A supplier had been sending faulty aluminium for rocket parts - after fraudulently altering test results and falsifying certifications. He added that years of scientific work were lost because of the fraud. Not just against NASA, but hundreds of customers. (SPI), admitted to altering test results of extruded aluminum and falsifying certifications for almost 20 years.
"It is critical that we are able to trust our industry to produce, test and certify materials in accordance with the standards we require", said Jim Norman, director for Launch Services at NASA Headquarters. "In this case, our trust was severely violated". Aluminum producer Sapa Profiles Inc. had altered test results and provided false certifications to the rocket's manufacturer relating to extrusions used in a key component for the payload delivery system, NASA said in a statement. Also, Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general of the criminal division at the Department of Justice, says that only corporate and personal greed can lead to this kind of fraud against private customers and government, and this has to be stopped and punished.
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) in 2009 and the Glory mission in 2011, which were meant to launch observational satellites, both failed at launch and were unable to reach orbit. Again, the payload failed to properly separate from the rocket, and it was a total loss.
The result of this was that the satellites failed to reach orbit, fell back into the atmosphere, and were destroyed on reentry.
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NASA's investigation has confirmed that this frangible joint was the problem. While we do perform our own testing, NASA is not able to retest every single component.
Jim Norman, NASA's director for Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington, expressed his huge disappointment with the scam.
NASA has announced that fraudulent, poor-quality aluminium sold to the space agency resulted in the failure of two major satellite missions and amounted to a $US700 million ($AU 1 billion) loss..
To protect the government supply chain, NASA suspended SPI from government contracting and proposed SPI for government-wide debarment.The exclusion from government contracting has been in effect since September 30, 2015.NASA also has proposed debarment for Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., formerly known as SPI, and the company now is excluded from contracting throughout the federal government.