The US space explorer has added exactly how much money has been spent to buy a 'chair' on Soyuz vehicles, because SpaceX partners and "overpaid" Boeing failed to meet deadlines on NASA's manned spacecraft program.
Over the past two decades, NASA has spent $ 3.9 billion to transport 70 astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) on the Soyuz spacecraft, the agency revealed in its audit report, which was published on Thursday.
The US had also previously used the Space Shuttle to send crews to ISS but the program was halted in 2011, after two orbiters exploded in the middle of the flight, killing a total of 14 people. Soyuz vehicles made in Russia have since remained the only means of transportation for NASA.
Meanwhile, the agency remains determined to switch to manned flights alone without Moscow's help in the future. However, a promising project in partnership with Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX is proven "A few years behind the planned operational date," NASA said.
"The two contractors have a variety of technical and safety issues to overcome before they are allowed to provide crew transportation to the ISS," The Inspector General's office wrote, arguing that NASA actually was "Paid more" Boeing $ 287 million to prepare a manned mission to ISS.
US companies accept this large amount for "Additional flexibility" to speed up the construction of its Starliner crew vehicle because NASA hopes to avoid the 18-month gap in flights to the space station. However, now, the agency's inspector general has called for such a fee "outrageous."
The official said that NASA could save $ 144 million in compensation "Simple change" for the Starliner launch schedule, and by buying more seats on the Russian spaceship.
Boeing and SpaceX have received a combined total of nearly $ 7 billion from the US space agency since 2014 in an effort to end its dependence on Russian spacecraft. However, there was little success because both companies had experienced a testing accident which had severely hampered their progress.
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