Despite Delays In SLS, Orion, Contractors Bag Award Fees

The principal contractors for the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System bagged award fees worth hundreds and millions of dollars in spite of the ongoing issues that is likely to cause more delay to the programs. This was revealed by the latest reports that were released by the Office of Government Accountability on June 19.

The report also included a stern response from the NASA and suggested that the forthcoming negotiations regarding the SLS between Boeing and Lockheed Martin should be used by the agency to find out various ways of channelizing the award fees for incentivizing the contractors and obtain better results.

The report further stated that in spite of the inflow of the huge amount of award fees for the SLS stages, the program runs well behind the schedule and incurs a huge overrunning of costs.

Citing an example, the report mentioned that Boeing received award fees worth a whopping $271 million for the entire SLS contract period. That involved $146 million since NASA came up with the schedule baseline and a formal program cost.

However, in spite of this, the scheduled SLS program is running behind schedule in terms of quite a number of years. In fact, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has found that the program is not likely to meet its scheduled June 2020 launch deadline because of the continuing issues, particularly with the development of the core stage of the rocket system. Officials in NASA have said that there will be at least 6 months to 1 year of delay to that scheduled launch. This means the launch is likely to be deferred until as late as the month of June 2021.

However, while discussing different space activities of the company at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on June 19, the Chief Executive and President of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg did not mention about this report. However, he iterated that the first launch, an unmanned one, is scheduled in 2020.