Exclusive: Boeing to face independent ethics inquiry into lunar lander offer – document


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co TO PROHIBIT undergoes an independent review of its compliance and ethics practices, according to an agreement reached with NASA and the U.S. Air Force and seen by Reuters, as part of the broader fallout from its behavior during the tender to supply lunar landing vehicles.

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is displayed on a screen, at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, United States, August 7, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

The deal, signed in August, comes as federal prosecutors continue a criminal investigation into whether former NASA human exploration chief Doug Loverro misguided Boeing space director Jim Chilton during the tendering process.

By accepting “compliance program enhancements”, the aerospace heavyweight avoids more severe consequences for NASA and the Air Force – its space division’s main customers – such as suspension or banning of tenders. on future space contracts.

The deal calls for Boeing to pay a “third-party expert” to assess its ethics and compliance programs and review training procedures for executives who liaise with government officials, citing “concerns about the integrity of purchases “during the NASA Human Landing System competition.

Since Loverro stepped down in May, Boeing has fired a company lawyer and a group of mid-level employees, three people familiar with the shares told Reuters.

Boeing also revised its internal procurement integrity law procedures and released new training materials to employees, according to the agreement.

“We have not met our own high expectations, and those of our customers, in purchasing (human landing systems),” Boeing spokesman Damien Mills told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We appreciate the productive dialogue we have had with the agencies and believe the agreement will help ensure that we meet these expectations in the future,” Mills added.

Boeing’s space activity was already under NASA surveillance for its botched 2019 test flight of its Starliner space capsule.

NASA did not return requests for comment. A lawyer for Loverro declined to comment. The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The deal requires Boeing to meet with NASA and Air Force officials quarterly through 2022 to provide updates on its efforts to improve ethics and compliance.

Deal and criminal investigation stem from NASA’s most ambitious space exploration venture to return humans to the moon by 2024 under an accelerated timetable set by the Trump administration in 2019 .

In April, NASA bypassed Boeing and awarded contracts worth a combined $ 1 billion to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN.O Blue Origin, founder of Jeff Bezos, and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos Inc, to build moon landing vehicles capable of transporting astronauts to the moon by 2024.

Reporting by Joey Roulette in Washington; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Lincoln Feast

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