NASA’s inspector general is investigating Boeing, one of two companies supplying commercial crew vehicles for astronaut flights to the International Space Station, in connection with a recent contract competition to land astronauts on the moon, according to a Washington Post report.
According to the June 20 report, a senior NASA official spoke to a top Boeing executive about the company’s offer for a commercial lunar landing contract, and Boeing subsequently attempted to change its proposal after the submission deadline. would have happened.
Concerned officials within NASA referred the situation to the agency’s inspector general’s office. NASA leadership finally asked Doug Loverro give up from his position as associate administrator of NASA’s human space flight direction along with the matter, the report added.
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Loverro spoke to Space.com after his resignation. “The biggest false rumor, the one that worried me the most and I think the agency was most concerned … was that there was a problem with the launch of the commercial team the next week I resigned, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said. At the time, there were rumors online that Loverro had a problem with the moon landing contract, but Loverro declined to comment on that matter.
Space.com also asked if the resignation was related to an investigation by the inspector general about NASA’s acquisition strategy for the Artemis program, which opened on March 25.
“That IG report is an acquisition-related report that was started by the IG the same way other things start, they select certain things to analyze and see how the agency is doing,” Loverro said. “It is so completely different. It turns out it is contemporary, but it is completely different from anything that would happen to affect this.”
Boeing did not win the lunar landing contract and the matter is still under investigation, the Post reported.
NASA finally chose SpaceX, Dynetics and a team led by Blue Origin in April. to develop landers for the agency’s lunar program, called Artemis. If all goes according to plan with Artemis, the program’s first human landing, the first since NASA’s Apollo program last landed a human on the moon in 1972, will be in 2024. The company that will undertake that first mission still not selected.
Typically, an inspector general’s investigation takes at least months to complete, and then the investigation’s findings could be forwarded to NASA leadership for next steps or the Justice Department if punitive action is necessary, Post says. .
Inspector General Loverro and Boeing declined to comment for the Post’s report, and none of the allegations have been substantiated by the inspector general or in court.
This news comes when Boeing tries to launch its first commercial vehicle for NASA. In December 2019 a key unscrewed test failed and delayed Boeing’s plans to send astronauts to the space station. Boeing and SpaceX received contracts valued at nearly $ 7 billion collectively for the final phase of the commercial crew program in 2014. SpaceX successfully launched its first manned flight, Demo-2, last month; The two astronauts on that mission remain in orbit.
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