Reuters is reporting a major feud brewing up between Boeing and a major subcontractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne over the Starliner valve issue:https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 022-05-11/
Chicago-based Boeing and El Segundo, California-based Aerojet are at odds over the cause of a problem involving fuel valves in the Starliner propulsion system that forced a postponement of a test flight last July, with the two companies faulting one another, the sources said.
The disagreement, which has not been reported before, comes at time when Boeing already is scrambling to emerge from successive crises that have hobbled its jetliner business and drained cash. read more
The Aerojet dispute is the latest illustration of Boeing's struggles with Starliner, a program costing the company $595 million in charges since 2019. Facing fixed-price NASA contracts that leave Boeing with little wiggle room financially, the company has pressed forward with the Starliner test.
Boeing in a statement provided by a spokesperson to Reuters acknowledged for the first time that it ultimately intends to redesign Starliner's valve system to prevent a repeat of the issue that forced last year's test-flight postponement. The Boeing statement said that "we are working on short- and long-term design changes to the valves."
A team of Boeing and NASA engineers is in general agreement that the cause of the stuck valves involves a chemical reaction between propellant, aluminum materials and the intrusion of moisture from Starliner's humid Florida launch site.
Aerojet engineers and lawyers see it differently, blaming a cleaning chemical that Boeing has used in ground tests, two of the sources said.
An Aerojet representative declined to comment.
Boeing officials privately regard Aerojet's explanation for the faulty valves as a bid to deflect responsibility for the costly delay for Starliner and to avoid paying for a redesigned valve system, two of the sources said.
"It's laughable," one person involved in the joint Boeing-NASA investigation of the value issue said of Aerojet's claim, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential supplier relations. "Getting a valve maker or propulsion system provider to write down, 'Yeah, I screwed that up' ... that's never gonna happen."
There's also a sentence towards the end of the reporting saying that there was a major safety accident during ground test that forced the president of a different subcontractor to have his leg medically amputated.
Michael Greshko, a reporter for National Geographic apparently found the 2017 incident in which a Boeing Space contractor shattered his leg during preparations for a Starliner drop test. It's detailed in this legal complaint:https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/ ... 312359.pdf
Per the reporting Boeing settled with this subcontractor over this accident.