $ 55 million per seat for the first six missions.
NASA and Boeing both insisted that Boeing unnecessarily received extra money. NASA announces that it is currently acquiring additional seats in Russia to ensure that its astronauts will not be able to survive without spacecraft next year if the commercial occupation program encounters further delays.
NASA tapped SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to build vehicles that can carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The two companies received $ 2.6 billion and $ 4.2 billion in fixed-price contracts, respectively, and both spacecraft should be completed by 2017.
In a statement, Boeing denied the OIG claim that seats on board the Starliner would cost $ 90 million. This calculation was based solely on NASA's agreement to pay the first six flights and NASA to pay a premium for those missions, as Boeing agreed to accelerate Starliner production in 2016 to meet the space agency's planning requirements fulfill.
"Final prices agreed by NASA and Boeing have been reviewed and approved by numerous NASA officials at the Kennedy Space Center and headquarters, culminating in a 29-page award-winning memorandum," NASA said in an OIG response letter. Report.
But the OIG report argues that NASA allocated the additional funds on the basis of "erroneous assumptions." Essentially, the regulators said, Boeing was paid to fill a planning gap that was partly the fault of the company itself.
Shortly thereafter, according to the OIG report, the space agency bought more seats aboard the Russian spacecraft to close this same planning gap – and bought these seats from Boeing. (The company had the right to sell Soyuz seats as part of a settlement Boeing had previously concluded with a Russian manufacturer.)
OIG said this was due to poor communication: NASA and Boeing officials, who negotiated these contracts were not in direct contact with each other. Boeing did not deny this characterization.
Nevertheless, there are still important milestones ahead of Starliner and Crew Dragon, which can accommodate astronauts. SpaceX must complete a full test of Crew Dragon's Emergency Breakdown System. And Boeing must have a crew-less test mission that sends an empty Starliner capsule to the space station, a flight currently scheduled for December 17.
OIG's report states that both companies with parachutes, powertrains, and aircraft face "significant safety and technical challenges to launch-abort systems that need to be addressed."
I also did not warn against it that NASA, as it works to keep commercial crews on schedule, "continues to accept shifts or changes to SpaceX and Boeing". And, ultimately, this could "increase the risk of significant system failure or further delay the launch of commercial crew flights," the report said.
NASA responded in a letter that this was a "known" aircraft. Worrying and the agency was "cautious" to avoid "undue tight deadlines".