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Independent Ethics Probe Over Lunar Lander Contract Bid Faced By Boeing: Reuters

Independent Ethics Probe Over Lunar Lander Contract Bid Faced By Boeing: Reuters
As a part of the wider investigations of Boeing’s   behavior in bidding to supply lunar landing vehicles, an independent review of its compliance and ethics practices is being submitted by the United States based aero space company according to an according to an agreement struck with NASA and the US Air Force, said a report published by the news agency Reuters.
A criminal investigation into whether NASA’s former human exploration chief, Doug Loverro, had provided immoral guidance to Boeing space executive Jim Chilton for the contract bidding process, is being currently conducted by US federal prosecutors. It is maid this that the agreement was signed in August.
The aerospace company reportedly agreed to the “Compliance Program Enhancements” in order to avert some of the harsher consequences from NASA and the Air Force – which are the top customers of the company’s space division, which include potential suspension or debarring from bidding on any future space contracts.
According to the agreement, Boeing will be liable to pay a “third party expert” who will make an assessment of the company’s ethics and compliance programs as well as conduct a review of the training procedures for executives who are tasked to engage with government officials. The agreement was made because of “concerns related to procurement integrity” during NASA’s Human Landing System competition, thee agreement said, claimed the Reuters report.
One company attorney and a group of mid-level employees have been fired by Boeing since Loverro resigned in May, the Reuters report claimed. According to the agreement, while new training materials have been distributed to employees, Boeing has also revised its internal Procurement Integrity Act procedures.
“We did not meet our own high expectations, or those of our customer, in the (human landing systems) procurement,” Boeing spokesman Damien Mills told Reuters. “We appreciate the productive dialogue we have had with the agencies and believe that the agreement will help to ensure that we will meet those expectations in the future,” Mills added.
NASA had already been scrutinizing Boeing’s space business in the wake of the failed 2019 test flight of its Starliner space capsule.
No comments on the issue were available from NASA and the US Air Force.
According to the latest agreement, Boeing has to meet revised its internal Procurement Integrity Act procedures every quarter till 2002 in order to provide updates on the efforts that it has made in improving its ethics and compliance norms.
The criminal probe and the agreement with Boeing is a fall out of most ambitious space exploration endeavor of NASA – to put humans back on to the moon by 2024 but which has been conceived under a tight timeline set by the Trump administration in 2019.
Combined contracts worth $1 billion for building lunar landing vehicles by 20204 that are capable of carrying astronauts to the moon was awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Inc founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Leidos Inc affiliate Dynetics in April by NASA bypassing Boeing.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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