NASA is paying Boeing $90 million per seat to fly astronauts to the orbiting research lab, the cost is 39% more than the $55 million that SpaceX will bill NASA for the same trip in its Crew Dragon capsule.
A dispute may happen over how much Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX charge US taxpayers for their planned shuttle services to the International Space Station(ISS),
NASA’s Inspector General stated recently that the agency had given Boeing an extra $287.2 million for its work on the commercial crew program, designed to reduce America’s reliance on Russia for trips to the station.
NASA is paying Boeing $90 million per seat to fly astronauts to the orbiting research lab, a cost that is 39% more than the $55 million that SpaceX will bill NASA for the same trip aboard its Crew Dragon capsule, according to the IG report released on November 14.
The Boeing price is also about $10 million more per seat than what Russia currently charges.
Meaning not fair that Boeing gets so much more for the same thing— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2019
SpaceX did not respond to queries on November 15 that whether it will protest the Boeing payment or seek additional funds.
SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said in an email on November 14, there is nothing more important to our company than human spaceflight, and we look forward to safely flying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station starting early next year.
Because of delays in the U.S. program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is considering paying for two more $80 million seats on Russia’s Soyuz flights to the station for next fall and in the spring of 2021.
To date, NASA has spent $3.9 billion on Russian shuttles to ferry 70 astronauts.
The $287.2 million additional funds paid to Boeing were the result of “fair and open negotiations.”
Boeing spokesman Joshua Barrett said in an email starment that, Boeing has taken on ‘significantly more up-front financial risk’ in the project, and the payments help ensure NASA has the flexibility it needs for adjusting launch dates, he said.
The space agency believes Boeing’s pricing “represents appropriate value of the missions.
Boeing is planning its first test flight to the International Space Station on December 17. On the other hand, SpaceX completed its uncrewed test flight in March 2019, and it is also working to certify its Crew Dragon for human flight in 2020.